Raised By Swans is Canadian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eric Howden.
Fiercely independent in all aspects of his musical career, spanning five full-length albums and nearly 20 years thus far, Eric’s/Raised By Swans’ haunting, contemplative songs have been described as evoking “both mournful and triumphant emotions” (Exclaim!), drawn comparisons to Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Rós, and found their way into international film, including Academy Award and Palm d’Or nominated director Atom Egoyan’s Chloe (2010), starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.
Over the eight years spent creating Raised By Swans Is The Name Of A Man, Volumes 1 and 2, Eric performed live across Eastern Europe (once getting lost in Croatia and being led to a venue by a sweet old man on a bicycle, who pedalled in front of his car, holding a flashlight), managed a harbourside grocery shop in the most remote municipality in Iceland, lost a very small, very dear friend, and planted 10,000 baby birch trees in the hills of Öxnadalur (a valley in North Iceland), all by himself. He returned to Canada in late 2019 to finish recording and mixing at the House of Miracles studio, just in time for a global pandemic.
Raised By Swans Is The Name Of A Man, Volume 2: Run With The Silent Wildfires is the latest of the five albums Eric has written, arranged, performed and produced as Raised By Swans, all of which have been released on his own label, 1101; his past LPs are Codes and Secret Longing (2005), No Ghostless Place (2010), Öxnadalur (2014), and Raised By Swans Is The Name Of A Man, Volume 1 (2021).
Atom Egoyan is a fan of Eric’s music, and included three songs from Codes and Secret Longing in his film, Adoration (2009) and two songs from No Ghostless Place in the erotic thriller Chloe (2010). In 2007, “Violet Light” from Codes and Secret Longing was featured in novelist Douglas Coupland’s film Everything’s Gone Green, voted Canadian Feature Film of the Year at the Vancouver International Film Festival. As for television, Eric’s songs can be heard in episodes of Regenesis, Peak Season, Would Be Kings, Whistler, and most recently, in an Iceland-themed episode of “Passe-Moi Les Jumelles”, a popular Swiss television series.
Though unbeknownst to Eric for five years, American rapper Lil Peep had used a looped segment of “spilled more blood”, a song from Öxnadalur, as the backing track for one of his earliest singles, “Praying to the Sky”, before a fan from Turkey emailed Eric to alert him of its existence. An agreement has since been reached regarding further use of the song between Eric (Raised By Swans) and Lil Peep’s team. Eric’s full account of the experience is here: https://raisedbyswans.com/?p=3413.
Raised By Swans has performed concerts in Germany, Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Canada. He records all of his songs first at home alone on a variety of old and malfunctioning equipment, but has recreated them for release at the House of Miracles studio in Cambridge, Ontario, with Andy Magoffin engineering and mastering, from the very beginning.