Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Interview Sessions: Volume 2.1

Cameron Anderson: You'll Believe a Robot Can Feel! 

With our very first very second reading-event-slash-literature-party looming large on the horizon (and with the Ruckus Staff finally back on the continent), we felt that it was only right to start rolling out our artist interviews posthaste. First up for the second round is our favourite almost-superhero: Barrie-based musical sensation Robot Feels. 

Maybe we read too many Spider-man comics growing up. In fact, if you were to ask our mothers, we definitely read too many Spider-man comics growing up. In our own defense, though, they were a heck of a lot more interesting than Good Housekeeping. Something about them captured our imaginations: a seemingly ordinary man, leading a seemingly ordinary life full of bills and boredom, ducks out sight whenever trouble looms and steps into a secret identity. Nobody suspects that the shy photographer who has suddenly gone missing is the same person as the colourful hero throwing haymakers at Doctor Octopus or Doctor Doom or Doctor House or whatever other evil doctor was causing trouble that month.

Maybe that's why we're so fascinated by Cameron Anderson.

If you saw him in the street, you likely wouldn't recognize him as the man behind the solo musical act known as Robot Feels. By day, he's a mild-mannered lifeguard with a bright smile and a fair number of fashionable t-shirts. When he straps on his web-shooters sits down behind his keyboard, however, everything changes.

Unfortunately for the sake of our running comparison, Cameron was never bitten by a radioactive piano. In spite of that potential shortcoming, his music never fails to amaze. Inspired by the swelling melodies of musicians like Yann Tiersen and Clint Mansell, the songs Robot Feels produces are at once emotionally intricate and stunningly solid, delicate yet powerful.

Robot Feels' first EP, The World Around You, is an uplifting and atmospheric work that embraces a listener like a daydream on a sunny day. Starting with "Exploration," the album's opening track, The World Around You flows effortlessly from song to song, be it the playful fun of "The Lonely Gecko" or the insistent, measured rush of "The Storm." And when the album ends, it's usually only for as long as it takes you to get up and hit the "repeat" button. (If you are now intrigued — which you should be — the album is available for download by donation at Robot Feels' secret internet headquarters.)

By now, you're all probably asking yourselves: "How, without gamma rays, intensive martial arts training, or at least a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, did the unassuming Mr. Anderson manage to get so good?" Well, read on, True Believer: he took a few minutes to answer some questions for us, and gave us some insight into his musical process.

1) To give people who have never experienced your music before an idea of what they’re getting themselves into (and in the cinematic spirit of ‘famous sequels’), riddle me this: If your body of work was a Hollywood movie, what would it be about, what genre of film would it be, and who would star?

If the music that I wrote was a movie, I think it would be about exploration and discovery; an adventure movie of sorts. I think Sam Rockwell could be the main character, as he did an awesome job in Moon, and is just a really good actor all around.

2) And (most importantly), what would its 80s-action-blockbuster style tagline be?

"Well, we've just unearthed something that might just be a big deal... maybe."

3) Can you identify when it was that you really began to play music (seriously or otherwise)? Was there anyone or anything that inspired you to start playing?

I started with piano lessons about eight years ago, and always tried to find pretty sounds, but never really composed anything that I considered a song until I was ten or eleven years old. I finally decided to start recording compositions of mine in January of last year and was super excited to receive such positive feedback from my friends and family, and so I kept writing, trying to make the songs more complicated as my knowledge of musical theory grew.

4) Now that you’ve gotten a little older, are there any themes or sounds you find yourself coming back to in your music? If so, what are they, and why do you think resonate with you?

I like to write music that could fit a scene, or be soundtrack music and so I still try to write music that people could listen to as background music to go along with their morning or evening commutes, or when they're going for a walk.

5) In the works of other musicians, are there any particular subjects or styles you are drawn towards? For that matter, are there any artists who you specifically admire?

As I mentioned earlier, I really admire soundtrack music, and when I was younger (about age twelve or thirteen), I was really inspired by Yann Tiersen's songs "Comptine d'un autre été : L'Après-midi" and "La Valse d'Amélie", and so I learned them, and they inspired me to start writing music. I also really like many of Clint Mansell's pieces too. I really like to write songs that are progressive, and hopeful.

6) Moving away from music for a moment: what sorts of things do you do when you’re not composing?

In my free time, I like to swim, and I listen to a lot of music. I also enjoy watching really good shows (like Boy Meets World), or hanging out and chatting with good friends!

7) In the booze-friendly spirit of Ruckus, give us a pairing: one of your favourite works/authors and one of your favourite beverages (alcoholic or not). Why do they go together? How do they complement one another?

Lately I've read a lot of John Green's books, and I really enjoy a cup of tea (usually chai, or orange pekoe) when I read. Tea goes with just about anything; it's calming, and not overpowering. John Green writes novels that are usually about teenagers who are flawed and he writes stories of adventure and love that follow common themes, but have human elements added to them that can make them realistic and tragic.

8) Last question: give us a short (less than 75 words) third-person bio blurb about yourself which covers any awards/distinctions you're proud of and what you're tackling right now.

Cameron Anderson is a composer and pianist from Barrie Ontario. He started his hobby as a composer in 2007 writing very basic songs, and was given the opportunity to play one of his compositions at a piano recital, by his first piano teacher, Caitlin. He received positive feedback from an encouraging audience which inspired him to continue writing. He released his first EP as Robot Feels entitled The World Around You in January 2012. He is currently writing and developing new compositions to soon be recorded and released online.

There you have it. An emerging artist, who just keeps getting better. And you can see him — for free — at RUCKUS READINGS, VOL. II (7 pm, July 28th, at The Only Cafe). AND there will be a line-up of incredible writers reading their latest and greatest. AND there are over 100 different beers to choose from (plus a great selection of coffees and teas — including a very nice orange pekoe).

Long story short, guys and gals: this is one show you don't wanna miss.

No comments:

Post a Comment