Right now, Calgary-based Juno-nominated band AM Static is working-in a new bass player. “The project (album) is studio-based,” founding member Nils Mikkelsen says, “We played DJ-style for a while. But, it’s not as much fun playing with a computer.”
There’s no substitute for live sound, and no one knows that better than Mikkelsen, whose ‘day job’ is with Event Theatre Services at the Bella Concert Hall at MRU.
Nils recently became an audio/visual technician at the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts. “Working there has offered insight into the technical aspect of music and live production,” he says. His musical know-how mixed with his studio prowess makes him the perfect addition to the venue’s exceptional backstage production team. But, with where this Juno may lead him, the venue might not be able to keep him here for long.
AM Static is a collaborative project between Mikkelsen and Chris Austman. The partnership began in 2011. They fuse R&B and electronic influences into a self-described beat-driven vocal dark pop fantasy. A Life Well Lived is their first full-length album, garnering their first Juno nomination for Best Electronic Album of the Year.
Despite their commitment to their partnership, this whole Juno thing came as a bit of a surprise. “The record was made in my bedroom,” Mikkelsen undercuts, “when I think of things nominated for awards, I think of people with bigger budgets.” The general sense of a possible Juno nomination between the pair was, “That would be really awesome, but it didn’t seem to be on the horizon in the near future.”
The band had just been passed over for the Sled Island line-up when the Juno announcement came out. “I was in a doctor’s office reading a Douglas MacArthur biography,” Mikkelsen recalls, “Chris (Austman) texted me that he had found out (about the nomination) from one of his wife’s friends.”
Recalling his reaction to the good news, Mikkelsen smiles, “the moment it hits you, you’ll always remember it. Like trauma.” “We weren’t able to accept it. It took a while to sink in.”
Now that the news is post-traumatic, they’re able to observe the new landscape as a Juno nominated band with national attention. “You’re always fighting to be heard over the ground noise,” he identifies. “This nomination helps to get people more interested in our music than before.”
And people are interested online and at shows. “We’ve seen a spike in our online analytics over our social media.” He cautiously admits. They are currently working on the follow up album to A Life Well Lived, which will be released, he estimates, in 2017. With the type of notoriety a Juno win brings, let’s hope that new bass player works out. They’ll need him.
As to what they’re looking forward to at the Junos themselves, “We’re going to go meet as many people as we can. Excited to see all the cream of the crop of Canadian talent.”
So says one of them.