What with the release of his latest album Blessed Are Those and being on tour promoting it, SayWeCanFly is a pretty busy guy. Nevertheless we had the chance to talk about the album, Canadian artists and his dream collaboration.
S: Just wait until the end.M: Do you sometimes find it a struggle when it comes to writing new
S: To be quite honest… I find it hard when I TRY to write new material. I
feel like there is just this space in my heart that knows when it’s
time. If I listen to that voice & take the time to open myself to new
ideas and melodies from the universe, they seem to write themselves. I
write every album as a story, so once the picture begins to paint
itself, I am able to step into the world and explore.
M: Have the artists that influenced you changed over time?
S: Absolutely. The bands I started with will always have the heaviest
impact (Underoath, Secondhand Serenade, Relient K, Chase Coy, etc.) but
I find that depending where I’m at, I’ll be lead to new songs that
resonate with what I need to write. I have always been very conscious
about what I let into my head because it impacts the style of my writing
quite a bit. For example, for Blessed Are Those I made sure to listen to
lots of My Chemical Romance, Bring Me The Horizon, & Lord of The Rings
M: What has been your best tour and why?
S: Honestly I think the tour I’m currently on (Somewhere Before Christmas
Tour) has to be one of my favourites. I’m typing the answers to this
interview in our van on the way to Denver. Every single person on this
tour has incredible energy & I love all of them. We were very lucky with
this package & this tour seems to be reconnecting me with why I started
SayWeCanFly after a year of complete disconnect.
M: How does it feel to be signed to a label as reputable as Epitaph?
S: It’s cool, they are a great label. They were always interested in my
songwriting over my social media numbers, and that was the first thing
that stood out to me with them.
M: Has there ever been a moment in your musical career where you’ve had
doubts about continuing?
S: There certainly has. When I started this journey it was very hard
because I had absolutely no idea how I was going to get where I wanted.
I just dropped out of high school & quite my job at the grocery with
nothing but faith. Whenever anyone asks me for advice on starting out, I
always tell them that the more opportunities you take & the more time
you spend with your art, the more opportunities will present themselves
& the better you will naturally become. But then there hits a point
where success starts creating more and more fear, and then you get lost
in your head. That happened to me this year more than ever and it was
scary. But thankfully I’ve experienced it in patches enough times to
know deep down that it would pass.
M: Do you feel as though you have to compete with other successful
artists that Canada has given us over the years?
S: Not really. I’ve always been very conscious about comparing myself to
others.. because nothing good ever comes of it. I struggled with that a
lot at the beginning of SayWeCanFly, but if I ever catch myself doing it
now, it just tells me that I need to centre myself & reconnect with my
spirit. That’s all negative stuff that can truly destroy your state of
mind if you’re not careful.
M: Who did your artwork?
S: A lovely fellow from Australia named Alexander Tillbrook. I sat down
with Jason Link from Epitaph & we worked out a rough concept (lots of
googling Tarot cards & old funeral cards) and pieced it together before
sending it off.
M: What advice would you give to your fans who are going through the
same doubts as you are/did?
S: I think sometimes we all NEED to go through it because it does
strengthen us, even though there is no way to know that at the time. The
best thing anyone can do is being aware. If you step outside your doubts
and just ask yourself the simple question “where are these coming from?”
you will begin to see that they ALWAYS come from external sources. If
you let thoughts build up, they will eventually determine your idea of
who you are, and it is rarely every accurate. Remember that what you
create during this lifetime is 100% unique to you.
M: What is your favourite song off of the album?
S: It’s hard to choose this time because literally all of them mean so much
to me… but I’m going to have to say it’s the closing track “When We
Die”. That was the first song I wrote for the album (I usually write my
records backward) and I had to record it 5 different times to get it
sounding right. I wanted this to be the battle sequence of the album.
This is where the demons are faced with a light that has been suppressed
since the beginning. This is where we transcend everything we thought
was real and enter the place where pain & suffering is only an illusion.
I can’t wait to shoot a music video for this song.
M: if you could have anyone to collaborate with who would it be?
S: Hmm… I think I’d love to have Hans Zimmer compose some of the orchestral
sections on a future album.