A visit to an astrologer helped birth Share's latest and fourth release, Slumping in Your Murals, according to the band's songwriter, singer and guitarist, Andrew Sisk.
"It was an opening to a new understanding," he says.
Sisk received a "proper" astrological reading, which required details beyond day, month and year, such as the hour of birth. Astrologers don't predict the future, like weather forecasts, but instead hold a mirror up for self-reflection, explains Sisk.
The stereotypically tall, dark and handsome 28-year-old, who sports a mustache, speaks of astrology without pretension or piety. He seeks to understand, to gain experience and knowledge, from a variety of sources and without fear, which, he says, dictated his decisions while growing up in a "small village" in New Brunswick.
His outlook began to change when, at 21, his first-ever flight took him from Canada to Colomba, Sri Lanka, where he went on exchange. Many travels have followed since then. Share went to the UK twice in the last nine months. Before that, an extended stay in Jamaica broadly shaped the writing on the last Share album, Pedestrian.
Of course, an astrological appointment is a different kind of journey, but the effect is the same. After the reading, the songs for Slumping in Your Murals, a celestial reference, came quickly to Sisk. It started with "Broader," an uptempo, melodic pop track. "Your view of the world becomes a lot broader than what you've been seeing," says Sisk about the thrust of the song.
Mostly the album offers quiet and acoustic-based tunes, a kind of night or night-sky music.
Even on a short, simple song such as "Lights Overhead" (Sisk singing and playing acoustic guitar, multi-instrumentalist Dennis Goodwyn playing a spacey keyboard and Zach Atkinson with brushes on a snare), a sense of expanse develops. Nick Cobham's lead guitar work favours mood, melody and atmosphere over flash (see "Horse and Rider"). Cobham and Kyle Cunjak, who plays upright bass, provide vocal harmonies.
Cunjak also plays with David Myles, Catherine MacLellan and The Olympic Symphonium. "Without Kyle, Share would not exist," Sisk says. He speaks in similar tone and terms about Jenn Grant, who early on encouraged Sisk to record his songs (he happily wrote and kept them to himself since his teens, he says). Sisk drummed for awhile when Grant first launched her career. She duets on "Maybe Always."
At the upcoming Halifax release show, Share will bring up friends and fellow artists on stage: Mike O'Neill, Laura Peek, Jon McKiel, David Myles, Jason MacIsaac, Matt Charlton, Matt MacDonald, AA Wallace, Gianna Lauren and Tim Crabtree.
Sisk describes people, whether those he's known and worked with or not, as a constellation, "points of light" connected. It's an open-mindedness that, he says, resides at the core of Share. Each member pursues other projects, whether photography, booking bands or running a label (Forward Music, which releases Share's albums). "We're transient and busybodies," Sisk says with a laugh. "This is the way we've aligned."
Perhaps not surprisingly, Sisk also has an abiding interest in astronomy. During his tours and travels he indulges in a personal love of planetariums. "I recommend to anyone who's never been to a planetarium to go watch one of their documentary presentations on our universe, our galaxy," he says enthusiastically. "Those things are mind-blowing. They really put you in your place."
They make you feel small, in a good way, he says.