Throughout Calvin Love’s backlog of songwriting, a musical and artistic evolution has been steady. From the early, chippy, lofi tracks to his latest palette of cinematic swoon on the easel of Highway Dancer, Love has sustained a career bound by true individualism, unrestricted creative exploration, and the unending refining of his craft.
The songs on Highway Dancer are a collection of material from the past 3 years. What ties these songs together?
What ties the songs together is my vocals and my experiences. When I start writing an album I'm never really sure what direction sonically I'm gonna go, until the songs start forming and complimenting each other. During the process, I'll write as much as possible and get down everything that comes out. Whether that is a soundtrack instrumental song, or a folk song, or synth ballad, or a waltz.
Not everything is a keeper. I just do the work, get the ideas out and into 3D, organize it all. Then I'll start to hear where it's all headed.
How was preparing Highway Dancer unlike your last release, Ecdysis from 2017?
It's all just living life and growing as an artist. Highway Dancer was more refined than Ecdysis and I had more time with the songs singing them, working the lyrics, the arrangments etc. I learned from what I couldn't do on Ecdysis and tried my best to do it on Highway Dancer. The next album will evolve from this and so on and so forth.
The album name symbolizes your seemingly constant state of moving and traveling across the world. Was there a certain place you visited during the Highway Dancer writing period that impacted you most?
The sheer scale of a country operating with so many people was pretty mind-blowing. Total chaos but somehow in complete synchronicity.
Highway Dancer is a soundtrack for any occasion and I wanted the album to have a broad landscape sound and to feel like your moving along as you listen.
The juxtaposition of the tracks on Highway Dancer resemble the changing landscapes or identities of the places you pass through on your journey forward. Do any of the songs have a geographic memory or origin for you? Were any landscapes or geologic features emblematic or influential for your songwriting?
Yes. For example “The Coin, The Stick, The Take” geographically feels dry, expansive, used up, isolated. Which Is the vibe I've felt while driving through certain parts of the California Desert or along the Trans Canada Highway. “A Thousand Years” is a poem I wrote while people watching driving in LA, in Mexico City. For the song “Highway Dancer,” I wrote the lyrics while driving on one of the many interstates in the USA. I think we all kinda feel that sentiment while travelling. Being away from home, away from people you love, knowing anything could happen.
I know it makes me more vulnerable...
The record was recorded between LA and Toronto. What made those places desirable for recording?
Toronto is where I currently reside, and LA I've had a long live/work relationship with...
Toronto is the home zone now where I can sit in my studio and reflect on my travels, the people I've met along the way and the experiences that will shape my writing.
LA has always had a strong allure for me. It has a quality and a certain mysticism that I appreciate more now that I'm l visitor then when I was a resident.
It’s a beautiful mess of a place. But you know maybe next year I'll move somewhere else and spend time there. Technology makes it easy to record anywhere.
What's your favourite place to drive?