Ben Spencer isn't really dead.. // Supplied

Ben Spencer’s Funeral—no, not not really, but sort of

Ben Spencer's Funeral w/ Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire
Feb. 22 (8 pm)
The Almanac
$15

What started as a show that was meant for Ben Spencer to bid adieu to Edmonton and bonjour to Montreal, Ben Spencer’s Funeral has now become a project—ironically enough—birthed from goodbyes. “t was a way to say ‘I’m leaving,’ but as I was touring I just kept the name and it soon became the name of the act,” Spencer says.

While a funeral would be considered a somewhat morbid end, Spencer has seen his project come full circle after years living in Montreal.

“Coming back to this [Ben Spencer’s Funeral] is like coming back to a first love, this more textured acoustic lyric driven music, it still feels like who i am,” he says, “A lot has changed in the breadth of my experience, yet it feels like I’ve come full circle.”

It’s a circle that brought Spencer from his hometown of Edmonton to Montreal, which saw an exploration of sound and sound communications for short films and documentaries, while also digging deep into poetry. For Spencer, Montreal was not just an opportunity to “live in another city” but also a chance to “explore things that weren’t just folk band stuff.”

But the apple never falls too far from the tree, and whilst having children of his own, Spencer found inspiration for music in aspects close to his heart.

“I started doing an album of music for children at a time when I was having children,” Spencer says. “It was called Songs for Terrible Children. It was a more satirical children’s album, which actually then had me back on the folk festival stages, but on a different side.”

With plenty on his plate, Spencer sees deadlines and pressure as the ammunition to create his arsenal of creation.

“Constraint creates energy for things to grow. You can get a lot done,” he says, “It’s a very valuable tool.”

With Ben Spencer’s Funeral’s new release Bungalows—a ten song album recorded in Spencer’s basement studio—Spencer explores themes of containment and isolation.

“It’s about the way we contain ourselves, the space we put between one other. I think it really defines how we make art, relate to one another, and the way we go out in the world.”

Spencer is a man with a compass for creativity and with a plethora of creative outlets he honed in and explored in Montreal. He’s found his way back to Edmonton, a home he says is “an underrated place for underground art and culture; it’s just a little more curated.”

by Ryan Hook

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