24 Seconds with Tavish Crowe
Tavish Crowe. (Handout Photo)
Having co-written Carly Rae Jepsen’s international smash hit ‘Call Me Maybe’ and touring the world as her guitarist, Tavish Crowe is about to light the music biz ablaze with his new release, ‘Fire’. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the multi-talented local artist.
24: Tell me about ‘Fire’
TC: ‘Fire’ is a song that describes the inability to be close enough with the one you love. It's that feeling of missing someone while they are away and the feeling of needing them closer when they are right beside you. ‘Fire’ is kind of the ultimate romance. The song started as a folk song while my girlfriend was at work - I guess I was burning up waiting for her to come home. Then producer/songwriter and longtime friend Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Victoria Duffield, Andrew Allen, Hedley, Simple Plan) produced the song and was a key writer as well. His productions have a signature sound that resonated with the feeling I wanted to portray. We combined that sound with a modern "Africa" feel but maintained an element of folk.
24: What was the inspiration for this project”?
TC: Love. I have been writing music for as long as I can remember but I have never felt right about a particular song or time to release anything. I play guitar in Carly Rae Jepsen's band and we have a break from touring while she works on her next record. My direct family and touring family have all encouraged this. The timing and emotions just feel right. An honest song inspired by real love and celebrated by everyone around me - I couldn't, not do this.
24: What is the songwriting process generally like for you?
TC: I take so many different approaches to songwriting. Sometimes there is a lyric idea that I'll save as a note on my phone. Sometimes I'll make a beat and write a song around the production. Most times I'll sit down with a guitar and start strumming. The first few strums will set a mood and then my head space takes over lyrics. The melody is usually the result of my reaction to the mood + lyric.
24: Is songwriting easier to achieve when it’s a collaborative process?
TC: I think collaborations are the best way to achieve a good song. Carly and I write often - both on and off the road. She is definitely the strongest songwriter I have sat down with and I owe a lot of what I know about writing to her. She is my favourite person to collaborate with and because we've been writing together for so many years, the flow is natural. Carly never has a weak idea or lack of ideas.
Fire was definitely a collaboration between Ryan Stewart and myself. In my original demo, I had ended the chorus before landing on the hook. Without collaboration the song wouldn't have come together as well as it did. Collaborations save songs.
24: You have spent the better part of the last few years touring the world and creating amazing experiences with Carly Rae and the whole ‘Call Me Maybe’ phenomenon. How do you put that in perspective; having done so much and achieved all the success? How do you stay focused and grounded through it all?
TC: Each person involved in the ‘Call Me Maybe’ phenomenon is definitely thankful for all the success. There was a conversation between Carly and I that stands out to this day. She was working on her next record and everyone was feeling the pressure to follow up ‘Call Me Maybe’. Carly was so good about seeing past the hurdle of topping the seemingly un-toppable and instead was able to do something completely different. Why compete against what you already did? That has been the most grounding experience yet. It's easy to focus on writing what you want to write when you don't feel outside pressures.
24: Of all the opportunities that situation afforded you, are there a couple of moments that particularly stand out?
TC: There is an endless list of moments I am thankful for. One of my most prominent memories is the time we did a week long Safari in South Africa. It's hard to forget, let alone believe, that you were once sitting right next to a lion.
24: Your brother Nigel Crowe has been featured in my column on previous occasions with different projects so obviously the Crowe household was a musical one. What started you on the path to music?
TC: My parents loved music. They encouraged my brothers and I to take piano lessons at a young age but there was never an expectation to be studied at it. As long as it was fun - it was worth their money. My pops played in rock and roll bands his entire life and was always writing music. My older brother Nigel has been an asset in my musical life as well. We played in bands growing up together. Nigel paved the way and looked out for me by encouraging every musical project I took on.
24: Who are some of the artists that you drew inspiration from early on?
TC: Boston - cause we all love Dad rock; Buena Vista Social Club - cause dang.. have you heard those rhythms and The Eagles - undeniable. Those three bands were always playing in the Crowe house.