Welcome to the fifth day of Pass it to the Left’s ‘Artist Series!’ We have invited amazing artists and musicians to share their work with us, as well as their thoughts on their art, their music, social change, community and Canada’s arts and music scene. Enjoy!
What role do you think that art and music play in social change movements?
I think that music and art play important roles in social change movements. I don’t want to sound cliché, but I think it’s true that music touches many people emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually by offering a new perspective to life. By connecting people from different religions, cultures, and socio-economic status through the arts, the divide between individuals is taken down. To me, the power of music inspires people, often exposing them to images or words that change the way that they think and look at the world.
The ability to express oneself through art is a form of freedom and expression and can be executed and interpreted in so many ways as it offers a venue for people to get out their emotions, create awareness of an issue, or simply invent something that they think is beautiful, new, or creative. Art and music don’t necessarily have an immediate or direct impact on social change, but I think that the connections that they create between people, the common ground that is developed through the sharing and exchange of art and music between people of different backgrounds, is crucial in creating empathy and human connections to people who live a world away. And these connections are what trigger positive social change and movements on a global level.
Why do you create music?
I create music because simply put, it is what makes me the happiest in my life, and it has always been that way for me. When I was first exposed to music, through classical piano at the age of 4, I didn’t care for it. To be honest, I hated it. I was gifted at the piano right away, and as a result my family pushed me to join provincial competitions and participate in rigorous examinations, and while I did well at these competitions and exams I was resentful, because while they forced me to practice for hours each day at an instrument I didn’t particularly care for, they also refused to allow me to venture into other instruments like I really wanted to. So I grew up with a heavy disdain for the piano and all things competitive, but I have the piano to thank for my musical and vocal abilities today.
Playing helped me develop my voice and musical ear, and taught me skills that at the time didn’t seem important, but that really help me with musical composition, lyric writing, phrasing, and stage performance that is a part of what I do now, and I’m incredibly grateful for it. Singing represents many parts of myself and has a connection to almost every emotion I feel. When I’m sad, I sing. When I’m happy, I sing. When I’m excited, angry, embarrassed or nervous, I sing. Even when I’m scared, on those nights walking home alone in the dark, I sing to myself to feel safe. Music and singing are such a deep part of who I am that if for some reason I couldn’t do it anymore I would be losing a huge part of myself. Singing is not something I do for public recognition, I do it to keep myself balanced and happy – it’s more than a hobby for me, it’s a lifestyle.
What do you hope to achieve through your music? What do you hope that fans of your music take away from it?
Through my music I hope to make people feel as much excitement for sound as I feel. I try to make music that is dynamic and emotional, because the types of music that really fill me with emotion are the tunes that have levels to them, that don’t follow one motion or pulse or style. My favourite band right now is a Canadian band from Newfoundland called Hey Rosetta!, and the reason why I love them so much is that every single one of their songs starts out one way, grows and explodes, and then comes back down and settles beautifully, and most of their songs sound completely different at the end than they do at the beginning. (Check out Old Crow Black Night Stand Still, Yer Spring, Yer Fall, Handshake the Gangster, or Bandages to see what I mean. You won’t be disappointed.) I aspire to be as dynamic as Hey Rosetta! and if I could choose to sound like any band I would choose them, as their sound is absolutely breathtaking.
Every single moment of every song should be calculated and have a purpose, and just like I look for that in the music that I listen to, I want to provide the same thing to people who listen to me. I want them to feel what my band and I were when we chose the notes and harmonies that we did. Overall, my main goal is to project, and use our music to extract emotions from the people who listen to it. They don’t have to be the same things that I feel or even make sense to the person experiencing them, I just want them to feel something, be it excitement, joy, reflection, appreciation, etc. Top 40 music breaks my heart because no substance goes into it, it usually lacks integrity and thought, and often sounds lazy, repetitive, or like cloned copies of every other song played on the radio. I want to sound like the opposite of that: I want people who hear me with my band to be able to see exactly how much work and thought went into every moment of every song, so that even if it may not be their favourite genre of music, they can still appreciate what we put into it and accomplished.
* Update – ‘Boundaries’ is now called ‘Warbuck’*
‘Boundaries’ is made up of:
Jakob Hjalmar Holm – Vocals/Guitar/Piano
Daniela Jackson – Vocals/Keys/Tambourine
Cameron Jones – Piano/Keys/Guitar
Stephen Clarke – Bass
Ben Lade – Drum
Check out ‘Boundaries’ here:
Check out Daniela and her band ‘Boundaries’ at these upcoming shows!
Queens in Nanaimo on March 15th, 2012
Lucky Bar in Victoria on March 16th, 2012
Logan’s Pub in Victoria on March 22nd, 2012
and support them in the FINALS of the Battle of the Bands at UVIC on March 28th, 2012!!