Friday, 4 May 2012

Adam Klassen (Interview)


I have to be honest my discovery of Adam Klassen was a little cheeky. In my search for new music I was browsing bandcamp.com and searching through bands - virtually disregarding after a few second any which cost money (hey, it wasn’t yet pay day!). Klassen wasn’t one of these artists, but on the back of one track I then forked out for an album and EP to be sent from Canada. I didn’t listen to any more, as I’m still an old fashioned guy who likes to have a CD in my hand to look at while I listen.

When the CD’s arrived and I wasn’t disappointed. Although the singer/songwriter genre is saturated these days, there’s an honest quality to his music which I found touching and easily listenable. But enough of my blah, let’s hear from the man himself in an interview I did with Adam earlier this week.

DDMB - Hi there and welcome to Dr. Dan’s Music Blah. How are you doing?
AC - I’m doing well! Fantastic, actually.

DDMB - So tell us all a bit about yourself (who are you, how long have you been making music and where are you based?)
AC - Well, ever since I started playing guitar (I was about 16) I’ve been writing. I’m not sure why, but it never really made sense to me to play other people’s songs. I needed to learn a few, of course, to learn guitar, but once I had an elementary understanding, it was all original from there.
I was in a punk band in high school and then started to play a lot at church. It was when I first heard Dashboard Confessional in 2002, I think, that I started writing acoustic songs. Actually, for a while, I basically just ripped off chord progressions from Dashboard and wrote my own melodies and lyrics. Then as my musical education and influences grew, so did my songwriting.
Right now I’m living in Abbotsford, about an hour drive from Vancouver, and mostly playing locally. I have two young kids so it’s tough to travel and tour. But I don’t mind; there’s a lot of places to play around here.

DDMB - And what would you say are your influences?
AC - It’s a pretty long list. I have a pretty eclectic music collection. My biggest influences are probably David Bazan/Pedro the Lion, John K. Samson/The Weakerthans, Ryan Adams, Death Cab, Nick Drake, Dylan, of course… I don’t know… there’s so many more.

DDMB - Do you consider yourself to sound like any of them?
AC - Yeah, of course. There are definitely pieces of each of them in my songs. Musically, I’m told I sound a lot like Mumford & Sons. I think that’s probably true.

DDMB - Have you been busy recently (and with what)?
AC - Not super busy. My kids keep me busy, and I’m working as the Worship Arts Director at a church in Abbotsford. Before our first child was born, my wife and I were living in Calgary, Alberta and I was starting to play more regularly. Then James was born so I backed off the music thing for a while. Late last year I started recording again and we’re just mixing the new album, so it feels like a good time to start up again. So, I’ve been playing a bit more and trying to balance that with my family and the church. It gets busy sometimes, but its fun!

DDMB - Why should people listen to your music (and where should a new listener start)?
AC - It’s hard to answer that without seeming like a jerk! I think the indie music scene is in an awesome place right now; there’s new, incredible music coming from everywhere these days. I am very proud of what I’ve written and I think, musically, it is unique in the sea of singer/songwriters. Not anything completely groundbreaking, just good songs with a unique perspective.
I’m not really selling it, am I?!
As far as a starting point, pretty much anywhere is fine. The Magazines EP is a more accurate representation of where I am as an artist now. But Billboards is good too. I don’t know. I’m really pumped for the new album. I’m trying some new stuff, a few more instruments, a bit more production. It’s going to be good!

DDMB - If your music was a shape what shape would it be?
AC - It would definitely be a rhombus. I’m not sure why, though. I just like the word rhombus.

DDMB - Finally what’s coming up next for Adam Klassen?
AC - The new album will be out, hopefully, within a month, maybe two. It’s called The Great Fiction. I’m trying to play more shows and get some videos up on the web. I’d like to do a small tour this year, probably just Western Canada, and possibly northwest USA. We’ll see.

DDMB - Thanks for sparing us some of your time.
AC - No worries. Thanks for asking the questions!

And there you have it. You can find Adam and his music on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/listentoadamklassen?ref=ts) and bandcamp (http://adamklassen.bandcamp.com/album/absolution-single), and I’ll review the new album on its release.

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