Gentleman Reg was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Keep your eyes out for this Canadian songwriter and his top notch band.
How do you write lyrics?
Generally lyrics come last. After there’s a guitar riff and a vocal melody i fit lyrics in. And often incorporate my jibberish and improvised lyrics into the final lyrics. Once in a while there will be one or two lines which start things off. Like in “you can’t get it back’, i had the line ‘Show me what the girl does’ and wrote the rest around that line. So then the trick is figuring out what that initial line means and what else you can sing that relates to it, and then it just builds. Titles always are the final thing.
Do you have any favorite themes or topics you like to write about?
I like to take little bits of things in my life, situations, events, people, and then create stories around them. Very few of my songs are completely autobiographical, they’re all bits of reality meshed with fiction. But the topics always differ. i’m too scattered to write on the same theme for any length of time.
Do you see yourself as part of any broader cultural movements or scenes?
I’m part of a queer art scene in downtown toronto. But it’s pretty vast and varied and without a home base. I am a cycling advocate, and have taken part in benefits and rally’s for cycling in the past.
Having been independent and on a label, which do you prefer?
We’ll being part of a label of this size is stil quite new to me, but so far i prefer this to any other situation i’ve been in. I’m the kind of person that functions best with help, a support system, people to get answers from. So far it’s ideal.
How does the music for your band come together?
Generally i’ll have a song with vocals and chords changes and melodies all in place. Then i’ll bring it to whoever, sometimes just Greg, drums, or him and francois, guitar, and we’ll just play through it and see how it develops. Sometimes it doesn’t change much at all. This album though was the first time songs did in fact change dramatically once brought to the band. just a few. but i was open to letting that happen this time out.
Do you like to play leads, or do you prefer to stick with rhythm playing?
I play rhythm guitar. I get guitar players like Bry Webb to play leads on my songs. He makes my songs better.
Why do you think the music you make is important?
Well there really aren’t alot of people that sound like me are there? I like music that does something new and pushes things a bit, and just singing from a queer male place gives my lyrics a different perspective, and then singing those lyrics in a breathy/raspy falsetto adds a unique slightly unusual texture to the vocals. But ultimately my music is important to me because i can’t not make it. It’s important for my sanity. Ultimately i want listeners, but i’ve been doing this for ages without them so i’ll just keep pushing forward and hope people hop along for the ride.
Could you see yourself doing anything other than playing music?
Well i do the occasional acting in film and theatre, and that just seems to find me. I do al ot of ‘art’ modeling for various things. Whenever someone needs an albino for a photograph i’m the one they call. And i’ve had a plethora of day jobs, so i’ll always have something to do, but always alongside music.
If you had the option would you sign to a major label?
Possibly. Though i would NEVER be what they want so it’s a non issue.
What do you find inspiring other than music?
Art, my friends, books, i’m an avid reader, rooftop gardens, toronto island, solitude. i like how all those things could equally apply to an aging woman.
If given the choice, what band or artist would you most like to tour with?
I’d love to tour with Arcade Fire. We’ve certainly played shows together in the past but never done a tour. I would just never get bored of watching them every night.