"Oh man, can you hear them screaming in the background?"
It seems fitting that when I reach Rich Aucoin by phone, the day before a show in Toronto, he's waiting in line for the Behemoth rollercoaster at Canada's Wonderland.
"Pretty much every time I'm playing a show that's somewhere close to an amusement park, I try and work it in so that we can go," he says. We end up discussing rollercoasters for a good five minutes before realizing, "Oh right, we have music to talk about."
Not that Rich Aucoin's musical adventures these days are any less thrilling. If you've had the pleasure of seeing him in person over the past several months---on his own, opening for Caribou or the Black Eyed Peas, or perhaps his last-minute addition to Montreal's Osheaga festival---you know that his interactive live show is quickly becoming the funnest ticket in town, a confetti-filled dance party of sweat, singalongs and soaring electro-pop. And now there's the Public Publication EP, a four-song digital release in advance of his second full-length album of the same name (due out next year), capturing that communal love-in on the record.
"I set out to make an EP and it just kind of expanded into an LP, so I wanted to show what I was originally going for," he explains, noting the songs will also appear on the full-length in different forms. "For people that like short records they've got the songs on the EP, and then the LP will definitely not be as fast-paced...It will be a lot more eclectic than the four song power-through."
Part of what makes the EP feel more than a tide-over is the joy of finally having some of Aucoin's live highlights ---"Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.," "Undead" ---available for end-of-summer playlists. But it's also hearing the 500 musicians from coast to coast that Aucoin had re-record and deconstruct his demos before he meticulously pieced them back together again. And the record's high-energy sound? Credit in part the mastering work of Nilesh Patel, whose resume includes Daft Punk, Justice and Air.
"I feel like my first record was my undergrad, and now I just did my masters in music recording," says Aucoin. "This record was worked on a lot in major studios but I was also still doing home recording, so it was a lot of work getting it all to be cohesive and sound like a finished record and not just something thrown together."
Before he heads out on a cross-Canada tour with Hot Hot Heat and Hey Rosetta, Aucoin launches the EP Saturday night at the Seahorse with a costumes-encouraged Halloween party. "I think from now on, I want to make every show a Halloween party," he says. And his multimedia show will now be in 3D, thanks to conversion work by NSCAD students. (The red and blue glasses even come with a download code for two songs.)
"Every time I do a show I just think, 'What would I like to see in a show? What do I think would make a good experience for someone to walk away with?'...I have a lot of friends that still stand at the back and watch, and I feel like I'm still giving them a spectacle, but it's really fun to be in the middle of everyone jumping around and singing and dancing."