Spokesperson for national unity and indie songwriter Liz Pomeroy is causing a chain reaction as she undertakes a rather “unorthodox” promotional tour. Pedalling hard in anticipation of her upcoming Freefall LP, Pomeroy — aka 0Stella — will be riding her bicycle solo across the country. “I’m cycling, unsupported, from Mile 0 in Victoria to Mile 0 in Halifax, playing concerts along the way,” she tells RANGE casually.
Having embarked on her one-woman coast-to-coast tour of Canada on Earth Day (April 22), Pomeroy is hoping to reach Alberta by June. Spreading the good word of 0Stella’s new music while soaking up the scenery may be enough for some adventurers, but there’s a broader message underlying this Irish Canadian’s rigorous tour de force and it’s not about defying soaring gas prices.
RANGE caught up with 0Stella as she makes headway through her staggering 6,940 km “There is N0 0ther” tour – a circuit built around pop-up shows as she treks from province to province with her tent and solar panel in tow.
How would you describe 0stella’s music for the uninitiated?
0Stella is my alt-rock Irish fusion project based in Edmonton, Alberta, and influenced by all the Irish acts I grew up with in Dublin, Ireland. I play with a full five-piece band including fiddle, solo with an acoustic guitar, or any combination in between. My debut album, Freefall, is the first of two mini albums from one larger concept album, Pendulum State. Freefall comes out on October 28 on Dead Doll Records and a single will drop every month until then.
Can you tell us more about your new album, Pendulum State?
Pendulum State was recorded remotely between Edmonton and Toronto in 2021 with me and my producer, Devon Lougheed (Skye Wallace and Altered By Mom). The album is about my own struggles with mental health and addiction. Recovery and growth seem wriggly and unpredictable when you’re in the middle of it but when you zoom out you can see it’s full of cycles. I wanted the whole album to mirror the arc of a pendulum swinging back and forth. So the record begins soft, swings into a huge crescendo, and soothes out again by the end. It does the same thing through themes of elation, chaos, despair and hope. Something I think we can all relate to given the last two years.
What inspired you to ride across the country?
I was accepted to an artist residency in France this fall. During the pandemic, a musical hero of mine mentioned that he was thinking of restructuring his touring schedule to have fewer transatlantic flights. I thought this was a great idea. The zero in my name stands for zero-waste, but as an emerging artist I was still needing to fly all over the country. When the opportunity to go to France came, I decided I would apply a similar limitation: only one return transatlantic flight and use public transit, camper van, and cycling the rest of the way. Most of those plans were scratched or postponed due to the pandemic, including the residency, so I was left holding an album to promote and my two legs, so the idea just presented itself at that point.
How does this ride tie into the themes around your new release?
This is the first time I’ve toured this way before and it’s the first time I’ve ever recorded an album remotely too. I’m definitely living in an experimental phase right now! My latest single, “Empty” is about wishing for a relationship to end and then being so depleted by the time it does, you have no idea how to fill the space you just won yourself. I feel that mirrors this tour a lot. The opening line says it all: “Feel the door on my back / yeah, I’ve done it now / out on my own / with my big mouth.” It’s been a year in the making, I’ve been talking about it constantly and now here I am, on my bike with all of Canada unfolding before me. It’s petrifying, exhilarating, and exhausting.
What does Mile 0 signify? Is it an echo of the 0 in 0Stella?
Mile 0 is the starting point for anyone traversing the country using the 8,000 kms of Trans-Canada Highway. There is one in the West at Beacon Hill in Victoria, BC and another in St. Johns, Newfoundland on the East Coast. There have been many happy coincidences that have happened as a result of having a zero at the start of my name and this is one of them.
How did you go about preparing yourself mentally and physically?
The last year was spent getting my cycling legs back during the summer on my vintage Giant road bike, which culminated in the Drayton Valley 160kms race. The rest of the year involved researching routes, bike-packing, dehydrating methods to bring food with me, camping basics, gear tests, and building a team around me. I sustained a few injuries during the year snowboarding so a lot of work was done in stabilizing those areas.
What previous experience do you have with taking on challenges of this nature?
I never owned a car until I moved to Canada so I cycled most places as a means of transport. I also come from a family of cyclists, so we often did long-distance charity cycles. Some of the most memorable were Malin to Mizen (South to North of Ireland) and 2,000 kms through Argentina, both to raise money for the N.C.B.I. (National Council for the Blind Ireland). I haven’t done much cycling around Canada beyond simple commuting, so this is a first.
What are your hopes for this trip? What are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to seeing and smelling the country again on my own schedule which allows for time to meet and interact with all kinds of people along the way. My favourite part is getting to hear other people’s stories. I love nothing more than playing for people so just getting to sing songs with others and dance is something I’m also really looking forward to. So far one of the most surprising things is people’s enthusiasm to learn Irish, so hearing people sing lyrics back to me in my national language has been a huge and unexpected highlight.
How can people follow and support your journey?
This tour survives completely based on house / local business concert bookings and donations. You can donate to the tour, see the map of the proposed route or get information about upcoming singles on 0Stella.com. All links to socials are there too. People can follow the tour updates on Instagram and TikTok. Mailing list subscribers get notified first when I’ll be coming through their province so they can schedule themselves to host a house concert.
For more information on 0Stella and her journey across Canada on two wheels, visit 0stella.com