It’s all about the interaction for Craig Cardiff
Thursday, Nov 22, 2012 06:00 am
Craig Cardiff isnít ready to let go of his most recent album Ė last yearís Floods & Fires Ė quite yet.
ďItís been about recording a year for me, and I love that process because I think itís important to be making stuff, and yet I also enjoyed slowing down and spending more time in the studio side of things,Ē he said in an interview with the Outlook.
ďAnd so I feel like I have enough songs for my next album, but part of my pause is that I spent nearly two years working on Floods & Fires, so I donít want to be talking about something new quite yet. I feel thereís a lot of people who havenít connected with it, and thatís part of what the tour is, just wanting to share the music.Ē
Cardiffís current tour, which involves four shows in Alberta, includes a stop in Canmore at Communitea Cafe, Thursday (Nov. 29).
ďI feel like the songs definitely evolve, in terms of confidence and presenting them,Ē he said. ďOne thing Iíve learned is I can think a song is ready for studio or recording, but until Iíve played it, I really canít answer that question honestly and know that people are responding to it, and know that the words and melody sit and feel right.
ďI remember R.E.M. being interviewed, and Michael Stipe talking about how he would get bored with lyrics and want to expand and change them. For the listener, they want to connect with the recording, and for the artists, itís nice to step out of it and play with the format.Ē
Based in Waterloo, Ont., Cardiff has released 10 studio albums and a number of other live albums since 1996. Near-constant touring has propelled him through the years, as the experience of performing on a stage with a live audience is his inspiration.
ďA big part of what I do at my shows is improv, in terms of crowd sing-along or the book of truth project Ė thatís been woven into everything Ė in terms of crowd readings and collecting these different pieces from the audience members,Ē he said. ďThe songs are constantly being re-examined and re-presented in different ways.
ďIíve been at shows that are terribly boring, where itís treated like a karaoke experience. Why I love to see live music, and love to perform, is thereís something that happens when a bunch of people are in a room together singing.Ē
This ďmagicĒ isnít limited to churches, he said.
ďWhatever magic happens when people are opened up a bit and just being with each other is a pretty special thing, and that requires the person performing to invite that from the audience, rather than simply pushing noise to them,Ē said Cardiff. ďI feel like the audience is the most important part of the night, and to me live recordings have an energy that studio albums donít seem to have, and itís that sort of people playing to an audience that is special, that canít be replicated.Ē
Last in Canmore about this time last year, Cardiff loves returning to play here as often as he can.
ďCanmore feels like a different place than other places,Ē he stressed. ďItís not international, but it has that element to it of many people from many places, and itís a pretty awesome feeling.
ďOther places donít have the draw Ė every place has its own special thing Ė but itís just been my experience, Iíve never met so many people who are not from a place than in Canmore.Ē
While Communitea is a small venue, the size of the crowd doesnít matter, he said.
ďI feel like I love playing for people, so if itís 10 people or 100 people or 1,000 people, all of those are great, I just love playing and donít want it to turn into a strategic thing, where I wait three years to build up demand,Ē he said. ďI want to go and play and connect and make it accessible, for myself to have the experience, but also to have people come listen.Ē
This has been a busy year, he explained.
ďMaking sure thereís enough work and enough shows, that busy-ness breeds creativity, I find,Ē he said. ďIf itís a slow time I find myself not writing as much, so itís been neat to reach out and find other projects. I worked on a soundtrack, and collaborating and writing with other artists, itís been really great.Ē
Among those other works was a soundtrack which has inspired Cardiff to rethink his own approaches to music.
ďI did a lot of collaboration with Ben Leggett, the producer for Floods & Fires Ė I loved not having to work on my own album Ė it freed me up to look at other types of musical formats,Ē he said. ďWe worked on an Edith Piaf-inspired musical theme, and in a million years I never would have imagined putting that on one of my own recordings.
ďIt takes you out of your headspace and lets you try on other songs or formats. And itís been interesting with that, looking to the next project Ė whenever that will be Ė and wondering if thereís different ways to approach it.Ē
Cardiff can be found online at www.craigcardiff.com