Interview with Skylar Bouchard of Two Socks
Skylar Bouchard has got to be one of Winnipeg hardest working musicians. Find him on social media and you’ll see why. If he’s not playing a gig with his band Two Socks, he’s either doing a solo gig or busking on the street. His passion for music being very apparent in his live performances, he mixes an incredible voice with a knack for story telling. I’ve seen it convince am entire drunken biker bar’s crowd to shut up and listen to what was happening on stage. Skylar had just gotten back from a trip from India when we reached to see if he’d be interested in sharing some of his stories and what drives him to do what he does.
2017 looks like it’s off to an exciting start for Skylar Bouchard, you just got back from a trip to India. What inspired the trip and how’d you enjoy it?
The trip was inspired by my budding romance with yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years now and decided that I wanted to learn more about the principles and become a teacher myself, so I thought what better place than India for that. Oh, and I absolutely loved it, made friends and memories that I’ll never forget.
How was playing in India compared to back home?
The spots I played in India rarely had sound systems and were usually right on the ocean. So the feel was more along the lines of a house concert or just singing songs on the beach with your friends, as opposed to playing a gig in a formal music venue, which I always find makes it easier to connect with the audience. The lack of amplification was always made up for with a generous helping of butter masala so I wasn’t complaining.
I saw you picked up a sitar at one point, what are the chances I’ll be hearing one on the next Two Socks record?
Maybe… but probably not. If you heard the noises coming out of that poor sitar when I played it you’d understand.
Speaking of the next Two socks record, you had mentioned you’ll be working on one after you return to Winnipeg. What’s the plan now that your back?
I spent some time trying to figure out how to make the record feel authentic instead of just going in some sterile studio space and hitting record. We decided to set up in a cabin on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, where Two Socks and I spend a lot of time in the summer. I’m hoping that “home turf” atmosphere will help us create some scrumptious sounds.
I’ve also recorded my solo EP, “Tired of The City”, and I’m getting set to release and tour that in September, so lots of managerial things to do in that regard.
Where did the name Two Socks come from?
The name comes from our lead guitarist, Daniel Simoes, who used to always bug me at parties that I was wearing two different, un-matching socks. When we started playing together as a duo, I thought the name was fitting because of our very different styles and personalities. He is very categorical and patient, where as I am very emotional and don’t mind “flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” so to speak. I force him out of his comfort zone a lot, and when I get too ahead of myself he sort of reels me back in. Although we are very dissimilar, the different perspectives makes for a fun, yin-yang sort of creative team. Oh, and I still don’t find the time to sort my socks.
You’ve got to be one of Winnipeg’s hardest working musicians. It seems like if there’s more than two nights in a row that you’re not playing a show, you’re out busking. What drives you to be constantly playing?
I think it’s a mix of a deep love for what I do, and a natural competitiveness. I live to write and sing songs. If I’m crazy enough to be 100% invested in this dream, I feel I owe it to myself to be out there each night honing my craft.
I’ve played Winnipeg quite a few times, and I have to be honest, it’s almost always been a poor experience. I’ve been chased with a knife by a crazy man on a bike, in the middle of a homeless fight and played a show in a venue of which the owners forgot to take down a permanently closed sign. Last time I was there however, we went to some bar I would have never found myself after the show and had an amazing time. Can you tell us about a few of Winnipeg hidden gems?
Wow. Well, I’m glad when you survived on the nights you played with the boys and I. Winnipeg can be a tough nut to crack. We do have our spots though, “The Times Changed” is a little hole-in-the-wall that hosts the best folk acts in the country and Juno-winning bluesman Big Dave Maclean runs a weekly blues jam there.
Oh, and the world’s best chicken fingers… No joke. If you’re ever in Winnipeg, go have a 9-piece at Mitzi’s. You won’t be sorry.
Just through listening to your lyrics, it’s clear you’ve got a lot of great stories to tell, but I’m just gonna ask for two. Can you share two of your craziest musical experiences, one from Manitoba and one from India. Playing The Winnipeg Folk Festival was probably my craziest Manitoba musical experience.
I started going to that festival when I was a kid and that’s where I learned my first chords. It was always a dream to be a part of it and last year they were crazy enough to let me sing.
My craziest experience as a performer in India was when I was singing on the beach in Goa, an Indian man came up right beside me and started going at that beautiful Bollywood-style-dancing. You know the kind I mean? He was care-free and completely lost in the music. It was such a blast. Everyone was laughing and clapping along. I really wish I took some dancing lessons from that guy while I was there because he had it going on.
Where can people go to keep up with the adventures of Skylar Bouchard and find the new Two Socks music?
Well, I don’t wanna rush our relationship but we could make this Facebook Official. Add me up and let’s talk music. One of my favourite things about playing is getting the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, so don’t hesitate to say “Hello” skylarbouchard.com & twosocksband.com and we’re on your favourite social media platforms so search us up, get in touch, book us, and come out to a show when we’re in your town.