In 2010, mere days before departing for a Canadian tour, Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar’s marriage fell apart. At the time, I was the other half of his musical outlet Oldfolks Home, and saw firsthand how this shattered his world. I was right to expect that this would spell the end of our imminent touring, but what I couldn’t know is that this event was about to trigger the start of the most insightful, self-aware, and honest divorce album I have ever come across: Black and Blue.
The albums opening lyric, “Lately I feel like I want to kill / and I’m trying so hard to say something right” gives the listener a front row seat to the post-traumatic stress Lopez-Aguilar experiences as he tries to come to terms with his current situation. While some of Black and Blue’s most telling moments come on stand-out track (and letter to ex-wife Kerri) ‘It Scares Me’, Oldfolks Home is at his best on the heartbreaking ‘Sleeper’ where the lasting effects of the dissolution become clear to him “You know there’s no going back on this / it’s permanent…”
I wondered about Lopez-Aguilar’s thoughts on Black and Blue’s potential to be summed up as just another break-up album. “I’ve been told that I may become known as the Taylor Swift of indie rock,” he joked. “But this isn’t an album about placing blame, or gaining sympathy, or saving face. This is the product of allowing myself to grow out of my darkest moments, while patiently waiting for the good to come through.”
Oldfolks Home, who is no stranger to festivals like the Halifax Pop Explosion and Pop Montreal, looks forward to revamping what already is a highly reputable live show. “There were a few shows in the aftermath of 2010 where I didn’t have the courage to say much,” says Lopez-Aguilar. “I half-joked at the time that I would have been happy to prerecord all my stage banter.”
So will he be able to turn this negative energy into a positive? “That’s an understatement. I have never felt more free to experiment in a live setting. While I’ve always been interested in a fusion of digital and acoustic, the live show is about to get far more… three-dimensional, so to speak.”
Oldfolks Home has a bright vision for his hometown of Winnipeg. Like several of his musical peers, it was important for him to write and record Black and Blue in Winnipeg, and wanted its elements to stay local. He recruited a cast of current and former hometown players such as Keri Latimer (Nathan), Michael P Falk (Les Jupes), and Shaun Gibson (The Details) to contribute, and, what might be Black and Blue’s most shocking twist, the album’s cover art and name are taken from a piece donated by Lopez-Aguilar’s Winnipegger ex-wife, Kerri-Lynn Reeves.
There’s no doubt that many of the beautifully crafted tracks on this LP will find perfect homes on television and film soundtracks ,and I can say with great certainty that if John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity could do a present-day “top 5 divorce albums” list, Oldfolks Home’s Black and Blue would easily earn top spot.
-Shaun Gibson, 2012.
Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar - Producer, Writer
We Are The Feeding Line, 2007
I Hate Dell, An EP, 2008
Christmas at the Oldfolks Home - 2009, 2010, 2012
Black & Blue, 2013
Old school, new tricks
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Ricardo Lopez seems to like technology. You'd at least think so checking out his first album under t...Ricardo Lopez seems to like technology. You'd at least think so checking out his first album under the alias Oldfolks Home.
Knowing he's the sole performer, composer and recording engineer on Oldfolks Home's
We Are the Feeding Line, you've got to marvel at his craft. Full of skittering beats and strange sounds burbling beneath his sometimes shimmering and other times crunchy guitar, Lopez works in a melting pot of sounds. "Out the Seams Pt. 2" sounds like Broken Social Scene auditioning to be a synth-pop band with an identity crisis, "Whole Wheat Flour" breezes by with a gentle folk flavour, and album closer "Let's Go Out to Vegas" brims with punkish energy.
That a home-recorded album like this can sound so pro isn't surprising given Lopez's background. At 18, the native Winnipegger moved to Montreal to attend Recording Arts Canada, where he learned about studio recording. Taking these skills into the bedroom, Lopez was able to nurture his talents at his own pace.
"You can take as much time as you want because you're not paying for studio time. You have the freedom to try anything you want," he says.
Through experimentation and practice, Lopez was able to get comfortable with home recording. After four years spent tinkering with songs he hadn't initially intended for the public, Lopez suddenly had an album on his hands, which he released himself late last year.
Recorded both in Montreal and his current home base of Winnipeg, Lopez says
We Are the Feeding Lineis reflective of the environments it was recorded in. "When I was in Montreal I was young, so I went out every night with my roommates and friends. We'd do lots of dancing and drinking, listened to lots of music," he says, adding most of the album's upbeat material comes from that time. The sleepier vibe of Winnipeg is reflected in "Whole Wheat Flour" and "Letter to Kerri," a song inspired by his then-friend, now-wife Kerri-Lynn, whom Lopez met when he returned to Winnipeg two year ago.
The Winnipeg scene has a decidedly different make-up than Montreal. While Lopez is soaking up that prairie vibe with some of his newer material, he stills aims to keep the up-tempo, vibrant side of his music healthy.
"I think at my core I'm still pretty electro and a little more upbeat. I think in general the music may not sound the same but it'll still have an upbeat pace. Living in Winnipeg has already had an influence, even on the electronic stuff I've been working on for a possible new album."
The solitary nature of his recorded output extends to his live performance, where he plays to programmed backing tracks. While Lopez has had some experience playing saxophone in bands, he's been a bit hesitant about having other musicians help recreate his bedroom sounds. "I always got really frustrated with people who took a little longer to learn the parts that I already knew---which is kind of my folly as well in finding musicians to play with," he says.
As fun as he finds playing on his own, Lopez is now making moves to play with others, and has started jamming with musicians in Winnipeg. "Doing the solo thing was just a way for me to hammer out my ideas and really get a solid fix on what I want to do musically. But now I know which direction I want to go, and know I can find people around me to work with," he says.
While this is his first time in Halifax, he's already got some significant connections to the city. Rebekah Higgs---whose voice blew him away the first time he heard it on MySpace---sings with him on "I Hate Dell," and her Ruby and the Thoughtful Bees partner Colin Crowell mastered the album. He's also curious to experience the city that gave birth to comedy troupe Picnicface.
"Maybe I'll message them somehow and get them to come to the show. I'd like to say thank you for the many laughs they've given me while on tour."
If you're a member of Picnicface, consider yourself guest-listed.
by Andrew Robinson
Oldfolks Home - We Are The Feeding Line (Independent)
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Oldfolks Home is Winnipeg’s Ricardo Lopez, one of those unstoppable, obsessive one-man bands. Severa...Oldfolks Home is Winnipeg’s Ricardo Lopez, one of those unstoppable, obsessive one-man bands. Several of these eight tracks were inspired by a spell in this city, and offer a surprising juxtaposition of sweet, supple pop music and a stark, rigid electric/electronic edge. Given the recurring hard-candy synths and showy guitars, it’s clear that Lopez can give ’er like a ’70s cock rock band, yet the songs sound like the product of ’80s boys in eyeliner. It’s a busy but fully functional mosaic of mad riffs, bold beats and moments of grace, vocoder, shouting and cooing, sing-song melodies, pretty harmonies and dance music. More please!
8/10 Trial Track: “I Hate Dell” (Lorraine Carpenter)
Reviews:: Oldfolks Home, We Are The Feeding Line
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Well, through the magic of the Internet, I have another terrific record from the good people of Mani...Well, through the magic of the Internet, I have another terrific record from the good people of Manitoba. After my quick post on Boats, I was sent the CD from Oldfolks Home and the tie ins started coming to light. First, Ricardo Lopez – the brains behind the project – is also a member of Boats.
Not enough? Well, how about the fact one of the tracks on the record features a terrific duet with Halifax’s own (and herohill championed), Rebekah Higgs. Still not sold? How about the fact Ricardo is actually re-releasing We Are The Feeding Line and cobbling together a cross-country tour that includes a Halifax stop – and one would assume a cameo by Higgs – on November 15th @ Gus’ Pub. Serendipitous you might say.
We Are The Feeding Line is a schizophrenic look at what happens when technology and tenderness meet in the middle and wrestle for top spot. Ricardo’s computer driven emotions are constantly pushed around by his fondness for noise-filled freak outs and meandering guitar lines. If you only heard the first few seconds of the opening number – Letter to Kerri – and sunk into the shakers, floating guitar line and digital effects, you’d probably assume Ricardo was another bedroom pop/IDM artist and start to embrace the sounds. Instead, he spikes the mix with white noise, distorted notes, chimes and electric bursts, as if he’s wrestling with himself and his emotions at each and every turn.
This continues as he changes gears instantly into the frantic pace of In No Way. The heavy strums and electric work well with the more traditional vocal style Ricardo uses on the track (complete with soaring backing vocals). You’d think the huge change of style might only work for Son of Bazerk, but the structure of the song helps the transition flow.
But it’s the crazy assimilation of styles of Out The Seams Pt. 2 that shows Ricardo's creativity peak. By combing a voice-box, waves of fuzz and computer blips and bleeps, Lopez crafts a song that moves in countless directions at countless speeds; the waves of the electric guitar and altered vocals slowly wash over you while the electric guitar shreds across the sound scape and the backbeat dances around like heated molecules, pushing the boundary of the track farther and farther away.
Lopez seems to have infinite inspirations and influences; Whole Wheat Flour sounds like a track that could be penned by Ray Fountenberry (Incredible Moses Leroy, Soft Lightes) and shouldn’t come from a guy who so easily can dive into the raw energy that we all associate with Radiohead (The Power Of The Sun) or the heavier noise of Let's Go Out To Vegas, but he is able to handle all of the textures and fluctuations nicely.
I’d hesitate to pick a favorite – especially with the shocking amount of diversity on this record – but if pressed I’d give the nod to the oddly titled duet with Higgs, I Hate Dell. The track uses terrific beats and great harmonies to turn an electro song into a soft, almost heartbreaking song and the five minutes fly by instantly.
All too often, bloggers complain about albums that are only as good as the single or lack diversity. Oldfolks Home accepts the challenge with well crafted electro hooks that seem incapable of sitting still. He does more in 8 songs than most bands do in a career, but never seems to stretch himself too far. Whether he tugs at your heart strings or makes you want to shake your ass, Ricardo seems ready to give you what you need.
New Sounds: Oldfolks Home
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There are about three great bands in Winnipegian musical project Oldfolks Home, the sonic playground...There are about three great bands in Winnipegian musical project Oldfolks Home, the sonic playground of production geek Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar, abetted by a couple machines named after Old Testament bigwigs. An upbeat, rather pretty, crystalline organic pop-hooked folktronica band resides in fey ditties like ‘Letter to Keri’ and ‘Whole Wheat Flour’, while ‘Let’s Go Out to Vegas’, ‘In No Way’ and ‘Power of the Sun’ are among the tracks that suggest more of an affinity for all varieties of club music laced with vocal effects and stuttering beats. A couple other tracks are more structurally experimental: Lopez-Aguilar tacks a gussied-up 80s Prince-like dance track onto a lingering, deconstructed opening on the tech-support-failed-me ode ‘I Hate Dell’ and orchestrates Latin-flavoured glitch pop that dissolves into a barren soundscape with Spanish spoken word nestling in it. You can’t say Lopez-Aguilar suffers from a lack of ideas or mastery over his technical helpmates, but the crowding of intentions is a little overwrought, more focused on inducing marvel at his range than absorption into a musical universe. Then again, with songs spanning a four-year period of development, We Are the Feeding Line may well be intended as more of a scrapbook than an album. Either way, many of the tracks are worth saving, and it will be interesting to see where Oldfolks Home takes its array of ideas.
Mary Christa O'Keefe
Checking into Oldfolks Home
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I first learned about Oldfolks Home when I saw on Facebook that they were opening for Woodhands in W...I first learned about Oldfolks Home when I saw on Facebook that they were opening for Woodhands in Winnipeg. Consequently, when talking about their debut, We Are The Feeding Line, I'm tempted to somehow relate it to Heart Attack.
It's a comparison that works to the extent that both Oldfolks Home and Woodhands rely on electronic noises, but once you get beyond that basic similarity, there's really not much to it. Oldfolks Home do have dance-y moments on We Are The Feeding Line, and they do enjoy the odd bit of vocoderized shouts (see "Let's Go Out To Vegas" for evidence of both), but on the whole they have a much more low-key approach. The beats are softer, the vocals are quieter, and basically they sound like a band that's fully appreciated on headphones, rather than on a sweaty dancefloor. It all makes for a pleasantly mellow listening experience, and hopefully We Are The Feeding Line will get Oldfolks Home noticed outside of the Prairies.
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A little while ago, when Oldfolks Home started to steadily climb the UMFM charts, I was intrigued. I...A little while ago, when Oldfolks Home started to steadily climb the UMFM charts, I was intrigued. It was a cheeky name I’d never heard of in the local scene before, so obviously, I needed to find out more about this band.
As it turns out, Oldfolks Home is not a band at all.
It’s actually the quirky electro pop brainchild of 25-year-old local experimentalist Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar, who writes, plays, arranges and records his music
himself -- with the help of an enigmatic pair that go by ‘Moses’ and ‘Solomon.’
“It’s actually just me,” laughs Lopez-Aguilar, on the phone from Toronto on a tour stop with Boats. “I do all the writing and recording and everything. Solomon and Moses are my computers.”
As crazy as it might sound, assigning identities to his computers is very much in line with Lopez-Aguilar’s whole musical ethos. Lopez-Aguilar left Winnipeg
when he was 19 to attend Recording Arts Canada, a
technical college in Montreal. Once he completed his studies with RAC, he returned to his hometown (he’s
from El Salvador originally, but grew up in the ’Peg) and began pursuing music, mostly jamming with
various musicians around town.
But Lopez-Aguilar quickly discovered that playing in a band just wasn’t for him.
“It really came out of a frustration with musicians I was working with,” he says of his career as a soloist.
“I just decided to record and play everything myself.”
Drawing upon the skills he had picked up from his time at RAC, Lopez-Aguilar decided to make music on his own, experimenting with technology and sound.
Once he collected a solid back log of material, he adopted the moniker Oldfolks Home and took on the
ultimate challenge for any solo multi-instrumentalist: recording a full-length record on his own.
“I’d made a little acoustic demo, but that was recorded very guerilla-like,” he says. “This was my
first big project.”
That project ended up being Oldfolks Home’s 2007 debut, We Are the Feeding Line.
Recorded entirely at home, We Are the Feeling Line is a fiercely
adventurous experimental art-pop record that explores sound to the fullest extent. Lopez-Aguilar
crafts his surreal soundscapes using both live instruments and electronically sequenced sounds,
making for a record that serves as an interesting exploration of the relationship between musician and
“I’ll sit at home for the better part of the day playing with a synthesizer to get the sound I want,” Lopez-
Aguilar says. “I record a lot of instruments live, and the process them into sounds that sound nothing like how they did before. It’s really neat to interact with
computers like that.”
And others are also embracing the unconventional noise Oldfolks Home is making. We Are The Feeding
Line has earned lofty chart positions on two local radio stations -- no doubt setting the stage for more
attention outside of the Perimeter.
“It went to No. 19 on KICK (92.9 FM), which amazed me,” he says. “I didn’t really think it would fit in there. But I listen to KICK all the time, so it was really nice that it cracked the top 20. On UMFM it went to No.2, which is great.”
The early successes for Oldfolks home are certainly validating to the musician, who can’t really hit up
Moses and Solomon for musical feedback.
“I like my album, and my friends like my album,” Lopez-Aguilar says, “but it’s really nice when others do too.”
By Jen Zoratti Photo
Oldfolks Home, We Are The Feeding Line
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Winnipeg's Oldfolks Home, a.k.a. Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar, moved around while recording this album and ...Winnipeg's Oldfolks Home, a.k.a. Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar, moved around while recording this album and to no surprise it jumps around musically, too. Dance-able beats, lo-fi electronics and a few very pretty melodies could be called the core, but collaborations with friends and stylistic experimentation make it difficult to adequately describe. Ignasio and Lorena Herrera appear on the psychedelic "La Devuelve Lentamente A Su Lugar", reciting a poem written by Ignasio. Halifax's Rebekah Higgs sings on the lovely "I Hate Dell", the standout track that, with a delicately meandering guitar, sounds far more romantic than the title might suggest. There are a few sharper-edged tracks, too. On the cool rocker "The Power of the Sun", Lopez-Aguilar whispers lyrics over super-fast beats, inevitably evoking Radiohead. But the intimate charm on We Are The Feeding Line would be hard to miss. In the end, it's like the pretty pink robot on the cover-electric but with a heart.
We tend to do originals mostly, but are working on some covers. Our set list is usually 30-45mins long, but it is expanding rapidly as we are quickly sequencing all of our material for live performance. Here is a list of performed songs to date:
It Scares Me
Garland's Moving To Vancouver
On Nights Like These
The Eyelids Behind Your Eyelids
Heart Of Cranes
I Hate Dell
Let's Go Out To Vegas
Out the Seams Pt. 1
Out the Seams Pt. 2
The Power of the Sun
Letter to Kerri
Whole Wheat Flour
La Devuleve Lentamente A Su Lugar
In No Way
Letter to Kerri
Wish You Were Here (Cover)
Cause = Time (Cover)
New Contestants (Cover)
Paper Planes (Cover)
|Jun 21, 2013 Friday||9:00 PM||Wunderbar||Edmontnon, AB, CA|