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Interview with Justin Sawicki

Posted on the 03 December 2018 by Tomatrax @TomatraxAU

Interview with Justin SawickiFollowing from his self titled solo album, Canadian singer song-writer Justin Sawicki has returned with his homage to Canadian NHL star Walter Poddubny, simply titled 'Walter', and has a new EP on the way early next year.

Tomatrax caught up with Justin to talk about what he's been up to since his last release.

It's been a few years since you were last featured on Tomatrax, what have you been up to over this time?

I've been raising a family and working on my career outside of Music. When Justin Sawicki, my self titled album came out my son was just born and I was just beginning a career in Real Estate. Since then both my family life and career have blossomed and I couldn't be happier. Last October my wife gave birth to our daughter so things have been moving at light speed! I've spent a lot of time on personal growth and wanting to be the best person I can for my family and children which has definitely led to reflecting, and reflecting has lead me to writing new music.

You're currently working on a new release, how is that going?

Yes, it's going well. We (Dan Rodrigues and Andrew Barbisan) spent the early part of the year and spring arranging a big batch of songs I had written. We've widdled them down to 10 or 12 and plan to do a few more sessions this year. The goal is to end up with a hand full of keepers and probably a 5 song EP will be released in 2019

You said you want to record the songs live to give the release a raw sound, what prompted this approach?

I'm just inspired by the "organic" sound of people playing in a room together. We spend so much of our lives trying to cover up the minor flaws ... in music... and in life for that matter, that things are becoming lifeless in some instances. In a way the more control we have the less like-life things are. It's easier now than ever to get sucked into that mentality of wanting the "perfect" product, or the perfect sound, whatever that is. This go around we are recording on completely acoustic instruments, so there's a rawness that comes along with not being able to manipulate the sounds electronically... they exist how they exist. It's really exciting!

How does recording music live compare with recording in a studio?

Well... we will be recording these songs in a studio, however, we won't be doing any overdubs and the songs will be recorded in a single take. There won't be an audience present or anything like that.

Your latest song 'Hey Walter' is a homage to Hockey player Walter Poddubny, what inspired you to do this dedication?

Growing up in Thunder Bay, ON... we didn't have many celebrities around. Walter was a celebrity... well... to me and my brother at least. His story is a tragic one, and a common one with professional athletes. It's the danger in being so micro focused on a single skill, like playing hockey or any other sport, or music for that matter... that they often times don't acquire certain life skills to survive outside of the game. There has to be an extremely large hole that exists when the only thing you've ever known is no longer an option. You must feel like you've lost your entire identity. Not to mention, for Hockey Players of Walter's era the pay wasn't structured the way it is today and there was a lot less guidance on how to save, invest, and plan for the eventual "non hockey" future.

I had a good friend that played on the same men's league team as Walter, although I never met him, I relied on my friends recollections and I began to think of his life and thought that it's a story worth telling. Walter needs to be remembered.

Where did you get the inspiration for the song 'Honey bee'?

Honey Bee is about my wife Jody. I wrote this song after we first moved in together... which she will tell you, I tried to back out of at the last minute! lol. Luckily she called me out on my BS and it was one of the defining moments of my life. It's me basically saying "I'll grow for you, and I'll get over my limiting beliefs, and I'll build us the home that you can grow in as well".

When writing what comes first the words or the music?

I'd say these days harmony and rhythm ideas are coming first. I usually will record bits of music or "scraps" as I call them on my phone and listen to them, or play them enough until I hear a melody. Once the melody is there it's finding some words that fit. This isn't always the process, but it's one I've been using lately. Sometime's I'll spend hours on an idea and hit a wall night after night. Then one day I'll pick up my guitar and a song just writes itself, lyrics, melody, everything ... almost as if someone else is doing it for me. A song like Honey Bee was like that, so was Louise.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Sure, but mostly during the creating stages. Once it's recorded, I'll listen to make sure that the mixes are okay, etc. I'd never put something on for pleasure. The odd time one will pop up on my iTunes or something like that... it's fun. It's like going back in time... these songs are all memories... a good reminder of who I used to be and how much I've grown.

What music do you listen to?

Anything that sounds good to me. It has to make me think or make me feel something. Once I hit a certain age music changed for me or the way I listened to it changed, I guess. The music of my youth is something that has so many memories encoded in it that it will always be something I revisit. In terms of searching out "new" music... I don't really do it with the passion I did back in my late teens/early 20's. I have been going back and touching on huge artists I missed the first time around. My wife has gotten me into Bob Dylan in our time together, who I didn't really feel anything from earlier. Paul Simon as well... which seems crazy that I didn't spend a lot of time with that music when I was younger, but I didn't.

What do you have planned once your next release is out?

We'll do some shows around the city for sure. I love my band, they're my best friends. The beauty of where I am in my music career is that I can pick and choose what I want to do and how much I want to do it. I love to create and perform, but I don't want to do it every night anymore. I'm just extremely happy and very grateful to be able to have outlets for my creativeness and as long as it makes me happy and I feel that I have something worth sharing I'll continue.


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