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INTERVIEW: Songwriter Harrison Caldeira

Hi Harrison, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been great! I’m living in Seoul, South Korea at the moment, teaching English. I’ve been here for about six months, and it’s been quite an experience so far. When I first arrived, I felt overwhelmed, but I’ve learnt to adapt to the culture and embrace everything new that surrounds me.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Friends With Benefits”?

Of course. The song is about a guy who’s not satisfied with just being friends. He’s come to believe that he should want a relationship with no strings attached and has sort of settled into that role, but he can’t contain the way he feels anymore. In a way, it’s a reflection of me. I’ve never been the kind of person to have a relationship without some type of emotional connection. I think it would be extremely difficult, even if it is a mutual agreement, and I’m not even sure it’s something people would really desire—not deep down, anyway. I think we inherently want more out of our relationships and that’s what this song is about.

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

I was standing in line at a checkout where they stack those gossip magazines and I saw a headline that read, “Friends with Benefits” and it made me think. The phenomenon of friends with benefits is so unlike my own experience that I wanted to tell that story. I’m at a point in my life where I want to explore ideas, ways of being and living that I find problematic. I’ve written a lot of love songs, but recently, I’m reaching for more – to grasp at my truth even if it runs contrary to popular opinion. For this song, I took the idea of having a relationship with no emotional connection and flipped it on it’s head, to show that really, most of us want something more.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

For this, I plan to release a simple visual. For my next single “Silence” and its July release, we have some really cool concepts coming together for the music video. We’re putting a lot of work into it so I’m really excited for people to see it!

How were the recording and writing process?

Writing this song was a challenge. It took me out of my comfort zone because it’s a topic that I don’t have personal experience with. I started writing from an angle that was more relatable, where the guy in the story preferred being friends, but for some reason, that didn’t work for the song. It didn’t sit right. So instead of trying to come at the song as someone who wants a “friends with benefits” situation, I wrote what it would be like to feel stuck wanting more. For myself, I need more out of a relationship, so that’s a direction I stuck with.

The recording process was interesting, too. I arrived in Seoul with no resources for recording and no direction. Eventually I took a chance and connected with a local musician.

For the production, I listened to a lot of music from the 80s at that time, and I was really into the synth sounds that were popular with Tears For Fear and Duran Duran which influenced my sound.

How has Ed Sheeran and John Mayer influenced your writing?

John Mayer was a huge influence in my early years when I was learning to play the guitar and experimenting with writing my own songs. I listened to his album “Room For Squares” on repeat when I was 15. I have such an appreciation for his style and talent.

Ed Sheeran influenced writing in my later years. I think seeing another songwriter who plays acoustic guitar break out into the scene was like watching magic. It was inspirational.

What role does Toronto play in your music?

Toronto has a lot of offer in the music scene. There is so much diversity in the culture which translates into the talent that comes out of the city. It’s always inspiring to see artists like Drake and Shawn Mendes enjoying success and repping our home town because we truly have a lot to offer.

How your upbringing has influenced you as an artist?

Growing up with Guyanese parents has shaped me so much as an artist. I find myself coming back to my roots often. A big part of my sound is a culmination of the music I grew up with. I remember going to Soca parties, and everyone dancing and having a good time. I wanted to make music you can get down to. In order to do that, I had to grow as a songwriter, and especially a producer. It took a while to get my mind into a place where I can produce upbeat productions. But, I’m so glad I took the opportunity to try.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Absolutely. I’m currently working on The Solstice EP. It’s coming along really well. I’m excited about its release, as each new song feels like I’m getting closer to who I want to be as a person and musician.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

I’m releasing The Solstice EP in September.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’ve got some things in the works for January. I’ll keep you posted!

What else is happening next in Harrison Caldeira’s world?

More music, more content, more life. I’m staying active and working harder than ever and I’m enjoying the process, so I hope you’ll stick around for the ride!

Listen to “Friends With Benefits” here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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