Calvin Love shares how he collaborated on his new record, ECDYSIS, to expand his abilities to create new and interesting material.
You've just released a new record, ECDYSIS, on April 7th. It sounds like a big transition for you as a songwriter - deeper production and more intimate lyrics. What ways were you influenced for the songwriting and recording for the new album?
I don't see it as a transition, but just another step up the ladder for my songwriting evolution. This evolution has been a natural and sometimes confusing process but, by continuously writing and having time to revise all of my songs, I am able to dig deeper into the work. For example, the last two records of mine, basically in a nutshell, were personal experiments for myself. Restless, experiments driven by my ego, to show myself that I could write, perform, record, mix and do everything that is required to make a record without needing anyone, except a label to put it out.
I am proud of those records. But, now having used that same system on the first two records. I realized that I couldn't do that again with the EP. So, when you mentioned the "Big Transition," that for me was giving up the illusion of control and realizing that this time I might need help, in the form of collaboration in order to achieve more with these songs than I could have alone.
What's the meaning behind the new album title? How does it represent the record?
In zoology terms, it is defined as the process of shedding the old skin (in reptiles) or casting off the outer cuticle (in insects and other arthropods).
In regards to my life and at this point in my songwriting career, I saw the comparison as a metaphor to better myself from who I was yesterday, last week or last year. Giving up old ways of working and accepting change in order to grow as a human, a friend, and an artist. Shedding the skin of yesterday.
What was the production process like for ECDYSIS?
All the beds for the songs on this EP were cut live between the three of us - me on piano, guitar and vocals, Renny Wilson on bass, and Andrew Heule on the drums. After the basic tracks were done, I would then layer vocals, add overdubs (lead guitar, slide guitar, synths, piano, percussion etc.). Some of the lyrics for the songs I also shared with Renny and Andrew. They were able to offer me some constructive criticism and extra needed thought, to help me pinpoint what I was trying to say. It was a nervous experiment but also very beneficial for me.
The last time we saw you, your set consisted of you with an electric guitar standing behind a laptop. How has your live show changed over the past few years?
Well, I've never played with a laptop but, I know what you are referring to - backing tracks. Yes, I started out that way, but I can't go back to that. It's boring for me. From there I went to a 4-piece band, and now I've gone large with a 5-piece band (tenor sax, keyboards, percussion, etc.) which has been the best live band I've ever had and I'm very grateful for these guys. Also, I've been playing solo shows again with my acoustic 12-string and keyboard, which I will be touring as in the summer.
You're among a pretty successful crew of Edmonton folks. What do you think makes Edmonton a place to cultivate such great art?
That is a common question I get asked, and I'm not really sure what the answer is... Maybe it could be the long winters and isolation that comes from growing up and living in Edmonton. Maybe its the water? Maybe someone should make a documentary in 20 years. Who knows?
Where are you currently living? How has living there impacted your style and tunes?
I'm currently living in transit. Travel always impacts my style and tunes. I can't keep still for very long. I get restless.
How has your writing style changed since the first recordings we heard of yours, New Radar? Are you motivated differently for creativity nowadays?
My writing has just evolved and progressed by doing it over and over and over again, the same as any person does with something they want to be good at. I'm just living my life searching for new experiences, new relationships, new friends, new cities. I'm constantly trying to deliver my truest feelings and emotions into song. I don't listen to new music when I'm in the writing process, in fear that it could subconsciously bleed into my songs. It's a tricky journey songwriting. Nowadays, I try to always leave a day of writing on a high note and quit before it starts to feel like a chore.