Northern Transmissions talked to Royal Wood about being compared to Tom Waits and jeff Buckley, attending business school at McGill University and a few other interesting subjects.
NT: Your new album “We Were Born To Glory” is just about to drop. What are your feelings just
before it is released for everyone to check out?
RW: Pure excitement. I am incredibly proud of this record. It is the culmination of emotion, creation, risk and effort.
NT: Did you approach the album in a different manor, compared to previous releases?
RW: Everything about this project was a new approach.
In the past I would compose when I had a spare moment. Then over the course of a year or so, I would find myself with a batch of songs album worthy.
This time I specifically moved to Montreal to write the album in the summer of 2011. As well, I let my co-producer Dean Drouillard and my team hear the songs before we ever hit the record button. Thankfully Dean and I agreed on the songs choices that would bring my vision to life.
Once in the studio we tried to maintain spontaneity and not over think the production. To accomplish that, we didn’t really let the other musicians hear the material until the day of. That way we captured live creativity in action. At the end of each recording day, we found ourselves with the basic arrangement for 1 or 2 songs. We kept that process going for 2 weeks. It was a very exciting way to work.
NT: I read a quote by you, “All life is born with the potential for glory”. Can you tell us a bit about that?
RW: The word “glory” has some heavy connotations. It conjures all kinds of religious imagery. However, what I meant by our potential for glory is simply that we have the capability to exist as something grander than ourselves. We can rise above petty problems, and remember the vast importance of our existence. We are all capable of that kind of connection.
NT: You studied business at McGill, (a pretty good school). You must be involved with plenty of the music’s business side. Not many artists can say they went to business school.
RW: I did indeed attend McGill for business, but to be honest I took as many electives as I could.History, The Art of Listening, Psychology, Philosophy etc. I more enrolled in school to experience what university had to offer and to decide if academia was for me. Thankfully I figured out pretty quickly that music was my path in life. I could easily learn outside of the confines of a classroom. I left McGill after only 2 years time to pursue my career, but I am certainly thankful for everything the experience taught me.
NT: Some critics have compared your writing to Jeff Buckley, Tom Waits and Elton John. What’s your reaction to that? Have they been big influences on you?
RW: I was never a big Elton John fan. However, I certainly was an appreciator of Buckley and
Waits. Buckley was a performer that channelled something far greater than his mortal self.
In my own humble way, I strive for that kind of connection. And I ate up Waits. I couldn’t get enough of him. But I think most artists agree on that.
NT: You started playing piano at age four, what attracted you to the instrument?
RW: Some children are drawn to pick up a hockey stick. I was drawn to the piano. I really can’t explain it. It just hypnotized me.
NT: Are you amazed at the amount of Canadian artists that have had so much success?, considering the downsizing of the music industry.
RT: No. Not at all. Talent always finds a way to the top and Canada has so much to offer the
world. Thankfully with today’s internet, artists are able to connect with fans all over the world.
NT: Which five albums have had the most influence on you?
RT: What a difficult question to answer? In fact impossible really. But 5 that are on my essential list are the following.
Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
Randy Newman – Sail Away
Led Zeppelin – II
Radiohead – OK Computer