Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Well, I’m 5’8’ I have green eyes and I weigh… ok so I do a lot of things actually and making music is one of those things. It might be the single most important artistic passion as I have dedicated a lot of my life to music in one form or another. From playing cello as I child, drums as a teen in classic rock psych bands, to jazz in university then off to studying electro acoustics only to drop out and just make music with an interest in producing it myself. So I make records. I never found any one that I wanted to work with as a vocalist but I love writing lyrics and creating a world so to speak so I started singing in the music I make. I also own a little printing business with a good friend of mine for printing fine art photography large format, and I shoot a lot as well.
How has living in Los Angeles affected your music? That’s an interesting question as I have lived in many cities and pretty much I have made a record in each one. I’ve recorded and lived in Toronto, Montreal, Amersfoort, Holland, Koh Samui (Thailand) and Berlin, Germany. Now I live in L.A.. Each place has its feel, the light hits it in a different way, the food is different, the culture and how it affects you is completely different from city to city… Each one leaves an imprint on you and as a result, you leave that imprint in the music you make. Canada being dark and cold either brings out a lament for the warmth and actually keeps me creating warmer music, where as it can also bring out the exact opposite, a dark coldness that feels confined and insulated. L.A. has a free feeling to it as you can be outside any day of the year and do whatever you want. This comes out in the music, it’s more free emotionally. L.A. has a very prevalent materialistic side, there’s a ridiculously expensive car on ever street you turn down, but it also has an interestingly strong spiritual side if you look in the right places; this definitely seeps in for me. I would say that the sun brings out a warmth however, living in Thailand for a year; I think that was my coldest record I’ve made due to the people in my life at that time. The culture or people living around you and the buildings that you temporarily inhabit leave the greatest mark on you. The rooms and buildings affect the actual sound, the access to natural light, and people effect your mood, thus tone of the music, and the culture of people you surround yourself will affect the lyrical content, but your deepest relationships really inspire songs. That’s really what my music is about.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles and what brought you there? I moved to L.A. to live with my wife, Alexa. She is from L.A. and needs to stay here. I have been here for three years now; however, I have been playing 90 shows in the last 15 months which has kept me away from L.A. a lot, so I don’t totally feel it’s my home home yet.
What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? For me things that happen in my life inspire me to write. I actually feel very strongly that I will only write about things that happen to me in my life. As a result those things leave an emotional residue on the track that come from that actually experience; usually I write about the things that are very profound in my life, sometimes it’s the opposite. Obviously things I hear influence my music sonically as no man is an island, however I just try to make sure my listening spectrum is broad enough to not have me locked into one particular genre.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Hmm, well after the Rhye woman record I released Jetlag very quietly on my own little label, so I am still doing some little private shows around that record. I am going to be releasing a remix Clark made for that record as well as Ali Shaheed Muhammed. Hopefully I’ll have a video to accompany the original song, just working away at that video with my wife. I am mastering another single that I wrote specifically for the Rhye set as I feel the live show needed this musical moment in it. I am mastering it tomorrow, which will be the past when you get this interview. I’m going to release the song this fall just before the shows… I am also working on another EP, I am just in the process of really finding the EP’s sound…
If you were a drink, what drink would you be? Glacier water from northern Canada with a carbon content from an age long since past.
How did your interest in music begin? My father is a violinist, he got me playing cello soon after I could walk; it never left me. I was deeply interested in fine art and painting but somewhere around the age of 20, I just stopped painting. I still don’t know why. It was also the same path my father took.
What other musicians/bands are you interested in right now? FKA Twigs is playing a lot in my house; it’s a crazy record with tons of little rewards in it, little details that I love picking out. The last Beyonce record is amazing; it’s also a great record to compare against sonically as it sounds amazing and of course the new Aphex Twin. Other then that I am rocking a lot of 90’s hiphop, De La Sol, Tribe, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Craig Mack, a little Buju Banton, Black Sheep… I’m in a nostalgic phase you could say; Autechre, Aphex Twin…
Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? Arca, Aphex Twin, Christian Vogel, Clark, Thome York, or the reincarnated spirit of Beethoven.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? I want them to be moved, I want them to feel a white light, a beauty, something cathartic, happiness, I want them to walk away with an experience that moves them towards a feeling of loving whatever it is they need and want to love in their life, I want it to be mystical… I’m the antithesis to punk.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? I can’t bring it down to just one place to be honest. I need to constantly see different things in the world; I can’t choose one favorite place just yet. As long as I am with my wife.
Most embarrassing moment on stage? Years ago in Limerick in Ireland in front of a small intimate crowd I hit myself in the face with a mic.
What were you like in high school? Me? I was a dick to some people unfortunately, but I made most of my really close friends there. I was an insecure punk that got into a lot of mischief that was super fun; I was slight, into drumming and mountain biking, and I felt a little lost in the classroom and perfectly content in a basement playing drums.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? I’ll give you both. In Boston, I played a show in front of a fairly noisy crowd. I asked them politely to be quite for some of the more gentle tunes as we all benefit from actually hearing the music that people paid money to see. One of the security guards took offense to this and starting poking my wife in the back really aggressively telling her that my music was shit and I should shut the fuck up. My wife told me when I got off stage, she was pretty shaken up by it. It was beyond unacceptable, so I asked him to apologize to my wife for touching her in an aggressive manor and the dude flipped out. (Keep in mind the dude was huuuge.) I stood my ground and he said some really weird stuff as a result; I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to end that great for me but in the end he got fired that night. It was by far my worst experience with live music.
My best experience: I have had many really amazing experiences to be perfectly honest but some that stand out would be at the end of the NXNE Massey Hall show. The organizer/promoter was crying from the songs (in a good way) and expressed a really sincere appreciation for the music we do live, a great reminder of what to strive for live. Playing to 25 people in a hotel room in Sligo, Ireland and birds came to the window while I was singing and they sang with me was also really something. However my best experience was getting to sing Happy Birthday to my wife at the Walt Disney hall show in L.A. and having the audience sing along. I loved that!