The Acorn

The Acorn
The Apollo, October 28th
advance tickets $10; $15 at the door

The Acorn was formed in 2003 in Ottawa. The band’s main songwriter is Rolf Klausener, who in writing about the struggles of his Honduran born mother in 2007’s Glory Hope Mountain, created a beautiful album and brought the band to international renown. No Ghosts, out this summer on Paper Bag Records is the band’s third full length release, along with a couple of EP’s and a rarities and B sides compilation. They toured in 2009 with Elbow and Fleet Foxes. With this release they’ve traveled Canada, Europe and the U.S. and are on their way to western Canada and southern Ontario, then Europe, the U.K. and Ireland. Rolf Klausener was reached in San Francisco by telephone for this telephone interview.

Q: When you hear mixed reviews, does it matter, or do you just keep going on with you own music making? I say this because the press is almost hard on you, having loved Glory Hope Mountain, and yet No Ghost would appear to me to stand up to all kinds of music: it’s clear, unadorned, and quite beautiful. And the vinyl has sold out apparently, except for what you bring on tour.

A: Of course I wouldn’t be doing it if was for any other reason than the love of making music. I got to quit my day job two years ago, and I feel blessed. You can’t predict what the press does, and there hasn’t been lots of consensus on our work. Eventually you think too much if you look at it, so eventually you ignore it.

Q: You’re also releasing a remix of this new album (only available at live shows), giving tracks to be treated by Born Ruffians, Snailhouse and Chad VanGaalen among others. How do you feel about this musical outreach project? How did it come about?

A: It had been on our minds. I find mixing to be a most enjoyable part of a project. We compiled a list of friends whose music we respected, sent out invitations, got our responses, and settled on a final list. It was interesting how friends reinterpreted the album. With the tools easier to come by these days, remixing is an easy and prevalent expression. We are happy and excited with the result. It’s eclectic.

Q: Do you prefer live shows or recording? You seem to be in your element in both.

A: They’re two different animals: one more ‘panther,’ one ‘cheetah’! Playing live feeds into the class-clown, show off side all professional artists have, a horrible desperate need for attention. On the road there is a myriad of unpredictable natural evolution that a song goes through. This is unlike the studio, which is also wonderful: recording is beautiful and creative, spontaneous and meditative. The personal time in a home studio allows a tangible creative expression, where you can revisit, and observe the creative process.

Q: People who have seen you play before are looking forward to your show here. What’s the largest crowd played to? The smallest?

A: Thanks. For this tour we’re creating a fun (for both us and the audience) immersive show, with a ‘Rust Never Sleeps’ vibe, bringing along a ‘cottage set,’ props of wooden walls and pictures.
Besides festivals, the largest audience was 17,000, opening for Elbow at Wembley Stadium in England, and on our own, 800 at Lee’s Palace. The smallest was in Omaha Nebraska, 2008 when we played to three people. We feel well rounded, and we can do anything from small to large.