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Jean-Paul de Roover’s complex and simple one-man show

Live looping multi-instrumentalist tours Canada to promote the release of his fourth studio album

Jean-Paul de Roover, an Ontario-based musician with a unique take on the singer-songwriter genre, is touring Canada to promote the release of his new album.

Complexity in Simplicity, the Thunder Bay native’s fourth studio album, was released on March 23. The album was written over the past four years, and produced by de Roover himself with the help of Juno-nominated Ben Leggett.

Musically, the album takes a more minimalist approach than de Roover’s last work, Windows and Doors. Tracks on Complexity in Simplicity match the album title structurally: each song is centred on a simple yet catchy pop melody, with up to a hundred layers of sound added to the main motif to give the songs their own unique character.

—(courtesy of Jean-Paul de Roover)

—(courtesy of Jean-Paul de Roover)

De Roover says he drew inspiration from many different artists in the process of creating the album.

“I was definitely listening to a lot of pop/rock albums, including the Rocket Summer, Jimmy Eat World, and Eve 6,” de Roover told The Link.

“However, there are countless other recordings that influenced this album; creative singers like Kimbra, the ballsy attitude of Danko Jones, and the lyrical writing of Ben Folds,” he continued.

Perhaps the eclectic blend of musical influences from different genres is responsible for de Roover’s distinctive sound, self-described as “post-pop”. In addition to the discovery of his own musical niche, de Roover also chooses a unique style of musical performance.

Frustrated with his bandmates in 2007, he decided to work on a long-planned solo project.

“I thought if I could play more than one instrument at a time, I could create something more interesting than just a singer-songwriter,” de Roover explained.

“Instead of sitting on a stool on a table and playing a piano with my feet while playing guitar with windchimes attached to it (a [device] I concocted in 2005), I found live looping, and used it to my advantage.”

What came out of de Roover’s discovery of live looping is a fascinating process of stage-by-stage creation at every performance. The process is a great way of demonstrating de Roover’s multi-layered sound, involving recording instrumental and vocal samples in real time, and looping them throughout the song with the use of loop pedals.

[pullquote]“There’s a sense of wonderment that occurs when you witness somebody create something from nothing.” — Jean-Paul de Roover[/pullquote]

Live looping gives de Roover a chance to show off his mastery over several musical instruments, but makes it easier to integrate the musical elements one by one, building the sound.

De Roover tours with his signature prop, a red piping platform, on which he installs his gear. During his one-man show, the audience can watch the songs take shape as the performance unfolds, starting each song from scratch.

“There’s a sense of wonderment that occurs when you witness somebody create something from nothing,” de Roover says about his performing methods, “and it’s even more impressive to hear all the intricacies of the sounds as they’re layered leaving you with a deeper appreciation for the finished product.”

Although de Roover recorded Complexity in Simplicity with two other musicians, Dennis Dumphy on drums and Dorota on bass, the musician has no doubts about his ability to incorporate their contributed musical elements into his solo live performance.

De Roover admitted that he prefers going onstage solo, because it allows for more flexibility in both planning and performance. Those who have seen this live looper extraordinaire perform know that he does not need a band to put on a great show.

To witness Jean-Paul de Roover’s innovative take on the singer-songwriter genre firsthand, and check out his signature red piping platform, catch him at his Vancouver show at Falconetti’s on April 1.


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