In the Spotlight: Canadian Indie Singer/Songwriter Ed Roman
Ed how are you today? Tell us a bit about your music style…
Thanks for having me today and it’s a pleasure to speak with you. Doing quite well I’m happy to say. Just got back from a wonderful jaunt into the United States. This past month the band and I were down in Austin, Texas playing in the Red Gorilla Music Fest during SXSW and more recently just returned home from New Jersey from the beautiful town of Cape May where I was performing for the Cape May Music Festival. I’m often asked the question as to the style of my music and I like to refer to it as the kitchen sink. I love so many styles of music so it’s hard for me to ignore writing music that may cover many genres and styles. As not only a player of music but one who enjoys music, I’ve fallen in love with so many styles and it would be hard for me to negate the same kinds of feelings during the writing process and what ideas approach me. My records read more like a mandala of colors and shapes and ideas that reflects the day and age that we live in.
What has the reaction been like in your home town Shelburne, Ontario, Canada?
My hometown that I was actually incubated in was Markham, Ontario. I have very strong roots in that community that go back to the 1940’s. My father was the mayor of the town for over 30 years and a public servant to the community and regional municipality of York region for his whole life. We had 1500 acres of farmland, on which we raised not only Holstein cattle but as well beautiful Blonde d’Aquitaine Cows. We had acres of corn, wheat, barley, alfalfa and a multitude of two and three acre gardens which provided an immense variety of vegetables. Markham over the last 20 years has changed so drastically and unfortunately has paved over much of the prime farmland in that area and consumed it without foresight into being able to provide good quality food to its constituents. One of the things that separated my father as a quote unquote politician is that he had the foresight to look ahead and to understand the community must be strong by the people that live in and provide for the Township while at the same time, in a liberal fashion, move forward with growth and new ideas. As I grew older I wanted to find a place in Ontario that reminded me of Markham and that community when I was a child. The town Shelburne is a small town just south of me in the County of Dufferin and I live on the border of Melanchthon and Shelburne. So I’m technically in the town of Melanchthon. My community has been extremely embracing of my achievements and making the local papers as well as magazines have really punctuated the moment.
Who are your top 3 music inspirations?
This is a great question and it’s always a very difficult one for me to answer. I always see music inspiration and the people that inspire us with time frames of musical growth. As a young kid I fell in love with a lot of storytelling kind of music. Songwriters like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Don McLean, Bob Marley, Jim Croce and so many more fueled my imagination and set the stage for early lyric writing in my life. When I got to high school and had hands-on experience to electric instruments; especially the bass guitar, I fell in love with the music of Jaco Pastorius. Jaco, along with a lot of other progressive style music really fueled me as a young player. Consequently I gravitated to a lot of bass players like Chris Squire from Yes, Geddy Lee from Rush, Paul McCartney from the Beatles, Mark King from Level 42 and so many others that pushed me as a young player to be better technically and more freethinking with my instrument. With that said it also led me into the realm of jazz music and artists like Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and so many other compositional and improvisational musicians. These kinds of artists went hand-in-hand with my college education and post college education. Jimi Hendrix would have to be definitely one who would be on my list for the big three. Jimi was definitely ahead of his time and in some cases misunderstood as far as his musical interpretations of certain things like the Star-Spangled Banner. Jimi was not afraid to be himself and to be the artist that he needed to be. We look at Jimi as one of the greatest guitar players of that time frame and for that idiom which he himself created. At the same time he was one of the most robust and poetic lyric writers from that electric era. Just listen to the lyrics in “Bold as Love”.
You have fans all around the world who call themselves Ed Heads! What is the 1 thing ‘Ed Heads’ have in common?
Yes there are Ed Heads all over the world and I’m proud to say we’ve done what we have together. Without their support and love I would not have this kind of connection to people. It’s a two-way street. The thing I think that Ed Heads have in common is an open-mindedness to concepts and ideas and a free thinking forward motion in their lives. Ed Heads are not afraid to stand up for what is right and fight the things that are wrong. We don’t use torches, bats, guns or pitchforks but we do use our minds and bodies and spirit. If the quote is true and Albert Einstein actually said the statement is as follows “the world will not be destroyed by those that do evil but by those that stand by and do nothing about it”
Can you tell us what you have planned for the year?
Ed. It’s been such a busy year with so many things going on that I decided to take a little trip to the beautiful island of Jamaica which I feel is more like a second home. While we are there, I plan to shoot a video for the song Jamaica from my last release Letters From High Latitudes. The island is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. The culture is so rich and robust, filled with attitude and unbelievable strength. It is of course the home to the legendary Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff and and so many other amazing artists. When I get back I plan to embark on a new album for release sometime around early 2016.
You talk about socio-political global awareness, what are your key messages?
Because I come from a very political background and from a very young age I was asked by family and expected to participate in politics. The word politics today to me in general denotes poor government and morally and intestinally week individuals. My father never considered himself a politician but in fact a public servant. This means you have been elected to do a job by the constituents of your town and represent them as one voice. This day and age especially in federal politics our governments are littered with corporate jockeys with their own agendas in mind. So often I have seen what should be considered criminal behavior when it comes to the activity of the governments yet at the same time civil rights and freedoms are being removed which make it harder for citizens to live their lives in what we consider a free and open society. It never ceases to amaze me how the public puts far too much trust into people who feel they have our better interest at hand. We of course are the governments in the political structure of this country. My key messages to anybody in the northern hemisphere at this moment in time and around the world for that matter is that we must become far more active in our political environment on a municipal level. The municipality and/or municipalities have disdain for discourse with the provincial government together, they alone can change the course of new laws and regulations that are greatly affecting them and their surroundings and generations to come. There is no pushbutton mentality although we’ve been conditioned to think so that one individual our one form of new government has the answer. We alone can only make this change together. The people that we elect on the municipal level that will stand up for our rights and five provincial interstate legislatures will then in turn bleed into the right kind of political structure that we so desperately need in this day and age on a federal level. So often we find ourselves lost in the semantics of the quote unquote puppet behind the podium that clouds our common sense and forth right thinking into dealing with the true matters at hand. So often people fail to see behind-the-scenes and in many federal situations there is more control by the quote unquote puppet masters and/or corporate monarchs that use the governmental system for their own good. This is not a government or Democratic Republic, it is in fact a fascist corporate dictatorship. As time lingers on more and more of what we see is being consumed by them and removed from our hands. We must be thinking ahead seven generations. This is an aboriginal philosophy that the things that we do today must affect the things that come in seven generations of time. You cannot run up to a wall expecting to knock it down with your fist. Only in time can you work your way around the wall. Vines over time will take the wall and climb it, start to attach itself to every nuance of the brick-and-mortar and has started to work its way into it like a piece of Swiss cheese. In time the wall will crumble and new growth once again commences in a beautiful and harmonious way, but it can only happen over the course of time.
How did you feel when you realised 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America were playing your music?
Ed. I’m always so happy to connect with people and when you can do this with your art, for an artist it is vindication. Because I consider myself to be a communicator it makes me feel so happy to be able to share what I do with people on the airwaves. Music to me is the ultimate form of communication, and havingit go out on terrestrial stations crackling through the airwaves is like cherry pie on steroids.
At this point in your career, what is the main advice you would want from an online bookkeeping service?
At this point in my career I’d like an accountant to tell me how I can make more money. Every artist wants to be able to make a living from their craft and I am no exception. Despite there is wonderful art everywhere one of the main things that I see happening in the independent music industry is a lack of ability to be able to translate what you’re doing into some form of financial gain. With that said if I end up making a lot of money I would like an accountant to help me utilize that money to help other people. Schools focused on art ranging from everything from theater, music, textiles, pottery and dance as well as a wide variety of other artistic disciplines. Also to utilize those abilities to start community farming programs all over North America.
What keeps you going every day?
Life and living it. As human beings we experience so many emotions from day-to-day ranging from anger, pleasure, confusion and elation. Our uniqueness as a species lies in our differences and the ability to see those differences, understand them and embrace them. I over the course of the day can feel any one of these multitudes of emotions and be moved to action in my language and with my body in order to feel connected to all those things that I’m learning from. I then in turn try to give back with what I am learning through my art form. Every day I get up and have the ability to play music and write my ideas into song is a good day. Communication with people is what drives me every day of my life. Even in the moments of silence or angry contemplation there is information being moved from hemisphere to hemisphere and I am so greatly moved by the experience as the experiencer to gain knowledge in the experience. I’m continually staggered by the amount of change, good and bad, that we are all moving through as humans. It’s important from day-to-day to remember that we are part of everything that exists on this beautiful blue ball. Every course of action we take will affect everything and everyone around us. This is my mantra and my motivation.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Where can we find and follow you online?
It was an extreme pleasure speaking with you today and thank you so much for having me. You can always get a hold of me at www.edroman.net. There you will find all my latest articles and reviews about the past year of my life and all the new things to come. Please check out my new album “Letters From High Latitudes” on iTunes or Amazon today. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter so don’t hesitate to drop me a message. I’d be happy to talk to you. Thanks and have a great day.