On The Porch With Front Porch Music

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s First Cousin with Noah Derksen

September 19, 2023 Noah Derksen Season 2 Episode 19
On The Porch With Front Porch Music
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s First Cousin with Noah Derksen
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week, we have the incredibly talented country/folk artist Noah Derksen join us for a great episode of our podcast. 

Despite some technical difficulties with the Internet, we had such a great time getting to know Noah. 

While Noah is newer to the country music scene, he has established himself really well as a Folk artist. He has played for audiences across the globe and now getting attention in the world of country music. 

He came to our attention as one of the finalists in the Top of the Country contest. 

In this episode, we take you behind the scenes of Noah's fascinating musical journey. From the intricacies of country music to his unique background in cognitive neuroscience, Noah shares the captivating story of how he found his way into the heart of the country music scene.

We also ask him about a peculiar detail in his Spotify bio ... you won't want to miss it. 

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Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's good to be here. I can practically feel it. I think it's my feet.

Speaker 2:

Are you getting a sliver? Is it nice and soft wood? What's the vibe? What's your vibe here?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was kind of painted back in the 40s with lead paint that's now chipped off, so it's all kind of like in the little grid light blocks and those are sharp. So I'm barefoot and it feels like it kind of hurts, but in a good way.

Speaker 3:

It feels nostalgic.

Speaker 1:

Yes, logan, that's a beautiful way to put it. That's exactly what I was going to say it feels like it needs a paint job.

Speaker 2:

It needs to be torn down.

Speaker 1:

It feels like I'm absorbing lead through the soles of my feet.

Speaker 3:

Just what we want here on the front porch.

Speaker 2:

On the front porch. We are hanging out on the porch today with Noah Dirksen. Welcome to the virtual front porch. This will have to do for now. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself before we start firing away?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, do you want me to expand more on this front porch idea, like maybe what?

Speaker 2:

I'm wearing we're going to table that one that's our back porch series.

Speaker 1:

Back porch. I'm not wearing much. I'm sunbathing the middle of summer.

Speaker 3:

I have the great depression. I only have a job.

Speaker 1:

So I'm working on my tan.

Speaker 2:

Really me all summer, oh my gosh. Okay, I'll let me be more specific, because that's going to keep us on track. Tell us a little bit about yourself. No, tell us the whole story. You're pretty new to our landscape over here all the way in. Ontario. You are in Winnipeg. Tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got into the music world, how this became your career.

Speaker 1:

Totally. Yeah. So my name is Noah Dirksen. I'm a singer-songwriter from beautiful Winnipeg, manitoba. I was born and raised here in Winnipeg.

Speaker 1:

I have been playing music for maybe kind of full time for six to eight years. I was in university, I studied, I took a bachelor of science. I studied cognitive neuroscience was my area of specialty and I was looking out at the world kind of thinking like what's the best way to make a whole lot of money real fast? And so I figured, yeah, being a traveling folk musician there's not many of those out there. And so here I am seven years later, none the wiser, still trying to live the dream.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've been playing kind of full time for seven years or so and I would be new to your world because you're primarily focused on the country genre and the country scene here in Canada of which I have danced around and been adjacent to for my career thus far, and it's really only in the last six to seven months with this series, xm Top of the Country competition, that I'm a finalist in the finale is, I guess, in past tense now. But that's really been my foray into the country music scene and it's the Canadian world, especially just through this program. Before I would have operated more of that kind of the folk roots Americana, whatever you want to call it. I had a harmonica for a time, so that gives me an idea of where I come from.

Speaker 2:

Did you have it hanging off of like around your neck and like you'd be singing and playing guitar at the same time and then playing the harmonica, and then?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I actually had a full time harmonica kind of holder for me, so somebody that toured with me and just helped me out.

Speaker 2:

You're right, because you make money quick.

Speaker 1:

Folk musician that makes sense, that's right, I couldn't afford to hire, let's say, a violin player or a keys player, but I get afforded.

Speaker 3:

But a harmonica holder is pretty cheap.

Speaker 1:

It's about as cheap as it comes. Believe it or not, it's not that skilled at a task. You don't have to go to college for that one that's funny.

Speaker 2:

So obviously no, you did not have a harmonica holder.

Speaker 1:

Where'd the harmonica go? Why is it not here now? I did, I did, no, I my very first tour that I ever did. I was playing a house concert in Nelson BC and so maybe two people were in the audience. It wasn't well promoted, unfortunately, bonnie Baker, but I was. I was singing my songs and and she just looked at me and gave a big smile and said you're gonna get a harmonica. I'm like, no, I'm not, that's a terrible instrument. So like that's what they all say. But then they all do. And sure enough, a year later I was in Long McQuaid and bought myself a harmonica. Why do you think that? I think it just I happened into a harmonica. I just left a gig one day and there just happened to be a harmonica in QC that had magically made its way into my guitar case. Don't know how it happened. Yeah, bonnie planted it because she's just really into the harmonica and loves it. So the harmonica went, went the way of rock and roll and radio. I suppose it's no longer a part of the family.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so what were you listening to growing up then? Like where, yeah, let's go, go ahead.

Speaker 1:

Well, I know I listen to a lot of what I mean, but normally what my dad listened to a lot around the house was some old classics Leonard Cohen was a big one, billy Joel but I then got into like the acoustic singer-songwriter realm in high school and it was really when I started playing guitar, picked up the guitar at some point. When I was younger I played in worship bands at school and at church and that was kind of my foray into performing. But when I started like really playing music on my own was, yeah, something about the singer-songwriter genre for me as somewhat of an angsty teen or maybe you're just going through a lot of feelings and Damien Rice and Ray Le Montagne and then John Mayer too. I'm not ashamed to admit it, but I went through a big John Mayer phase. Back in high school I had a big booklet I've never confessed this before, but I had a big booklet of tabs guitar tabs that I printed out and put into a binder and they were alphabetized Alpha-bet-aized, alpha-bet-aized.

Speaker 2:

Alpha-bet-aized. Alpha-bet-aized.

Speaker 1:

Alpha-bet-aized, alpha-bet-aized, alpha-bet-aized From A to Z. Of all the tabs there's quite a few in there, yeah, and then so kind of just that, and then that like more of the acoustic, emotive, singer-songwriter music. That's kind of what I started writing. I guess to some degree what I still do. Maybe I've evolved and, yeah, learned a bit of a voice or created a bit of a voice on the guitar, but with writing songs since then but yeah, for me it was a songwriting started off as a boy growing up in the Mennonite tradition, where there's really only a narrow range of acceptable emotions that you're allowed to experience or outlet, and then listening to singer-songwriter and listening to music in general, and then when I got to university I started writing songs and writing became my way of kind of safely exploring thoughts and emotions and putting them onto page and kind of just in this more isolated space by myself in my dorm room, just allowed me to kind of explore that side of things.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, what about now? What do you listen to now?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, whole range, like I mean still mostly predominantly singer-songwriter music, like some of my favorite artists, of my most played artists of recent years are Foy Vance, from Ireland, with your big Donovan Woods phase which, donovan Woods, foy Vance and Rose Cousins, another Canadian songwriter those three have hugely influenced this current era of songwriting for me. Chris Stapleton as well. Yeah, so it's still much, much the same. I'm trying to kind of branch out a little bit, a little bit more, but there's something about the introspective singer-songwriter music, ray Lamontang, something about that introspective, soulful singer-songwriter music that just gets me.

Speaker 3:

You know Well, you can definitely hear the influence from the singer-songwriter soul kind of folksy, rootsy influences in your music as well, which is really like obviously that's who you're influenced by.

Speaker 1:

I mean totally. Yeah, you, I kind of view it as you're. They say that you're kind of an amalgamation of your seven closest friends, and so I picture that musically as well. You can always hear who people are inspired by, who their influences are, just because it naturally there are certain aspects of their, of people's music that make it about that you listen to. The music that you listen to. It's gonna make its way into your art, because that's what you start doing, is you start emulating, even subconsciously. But what sounds good to you is then what you're gonna explore lyrically, melodically. Yeah, rose Cousins, for example, her soaring, she's just got big, wide open soaring choruses. I think it's beautiful. She's got such a stunning voice and so then naturally in this last album, looking back on it, there's a lot more big, open choruses with a little bit less wordiness going on in the choruses themselves.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so we're yeah, it's so fascinating.

Speaker 3:

Where did the top of the country submission process come into play here? Because I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but we had no idea who you were until until you were the top eight until you were in the top eight and we were like who is this Noah guy? So obviously we started listening to all your music.

Speaker 4:

So what was the no?

Speaker 3:

we love finding surprises, but what was the process or what was the the decision to even enter this, this competition?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean I had found out about it because a friend of mine, don Amaro, from here in here in Winnipeg, he had two different choruses. Yeah, we love Don, we know him, we love him. He was my brother's high school dance instructor. That was Don Amaro's claim to fame. Wait what? Don has lived a life, he's matured and he's wise and a dancer.

Speaker 1:

And a dancer and a great dancer, but yeah so Don had done it and I mean like to be honest there I want to come up with with this big elaborate story of how much it yeah at how much I had at stake when I applied for this and how much I wanted to be a part of this top of the country competition.

Speaker 1:

But in truth, it just popped across, probably my email inbox or something, as something to submit for. And I'm an independent artist and, to be honest, I submit for a lot of different things. And so this, this thing, it seemed this, this competition is top of the country competition seemed reputable, it seemed interesting, don had done it and Don has a great I actually I just had a song placed on in rotation on CR6M's topic, or North Americana program, rather, and so I just thought, hey, this looks like a fun opportunity. I took 30 seconds, submitted it that's how long I give myself to submit things and I press submit, totally forgot about it. Got a call maybe a month and a half, two months later, while I was in Toronto for something else, the end of February or maybe in.

Speaker 1:

January I can't remember now, but from Nicole Vanturno from CR6M and she said you've been selected for CR6M Top of the Country. I was like that's awesome. What is that?

Speaker 2:

So many people hate you right now.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, yeah it's. I mean like I'm absolutely thrilled and overjoyed to be a part of it. To the competition, I, for every ten, for every ten things I submit, for I get zero positive responses. So you got to go up to 30 or 40 before you finally got one. So, this being I, had no idea, quite frankly, that the scale of what this competition was and what the program was.

Speaker 1:

They kind of play you on a bit of a whirlwind, don't they? It's awesome, yeah, it comes and goes, but it's been, it's been a ton of fun and they, yeah, they support you incredibly well throughout the journey to give you great resources, just just the opportunity to start it for all the top eight, to go to Toronto or Vancouver, to go into a studio, bring your band and record a new song that I mean and you get to decide what song you want to do, how you want to record it, who you want to bring, so on, so forth. There's no pressure to conform, to adhere to any certain production techniques or tricks. You just do what you want to do, and that, for me, has been it's been so much fun. And then you get to.

Speaker 1:

We got to play showcase in Nashville at the CMA's, I got to play Lasso festival in Montreal, so it's all like music. Actually making music and playing music is is the funnest part, the easiest part of this whole journey, that once you get in front of a microphone, that's. That's when things actually get fun, that's, that's the easy part, and this competition is just has made that the logistics to get there in front of that microphone they've kind of taken care of that in these few avenues and so that is it's. It's been phenomenal. I'd loved it.

Speaker 2:

How is Lasso? Because we haven't been and it's only been around for a couple years and I've heard the festival is insane, so how was it?

Speaker 1:

Oh, phenomenal. Yeah, I think it's just this. It's second year. It's on the same grounds as Oceaga, so there are three festivals that happen back to back to back in Montreal. So there's Oceaga, which is maybe more of an indie festival, there's kind of an EDM, electronic music festival, and then there's Lasso, which is country music, and so country country music there's there's obviously fans all over Quebec. It's cool. Quebec has its, has its obviously its own unique language, its own unique culture, and there were quite quite a few a good eight, I want to say, if not more Quebec artists that were performing. Maybe, maybe a little bit more, but so to see country music fans and music fans in general come from all over Quebec and there were some 30,000 people there and just the sea for for Christapleton Saturday headlining set. But yeah, the festival it's great. It rained a little bit while we were there, but people were wearing cowboy boots and cowboy hats. It's kind of acts as a natural umbrella, I found.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, it's a great, a great festival, well curated, well presented, yeah, yeah, like they're. They treat artists really well. There's an entire good the artist face looks really cool. Oh, there's a salad bar pizza. Come on. What work is you want? That's what we do. We do free pizza.

Speaker 3:

Come on yeah, it's such an underserved genre in in in Quebec, so I think it's really really cool that they're doing that and bringing it to the forefront of the province, which is really, I think, really important yeah, certainly, I think, also in Quebec.

Speaker 1:

My sense is that there's less of a distinction, less of a separation between country folk and roots music. It all kind of blends a little bit more. In Canada there's there's quite a separation between us and hence why we haven't met each other before this top of the country competition, because I've been been active for years, but in more the folk circuit. We won a Canadian Folk Music Award a couple years ago, but the country country scene is, and the rest everything's a little bit more segmented and separated and operate differently. But I find in in in Quebec my sense is that you know, country musicians, country artists are more intertwined with folk and roots and it all. Yeah, it all kind of intermingles cool, that's interesting.

Speaker 2:

Can you set the scene for what the like the music scene in Manitoba is like?

Speaker 1:

yeah, it's. It gets really cold here in the winter, so it's freezing cold.

Speaker 2:

I've been there twice and I was told to be afraid of the mosquitoes. Yes, mosquitoes in the summer yeah, mosquito peg is what they called it, because we were in win a pig.

Speaker 1:

I've never heard that one. I've never heard that one. We trade, you know.

Speaker 2:

I don't know, it was ball player we were in there for the summer games.

Speaker 4:

So it was yeah it was athletes.

Speaker 2:

They're just joking around those jokesters.

Speaker 1:

No, what a pig it. It, you know drops. The temperature drops dramatically in the winter time, unfathomable cold really. And you? So in the wintertime really all you have to do is lock yourself in your basement and make music. So there's just always every generation, there's incredible musicians and art scene.

Speaker 1:

Winnepeg is just also geographically so geographically removed from the rest of the world it's 2,000 kilometers to Toronto, same to Vancouver that Winnepeg has no idea what's cool and what else is happening in the rest of the world so it can't try to recreate, it can't try to mimic. So, like here, vancouver might try to be a little bit like LA, toronto might be a little bit influenced by New York. You know, winnepeg's got Grand Forks, north Dakota, which isn't the biggest hippest center in the grand scheme of the world. So Winnepeg it's got an incredible art scene, it's got everything under the sun, it's got experimental stuff, it's got country, it's got indie. It's a very inspiring place to exist. Also it's a lot more affordable. Historically it's been a lot more affordable. There's one neighborhood of Winnepeg which I heard rumor woesley that it has the highest percentage of people that claim art as their primary source of income on their taxes, interesting so kind of per capita or per neighborhood or per voting district or whatever it is.

Speaker 3:

It's funny you say that because I find that every piece of art, whether it be visual, literary, music, that comes out of Winnepeg, manitoba, that whole area to be incredibly off, seem very authentic and like, do you think that is because of the fact that it is so remote and you guys, like you said, don't know what's cool elsewhere, that you just kind of are authentic to yourselves and like trail your own kind of paths?

Speaker 1:

100%. I think a lot of the mainstream whether this is mainstream music, mainstream pop culture, whatever you want to call it a lot of that is just chasing after and trying to recreate popular trends in culture, in the modern culture. So music, I find there's something that blows up. It's an artist, a certain sound, and then you have a lot of people that, naturally, are influenced by that or, naturally, people that are trying to recreate that, and then, on the business side, you'll have record labels that are trying to also push that and you kind of have these concentric circles, these iterations of whatever that art form is, whatever is in style in that specific moment in time, and then you keep doing it, doing it, doing it until it gets so watered down that something new pops up.

Speaker 1:

So, winnepeg just being a lot farther removed, obviously, we're not living in a complete echo chamber or isolated. We still have the internet and Instagram and stuff, so we can see what's cool. But it just takes a little bit longer and the stakes, like the immediate reaction or the immediate feedback of trying to recreate something that's popular in this specific moment, takes a little bit longer to get out of Winnepeg. And so by the time you get out whether that's your musician when you're releasing music. By the time it actually gets out of Winnepeg, the trend is already gone and already passed, so you're not going to have success. So if people don't have success, then they're not going to continue to do that. So, yeah, winnepeg. I'm sure there's other reasons to it too, but my interpretation is that that would be a reason why Winnepeg does seem to have its own unique flavor to it and always has.

Speaker 2:

Unique flavor. That's funny. Do you live in this? Art district that's the most whatever, the most art career per capita.

Speaker 1:

I live just across the way, just a few blocks over from it. Yeah, I live in a little grittier area of town, a lot of artists, a ton of artists in the downtown core, and that's where. That's where I live.

Speaker 2:

If there was another place you could live in Canada, where would you go?

Speaker 1:

Montreal, yeah, without a doubt. Yeah, that was my fur lasso fest. I spent about five days there and I loved it. The pace, maybe just the pace of living, seems a lot more relaxed, despite being a big city. It feels maybe more European sense of order, sense of calm again, despite being such a big city with some three or four million people. Yeah, I had that experience of walking through Mexico City as well, spending some time there in May. A big city, big, busy city, but once you get off the main drags it's peaceful, these tree-lined streets, and you can think to yourself I get the sense that people in Montreal just kind of walk around and look up at the trees and just think I would love to be one of them.

Speaker 3:

Montreal is a really great city. I love Montreal.

Speaker 2:

You recently came home from another pretty cool place.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, speaking of Europe, feeling.

Speaker 1:

Yes, speaking of Europe, yeah, I just got back from Europe. It was a whirlwind, but very last minute I got asked to open up for a friend, arielle Pozen, on his European tour. He just released a new album and so he yeah, it was very last minute. He was playing guitar with me at Lasso Festival in Montreal and this was a week to go less than a week to go for the tour, and he got a text. We were sitting in the trailer after the set. I was reflecting on the set, thinking to myself how much it rained during the set and if people were offended by my use of cuss words. I have a song called Fuck you and Fuck your Friends too, and I was wondering does that offend people? Should I not sing that song?

Speaker 3:

No. Off-francise say Fuck, évou.

Speaker 1:

It's your last very offensive.

Speaker 3:

I went to a university that was rivals with the French school, and we used to make fun of them by saying no. Off-francise say Fuck Évou.

Speaker 1:

It was like in our school chant anyway, I love that Because if you're from Quebec or you speak French, it's not even the French language. But that's our jokes. So I was sitting backstage in the trailer with Arielle and he got a text from the person that was supposed to open the shows and saying that the guy's really sorry to do it, but he has to pull out because of family emergency, so he can't do the shows anymore. So Arielle's thinking ah shoot.

Speaker 1:

I only have a week to go before these shows in Europe and I need an opener. What am I going to do? He looks over at me and I'm sitting there pondering to myself and he asks what are you doing next week? I'm like, ah, nothing. He's like you want to come to Europe. I'm like, yeah, for sure, that's what I'm saying. Yeah, so we played as a disaster getting over there, with just flight delays and missed connections, but I magically made it just in time for soundcheck to Berlin, played in Berlin, drove to Cologne, played in Cologne, germany, and then to Utrecht in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam. To cap things off, yeah, I rented a little bicycle and bicycled around a ton in Amsterdam and had the best of times.

Speaker 2:

Is that the coolest place that music has taken you? I?

Speaker 1:

mean certainly. I went to Ireland in January. I've been all over the States and in Canada yeah, it's certainly the farthest, I mean, yeah, it's the most exotic. But with that being said, some of the small towns in Canada that I've visited as well have been equally Well. I was going to say I toured when I first started out touring. For a few years I toured through a small town called Bruno, saskatchewan. So a small town, maybe an hour and a half or so outside of Saskatoon, near Humboldt. And wherever you go you meet interesting people and it's always so fascinating to see the slight differences in perspective and in culture from one town to the next, even Saskatoon to Bruno, and what people take for granted or for truth in these towns. So then, going to Germany and the Netherlands, you just you get to know these little quirks of how the culture operates. So in Germany, for example, they are incapable of jaywalking. They cannot jaywalk, it's not possible.

Speaker 2:

So they just want to do it.

Speaker 1:

Completely vacant street, tiny little intersection, and they cannot go until that little walking sign, that little walking man turns green.

Speaker 3:

It's beautiful, there's no one.

Speaker 1:

I certainly, I certainly. My life is all about jaywalking. That's a symbol for a friend.

Speaker 2:

Until you go to the US and you forget it's not illegal to hit a pedestrian when they're on the road. You know, like Tennessee, when you were there, jaywalking is dangerous in Tennessee.

Speaker 3:

Okay, so just next time you go, I've had a ticket from jaywalking.

Speaker 2:

I didn't think that was real.

Speaker 3:

In Ottawa it was on a one-way street. At two in the morning there wasn't a car in sight and I mean I also may have got a little lippy, but don't you know that's illegal. I was like, yeah, but no one's crossing.

Speaker 2:

That feels like the type of crime you'd commit.

Speaker 3:

I'm a real badass.

Speaker 2:

You're a jaywalker. How can you believe it was an expensive ticket?

Speaker 3:

too. It was like a hundred bucks or something.

Speaker 2:

So people don't jaywalk in Germany. And you learned that the hard way? Or were you just afraid to do it because everybody was doing it?

Speaker 1:

Well, no, I started jaywalking and people would look at me funny and, yeah, I'm definitely susceptible to peer pressure and to persuasion, yeah, and so then I just had to stop jaywalking and that was actually quite difficult for me. And then you got to the Netherlands and everybody there is very blunt, very forward in their communications. The greatest example of this is I had a friend that was playing in the Netherlands years ago but somebody came up to him after the show. He played a show. So he came up to him, shook his hand and said I didn't like your music, but I had a great time, thank you very much. And then left and I was like, ah, okay, thank you. Yeah, I didn't like your music, but I had a great time with my friends, thank you very much. And then went.

Speaker 3:

You're welcome, yeah you're welcome.

Speaker 1:

It's difficult for us for us to play Canadians that are afraid to.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you just smile and probably in shock, yeah, yeah. So Europe, it's interesting, there's. This is my first time ever being there, first time playing shows there, and also the shows were. So the shows were, were were fantastic, well attended and great crowds. So for me, as an opener, I was just playing solo acoustic guitar, but everybody showed up on time and everybody listened to every word that I sang. These aren't listening venues, they're kind of rock clubs and whatnot, but everybody was incredibly engaged and attentive and focused, which which is something that is maybe a bit harder to come by in in Canada, I find. But so it's just the appreciation and the role of music seems to be a little, a little bit different.

Speaker 2:

I wonder how there's a few artists, canadians, who have been over in the UK recently to and in Europe, and I wonder if they have similar feedback. Also, I've watched a lot of videos of other country artists specifically playing in Europe and they are singing those words back and I was just shocked that any European gave a shit about the top 10 in the US, kind of a thing. But I was surprised.

Speaker 3:

It's the same in Japan, which is also weird. Really yeah, yeah, japan apparently has like a huge country, like scene.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there's just, the biggest music industries in the world are the US, the UK, germany and Japan. So those, those four are the, are the are the biggest and so there'd be a lot of. You know, the US exports quite a bit, so yeah, what would? What would be on the radio in the States would make it over. But yeah, no, they're very engaged music fans over there. Even for me, having never played there before, yeah, it's, it's doesn't surprise me.

Speaker 2:

That must feel kind of nice, because I'm sure there's venues you showed up to in the homeland where you're like anybody listening.

Speaker 1:

You know, yeah, well there's. I've been. I've definitely been fortunate to play and to build to where I'm playing to for the most part, so listening rooms and so on, so forth. That's good. I've been put put in some time for Cheryl over the years of playing in less, less listening rooms.

Speaker 1:

But I think it comes down to what the role of music or what the purpose of people going out to concerts are.

Speaker 1:

I think there have been studies done on this. But a big part of why people go, a big motivator for people to go to concerts in Canada, many of the states to, but especially in Canada is to socialize, is to socialize with their friends. And so people are going with their friends to a concert, to event, and if that's, the main purpose is to spend time with their friends, and then the music kind of ends up being this entertainment, which is great and that's a role to play to, whereas my sense is that, from from my brief experience in Europe and talking to other people that have toured there as well, is that people, when people are going to a concert, that's what they're explicitly doing. They're going to engage with the music and listen to music and they can talk with their friends, and obviously Europe is a big place too, with a lot of different cultures, so maybe, maybe that is just Germany and the Netherlands. That's all. That's all the information that I have to draw from, but interesting, but yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So when you studied neuroscience in school, did you study music's effect on the brain and that?

Speaker 1:

I had.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I did one once Not a study but kind of research paper on on kind of looking at the effect of music therapy, for example, on on the brain and what that does neurologically speaking. So at the time when I was going to school, the fMRI machine, which is the this big machine, fancy machine to take a look at neural activity, and it was kind of state of the art and allowed us to look at what's happening in the brain in real time as people are experiencing it, as opposed to just getting a snapshot at one specific moment. This you can watch it in real time as it forms and as things move. But so at the time there hadn't been I don't know how it is now, but there hadn't been a lot of research into why, specifically, what, specifically music or music therapy, the use of music in a therapeutic setting, what that does to the brain. And so my kind of research proposal was was to look at, try to figure out, try to pinpoint specific brain areas, that that that are impacted and that are enhanced, if you will, or have more activity during engagement with, with music. So my kind of what, what?

Speaker 1:

What I looked at was I was going to get a little technical I suppose. But looking at musicians, professional musicians, that there's certain brain areas that are more developed, let's say, or certain physical, like you know, if you, if you're a violin player, there's going to be your fine motor skills and your certain part of your motor cortex is, is, is going to have a lot more use, so it's going to be physically larger or have stronger connections and so on so forth. So there are certain brain areas that are that are having our physical physically bigger and that have more activity in in musicians. And so I was looking at comparing a lot of those regions that are enhanced or increased, let's say with in musicians. You see a decrease in along similar pathways in patients with skid schizophrenia. So my hypothesis was kind of looking at the potential for music therapy or for music to neurologically kind of assist what's been deficient more or less in in skid schizophrenia patients. So that was just a research kind of proposal.

Speaker 2:

It wasn't.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it is quite nice. Yeah, I did. I also looked at a bit of the the effect of religious experience on on neurological activity too, but that's a different one, yeah, yeah. So music it's, it's, yeah, it's interesting because music covers a lot of ground. You have obviously the fine, the motor aspect of it, you have the emotional components to it and you have the intellectual, so it's the kind of covers the ground and the full gamut across your brain. So it's a great way for kids to develop your develop their brains and all across the board. And it's healthy for kind of anybody, even if you're not trying to be a professional musician, just like learning a language. You don't have to try to be become fluent in something, but just trying to learn language. That that's enough of a challenge for your brain that you're going to see a lot of benefits to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's, it's really cool. There's a I forget what the show was, no, I just thought of it. It's called explained, and they did two episodes on music. One on country music was like these are the racist roots of country music, basically, which was an interesting episode. But then they did music's effect on the brain and how music is processed through the brain and how, when you have like different disabilities are affected by processing. It was really really fascinating and I got excited about it because it was just a half an hour episode. I went to school for psyched so I was like really into a very different pathway than what ended up on, but that's the point.

Speaker 1:

And um but.

Speaker 2:

I found this book called it's called your Mind on Music, and I'm literally opening it tomorrow as my new book because I'm like I need to know, I want it, like I just want to understand it better. I'm really excited about it. But it's really cool like music's impact on like from a therapy perspective. I had a couple of friends who are music therapists and they use it with children with autism and all kinds of stuff like the emotional aspect of music and its ability to like, help heal is really, really cool.

Speaker 2:

Not just from like a music is healing, like like it genuinely is super cool.

Speaker 3:

I think they're also doing it with my grandma at the nursing home home that she's doing it with like like dementia patients and and all that Cause. Like I know my grandma, we're like so sidestepping here but my grandma, like she doesn't remember anything, except for she knows every hymn, every song that like she grew up with. She can just sing along to it when she can't really even speak anymore.

Speaker 2:

We should talk about your brand new single.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so um, releasing a single called Nothing lasts forever so it's actually the first song off of the B sides EP, so recorded it after kind of this. Leftover songs from the record Sanctity of Silence we released that back in March. But there were a handful of songs that were left over from that record that I felt yeah, were maybe just slightly different, that didn't quite fit in with the concept or even just the the arc of the record, and so I wanted to record them a little differently. And, yeah, this is, this is the first. This is the first first single in the title track off of that B sides EP.

Speaker 2:

Right on. When do you expect the EP to come out?

Speaker 1:

When it comes out in November.

Speaker 2:

Oh nice. Is it different? It's folk music and releasing music on a schedule different than so in country right now. What we see is there's like a couple of different. Some people are doing like two singles per year and others are doing every eight to 12 weeks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And then everything around that is like different. So is there like a ideal release that you're supposed to be working with here, or you just like flying in the wind with whatever you want to?

Speaker 1:

do. Yeah, so that would be with in the country scene in particular. That would be around radio and radio schedules, so how much you'd be able to push and how frequently you'll be able to push to radio, and so the way that Canadian country works, and I imagine it'd be similar in the States. But my understanding is that you're you're trying to get a radio hit and so you're trying to give yourself the best shot and that's going to then spin, kind of spin out and pinball snowball that's the word I'm looking for. It's going to give a snowball effect. If you get played on radio, then you're going to be able to book bigger shows or opening tours or so on and so forth, and then that's going to push for this release schedule.

Speaker 1:

It's based off of the kind of the Spotify or streaming music algorithm and then also the Instagram algorithm, kind of just the way that people engage with music If it's out of sight, out of mind, and so trying to release something every six to eight weeks so that the algorithm kind of keeps turning and that people can keep discovering your music and that you stay kind of somewhat on top of the news feed. So that's the idea with this is, in this growth phase to try to as I'm really trying to develop a fan base and push this career, to work within these, to create the art and create the music and have that stand alone, but then try to give people the best opportunity, the best chance to listen to it. And so this is the current method. It'll change in a year, it'll change in six months and the current practices will be rendered obsolete, but for the time being, trying to release kind of every six weeks or so, with this top of the country involvement and your introduction into more of the country world.

Speaker 3:

Have you seen a bit of a change in the types of engagement you've been receiving or a difference in the people coming to your shows or even in your streaming analytics Like? Have you seen a big change in the types of people who are discovering you?

Speaker 1:

You know what? No, I would say no. I think country music although I haven't branded myself necessarily as country music or as country before, country music has a deep tradition of songwriting and writing from the heart and storytelling, and that's spot on what I do. And so I think a lot of people that would be into my music or into certain, let's say, certain similar acts in the country realm, whether that's like the Chris Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson or whatever, that I would be a bit more adjacent to. But those types of people are going to gravitate to my music regardless, and it just so happens that country music there just is a much bigger fan base in falling out, and so within that subset of country music there's going to be people that might favor a bit more emotive, introspective songwriter amidst some of the more food stomping entertaining acts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay. I have one more thing I want to ask you about, and that's your fucking Spotify bio. I don't know if you've seen it what? The Spotify bio, where you choose to introduce yourself to new fans and listeners and let them just have a snippet of your life, noa says first cousin to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Speaker 1:

What? Sometimes we choose our family, and other times our family chooses us. You don't always get to choose your family, though. This is all that to say.

Speaker 3:

I still don't know what the answer is. All right.

Speaker 2:

Has anyone asked you that?

Speaker 3:

before People on occasion.

Speaker 1:

I always forget about it. I think I put in that in there in the pandemic times, when I wasn't in the pandemic, I wasn't playing music so much and I didn't really feel a need to promote myself, and so I changed my Spotify bio to the first thing that came to mind.

Speaker 3:

That is so funny.

Speaker 1:

That's stuck ever since. I'll be honest, I've never met Mr Trudeau and I don't think he knows of my existence, but I'm hopeful that one day we'll get to shake hands and maybe he'll kiss me and meet your cousin.

Speaker 3:

Maybe Justin Trudeau will share this episode.

Speaker 2:

I don't know. It feels like a good clickbait regardless.

Speaker 1:

Musician cousin with Justin Trudeau. He'll never cast Justin Trudeau's cousin.

Speaker 3:

We're going to tell everyone in the CCMAs oh yeah, yeah, definitely doing that.

Speaker 2:

Okay, now that we've gotten to know you a little better, you have your brand new song, which is out now. Why don't you tell the listeners where you can be found on the internet and not in Winnipeg? Don't tell them where you live.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I do live in Winnipeg. I have a spare coach If anybody wants to come by. Quite close to the University of Winnipeg, pretty close to downtown, just start walking and yelling. Yell, Noah, You'll be able to find me. I know some folks around here Just start shouting that's spare pillow and everything. Yeah, I'm on the Instagram. On the Spotify you can listen to me at SiriusXM channel. Honsil Yorn Top of the Country in North.

Speaker 4:

America.

Speaker 1:

I think I'm legally obligated to say that as a part of the SiriusXM Top of the Country competition. But yeah, I am not on TikTok. I might be in the next day or two, so you might be able to find me on TikTok. Who knows, who knows? Join in the rest of the kids on the TikTok. Tiktok is starting its own music streaming service, by the way. Yeah. I did hear that it's going to change the game altogether. Change the game, Well.

Speaker 3:

Noah, thank you so much for joining us, and the next time you see your cousin Justin, tell him. You say hi.

Speaker 1:

And likewise, if you see Justin, you will know Noah Dirksen says hi who the hell is that no he'll know, he'll know.

Speaker 2:

It's my first cousin. What are you talking?

Speaker 1:

about. Yeah, he'll know. I played a show at the National Arts Center in Ottawa a couple times after, a pre-pandemic beautiful venue, and as I was driving through the city my first time through, I realized, wait a minute, would this be kind of an event that Justin Trudeau would come to? And then I thought what am I going to say if I meet him? What do I do? Or surely I have to dedicate a song to him if he's there? So I had a love song in the set that I dedicated to Mr Trudeau, and I don't know if he was in the audience it was dark, there was a lot of people but I presume that he heard it in spirit.

Speaker 2:

You'll never know.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for having me. This has been great. I appreciate you both.

Speaker 4:

Thanks for listening to another episode of On the Porch. With Front Porch Music, we're so lucky to be able to chat with artists and make episodes like this one. If you like the podcast, remember to rate and review us and subscribe so you don't miss an episode. It's the easiest way to support the show. Remember to check out frontporchmusicca to keep up with new music releases, exclusive artist interviews and more. We'll catch you again on the Porch in a couple of weeks. On the Porch is hosted by Logan Miller and Jenna Weiser and produced and edited by Jason Saunders. That's me. Our theme song was written, produced and performed by Owen Wrigley.

Noah Dirksen
Musical Influences and Country Success
Art Districts, Montreal, and European Adventures
Insights on Cultural Differences and Music
The Musician's Strategy and Spotify Bio
On the Porch