By Vanessa Broadbent
Although this is Adam Kirschner’s first tour, it’s probably not the first time you’ve heard of him. The musician has an unusual side gig – he’s the voice of Vancouver’s NHL team, the guy that reminds you that “we are all Canucks” at the end of every commercial.
Now that Kirschner is heading on tour with his project Noble Son, which is making a stop at Oliver’s Firehall Brewery on January 7, you can see the face attached to the voice.
While voice acting and music may be a rare combination, it seemed practical for Kirschner; being behind a microphone was like a second home and doing voice over work taught him that “less is more.”
“It’s the same thing with music,” he said. “Giving yourself permission to be relaxed and to not try so hard while you’re singing is what brings out the vulnerability and the honesty. That’s something that I had to learn through voice over, to give more connected performances.”
Along with the Vancouver Canucks, Kirschner has also contributed his voice to several video games, and even Harley Davidson, Tim Hortons and Pepsi commercials, and acted in various films and TV shows including Netflix’s iZombie.
Having grown up in Fort St. John, Kirschner had been performing music on the side long before his move to Vancouver, where he is now based.
Originally performing under his name, the musician decided to retitle his project as a way to separate himself from his music because he felt that it gave him “more creative freedom and a little bit more licence.”
So the search for a new moniker began. At the time, Kirschner was exploring his interest in meditation and Zen Buddhism and was also facing anxiety and mental health issues. It was out of that, that Noble Son was born.
“It’s a derivative of the son born of nobility. It’s more of an aspiration to be someone who sees things as they are.”
While the purpose behind identifying as Noble Son was to establish a distance between Kirschner and his music, he still draws influence from his interest in Buddhism, a practice that fosters the mentality to “laugh at all these human worries that we have.”
This belief has carried over to Noble Son, especially as Kirschner’s understanding of Buddhism expands.
“We tend to take all of our day-to-day experiences pretty seriously, whereas in the grand scale they’re irrelevant. I try to include that vibe into the music.”
“I think that as I study more and get to know myself more, it definitely makes for a more intimate connection for what I’m able to write.”
Buddhism aside, Kirschner has a variety of other influences including Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Andy Schauff and Joel Plaskett.
Mainly touching on indie-folk roots and self-described as personal, raw and vulnerable, Kirschner tries to keep his music “challenging to listen to.”
“I never like to let people get too comfortable. I think that you don’t learn much when you’re comfortable.”
Along with his audience, Kirschner doesn’t let himself become overly relaxed in his performances either.
To keep each show unique and genuine, Kirschner avoids following a formula, but instead treats each performance as a way to relate with every audience – something that he is looking forward to this tour with plenty of stops in B.C. and Alberta’s small towns.
“I really like sitting in a room and really connecting with people and being able to give them something honest and real and make it a conversation,” he said. “Even if the sound is only going one direction, it feels more like a conversation.”
The tour is to support Noble Son’s first full-length album, Joy in Violence, which will be released on March 29.
Kirschner wrote all of the album’s eight songs in 12 days, and describes the record as a concept album, beginning with the moment where you meet someone that you’re “unfortunately attracted to.”
“They’re not good for you but they’re just the type you love getting in trouble with, and it leads you through the ups and downs of those interactions with that person and the suffering and the joy that you experience along the way. I won’t give away what happens in the end but it’s a classic love album.”
Kirschner will be accompanied by fellow musician and his cousin Naomi Shore, who will be performing an opening set as well as joining Noble Son on the piano and with backing vocals.
Shore is half of Northern B.C.’s folk/roots duo Twin Peaks, a project that’s won a Western Canadian Music Award, been a finalist in the CBC Searchlight contest, won a Vancouver Island Music Award for BC Wide Artist of the Year, to name a few.
She’s also a former resident of Oliver. The musician spent her six-month hiatus from touring working on her music and teaching piano in town, as well as directing the Vagina Monologues with the South Okanagan Women In Need Society, which sold out two shows in Penticton and raised over $6,000.
Shore not only organized and booked the entire tour – 19 shows in 25 days – but sparked the idea in the first place.
Kirschner played the album’s songs for Shore, who immediately knew the music had to be shared.
“She said, ‘I’m booking you a tour, I’m playing with you, you have to get this stuff out there.’ That was the moment where she didn’t give me a choice.”
Having recorded much of the album with the piano, Kirschner is eager to have Shore joining him on the keys and especially vocally.
“There’s nothing better than singing harmonies live, it’s just the best. That’s probably the part I’m most excited for, other than the podcasts, the snacks and the deep chats while we’re driving, which is going to be amazing too.”
Good food and conversations aside, it’s finally getting to share his music that Kirschner is looking forward to the most.
“I’m excited to get out and just see what it’s all about, to get in front of crowds and see how they respond to this music because I’ve only ever played these new songs live a few times,” he said. “It will be really cool to see how people receive it.”
Noble Son will be taking the stage at Firehall Brewery on Sunday, January 7.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and the music starts at 7 p.m.