OH Canada greatest land upon earth, what do you have for us in your bosom. SCHOOLCRAFT is another Canadian act that I’ve recently come upon that I just had to interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
When you are classical trained what can you gain from that training when composing more contemporary music?
-I find the classical training really helped me gain the tone I wanted and also gave me a greater understanding of where my strengths and weaknesses are. It gave me a map of my vocal range and an idea of where I could use some improvements. Plus sometimes the vocal quality in character I want for certain parts of my songs all lies in the trickery of classical technique.
What was it that made you want to do Schoolcraft the way you’ve done it?
-It was mostly fueled by my passion for creation and being a writer before a musician. I kept hearing this music in my head and it had to come out. This music had no other home in my current projects so I started Schoolcraft to have a means of expressing and releasing this music.
When you mix different influences what is the hardest part getting them to gel? What part of each influence have you incorporated into the Schoolcraft sound?
-I find you can usually make any hybrid genre work as long as the harmonies and time signatures add up. I love classical symphony and piano music, but I also enjoy folk music as well as industrial and pop. I did my best to write these songs and take what I loved from each of these genres to tastefully insert them into my music where needed. I was worried it wouldn’t work, but that was half of the guessing game. I think I did ok with the final product. My biggest concern was the harp, but the more I got used to the instrument the more I realized, while it is pushed back in most classical music, it can actually fit in well where a melodic guitar riff was needed.
What kind of influences have you incorporated into the sound? What influences are you the most satisfied with?
-I’m hugely influenced by Ben Moody of We Are The Fallen, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish. I wanted to add something awesome they all brought to the table in influencing me as an artist and musician. I wanted Ben Moody’s song structures, Amy Lee’s vocal melodies, and Tuomas’s epicness for the orchestra. This was a first attempt with “Rushing Through The Sky” and I feel like there is more to come on my next release. I am over all satisfied with the EP and everything that was added to it.
How do you use your previous experience the best to bring forth Schoolcraft? What have you learnt to avoid?
-Above all: honesty with myself. This may sound super silly, but all along I have been, I guess what you could call, a stereotypical “Goth”. I always knew it, but never embraced it enough. And even when I took on music as a full time commitment and financially stressed myself for the greater good of my art I had less time and money to dress and look the way I’ve wanted to. I also in my early years got poked fun at and called an “Emo Kid” for my darker artistic e_xpression. So I have been suppressing that part of me for a long time, but it finally had to emerge into this new project. I am starting to incorporate more of an organic, fantasy influence from my Native American roots and I hope to bring out that in me on my next bunch of songs and photo shoots. I have yet to incorporate Native American music because I am not sure where it will fit just yet, but my lyrics have always been influenced by ancient stories. I have also learned that I am a lone wolf when it comes to writing. I work better by myself and it’s better for me this way.
Why did you stop at an EP and not a full length album? What is so great about an EP?
-Well, I’ve been writing since I started Schoolcraft 2 years ago, but due to money, time, and picking my best pieces I only had a small amount of songs I felt comfortable enough with to attempt to manifest. I have enough songs now for a full release, but they will need some time and care before I head into the studio. This EP I felt was just a introduction and some simple slower songs I really wanted to get out of my system.
What are your opinions in the debate digital v/s physical releases? What are the benefits contra disadvantages?
-I personally, as an artist and a giant music fan, love and prefer Physical CDs. I actually just sat on eBay today, while doing my homework, waiting on a bid to end for Jack Off Jill’s “Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers” because it is out of print and one of my favorite albums at the moment. I also don’t mind digital if I can’t wait and really want to hear a new release. This file sharing going around isn’t a bad thing to get out your music. But fans truly do need to understand that they only way artist can make MORE music and tour out to their country is if they are buying the albums. I also think digital isn’t a bad idea for international sales because shipping costs are through the roof these days!
How does Schoolcraft fit into the Canadian rock/metal scene? Are there any bands similar in sound?
-I am honestly still trying to figure that out. I thought I was a black sheep until I found LEAH from Vancouver and her release “Of Earth And Angels.” She is leagues beyond me in knowing her sound and ability as a performer and song writer. But it was nice to hear someone who did symphonic and celtic rock! I still feel like out of place at shows because I usually never fit the bill. I feel my heart and music belong in Europe. People over there just seem to care so much more about my style of music and supporting it.
What are your intentions with Schoolcraft? What do you want to achieve?
-Go big or go home! Or well, stay at home in my case haha. I have big plans. I need more time with my image, but it know it will be great the more it progresses over the years. I plan to infuse my gothic love with Native roots, I hope I can achieve it tastefully. I have plans for a second album, with some recreations of old demos and a distorted Cello in place of where an electric guitar is expected. It will be heavier and more angelic in the slower ballads. I would love to tour europe and eventually play with an entire string section for a few bigs nights, or something like that. But for now my task at hand is getting my managerial team organized and making sure the next release is what I want in sound and structure. I have some new heads in the game this time and I have a good feeling about them, so we’ll see!
How will you take it one step further now that the EP is out?
-Even though the EP has only been out for 2 months I honestly feel like I have already hit the roof on steps with image, e_xpression, and the live show. I have already been taking in steps further in my next release. Lots of behind the scenes stuff right now. But I will be revealing it slowly starting January 2013.