By: Staff –
Rich Aucoin shares the new single and video for “Dopamine” off the upcoming album, United States. Aucoin wrote the album, observing America from the ground level, while cycling across it for Mental Health America (as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association). While taking this Robert Frank approach, Aucoin composed a song for each of the 12 states he pedalled through. The record is as much about the current socio-political climate of America as it is about states of consciousness; as much fuelled by the burgeoning American protest movement or Hedges’ social commentary on a decaying empire as it is fuelled by McKenna/Pollan world of psychedelics.
“Dopamine”, the third single after “Reset” and “How It Breaks”, is a track about introspection in its verses while returning to a mantra of mindfulness and being present in its choruses. Classic mellotrons, wurlitzers and rhodes keyboards give this track a lush base for the orchestrations of the string melodies to float on top. Hofner viola bass again provided by Pete Macdonald and a boomy drum kit played by Joel Waddell at Nova Scotia’s now defunct Old Confidence Lodge Studios give this a classic Beatles meets Verve feel while the vocals again provided by the all-star vocal group is back on this track with: Kyla Carter, Carleigh Aikins, James Baley, Tarik Henry and Simone Denny take the track to a new place with wall of sound vocals. Jeffery Mosher provides a wall of sax to flush out the rest of the sonic palette.
“I wrote this while riding each day alone across the country; it was one that was started in Arizona but took a while to decide on its lyrics,” says Aucoin. “Riding for 8-10hrs a day meant a lot of time to reflect which could be both happy and sad and always returning to the present assured a renewed excitement to be alive. Lots of nostalgia and sentimental feelings in the verses remembering the past – ‘these are people who’ve come and gone and left me where I am’ or ‘all the things that have gone away and faded from my life’. But, it re-examines that those things are still with you in your mind always. While the process of nostalgia can be saddening, the excavation of memories can be joyous if you’re holding them in the present and not trying to dig yourself into where they are in the depths. The mantra of ‘all there is right now is clear; all we have right now is here’ is a simple line for bringing oneself back to the surface and into the present moment after such a dive. You can’t go back in time and it’s a fool’s errand to try to make something the way it once was, you can only bring the past and hold it in the present to feel what you need from it to carve the next new memory. Every time I practice this kind of being in the moment of mindfulness, I feel like I’ve woken up from sleep and am more able and ready to live.
For the video, I knew I wanted to explore something similar to Robert Frank’s journey of the United States when creating his masterpiece photo-book, The Americans. Inspired by this fellow foreigner’s look at America, I took many photos for the purpose of crafting something similar for this video but unfortunately all the photos that weren’t posted in my blog for Paste Magazine, were lost after the tour had concluded. Nevertheless, I edited down the 264 remaining photographs to the 83 in this video; the same number as in Frank’s seminal work. Frank coincidentally has also called Nova Scotia home and where he passed away last year.”