Hi Blake, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Ah jeez, I’m great, eh?
Can you talk to us more about your album Realms to be released this Friday, 9/1?
Realms is a journey. It’s sparking outshoots from itself and growing its own storyline. In its most tangible sense, the record, is hot to get in people’s ears – I’m hot to get it in people’s ears but anybody that’s been following me for the last few years understands that its a developing narrative. I’m marketing it to the best of my independent abilities and seeing these great little results, one after another.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this album?
Yes. That’s played into the mythology of it all – I had an experience on December 9, 2015 that was life altering, rude and spiritual. Or what I understood of it. This album was shocked into creation because of it. The story is my message.
Can you tell us about how you are releasing videos with each of the songs on the album?
I’ve been songwriting a long time. However, last fall I stumbled into an epic journalistic/blog writing project where I chronicalled my travels across America in hunt of true, honest Country Music. Real Country Music. None of it was preconceived – I had six weeks off the road, the masters to a brand new record, and the desire to just leave for a bit. I noticed that my “songwriting well” was dry and began blogging to work that muscle – anyways, it ended up becoming this cathartic expression online and gaining me a very genuine following. I’ve been living in an extremely free fashion for the last few years – its allowed focus on commoditizing (with entrepreneurial spirit), understanding where I fit in the music industry (especially in my Canadian community) and rooted in this addiction to create. I went fucking rogue, man.
We’re creating – our marketing plan is being treated as an art form, I’m collaborating with many different artists unique in their field. little jack films (all lowercase, he can get pissy about that) is my collaborator on the video side of things. Between first seeing his work, finding out who did it, getting contact and committing to nine videos was under ten minutes.
Realms is a story. The videos are an offshoot – That Art imitating Life thing.
What is the inspiration for the album’s title?
There are realities and there are realms.
How was the recording and writing process?
Kind of a pain in my ass, to be honest with you. It was a balance of being inspired by a concept but having to craft the work to represent it. I hadn’t intentionally sat down to write a song as a task in a long time. I was lucky to have two or three songs already written that magically fit into the puzzle…I guess they sparked the character – I call him our “Hero” because I’m fucking addicted to Joseph Campbell. Writing the album was hard – the kind of hard where you know you are sharpening some mighty tools. I’ve always been a confident writer – but these are my best.
Recording was its own beast. Jason Plumb can crush you with his vision for your vision – it was another lesson in working with a producer. He’s brilliant, he honoured my songs, he pushed my vocals and he became one of my best friends in the process. I actually moved in with him when I came home this spring for a couple months – it was awesome. 6:30 AM coffees and bro hangs every night. Which reminds me, I should call him for some Vietnamese.
How has American country music influenced the music on this album?
Anybody that’s doing their best to create music that has integrity, is intelligent, and influenced by the traditionalisms of country music has a story of how someone like George Strait, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart was introduced to them at a young age. But you can’t categorize them as they all represent such an different avenue of American Country Music. I recognized patterns in certain artists when I was young and went down rabbit holes, started connecting dots and discovering lineages based on geography. That’s what sparked my love of American Music. There are two mighty scene explosions happening right now in North America. That’s Kentucky and Saskatchewan. And its only just started.
What concepts of humanity did you explore on this record?
The third song on the album, “Crooked Old Earth” takes a look at humanity to introduce an influence on the character. I wrote it with my partner (life and touring), Belle Plaine. It’s a downer, man. But pretty.
Even I’m getting tired of trying to stay on top of fighting the good fight – what’s going on in the world these days is a weight. And it’s only going to get heavier before it gets better. I am devout to the belief that good prevails – this Shithead(s) in office down there is a fucking disgrace to what that country truly is. But the people will win.
I subscribe to the concept of being a Global Citizen and dammit I have an album about love. I stick out like a sore thumb in the south with my accent but I’m in love with the people and am excited to sing the songs to them.
Any plans to hit the road?
If emojis appeared in this article I would have that upwards arrow and a thumbs up.
What else is happening next in your world?
My buddy is looking at some land in the Slocan Valley in British Columbia. There are three of us that have always joked about living on the same property, commune style – but cool – build our own houses, brew beer, grow dope, marry our women and make babies. Sounds pretty good, eh? I have some shit to take care of first…get this record out, push the shit out of it, meet some people, shake some hands, maybe hang in the Appalachians for a bit. See how that can influence my sound.