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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Moglia

Interview/Review: Corbin Giroux Welcomes You to His World With “Docile”

On September 22nd, 2021, Hamilton, Ontario’s Corbin Giroux released his third full-length album and first full-band project, a record called “Docile.” You may know Giroux as a member of the experimental project First Breath or, more likely, pop-punk powerhouse Rarity, but this album signals the start of a new era for him - one rooted deeply in love, gratitude, and vulnerability.

The singer-songwriter has been making solo music since 2014, but this LP is his first venture into full-band production rather than playing in an acoustic setting. He began playing acoustic guitar in his pre-teen years when his uncle gifted him the instrument, but promptly “abandoned” it due to his fingers hurting every time he practiced. He picked it back up about two years later thanks to wanting to emulate a legendary emo album.

“I fucking love ‘Folie A Deux’ by Fall Out Boy”, said Giroux, laughing as he spoke, “and the songs sounded easy enough, so I looked up tabs and forced myself to learn them. It sort of made sense, so I practiced as much as I could.”

As a member of various bands throughout his high school career, Giroux learned how to work with other people and form interpersonal relationships while still pursuing music, and while making great memories. “You show up to the high school auditorium, you play some Green Day, you go home, it’s the best night of your life,” he said, chuckling, “but the list of what you want to accomplish gets bigger.”

2014 was a big year for the musician; he began his venture into solo music, and he put out his first release with Downstream, the first band he was in where he “genuinely liked the music and was proud of it.” Being a member of Downstream led to being a member of Rarity, and being a member of Rarity led to far too many amazing accomplishments to mention. “They were all amazing times in my life, huge stepping stones into the world of touring and booking.”

Giroux talks fondly about his time in Rarity, but it’s clear that making solo music is where his heart truly is at this moment in time. He sounded like a (significantly more mature) kid in a candy store when discussing the beginnings of “Docile.”

“I started working on it in 2019, before COVID-19, so it’s not exactly a ‘pandemic project’, but it was certainly very freeing the way that some of those projects can be. You could say that it took the shape of a pandemic project...the songs were finally seen in the light they deserved to be seen in.”

Giroux mentions that the album was supposed to be completely acoustic, which sort of makes sense when you listen to it. Tracks like mellow opener “Run” and standout “Humility” could’ve been stripped down, but the instrumentation only highlights his voice and the emotions behind it more.

The full-band approach allows high-energy moments to break through, like on the incredible closing track “Whole” and the collaboration with Like Pacific’s Jordan Black, second single “Torn.” On working with Black, Giroux said, “it was so much fun. It was something I always wanted to do. I always rush through things, but I knew there would be space for [Jordan] anywhere...he’s just so good! He did his part in two takes. It was all of the best elements everyone loves about him packed into one feature.”

The vocalist’s favorite track on the record? “My ultimate favorite is ‘Middle Earth,’” he said, with no hesitation. He vividly remembers working on it right in the middle (no pun intended) on the writing process in early 2020, when Rarity’s European tour had gotten canceled and his girlfriend, Jenna, had gotten her wisdom teeth taken out.

“We were watching a lot of ‘Lord of the Rings’ when she was recovering, so it sort of started as a song about Frodo going on his adventure, but it became a story about love for others, bravery, independence, and not being alone. And it was my first time using this tuning!”

The second and final collaboration on the album is found in “Rope”, a track that Michael Roe of Daisyhead lends his voice to. Giroux described working with Roe as something that just fell into place and worked really well, a feeling that is definitely conveyed through the song.

When asked what the overarching mood or feeling of “Docile” is, Giroux responded, “solitude...there’s an element of grace kept in the chaos of the full-band stuff.” The track that exemplifies this the most is “Ninth Roll”; there’s a calming quality about the singer’s voice that pairs perfectly with the easy-going sound of strumming guitars throughout.

Those intended moods shine through in the way Giroux talks about the things that this record reminds him of. He compares the LP to “the color of a sunset”, the feeling of sitting in nature, spending a day with someone you love in your favorite place (in his case, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, with Jenna), and even “some comfort food that you dip into ketchup.”

As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and live music starts to make its comeback, the artist is ready to finally use the live full-band dynamic to bring these songs to life, and is excited about the authenticity that performing as a solo artist presents - “these are my songs that I wrote, you know?” I can already see this playing out perfectly, with later tracks like “Awake, But Dreaming” and “Graceful” being made for heartfelt sing-a-long moments at shows.

The last few songs on this record are certainly worth the wait, with “Just Not Used To This” bringing a unique type of positive energy not often found in music lately. Giroux debated naming this album “A Beautiful Place”, and although he went with “Docile”, the track of the same name earns its place on the record as well.

As a whole, Corbin Giroux’s first full-band solo record is a celebration of love, life, and, as the artist said himself, “it’s about being okay with asking for assistance. You can be creative and share your art and do what you’re great at, and no matter how good you are at whatever you do, you can ask for guidance.”

What should you keep in mind when listening to this album for the first time? “I just want everyone to take whatever they want from it,” says Giroux. “Yes, it’s my album, but the second it’s out in the world, it’s everyone’s album. So, listen to it with both earbuds, listen to it from beginning to end - this album has a lot of moving parts - and take it as you will, peacefully. I hope the songs will find anyone who needs to be found by them, and I hope they find you well.”

Huge thanks to Corbin Giroux for chatting with me! You can find his new LP “Docile” wherever you stream music, and you can keep up with the artist by following him on Twitter @ALonelyEstate and Instagram @GirouxCW.

What releases do you want to see us review next, and what artists do you want to see us talk to next? Let us know by tweeting us @StrawbSkiesBlog! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook @StrawberrySkiesBlog, and listen to us on the radio every Thursday from 3:00-4:00 PM EST via WQAQ 98.1 FM, The Soundtrack of Quinnipiac University.

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