The Acorn will never fall

The men of The Acorn are just like us, except they actually know who Silken Laumann is

The Acorn still play small venues in Kingston, but they have toured the world.
The Acorn still play small venues in Kingston, but they have toured the world.
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As many trashy tabloids hark, “Stars: They’re just like us!” In most capacities, this can be said for front man of The Acorn, Rolf Klausener.

He doesn’t have cable television, wastes many hours on Facebook and lives with friends. But on the flip side, he plays gigs like Electric Picnic—a festival in Colorado which attracts 75,000 people—tours around the world and frequents glamorous places such as Kingston. Alright, maybe that last one makes Klausener just like us, too.

The first time I listened to The Acorn was the summer of 2005 on the shores of a perfect Algonquin lake. To the pleasure of Klausener, that’s exactly the vibe he wished to create with his first album Pink Ghosts. Now set to release their fifth album, No Ghosts, The Acorn will be performing at the Grad Club this Saturday.

“Grad Club will be very momentous,” Klausener said. Guitarist Howie Tsui is leaving to pursue his main endeavor of visual art, so this will be his last show with The Acorn.

“The Kingston show will be a total party.” As well as Saturday’s show being Tsui’s end, it’s the end to a certain Acorn ‘trilogy’. Klausener said the band rented a cottage in Northern Quebec to work on No Ghosts.

“This record is really insular, writing about what goes on inside our heads, looking outwards on collective experiences. It felt like the world was ending, just five of us at the cottage. We left and heard about Michael Jackson’s death on the radio and I was like ,‘What!?’ It makes a lot of sense that this record closes that circle. It is a certain closing of a chapter because of everything that’s happened.” Klausener is The Acorn’s principal songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, as well an active outdoorsman.

“When I’m not touring I like to go mountain biking in the forest trails. I’ll go jogging, alter my mind a bit and bring music. I love it when it’s sweltering hot and I sweat my brains out. Me alone in the forest. Music. Amazing,” he said.

The Acorn started as solely Klausener, and though his music has evolved to create a distinct experimental/folk vibe, we may soon hear different sounds from him.

“I’ve been looking to reinvent my band and myself a bit, and look at this as an opportunity to explore more ideas and look outside the band paradigm,” he said.

Genres he would like to experiment with include Soul, R&B (Bill Withers is noted), avant garde instrumental, such as James Blackshaw and much to the happiness of every product of the 1980s, 1990s pop music.

“I have been working on a side project called Silken Laumann, like the Olympic rower. Literally full-on dance music,” he said.

If you’re unfamiliar with Klausener’s melodious voice and the guitar-based, unassuming yet dramatic sounds of The Acorn, it’s imperative that you look up this Ottawa-based group on MySpace. In any capacity, whether it’s the intended cottage-country setting or among the stacks in Stauffer library, this music deserves the hype.

“We’ve had a lot of growing pains and some unbelievable opportunities, but we’re not the Fleet Foxes.”

By the end of the phone call with Klausener, our conversation drifted away from interview territory as we chatted about Omivores Dilemma and the Oscars.

“I didn’t really care. The propaganda of the Oscars is to create a story that doesn’t really exist.” Although I’m a devoted fan of The Acorn, I’m excited to hear what comes of Klausener’s side projects and the band’s continued touring of New York this spring, summer festivals in Europe and Canada, and perhaps a trip to Indonesia.

When I ask him what artists he’s been enjoying recently, he mentions Alex Lukashevsky and Deep Dark United.

“Arthur Russel is my go-to act that I’ve been listening to lately. He did everything. I align myself with his mentality. He wrote crazy artistic disco music, folk, rock records. He died poor and was relatively unknown.”
The Acorn play The Grad Club tomorrow night. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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