Interview done by: Julian Warme and Corry Moore!
Yeee that's right bitches, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tony Sly before his Bovine show yesterday and asking him a few questions. Cheeck it!
i like how close you are to your fans, updating the news in your website about what you're up to, offering them to email you if they'd like you to play their town/city.. how do you find time to do all this!? ... or is it really an intern ;) shh ?
AL: No interns, though the position is currently open -- serious inquiries only! In the meantime I pretty much do everything myself, so yeah, I guess that comes across in the ways you describe. Obviously there are pros and cons to that -- but as far as being "close" to my audience, that's a nice way to think about it, because I feel like I depend on (and benefit from) people's help and support in such a really direct way. I've also known so many hard-working musicians, and honestly, I don't know how anyone finds the time. But they do. Probably some people just never sleep?
are you a naturally open and outgoing person or was it something that came with the job per se?
AL: I think I'm pretty awkward actually... but some people find that endearing.
do you find it unnerving at all to have people following your every move and every word?
AL: Yes! (You mean on stage, right?)
how did you get started here in toronto?
AL: Well I'm from Toronto originally, but I lived in Montreal until a couple of years ago, and I used to play there pretty regularly. I moved back to Ontario for grad school but eventually decided I didn't want to be an academic. At that point I hadn't been playing shows for a while, and I really started to miss it, and just started going out to see music more again and discovering lots of amazing musicians here, some of whom I began collaborating or playing shows with. So one thing led to another, and now I have a brand new record.
who and what inspires you to create this kind of music?
AL: My songs are pretty emotional. I have a lot of feelings! That's usually my impetus to make music, and I'm most inspired musically by people who are emotionally intense or raw and powerful, though without necessarily being "loud."
do you have any vocal training?
AL: Not really, I just sang in choirs as a kid. I'd love to do more of that now, in fact, and have thought about pursuing more formal music training in general, as someone who's mainly self-taught. Maybe one of these days it will happen.
how did you discover you could sing?
AL: I don't know, but I wanted to sing and write songs for as long as I can remember.
when did you first pick up an instrument and start writing songs? what made you try?
AL: I just always sang and wrote songs... I can't really imagine not doing it. Today my six-year-old niece was singing me a couple of ditties she's written and it warmed my heart! They were pretty good, too. Anyway, that's what I was like non-stop. When I was maybe twelve I found a guitar in my basement, and at first I just "invented" my own random chords to sing along with. It took a long, long time to get even halfway decent that way, but I didn't care about mastering the instrument. All I wanted to do was sing and write tunes. It's really a compulsive behaviour that I don't feel I have that much control over.
i've read a lot of cat power comparisons, is that somebody who has influenced you?
AL: For sure, I actually heard of Cat Power for the first time as a teenager because people kept telling me my voice sounded like hers. (Which at the time it did, probably a lot more, because I was so shy and quiet!) Her earlier albums just blew my mind, partly because I hadn't been exposed to a lot of lower-fi, intimate recordings like that, and her songs are so intuitive, so simple and effective and a little weird. Also it was the first time a female singer-songwriter had really moved me, actually, which made it easier to relate to in a way.
who else do you listen to?
AL: Of late I have been listening to a lot of lady singers like tUnE-yArDs and Sharon Van Etten and Sandy Denny and Alela Diane and Gillian Welch.
who in the industry do you absolutely hate right now?
AL: No time for hate. Do I have to hate someone? Anyone who is a jerk.
you have a very tight tour schedule, how do you manage!? are you the type of person who thrives on it?
AL: I don't know about "thrive", but I like playing shows and traveling around, and I usually feel lucky to be doing it.
how do you keep yourself occupied/stay sane on the road?
AL: Reading and writing! I'm not normally a journal-er but I'll often do a lot of that on tour, when time can be so boring and intense all at once.
are you a toronto-for-life kinda gal?
AL: Undecided. I'm a Toronto-for-the-foreseeable-future gal.
Check her out here! I HIGHLY recommend it.
THANKS SO MUCH TO ABIGAIL AND MELANIE!!!