Our Founders
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Our Founders

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Avant-garde




"Our Founders top ten records of 2013 the GRID T.O."

Our Founders
Coining a new genre to describe your own record is ambitious and, in most cases, a bit pretentious. But the term Toronto producer Michael Olsen (Arcade Fire, Hidden Cameras) uses to describe his solo project—“outsider adult contemporary”—is entirely deserved. Any time you think you can peg down The Nines, Olsen’s debut as Our Founders, its key signature changes, chords clash, or an unexpected instrument chimes in. The only constants throughout the album’s seven atmospheric chamber-pop tracks are Olsen’s gentle voice, beautifully orchestrated string arrangements, and incredibly skillful songwriting. Olsen can coin as many new genres as he likes if they all sound as good as this one. - th GriD

"NOW record of the Week OCT 2013"

(four NNNNs)

Mike Olsen, the Toronto singer/songwriter/producer behind Our Founders, has spent the last 18 years collaborating with the Hidden Cameras, Great Lake Swimmers, k-os, Jim Guthrie and Arcade Fire. He finally takes centre stage on The Nines, a collection of wafting dream pop tunes highlighted by his deft fingerpicking, compositional ingenuity and gentle but sturdy voice.
The seven tracks forgo strong rhythms and melodic hooks for a cerebral, lightly orchestrated style of spacious songwriting that at times brings Nick Drake to mind. Unusual sounds abound. A harp adds texture to opener Floods, White Beetle crests toward gorgeous psychedelia, while Another Chance could be a lost Inbreds song had Mike O’Neill played harpsichord rather than bass.
Darker undercurrents run beneath the pleasantness. (Olsen calls his music “outsider adult contemporary.”) Day Of Delights is oddly unsettling, while You Are Mine, with its atonal vocal melodies, takes an unexpectedly cinematic turn thanks to thick synth layers and Warren Zielinski’s urgent violin lines. - Now Magazine

"The GRID T.O. 9/10 review for "The NINES""


His name may not be familiar, but chances are Michael Olsen has played some part in at least one piece of music you’ve listened to over the past decade. The audio engineer, producer, and musician has subtly shaped albums and live performances from the likes of Arcade Fire, The Hidden Cameras, and Drake. Now, after years on the sidelines—at the studio soundboard or at the back of a stage—Olsen, using the name Our Founders, has entered the spotlight with The Nines, a near-perfect debut record. Quiet and understated, its mix of indie folk and chamber pop brings to mind the work of Jim Guthrie (an Olsen collaborator) and Elliott Smith, but feels entirely fresh. Tracks like “Shack” are beautiful and eerily mysterious: Tensions build as the acoustic guitar strays out of key, clashing with a distant cloud of strings. The Nines is only seven tracks long and lasts about 30 minutes; it may be short, but the record captivates you from the whimsical tone of opener “Floods” to the dying moments of the atmospheric duet “Little Letters.” Apart from a guest violin passage and singer Mia Sheard’s contribution on the closing number, Olsen wrote, performed, and produced everything you hear on the disc, from its simple guitar lines and airy pads to the swelling string arrangements that gently creep into nearly every track. At last, a man whose sonic touch has graced countless lauded releases and sold-out shows has something brilliant to call his own.
Playlist picks: There are only seven songs. Just listen to them all. - The GRID

"Our Founders Ones to Watch 2013 on SIgnals"

Who: Our Founders
What: Former Hidden Cameras member Michael Olsen fronts fantastic new trio
Why: You may not yet know Michael Olsen by name, but chances are you’ve seen or heard him play, including with people like Hidden Cameras, Arcade Fire, Jim Guthrie, Slakadeliqs, and Great Lake Swimmers. The musician and producer has, in fact, contributed to more than a hundred recordings over the past decade, but it’s now, with Our Founders, that his skills as a singer-songwriter are front and centre. Olsen wrote, performed, and recorded Our Founders’ debut album, The Nines, a work of quiet beauty that is brought to life on stage with bandmates Ghislain Aucoin (keys, vocals) and Spencer Cole (drums). The trio coined the phrase “outsider adult-contemporary” to describe their sound, and it’s apt. The Nines is a largely acoustic collection of seven songs that are delicate and sparse, but rich in arrangement and melody. The music is clever, but entirely sincere, with songs like “Day of Delights” and “White Beetle” grabbing hold immediately while the textured, haunting “Another Chance” is a slow, steady listen, heard differently each time. It’s little wonder that artists like Sandro Perri and Owen Pallett are fans as the three men share a tender, open-eared sensibility. Listen to The Nines in full as Exclaim! streams the album until its Oct. 3 release date. It’s then for sale on limited-edition cassettes or, in digital format, via Bandcamp. Also hit up the Bandcamp link to take in three very different remixes of Our Founders’ “You Are Mine,” ranging from the techno of Steve Stoll to the lovely, beat-driven interpretation by MEMORECKS and Bad Channels’ slowed psychedelia. - The GRID


  • "The Nines" full length released Oct 3 2013
  • "You are Mine" remixes Memorecks, Bad Channels and Steve Stoll. Oct 3rd 2013
  • "Ghost/A Heart Beats Through it" Summer 2014 7 inch TBA



Creatures glow with an unearthly light like little crowns... This phrase from the refrain of White Beetle offers a glimpse into the world of Our Founders. There is something eerily familiar about the songs Michael Olsen has created. Familiar and also surreal. Naked acoustic guitar, strings, and voice swim in a psychedelic dream. Spare lyrical stories of past loves, travels, and estrangement in a sonic landscape of artificial splendor. Our Founders draws the listener in directly with fragility and earnestness, while ensuring this directness is confused; intoxicated by the surprising instrumentation and arrangement of the songs. This album welcomes you inside, and hands you a blindfold at the door.

Michael Olsen is well known for his musical collaborations with Hidden Cameras, Arcade Fire, K-OS, Spiral Beach, Great Lake Swimmers, Drake, Jim Guthrie and Slakadeliqs.

Featuring: Spencer Cole and Kasho Chualan (current members of Weaves, Scrap Arts, Taylor Knox and Moves.)

Band Members