Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m in Ottawa, Ontario. There’s always work to be done to improve the local scene, but I feel like it’s getting there. There’s never been a lack of talent in the region, and I’m pleased to see so many thoughtful artists trying to support one another.
How did you first start playing guitar/music?
Initially, I started out on drums. I guess I wanted to be Peter Criss or something, so my parents enrolled me in drum lessons for a few years. Eventually I decided guitar was my true love, but those early lessons have proven valuable as a writer and an overall musician.
What’s been happening recently?
I have been working on the 5th music video in support of my new album, “Lifting the Curse”. I’m hoping for an early-May release date – keep an eye on my Youtube channel! I’m also working on a follow up album, with plans for a fall 2020 release.
What influenced the sound and songwriting for your new album?
The album was a form of personal therapy and healing for me during the recovery of a car accident that profoundly complicated my life, to put it mildly. I spent a lot of time trying to connect with nature, and the entire summer of writing and recording was almost like a sort of spiritual awakening – not meaning to get all deep here or anything – but that is why I called it Lifting the Curse. By the time it was done, I realized I had a piece of work I was tremendously proud of, and in the process of creating it, I had left a lot of the negative energy in the past.
How did you go about writing the music?
Most songs started out with guitar parts and expanded from there, although I will occasionally start with a drum groove to stimulate some creativity. I am always writing little notes and ideas on my phone, or using the voice memo feature to capture an inspiration before it disappears. I’ve been writing songs with lyrics and vocals for as long as I can remember, so my approach to writing this instrumental album was actually very similar. Most of the music follows similar arrangements that we are already familiar with – verse, chorus, etc., and I don’t think any of the songs even surpass four minutes in length. Obviously I took the liberty to spill over the structural edges a little because the confines of a vocal composition were absent, but I don’t see it as a progressive album at all.
Where and when did you record/produce and who did you work with?
Other than the fantastic Emily Dolan Davies, who played drums on the track “was it something I said?”, no other musicians were harmed during the recording process. I recorded the bulk of the album over the summer of 2019, entirely from my home studio. I set a deadline for completion, and for certain goals to be met during the process. There’s certainly some self-discipline required when you’re producing it all yourself. It’s important to be realistic though, when setting those goals, otherwise you’ll get discouraged when life gets in the way. Allow yourself sick days, and days when you really aren’t into it, because that will happen.
What programs/equipment did you use to record?
I actually recorded everything through Garageband. You can do a lot with programs like that if you spend enough time learning the details. I have a long way to go, but I’m still really pleased with the overall production! The cherry on top is always getting the music professionally mastered, which I did through H-Bomb Mastering. I used some of the stock instrument plug-ins with the program, and also my live guitar rig, to get a nice blend of guitar tones. The guitars were almost entirely tracked with my Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul. The bass was all played on a Fender Precision.
What do you like to do away from music?
I try to read as much as possible, and I love all kinds of movies (I lean toward the horror genre a lot). That keeps me occupied during the winter when I don’t enjoy the outdoors very much! In the warmer months, I try to get out in nature every chance I get, cycling, hiking, kayaking, and herping (Google it – it’s not what you think! Haha!)
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to The Darkness and The Muffs. I have also been alternating between Youtube videos by Skating Polly and Fleshgod Apocalypse.
What’s planned for 2020?
The release of my second instrumental solo album, along with plenty more troublesome music videos! I am really hoping to get this show on the road too, if time permits!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Well, I’m not sure if this will give me street cred or not…. But if I’m actually hanging out anywhere, it will probably be the library. I also work there, so I’m definitely not winning any wild rockstar points! I love lots of different food, spicy and sweet. I make a killer plate of nachos. I’m a huge fan of ice cream and have an incurable weakness for sweets.