Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I live in Vancouver, BC. The music scene has a ton of brilliant and diverse artists, but many from here leave for opportunities in Montreal and Toronto, where I lived for a few years. There are financial and socio-political challenges that this city poses, which make it tough for artists to stick around. I do miss that side of the country, but the west coast has always been home.
How did you first start playing music?
I started when I was 6 and saw a piano for the first time at my school. I was immediately obsessed.
How did Noble Oak start?
The project came about after I received a Rhodes piano from a very close friend, and I became lost in its sound. I had been writing songs on and off since I was a kid, but it was the arrival of this new instrument that really drove the creation of Noble Oak.
What’s been happening recently?
Lots of preparation for new songs, shows and the release of my next record, Horizon on Last Gang Records.
Your new single ‘Morning’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?
The sound is very much an extension of the sound I’ve been working to create over the last 8 years. I can’t put my finger on any one single influence for the piece.
How did you go about writing Morning and what is the meaning behind the song?
It took a very long time to complete Morning, over 5 months in fact. I was stuck on the direction of the piece after composing the initial opening and piano melody. It was a few months later that the song came to completion once I figured out the vocal melody. I was in a deeply confused and uncertain place, which ended up being the exact place I needed. The song reflects on the depths of entrapment we feel in our lives, and what we can do to survive it and change it.
Where and when did you record and who with?
Morning was written during the first half of 2017 and recorded and engineered alone in my home studio.
What programs/equipment did you use?
I used Ableton Live, which has been the foundation for my production across the Noble Oak project. I’ve begun to use Logic for some songs, since it has some terrific sounds and processing. Other equipment used include my Nord Stage for piano layers, my upright piano, a Telecaster for the guitar parts, OP-1 and MicroKorg for some of the synth parts, and a collection of drum samples.
How did you approach the recording and production for Morning?
The same way I approach every song I make- by letting the ideas spill out as naturally as they can. Nothing is ever forced, if an idea comes and is good, it remains.
Please tell us about how the concept for the Morning video came about:
I wanted to work with my friend and creative visionary Nancy Lee to devise a world that best represented the feeling of the song. Nancy has been experimenting and studying VR and volumetric video production for several years and was graciously happy to put their skills to use on this video. With a bit of programming help from some friends, the result turned out fantastically.
Where did you film and who with?
It was all filmed at their studio, with only myself, Nancy and a small team of assistants providing graphical textures and programming advice for Unity, the software where all the depth/image data and graphics were realized together.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the filming and editing process?
Most challenging was making sure all of the shots aligned perfectly with the words, since it was sometimes tough to tell which part was being sung based on the moving volumetric image. Most rewarding was seeing all the various components layered together so nicely in the final edit.
You have an upcoming album ‘Horizon’ label release coming up soon, what can we expect?
Expect a ton of new sounds and energies! I’m quite proud of this record so hopefully this will be your new favourite too.
What do you like to do away from music?
I like spending time with my loved ones, walking by the ocean and skiing/hiking in the mountains as much as I can.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Some old and some new stuff, ranging from Joni Mitchell to Bruce Hornsby, The Japanese House and Tame Impala.
What’s planned for 2020?
More music, the long-awaited release of Horizon, and hopefully a tour or two!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Sushi is my favourite food of all time, and if I’m not hanging with friends at someone’s home, or working on music, you can probably find me outside by the beach.