1. What inspires you to write a song, and did anything in particular inspire you as you worked on your latest album?
First off, let me say thank you for having me today, and it's a pleasure to speak with you.
It's really hard to pinpoint what inspires you to write a song as there are so many things that propel us into an emotional framework of thinking. I'm continually inspired, moved, and enlightened by so many things I see from day-to-day. Not only other people's lives but my own. I am greatly inspired by things that affect our habits of living, the things we do and don't understand about other people including ourselves. I'm very passionate about politics, agriculture, and the state of the human condition. In the day and age that we live in, it is essential to feel passionate about the circumstances that we love and the things that bring us to anger, then to take action. These two extremes are like a melting pot of emotional thinking.
A song like "I Told You So" on my new album Letters From High Latitudes is posing metaphors that are asking questions about where the commodities that we consume come from and how they are manufactured, to the political discourse and state of corporate federal politics that overrides, in many cases, civilian rights and freedoms. Because I study politics and come from a very political background, I can understand how these subtle changes have occurred over a long period of time and yet in our existence of human civilization, a blink of an eye. I feel most connected to my music when I'm singing and playing about things that matter not only to me but to my fellow brothers and sisters.
2. Considering that you play 90% of the instruments on Letters From High Latitudes, would you tell us what your recording process was like?
That's true, and on much of the music or songs, I play a little bit of everything. Of course, I play bass because that's my primary instrument, but also drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, and the multitude of squeaks and whistles that are more like icing on the cake.
I played with so many wonderful musicians, including Chris Taggart, Antony Cook, David Patel, Michael Freedman, and Tobias Tinker. In our own right, we have created some incredible recordings, but at the same time, music is more like a candy store of limitless possibilities. So many musicians I know, including the ones that I've mentioned, all dabble on different instruments, and it's a really healthy way for you to release yourself from the things you're always working on with your principal instrument.
As I have my own studio, Area 51, it's very easy for me, day-to-day, to experiment with different instruments in my audio laboratory, more like a mad scientist hidden in an old airplane hangar on some distant field in a forgotten forest. As I'm writing the songs, they themselves are the ones that tell me how the music needs to unfold in the recording process. As I am a composer, I can start to see how music needs to be painted, so to speak. Some of the music, because of its construction, requires a band in a live off the floor process. It's important to try to capture these electric moments as they happen as opposed to a sound on sound recording that you can build over the course of the day or period of time. I always love interacting with other musicians and love getting other people's opinions on the flow, rhythm, and textural colors that make up the overall tapestry of the song.
3. How does your connection to Ontario influence your work as an artist?
Ontario is the birth canal of my life. I was fortunate enough to have a rural childhood which included long summer days spent by creeks, catching fish, and taking endless bike rides without the worry and troubles of an inner-city whether it was building tree forts in the woods or building tightly woven constructions of corn to make fortresses in our fields. We lived symbiotically on our farm with our animals in our environment on almost 1500 acres.
Ontario breathes more like an abundant basket of life, energy, and hard work. As kids we pushed ourselves in every environment when it came to art and being creative: music coursed through Ontario and us. It was infectious to the point of a complete embrace. So many people that I knew in late grade school and all through high school all played instruments of some kind. Whether it was Sadie Hawkins dances, battle of the bands, assemblies, or hours on a frozen pond at local carnivals or fall fairs, music was a part of our DNA and Ontario. Its abundance of freedoms and abilities to create at whim is what fueled us as young artists.
Today once again in Ontario and the country of Canada, all those things which I just mentioned that I hold so dear need to be protected and preserved for all Canadians and Ontario's people to enjoy once again. It propels me to take action in my language and lyrics and music that I write to try and reinvigorate people's emotions and passions when it comes to the things that we are most concerned about. I write about pharmacological acts, bills, and Parliament that affect the civil rights and freedoms of not only people in Ontario but in this country. My guitar is the greatest and most powerful weapon that I can wield in a passionate and pure way towards these concepts every day of my life.
4. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?
That's a great question, and as I'm always being asked by so many people who have not heard my music, you need to be able to explain what that is in very few words. I could say my music is thought-provoking and has elements of satire and humor. I could say my music has a bulky and funky edge that is reminiscent of things of the past yet the same time has a new and innovative feel. I could say my music is political commentary on the day and age that we live in. I could say my music has elements of folk, rock, jazz, country, progressive, or even funk; but if I had to say in a few words, it's like a 57 Chevy blowing up in your kitchen.
5. What projects are you planning to work on over the next year or so?
Letters From High Latitudes has been doing extremely well over the last year, and as I've been doing interviews, TV appearances, and a whole whack of radio, I also have been releasing videos the whole time. The latest video for the track "I Found God" has been doing extremely well and getting a lot of plays as well as being embraced in social networking by a great a deal of socially consciously active people.
I'm planning a trip to the island of Jamaica to record my next video. Letters From High Latitudes features the song "Jamaica," and as I have a godchild and incredible amount of friends and newfound family, I plan to shoot a video and release it sometime in the month of May or early June. At the same time, I've also been doing a lot of writing, and I'm planning to embark on a new recording project for a new album that will be released sometime in late 2015.
I'm also headed down to Austin, Texas to play at the Red Gorilla Music Festival, running parallel to SXSW. The band and I will be at the Thirsty Nickel on 6th street in the heart of beautiful downtown Austin, smack dab in the middle of the festival. We will be on at 7 PM. Then we're down in New Jersey in Cape May on 27th of March for the Cape May Music Folk Festival. I'll be playing at the beautiful old Alethea's at the Inn of Cape May.
Once again, thank you so much for having me, and it's a pleasure to be able to speak with you today. If you're listening to Ed, then you are an Ed Head. Come by and check me out anytime at www.edroman.net. Over and out.