Ink Sticks & Stones

Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

Ai Rei Dooh-Tousignant, March 1987, Canada.

I spent my childhood studying piano, dance (ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical), writing stories, immersing myself in mythology, playing in the snow banks of Northern Ontario, running through forests, skating on the Rideau Canal, and playing my dad’s guitar.

.

.

.

Tell us about your music career, band name, musical background, experience and skills.

I started playing music when I was 7 years old, taking classical piano lessons. The question of where my musical ability comes from is a bit of a mystery, since my immediate family admits that none of them can sing, nor do they have natural abilities with an instrument.

The name Ink Sticks & Stones came from the ancient writing tools of my Chinese heritage: an ink stick and an ink stone. Together, with water, they make ink. I also liked how there is also a double meaning with the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, yet the name is also putting forth the importance and power of words, because they can also do great and powerful things.

 My debut album called “All That Gets Left Behind” was released on November 7th 2017.

.

.

.

Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

My music has been called “delightfully difficult to categorize” by the blog A Feedback Loop. There have been many words used to describe my genre of music: folk, indie, folk noir, epic, rock, pop. I like to refer to my music as indie-baroque-folk. This song specifically is probably more along the lines of indie-pop.

“Full Blue Moon” is the second single off of “All That Gets Left Behind”. The song is about trying to reach out to someone who is living through a great sadness or depression. You want to help them and show that they aren’t alone, but maybe you don’t know how, or maybe they won’t open up to you. Still you keep trying.

The music video is a combination of 3 ideas that haven’t been done before (to my knowledge). I have always been a fan of long shots, backward videos and dance videos, but all three were never combined together. I decided to take up the challenge.

.

.

.

Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

I am just starting out, so I can’t say that I have a full array of experiences, but making this record definitely had its ups and downs.

In terms of 2 in 1, I nearly broke my hand 1.5 months before going into the studio to record. The doctor said that I couldn’t use my hand for a month, and I couldn’t push back the recording dates for several reasons. But I didn’t let that stop me! Through a serious of occurrences related to my nearly broken hand, Phill Hood brought John William Blakely LaBerge on temporarily as a bassist for the song workshops. Well, he simply blew me away with his skills and he became the bassist for my record. This would never have happened if it wasn’t for my injury.

What happened to my hand? It rested for the month required and for the two weeks leading up to studio, I treated practicing as a form of physical rehabilitation.

.

.

.

Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

The record was co-produced, engineered and mixed by Pierre-Luc Barr (studio: Barr’s Backyard). We came about it as two friends who always wanted to make a record, but coming into it with different skill sets (him as an audio engineer and me as an artist). We produced the album together. Brad J. Bakelmun came on as an audio editor. Inaam Haq also joined near the end of the mixing process to do additional engineering, producing and mixing before mastering the album. Without all three of these audio wizards, my record wouldn’t be what it is today!

The musicians on the song include John William Blakeley LaBerge (bass), Phill Hood (acoustic guitar) and David Moreau (drums). We recorded their parts to a scratch track along with me on piano. Once we made our selections of their other parts, Pierre-Luc and I recorded the rest of my parts. The way that I work with my sessions musicians is that I give them a track with full written arrangements and they can choose to either play what I wrote, or come up with something new while we are recording. It’s the stuff they bring to the table that adds that touch of magic!

The video was produced, directed and colour graded by little old me! I worked with dancer and choreographer Gillian Leask for 3 months. The idea was that she appears to be dancing forwards, but the environment around her tells us it’s backwards, all without any editing. It was a challenge choreographing a backwards dance that was also possible to perform, while trying to sync key moments to the song. Gillian did an amazing job! She is a wonderful dancer! My camera operator was Jackson Ho and the production assistants/dog wranglers were Inaam Haq and Noémi Parenteau-Comfort (you say there are no dogs in the video, well that’s because they both helped to ensure that no dogs off-leash in the park ran into the shot).

.

.

.

Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

I started working on my record back in January of 2015. Even though I didn’t really play nor have a fan base, I decided to jump straight to making a record. Nearly 3 years later, I have an album and I am playing my songs to a live audience. I hope to continue to perform and grow my fan base, but mostly, I’m excited to start on the next record!

.

.

.

Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

Stories! My songwriting is based in storytelling and imagery. I love stories and I love to tell them. They can be based on my life, other people’s lives, or concepts and ideas that I would like to share.

.

.

.

Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

I’m not there yet, but write what you know and what inspires you. Hopefully you’ll be able to reach and inspire/help others.

.

.

.

Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

To my current and future fans, thank you so much for your love and support! Thank you for letting me share this great of love of mine with you! Thank you for singing along with me! Thank you for every second that you spend listening to my songs, watching my videos, coming to my shows, or talking about/sharing my work with your friends! Without you, this wouldn’t be the same.

.

.

.

Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

There is no easy path and there is no fixed plan. Be flexible and adaptive. Be a problem solver. Be ready for things not to work out. Be open to new ideas. Be supportive of your fellow artists. Be kind to your technicians. Be loyal to your fans.

Mostly, when things get hard and you feel like you want to fall apart, let yourself feel that and work through it. You are allowed to be sad, upset and disappointed. Yes, making a record is fun and exciting, but trying to suppress those less positive feelings will only make it harder to find your way out of it, and you will find your way out of it, and it will be great! We are artists; we create with emotions, so listen to your emotions and feel it all, the good and the bad.

.

.

.

Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

I currently have one album out called “All That Gets Left Behind”. Two singles have so far come out, “Little Vampire Hearts” and “Full Blue Moon”.

.

.

.

List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.

I appeared on CBC/Radio-Canada for an interview during their morning show Y a pas deux matins pareils to talk about the release of my record and latest music video.

My album, “All That Gets Left Behind”, has been reviewed on the podcast A Feedback Loop. I will also be interviewed on the podcast to talk about my album.

Link to the review: http://afeedbackloop. ca/2017/11/27/episode-65-ink- sticks-stones/

I have also been the featured artist on The Music Entrepreneur’s blog.

“Full Blue Moon” is currently on rotation on AT Radio in the UK.

.

.

.

Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

My songwriting process usually starts with an idea or an image in my head. Based on that, I create a story or a universe around it and begin to write the music at the same time as the lyrics. The more complex arrangements are the last thing I write. There have even been occasions where I added new instruments while recording in studio, because the song inspired me to do so, to find another interesting sound.

.

.

.

Name five biggest artists that you like.

Florence + the Machine

Fleetwood Mac

Maynard James Keenan (Puscifer, Tool, A Perfect Circle)

Queens Of the Stone Age

Daughter

.

.

.

Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

I would love to collaborate with Rufus Wainwright! He has a baroque pop sound based in classical music that I really enjoy and he is also a storyteller. I could learn so much from him!

.

.

.

Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

Official website:

https://www. inksticksandstones.com/

To stream the album:

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/ album/6GO1TXLof0p9KlVBm9bFvR

GooglePlay:

https://play.google.com/store/ music/album/Ink_Sticks_Stones_ All_That_Gets_Left_Behind?id= Bghdy7afwrxmlkji2azsbr2ffvu& hl=en

To follow Ink Sticks & Stones:

https://www.facebook.com/ InkXnS/

https://www.youtube.com/ channel/ UC4acBC7t1WJPqgtfTJ3pSzg

https://www.instagram.com/ inkxns/

https://soundcloud.com/inkxns

.

.

.

Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.

Bandcamp:

https://inksticksandstones. bandcamp.com/album/all-that- gets-left-behind

CD Baby:

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ inksticksstones2

 Apple iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/ album/all-that-gets-left- behind/1294522347

.

.

.

Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

The day that I received the physical copies for “All That Gets Left Behind” and listened (to make sure everything was good), I was filled with emotions. This creative child that I dedicated nearly 3 years of my life to was finally here and real. I was so happy it was done that I started crying!

There have been many sad days, days where only music could get me through it. I think that you can hear that sorrow in my album, and you can listen/interpret what those days must have been like.

.

.

.

Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

I would buy a house in Toronto’s East End, and hopefully, if any is leftover (the Toronto housing market is a steep one), I would convert half of the house into a recording studio for me, my partner, and others in the local music community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s