By Evan McKay
Photo by Els Durnford
For Tyrin Kelly, also known as Lovecraft, cutting out the middleman is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of creating his art. The 19-year-old Ottawa musician recently made his Megaphono music festival debut at PDA Projects Feb 3. Utilizing the small space given to him in the newly developed art gallery below Black Squirrel Books on Bank Street, Kelly entertained a modest yet intimate audience to his enchanting performance.
“I guess I describe myself as a multimedia artist,” said Kelly. “I’ve always made music since I was a kid. I started with fruity loops when I was 10, then kind of meandered in a few bands playing the drums.”
However, a lot changed for Kelly as he searched for more self expression through his solo work.
“In the fall of last year I was working on solo stuff, which was the first thing I put on Bandcamp, called the Bedroom A Sides. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my friends. Until it was done,” he said.
Kelly’s desire to cut out the middleman drove him into multimedia art.
“I believe in doing my album art, making my music, mixing my music. Doing video, doing projections to make my own music videos,” he said. “I like being diverse in what I do.”
The diversity of Lovecraft doesn’t stop at the visual aspect either. Trying to categorise Kelly’s music into one genre would be an insult to the beautiful mosaic of sounds he combines into one song or set of a live performance.
“I don’t like sticking with ‘oh yeah he makes pop music’” Kelly explained. “I like making pop music and then making something really experimental or playing piano and making a piano piece or recording violin and making a beautiful ensemble. I like doing everything you know? I think I’m on the right track.”
Considering his inclusion in this year’s Megaphono lineup, among artists like Scattered Clouds, Pony Girl, and She-Devils, it’s hard to refute that Lovecraft is on anything but the right track. As well, with the inclusion of many visual aspects into his sets and art as a whole, Kelly is certainly creating something that many people have never experienced before.
“I’ve been splicing a lot of 16mm at school and digitising it and editing it and adding a lot of colour and saturation,” Kelly said. “So the footage that I’m doing now, I did for an installation for school. It’s a motif of a woman giving birth. In my art I like to be very bold to kind of, beautify the grotesque. You know, you’re looking at it and you’re like, ‘this shouldn’t be shown right now’. But you can’t look away because it’s really captivating. I like captivating people.”
The audience was certainly captivated as they stood in a mesmerized trance watching Kelly perform with absolute visceral energy in PDA Projects. And though the space was small, the visual and auditory experience of Lovecraft allowed the listeners to escape momentarily into a hypnotic world of self expression.
You can catch Lovecraft/ Tyrin Kelly on The New Local this February on CKCU 93.1 FM. •