The All Canadian Soundclash is a recording/performing project from Ottawan singer and songwriter Andrew Michelin, spotlighting original indie folk and alternative rock through well-crafted songs and exciting live performances. Michelin tries to take a less-is-more philosophy when it comes to creating his music, which features accessible, hook-laden melodies, a la The Beatles.
In the early 1990s, while still in high school, Andrew was the lead singer of the alternative band Bufflehead, a powerful presence in the Ottawa music scene and subsequently throughout Ontario and beyond. After Bufflehead disbanded, Andrew pursued other interests, primarily in the visual arts, which led him to a career as a graphic designer. “Of course the time comes when everyone goes away to college…” Andrew remembers. “I just went ‘on hiatus’ for a long time—but still writing songs…”
Traditional songwriting runs deep in Michelin’s family. His grandfather, Stewart, a member of one of the last generations of Indigenous trappers in northern Canada that traded with the Hudson’s Bay Company, also wrote songs. While out in the wilderness in isolation for weeks at a time, trappers would write songs. When they all came home they would share them with one another to see who wrote the best one. One of Stewart’s pieces, “The Grand River Song,” has been recorded and performed by numerous Canadian musicians.
Andrew’s reemergence as a songwriter began just before the pandemic hit, two years ago, with the encouragement of long-time friend and renowned producer Dale Murray. “[He] put out a call-to-action on Facebook, saying he had some room in his studio, if anyone wanted to record,” Andrew recalls. “I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I reached out to him…Everything just fell into place.”
After years (in some cases, 20) spent with his songs taking many different forms, making the album served to finalize them. “It kind of worked out in my favor,” Andrew says. “Everything got fleshed out. I kind of knew what I wanted each song to sound like, how I wanted them arranged…”
Why the project name? “I wish there was a deep meaning behind it,” says Andrew, “but what happened was, just before I decided to record this record (maybe three years ago), a buddy of mine and I were thinking of getting a cover band going…and ijust came up with that name; I thought it was really cool for it. But we never did it, so I just kept the name.”
Andrew looks forward to sharing his new music in a live setting soon. When that happens look for him to be accompanied by Dale Murray and drummer Jordi Comstock.
By Dan Walsh
Check out the The All Canadian Soundclash website here. Listen to the full interview here.