pre-orders for Öxnadalur are now available (CD and digital).

CD copies are available for pre-order here for only $10 CAD each until the official release on November 5th. shipping is worldwide. you will not only be guaranteed a copy of a limited run of CDs, but will also be helping me with the remaining costs involved in manufacturing the album.

digital download pre-orders are now available at bandcamp.com, here, for only $8 until the 5th. all artwork and liner notes included.

once the 5th arrives, CD copies will also be available through bandcamp.com (Paypal no longer needed for purchases), as well as maplemusic.com, and direct mail order. the album will be up on iTunes and other digital retailers late next week.

someday i’ll have vinyl copies too, i promise. but for now that’s still a dream.

– eric.

advance tickets now available for two of only three very special album release shows for ‘Öxnadalur’ happening in 2014 (w/ full band; a solo performance in Akureyri, Iceland on Thursday, November 13th).

The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Ontario – Thursday, December 18th.

Aeolian Hall, London, Ontario – Friday, December 19th.

very excited to announce my solo release show for ‘Öxnadalur’ at Græni Hatturinn in Akureyri, Iceland, November 13th. see below for details.

also: two big December release show announcements next week (full band with me for those). both in Canada – all i could manage to arrange for the remainder of 2014 with the intensity of the album preparations. hope to see you soon.

– eric.

https://www.facebook.com/events/337552853084048/

last vocal, Öxnadalur.

last vocal

the number 1101 will always hold a special significance for me. what it meant to me originally doesn’t matter anymore – it just has a magical feeling to it and always will.

but this new album of mine is so dear to me that all (okay, most) of my compulsions and superstitions around my music have burned away and disappeared next to its intensity. Öxnadalur is so new, and so ferociously its own thing.

i’m moving the release date to november 5th. this is an important date, because three years ago, on november 5th, 2011, i landed alone in Iceland and drove north through the ragged edges of a snowstorm to begin working on the songs i’m finally in the last stages of mixing.

i can’t fucking believe how beautiful they sound. my heart might explode.

if i can keep it from exploding, more soon. if i can’t, well, at least i finally finished the album.

love,
eric.

the new album: an announcement.

i’m realizing as i write this that as of this moment, only three living beings on this planet have heard the new album. and only two are human. there’s andy, who’s capturing it at his studio; a close friend, who’s heard some of the rough, early mixes; and number six, my beloved cat, who always hears my music before anyone else does. not that he has a choice in the matter.

so it feels decidedly strange to write about releasing something that has been kept a secret for three years. but as it was with ‘codes and secret longing’, ‘no ghostless place’, and ‘sightings’, it’s almost time to let the songs venture out into the world without me. which depending on the day makes me feel either terribly excited, or terribly nervous and overprotective. like i should knit each of them one more pair of dry socks to take with them, just in case.

the new album will be called ‘Öxnadalur’. it will contain 13 songs, and if all goes well i will have it ready for a November 1st release. the date shouldn’t surprise anyone who is aware of my longstanding fondness for 1101. the number of songs shouldn’t surprise anyone who is aware of my longstanding fondness for 13 song albums.

over the past month i’ve been finishing up some final guitar and keyboard parts on the songs, as well as some of the last lead and harmony vocals. and a bit of piano. i’ve been putting the artwork together at the same time, slowly but surely.

at some point soon i’ll need to address the matter of finding out who’s willing and able to play live shows with me, to get playing on stages again as a full band. but one way or another, the first few raised by swans shows will be just me.

it’s most important to me to head back to Iceland before anything else, to release the album in my own way, and to be alone for a little while, and also to play and sing the songs in some of my favourite places. i want very badly to see all of your lovely faces, and finally play for you, and that is what 2015/2016 will be devoted to (once i get a live band together again), but first i owe some secret locations that are impossibly dear to me their own private shows. because Iceland is where everything started for this album, and because not a moment passes that i don’t long to be back there.

as for a place where there are other human beings, i’m hoping to play my first show at Græni Hatturinn, a wonderful little club in Akureyri, North Iceland. Græni Hatturinn is where i tried to enjoy a public beer as a rather heavily bearded, invisible freak in the winter of 2011, one night approximately three weeks of pure, exquisite solitude into my time there, when i felt i should see what it would be like to be around people again for a few hours. i headed from the farmhouse into town, the 18 hour night creaking heavily on the ice-packed roads, but realized after not too long standing awkwardly amidst the people and the music that i’d become even more of a ghost that i’d thought was possible. which was actually not alarming in the slightest; it was a comforting realization. i went back to where i belonged; just me, the valley, and the little mouse that kept me company that winter.

as with ‘no ghostless place’, i will likely try to set up a pre-order sort of situation to help with the final financial hurdle, which is raising the money to actually make the CD’s. more on that soon. more on some live shows soon too, but again, i hope you can all be patient with me, as besides my perpetual discomfort with having an ‘online presence’, i sense that the next couple of months will be a blur.

needless to say, it’s been a long and emotional few years, writing and recording ‘Öxnadalur’ – alternately brilliant and painful and exhilarating and exhausting – but it’s all been worth it. the songs are sounding dangerously, desperately beautiful to me, even as rough, unfinished mixes. i truly can’t wait for you all to hear them.

much love, as always,

eric.

the new album will be released in September or October.

it feels like much longer than three years since i started writing the first song in the farmhouse in Iceland, sitting at the old organ in the attic in my pyjama pants and toque, the wind howling along with me as i played. i’m exhausted, but couldn’t be more thrilled with how everything is sounding thus far.

thank you for your continued support and patience, and for the beautiful comments, messages and emails you’ve sent. it’s an honour to have kept you company with my songs over the years.

love,

eric.

your help needed.

i wanted to remind everyone first of all of the existence of ‘sightings’, a new song i released back in July.  and also the purpose of its early release on bandcamp.com, which was to raise some funds to finish the recording of the new album.

the new album could easily be out later this year.  selfishly, for the preservation of my own remaining sanity, i can only hope that this can happen.  my goal is a late summer/early fall release, which is only possible if i can get into the studio more often than i have been able to these days.  technically it could be out even sooner than that, if circumstances were different. 

for those of you who have already contributed, thank you so very, very much.  your generosity helped fund a few sessions last year and it was profoundly appreciated.  and thank you all for your accompanying messages of support.  for those of you who apologized for only being able to spare a dollar, there is no apology needed, because every single dollar has helped.  for those who opted to pay an amount above one dollar, i could never tell you how much your generosity means to me.  all i can do for all of you is put everything i have into this album, which is what i have always and will always do, until the day i fall into a crevasse somewhere and am finally silenced.  at which point i can assure you that you won’t be forced to read these sorts of silly things from me any longer.

for those of you who could not, and cannot, afford even a dollar, i genuinely understand being so completely broke that even a dollar is too much.  know that i truly appreciate you all so very much just for listening, for being out there.

the unavoidable fact is that money, for all its flaws, helps me and other independent artists record and release our music.  these days, having shifted to part time hours at my job to focus on finishing the album, i finally have more time to work on the songs.  if i hadn’t done that the release date of this album would be sometime in 2016.  but now, of course, money has become more scarce than it already was.  it’s the only obstacle left.

with all of this said, i am aware of how tiny and quiet the islands are that independent artists occupy in the mega-ocean of the internet, and a kind friend of mine who actually uses facebook on a semi-regular basis keeps gently reminding me that postings get washed away so quickly and replaced with new things.  or simply forgotten about, understandably.  some of you have written to me to let me know that you have just stumbled across ‘sightings’, months after its release.  that you had no idea it was even out there.

so this is essentially a long-winded reminder that it’s there.  as well as a humble request.  things are a bit grim right now, and though i don’t mind being broke whatsoever in terms of anything else in my life, at this point it’s excruciating to know that the album could be finished in a couple of months, and released later this year, and ultimately out of my head and into all of yours, if i could only afford the time in the studio needed to get it done.  with my current income i can only book a few short sessions a month around the basics of staying alive.  i’m getting by, and working as hard as i can, and things are moving forward, but ultimately it’s all grinding along far too slowly at this point, and sometimes the release date feels like it’s running away from me.

so please, if you enjoy my music, and haven’t yet purchased it, whether it’s the new song or the first two albums, do consider perhaps buying something through bandcamp, where the money will come most quickly to me, and therefore will push the release date of the new album closer.  if you buy ‘sightings’ specifically i believe that there is an option of donating more than one dollar.  every little bit helps.

i understand that buying digital versions of music isn’t for everyone.  personally i still prefer owning vinyl or cd copies of albums, having something to hold and gaze at.  but it’s good to have digital backups, i think.  and at the very least, bandcamp offers cd quality files of the songs, so you’re not sacrificing audio quality like you are when buying mp3’s only.

i can promise you that every cent that comes to me will go to my upcoming dates in the studio, and that i will think very warmly of you as i make my way there each day.  as i have thought warmly of those of you who have already contributed.

that’s all for now.  back to work.  thanks for reading.

‘sightings’, ‘no ghostless place’, and ‘codes and secret longing’ can be found here, via bandcamp.

one last quick note.  to those who have recommended kickstarter:  thank you for the suggestion, but it simply isn’t a route i want to pursue if i can help it.  among other reasons, it’s much easier for me personally to feel that i’m giving something to you now, than accepting money towards the promise of something that doesn’t yet fully exist. 

with love,

eric.

truth:

i’ve never liked interviews. i consistently fuck them up in all sorts of silly embarrassing ways. but i was asked a simple question recently by an Italian music journalist and found myself compelled to answer more honestly and bluntly than i have in the past. the full interview will be translated and posted at some point in the future, but i wanted to share just one of my answers with all of you, right now. partly to clear up some misinformation, partly to explain why i have obstinately begun using ‘i’ instead of ‘we’ when talking about raised by swans, partly because my answer might possibly be interesting to a few of you, and partly because the truth has been burning inside of me for years now and i may not ever be asked to do another interview where i can clear things up before i die on a mountain somewhere.

my own attempts at being modest and inclusive to people i care deeply about (namely the wonderful guys who play concerts with me but aren’t involved in the creation of my music) have led to raised by swans being perceived as something different to what it actually is. which is purely a solo project. it’s my fault that this has happened. but being so close to releasing my newest album and knowing how many thousands of hours i’ve devoted already to it, the tenderness and pain and ferociously hard work i’ve put into every last detail of its creation, and how much pride i feel towards its every nuance, from guitar and bass parts to beats to words to pianos and keyboards to collected sounds and moments of silence – the very same burning pride i felt for my previous two albums, but never properly expressed – the space i’m in has made me feel a peculiar urgency to clarify things once and for all. so please indulge me. or if you’re not interested, which is perfectly understandable, you can stop reading now. love, eric.

the question i was asked was:

how and when was Raised By Swans born?

and my answer was/is:

First of all – and I’ve never said it this bluntly before, but I feel it’s important to clarify – as a creative project, Raised By Swans is and always has been a solo endeavour, not a band. That fact hasn’t been made clear in the past, which is wholly my fault; well-meaning but misguided attempts at modesty and inclusion have clouded the truth. Modesty is certainly preferable to arrogance, at least to me, but in some ways it can be just as deceptive and self-serving, and over time it can lead to a buildup of misinformation about oneself or others. These days, especially in the last months of putting together my newest album, I’m more concerned with the truth than anything else. I can’t help but be fiercely proud of the exhausting amounts of work I’ve put into writing and recording my songs over the years; every note and word and sound and moment of silence that you hear (or don’t hear) on the albums is my own. Plus it’s important to me that anyone reading this who is just starting out writing music and is nervous about going it completely alone knows that it’s possible.

I just wanted to define what Raised By Swans is before answering the rest of this question. More about the excellent and decidedly rare gentlemen who currently play live concerts with me in a moment.

Raised By Swans was born in 1997 or so. I played bass guitar in a pretty popular Canadian band for a few years when I was very young. We had some good times, but in that particular band I had almost no creative input, which led to an alarming feeling of dissatisfaction and boredom with music, a feeling I’d never had, that I became obsessed with fixing. I started writing my own songs in a much more personal and concentrated way than I ever had before, in a small attic apartment with crooked floors and blankets hung at the windows, broke and hungry all the time, but wildly alive. I’d sit there with headphones on in the middle of the night and work with my old four track machine, layering parts excitedly until I passed out from exhaustion. It was as if I’d finally come to life, and I did everything I could (still do) to nurture and protect that feeling. I quit the band I was in and chose to strike out on my own. That was when I became Raised By Swans, though the name was not there yet. All I knew, finally, was that I needed complete freedom, to write and create alone, to make music of my own without having to pass ideas or feelings through other people first. Before I did anything else I wrote an entire album all by myself, using a drum machine for beats, guitars, a bass, and a cheap keyboard – even made a cassette tape cover for it when it was done – before I began looking for people who might want to play the songs live with me.

The guys who play live shows with me today, by far the best line-up I or anyone else could ever imagine or hope to be a part of, each joined up with me at different times to help me bring the recorded songs to life in a live setting, and because they enjoy playing music. We’re friends as well as bandmates. But they don’t depend on Raised By Swans in any way creatively; they have outlets and projects of their own, each of them. Or families. Or both. For me it’s only this music. I’m honoured to have such gifted musicians alongside me onstage, but when it comes to writing and recording, it’s always only been me, with Andy of course capturing everything on tape so sensitively and brilliantly. If someone else happens to play a part on an album of mine, for instance, they’re playing a part I’ve written. Control is terribly important when it comes to one’s art, at least to me.

So that’s what it is, and how it started. In a tiny apartment in the middle of the night. Nothing’s really changed. I still work and write exactly the same way. The name itself was born when I had a very special dream that seemed to sum up that whole period of transition for me.

the new song is available at this moment

at bandcamp.com exclusively.

 

it’s called

 

sightings.

 

listen/purchase here.

 

all funds raised from payments/donations will go towards recording the upcoming album.

 

deepest gratitude for the overwhelmingly moving and supportive responses to my last transmission.

 

i’m sorry that it can’t be midnight for all of you, but it had to be for me, for secret reasons.

 

wherever/whenever you are listening, i’m with you.

 

love,

 

eric.

 

00:01/07/19/13

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