RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CANADIAN ARTIST PIPER COLE
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music fascinated me from a young age. I remember being about 5 years old and listening to my parent’s records and just thinking this was what I was supposed to do. I didn’t have a musical family so it just developed organically. In school, I would try to learn to play any instrument I could get my hands on. I started guitar lessons at age 11 and wrote my first song shortly after. Writing songs helped me make sense of and express my feelings and thoughts about the world. I went on to become a psychotherapist but music and songwriting have been a constant creative outlet. I struggled with my musical confidence but I finally decided to push through my blocks to release my first EP of original music at age 40.
Introduce us all to the members and your musical history.
I am a one-woman singing, songwriting, producing, and mixing shows! I did a BFA in Music in the late 90s then went on to be a music teacher. I’ve been writing songs and performing on and off since then. I learned music production at Berklee Music School and then went on to study mixing. This release is my first fully self-produced and mixed single.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
For my EP release in 2019, I did all the things you do to release an album. I worked with a producer and graphic designer. I put together a live show and did a release party. I had CDs and merch made and hired a publicist. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. The music business is tough and it is a real challenge for artists to get the music out and get known. I didn’t feel I needed to make a lot of money as this is a glorified hobby for me but I saw the struggle for artists to get paid for their work. Releases can just drop into the void so you really have to push to get your music heard. I found it all quite exhausting so I decided to just let my music be a slow burn and develop my audience over time. Through the whole process, I realized my passion really is in recording and producing in the studio so I would say I am happy focusing on that.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
It is definitely getting more fine-tuned. I am appreciating more the simple song format. I also love complicated textures and time signatures which make my music more of a niche. My tastes are always changing which gets reflected in the songwriting process.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
Well, I would say that is awful and I am sorry to hear that is happening. We all need to change this culture by doing our personal work and evaluating the ways we do harm. Call out toxic masculinity and if you see something happening then stand up to it. Don’t be a bystander. Also, it is time to see that women belong in the music industry as producers, engineers, and in other technical roles. Take them seriously and celebrate the diversity it brings.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I think it is important to be real with your social media posts. I find social media difficult, as I am a rather private person, but I see that fans want to see the real person behind the music. I am working on doing more videos and coming out of my shell more. I think that’s the best way to build an audience.
Tell us two truths and a lie about you.
My real name is Carly. I saw a Carly Simon record when I was 5 and thought I was also supposed to be a singer because we had the same name. I trained as an opera singer.
I am originally from Mars 😉
What are your thoughts on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
It’s disappointing as they pay very little. It is making it quite tough for an artist to make a living but the Spotify executives are quite rich I hear. I think we should try to support the streaming sites that pay artists more fairly. That should give Spotify a run for the money.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Being so nervous my fingers were sweaty and I was trying to play a complicated fingerpicking pattern and putting my fingers on all the wrong frets.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think being a fully self-produced artist stands out and puts my own unique stamp on the production. I aim to create music that is authentically me rather than focusing on what is commercial. I am a Psychotherapist so my music often focuses on themes of self-growth and inner strength.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yes, I am releasing a new single ‘Oh Honey’ on December 16th. It is my first time mixing my music myself so I am kind of proud. I also have an animated lyric video being released together. It was created by UK Animator Will Clarke and he has really captured the emotional themes of the song. I am so excited to share it.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
‘Oh Honey’ is meant to be a song of comfort to us all after a few years of heartbreak in the world. It’s like someone sitting down next to you and just understanding your struggle. A reminder that we are not alone and that we can find strength in that connection with each other and in nature.
What was the recording process like?
I used a mix of recorded instruments, drum programming and re-sampling. I recorded it in my home studio on Logic Pro x then mixed it. I have worked pretty hard on building my production and mixing skills over the years to get to this point where I can do it myself. Once the instrumental is done, I record the lead vocals by improvising the melody line and then piece it together with vocal comping. The lyrics then come last. I have to wait for the lyric inspiration to come to me which is usually after the melody is written. Then I have to make the lyrics fit the melody. I find those last parts of finishing the song the hardest and I tend to procrastinate. Once it’s done I feel quite pleased and satisfied and often wonder why I procrastinated so much!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
I love starting new songs. It’s finishing them that I struggle with. I have so many unfinished songs dying a death on my hard drive! I submitted the instrumental to ‘Oh honey’ for a mixing class assignment and got good feedback on it which made me push through to finish it. I’m glad I did!
Would you change anything now it is finished?
I could tweak my songs endlessly and I don’t think I am ever completely happy. I’ve heard the advice many times to just reach a point and call it done. I would say I wouldn’t change anything about the track, I just want to keep working on making new releases better.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I hope ‘Oh Honey’ speaks to you and makes you feel a little more supported with whatever struggles you may be having. The world has been so challenging lately and I wanted the track to be a message of hang in there and you are not alone.