Aidan Knight nerds out, with charming results

Everyone has a friend who is totally involved with modern media and social networking. Most of us also have a friend who has interest in vinyl records, and all things vintage and old. Victoria musician Aidan Knight is both of those friends combined, and uses the best of past and future to win the hearts of music fans. With his interests at the heart of his career, Knight is certainly onto something unique. After his soundcheck at the Anza Club last month, Knight appeared laid back amidst all the chaos going on around him. This casual yet humorous charm appears to be part of the big picture: carefully calculated, yet sophisticatedly cool without trying.

Knight got his start at a young age, playing in school bands as early as middle school. It was a life-changing trip that drove him to pick up a guitar and write his own music. "I went on a road trip to run a day camp for kids, in northern BC at Nwaiyansh. It was supposed to be kind of a bible camp, but we turned it into a Star Wars camp. Essentially I became really good friends with this guy Ben and we ended up learning guitar together, teaching each other really bad Sublime songs." The connection stuck in Knight's head, as the friendship would later come back in his career. "Years later, when I was 20, I met back up with Ben after not seeing him in years, and he turned out to be Ben [Worcester] from Said The Whale, and now we're really good friends!" Recently, both Knight and Said The Whale placed in the top five for the Peak Radio's Performance Project. "It's kind of crazy to think I'm even involved in it," he adds. The outlet has gained Knight a fair share of exposure, and a cash prize of $5,000 to put toward his career.

After the trip to Nwaiyansh, Knight's interest in music grew. "When I got home from that trip," he says, "I tried to play guitar and write songs every day for the next couple years. I started recording when I was 16: really bad terrible angst love songs." It was when he started going to local shows that he saw potential to see himself on stage. "I started going to all ages shows, and thought maybe I could do that, start a band and book a show. From there, it all rolled together."

After honing his skills in bands like Maurice, Knight headed out on his own. "I kind of get to be a control freak, I get to make a lot of decisions for myself, and musically I am doing something different than anything I ever did in a band," he says. Constantly at work on something career-related, Aidan even takes on the visual side of his work. "I design all my own album artwork and posters. There's very little that I don't design. I guess my real other day job is loosely described as graphic design. That side of it is important to me. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't."

Knight is well versed in the technological side of things, which pays off immensely in reaching out to his fan base. "The Internet is completely indisposable for me," he says. "When I first started releasing my music, it was just for free online, and I kind of learned how to market myself on the Internet. I guess maybe a year ago I sort of embraced the fact that I'm a pretty geeky and nerdy guy actually, and I thought sort of embracing who I am, putting that on the Internet and offstage and everywhere else, not to say that wasn't myself before, I kind of found my niche."

On the other side, Knight sees importance in the classic side of the music business: the dying format of the full length LP. In a time when attention spans can barely last through a downloaded full album, Knight sees advantage in the physical presence of his releases. "The first time I got my vinyl record, I got a test pressing of it in the mail one day. I put it on and aside from it being weird listening to yourself, it just felt like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, or like every Barbara Streisand album I ever saw at Value Village." He says feeling it in his hands and listening to it was the impression of "something that is gonna live forever. I remember the first time finding vinyl, it felt kind of timeless."

In the whole of his spectrum, Knight sees his techie side and his love of the past being equal. "I kind of feel a lot of it was an unconscious decision to be both," he says. "No one ever told me that I couldn't be forward thinking without keeping an ear to the past. I look up to a lot of old music and new music. [I enjoy] combining everything into one and just taking the best parts of everything, stealing whatever I can. I kind of want to say it's important to be a businessman and an artist, but that's boring. It's hard to tell how timeless my music will be."

//JJ Brewis

"JJ Brewis is a longtime Courier contributor who has scored several impressively high-profile interviews for his music column. The dream, of course, is to one day interview Lady Gaga. Or maybe to just hang out with her, forever."

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