Howie Beck

Howie Beck - Now it's His Turn

There is no worse question to ask a musician than this: "so... how would you, um like, define your music?" Or in the case of Howie Beck, I would phrase it: "so... are you, um like, a musician, writer, or a producer?"

Howie released his fourth studio album, How To Fall Down in Public, on February 24th and it can be purchased at stores throughout Canada and on iTunes. He is currently in the middle of a mini-tour. Before he left, over a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon (Howie is not a vegan) and with Kathleen Edwards most recent record playing softly in the background, we sat down and had us a little chat.

Topics included: his new album, his first Toronto gig in two years, and why the hell he can't put out an album every two years like everyone else. Seriously. Drop an album like Howie Beck in 2004 and make me wait five long years! Why you gotta play me like that Howie?

I guess I'm not being completely fair. He released Howie Beck in 2004, but then released it in Europe in 2006, and found that Canada didn't reciprocate the love like the folks across the sea did.

"I've been finding, for whatever reason, people tend to be really quite immediately receptive to my stuff in Europe... so I ended up touring far more in the U.K. and Scandinavia, then I did in Canada. It's always kind of strange to me but it seems to be how it's been going up to this point."

Howie spent some time touring with Josh Rouse and Nada Surf for roughly a year before returning to his home in Parkdale.

There was more than just touring Europe that held Howie from releasing How To Fall Down In Public - side projects:

"I also got into production work over the past few years. I've produced a few other records as well [Jason Collett, Dan Griffin's upcoming release], which was awesome, but also makes it so that my records come out a little more infrequently. I'm also not one of those write-ten-songs-before-breakfast guys. I want to release a record where I can stand behind all of my songs and not just put something out because I've done it. I'm not about to assume that people are going to want to hear everything I ever do."

It was after the last Jason Collett record when Howie made the decision to focus his creativity and musical ear inwards.

"I don't want there to be cross-over stuff when I'm making a record. I want to be able to focus my attention on either my music or someone else's; it can be confusing for my brain."

Howie Beck does not write his albums "on the road." It's a seal of approval or a promise from your mother, and it made me feel good to hear him say that. When I listen to his new record, I know that he means and I hope that his hard works pays off for him.

"I go through stages in my life where I feel like I'm consuming things and when I'm touring I'm kind of consuming everything around me. I find it hard to mix the two different things: to mix being creative with absorbent at the same time."

Then Howie dropped the L-bomb, which wasn't "love". Although, I was picking up on a good connection between us, but it may have just been the combination of the grilled cheese and Kathleen Edwards. People often underestimate the power of bacon...

"I'm really lucky to be able to make records and produce records for a living. In that way it's kind of a dream come true."

Howie Beck will be performing tomorrow (April 1st) at the Mod Club. Tickets are $12 in advance.

Photo by Jody Shapiro

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