Abbotsford local Simon Bridgefoot (who until now has released music as The Parish of Little Clifton) released his third album, Ghosts Was Here, on Tuesday November 28.
Ghosts marks the first time Bridgefoot has released music under his own name.
“I stopped making music under that name a few years ago, but didn’t really show anybody what I was doing,” says Bridgefoot. “With this batch of songs, I wanted to actually share them.”
For the most part, the eight tracks on Ghosts Was Here lean towards folk, and highlight Bridgefoot’s duality when it comes to genre. The shift in genre convinced Bridgefoot to drop The Parish of Little Clifton moniker for the time being.
“If it’s under my own name,” he says, “it’ll probably be more on the singer-songwriter tip. If it’s under the Parish of Little Clifton, it’ll probably be more electronic and instrumental. For me, the singer-songwriter stuff is more dominant right now, with these batches of songs.”
You might be forgiven for thinking that Ghosts Was Here was more ambient than lyrical. Its opening track (if it can be called that at scarcely a minute) sets a minimalist, somewhat electronic mood. For the most part, however, most tracks on Ghosts Was Here toe the line between acoustic ballads, and a kind of shoegaze-ambient blend that is most impressive in that Bridgefoot manages to harness its lack of sharp definition and direct it at the listener, as opposed to getting lost in it.
Of course, there are more conventional pop tracks on the record. “In the Picture” (which features rising Valley staple Kristin Witko) boasts the most dance-worthy hook on the record, and while it may seem counterintuitive given Bridgefoot’s self-labelling as singer-songwriter, it might come to epitomize the record in the same way that singles which garner inordinate amounts of airtime do.
‘Taking A Break’
“At this point, I feel like kind of a master of none. I’ve spread myself a bit thin over my twenties. I don’t have one thing. That makes me feel a little nervous.”
However, recording Ghosts Was Here isn’t the only thing Bridgefoot got up to this past year. He’s spent his time recording other local artists as well.
“I finished three records this year,” he says. “This one, Kristin’s, and there’s a new Warm Amps album that we’re going to print to vinyl. We just need to clear a sample first.”
Bridgefoot tells me that while recording this latest record was an intense experience, his work recording other artists has also come to define him. The music studio, he says, is now explicitly familiar.
“It feels like a family member now, actually. It’ll always be there. There’s always things on the horizon.”
One of those projects might materialize itself as a new Parish of Little Clifton record, but Bridgefoot can’t say when for sure.
“I’m working on stuff that’s exclusively electronic, no vocals,” he says. “Really minimal and repetitive. I’m sure it’ll come out nothing like it, but taking after Nils Frahm and these really minimal German composers. I’ll probably release that music under The Parish of Little Clifton.”
Even more tantalizing than the possibility of a new Parish record is the fact that Bridgefoot set his sights on further collaboration with local talent, some of which found its beginnings in his residency at the Kariton Art Gallery alongside Kristin Witko and Blessed’s Drew Riekman.
“Drew ended up playing on six of the nine songs on Kristin’s forthcoming album,” says Bridgefoot. “We drank a bunch of tequila. Jake [Holmes from Blessed] came out and Nick [Mendonca] from Loans, and Cheap High came out, and we all recorded stuff.”
“Probably in January, Kirsten, Drew and Matt [McKeen from Blessed], and I are going to try to sit down and record an album,” says Bridgefoot. “I don’t know what that’ll be like.”
In the meantime, Bridgefoot is turning his attention to the mundane, what he calls “regular life stuff.”
“I want to watch TV and movies, and not always have a project on the go,” he says. “I want to start writing letters to my grandma again.”
“Regular life stuff” boils down to staying put.
“I don’t leave the city very often,” he says, “I want to be paying attention to what’s happening here, I’m very intentionally trying to be active in the community. Before, I really wanted to be on the move all the time, I [felt] tons of anxiety. When I’d come home, I’d be really depressed.”
“I decided to stay home and see what happens here,” Bridgefoot tells me. “It seemed funkier to me, to just hang out, and sit in the same place you’re always in.”
Bridgefoot pauses for a moment, and then looks at me.
“I read this book by an author named Wendell Berry,” he says, “about a guy who grows up in the end of World War II, and leaves his hometown. A pre-industrialized farming town, basically. He goes to a big city, and tries to do this kind of metropolis lone-wolf thing. He doesn’t have a miserable time, but he eventually makes his way back home, and becomes the town barber. It’s about how he grows old in this small town, observing small town life. I grew up in Agassiz, so it was very affecting.”
It was the theme of escapism that resonated with Bridgefoot, a theme he tells me he could see in his own life at the time.
“By touring and being active outside of my home, I was also running from things,” he says. “Not that that’s bad, I think there’s a lot of good in travelling. I didn’t do a significant amount of it, but I did enough for it to feel like a maturation to stay put.”
Looking sheepishly up at me, Bridgefoot smiles.
“I feel like I belong more than I ever have, which makes sense.”
Ghosts Was Here will be available to stream and download on Bridgefoot’s bandcamp, and most major streaming platforms on November 28