The Clearing

Chill Out with The Clearing

Bands throw together side projects every other day. Sometimes they have staying power...sometimes they don't. Stephan Lacasse and Eric Boucher (lead vocalists for Latefallen and Jar repectively) recently formed the acoustic spinoff "The Clearing"... somewhere in between touring, writing, recording, and shooting videos.

Both residing in Roncesvalles Village, and pretty much across the street from eachother, neither Stephan nor Eric are new to the music business. With several years of experience under their belts, both bands have played regularly in Toronto and all over Canada with no signs of stopping. Coming together in this new project to croon about love, loss, and everything in between, their sound is solid, smooth, and romantic. You'd never guess that weeks prior they were screaming and thrashing around on stage in front of hundreds of excited rock fans.

I grabbed Stephan and Eric for a quick chat about their joint project.

Why "The Clearing"?

Eric: The clearing is just a name that we thought would be right for what we do. It's a great name and it really shows in the music. A "clearing" by definition is something that is essentially not obscured or darkened. In that sense, we feel that the music we're writing is very definite with its interpretation, not cryptic by any means. It's not something you have to break down or dissect to understand.

Your bands did both an east coast and west coast tour in the past year. Craziest story from the road? Go.

Stephan: The usual... shooting roman candles between vans, getting attacked by skunks, having to buy a new van on the first day of the tour, breaks melting in the rockies. We showed up at a venue in Regina and it was closed, so we went to a biker bar and sang Karaoke all night.

Eric: To be honest, it's hard to narrow it down to just one story. When you're on tour with 7 guys in one van you know there is guaranteed to be a lot of crazy times. I can think of more than a few, so let's just say I'm happy to be alive.

Do you plan on keeping The Clearing as a side project?

Stephan: For now. Latefallen is the priority for me right now. Eric is writing a new album with Jar. There's still room for some chill-out love songs though.

Eric: At this point in time, that's what feels right. We're both dedicated to our separate projects so The Clearing is a good time at the moment. Sometimes it just feels good to sit down and play around with chords with a couple beers. I think as long as we keep the music going, and as long as it doesn't turn forced or become "work", it's a fun project to get away from everything else. It just feels right.

What made you decide to come together and start something so different from your bands?

Stephan: We live on the same block on Roncesvalles and we have acoustic guitars. We're songwriters so if you sit us down anywhere for any length of time, songs are gonna happen. It just so happens that we're really excited about these songs, so we had to show them off.

Eric: I always wanted to start a solo project since I got into music, I just needed to find the right person to work with. Someone who could compliment my style of writing like I compliment theirs. When I heard Stephan singing with Latefallen I knew we could do something great, so we tried it out and this is where we are at. Writing great music and having fun doing it.

The Clearing has a much more mainstream sound than you've played in the past. Are you worried about the inevitable "haters" who will assume you've branched in that direction to ...I hate this term..."sell out"?

Stephan: There are no haters. The songs are too harmless to hate. If people start calling us sell-outs, then we're doing something right. Our thing is about being chill and having fun, I think everyone can relate to that.

Eric: To be honest, this is the way I see it. I enjoy what I do, and if people like it and want more of it I will feed them as much music as I can. The people that don't like it, well, there's not much I can say about them. Just because they don't like it, doesn't mean we'll stop. We're doing this for ourselves, and for the people who feel it the way we do. So if you want to sip on Haterade, you can fuck off.

Which track have you written can you relate to most?

Stephan: We have a song called "Last Call" which has a line 'we'll all take a shot, and we'd rather take a bullet than leave before last call'. It's a drinking song and we can relate to that, especially when we're playing at The Bovine.

Eric: I really like the song "Look & Pause" because I can appreciate the lyrics and the melody. It's something I can find myself easily relating to, and I'm sure there is going to be a lot of people out there who find this song strikes a chord within them as well.

What's the best/worst thing about living in Toronto?

Stephan: Best looking girls in Canada. Hands down. Also Roncesvalles Village is the best! Represent.

Eric: The best things about Toronto are the night life and constantly being surrounded by a creative atmosphere. Most of the people I have met here have been involved in the arts in some aspect or another, and it can be truly inspiring to see what they have accomplished. The worst thing about living in Toronto at this time is being broke.

If you weren't playing during Nuit Blanche, are there any particular installations you would be attending?

Stephan: We don't leave Roncesvalles if we don't absolutely have to. The only installation we'd be attending would be a stool at The Local.

Eric: I want to check out Zombies in Condoland because filling College Park with hundreds of zombies is one of the best ideas I've ever heard. I heard they provide you with makeup and costumes if you're so inclined, so I'd definitely like to be a part of that.

Do you have anything to add for anyone who may be coming to see you for the first time on Saturday?

Stephan: No cover... that means you can buy us a beer!

Eric: Well everyone that comes should expect great music and a lot of fun. We are just a couple of guys who like to party with great friends and write great tunes. When you come see us play you will get where we're coming from. Our songs are like fun sing-a-longs, the more you hear them the more you will want!

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You can see The Clearing live this Saturday at the Bovine as part of Nuit Blanche.


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