Interview – Still Life

By: Jenna Melanson

Still Life is an alternative rock band from Hamilton, Ontario. The band consists of Evan Bowers (Vocals/ Rhythm Guitar), Mike James Dojcsak (Lead Guitar), Graham King (Bass), and Erik Thorkildsen (Drums). You can find their full-length album, “Lost In Orbit” on iTunes:

I had the chance to conduct a virtual interview with the band, so keep reading to find out more.

How did you choose the name “Still Life” for the band?

SL:   We came up with the name Still Life because we felt it suited our simple, unfiltered image and music.  Something simple and real.

You released your first EP, “Page One” in September 2012 and your first full length album, “Lost In Orbit” in September, 2013. How did your sound change between these two releases?

SL:  I’d say we progressed in the sense of chemistry.  As far as togetherness, we are tighter then when we wrote the EP.  Everything from rhythm down to locking it in for those tight pauses.  It’s a great feeling.

How were the fan reactions for your album?

SL:  By this point, we’re starting to see reactions on a daily basis.  But so far, I can summarize it by saying that people seem genuinely impressed that we’ve managed to release an album with ten songs that are actually worth listening to.  We set a really high standard for every song on the record as the last thing we wanted was to have a few good tracks then you end up skimming the last few because they don’t carry the same momentum.

What can fans expect next from the band?

SL:  People can expect to see a lot of live performances in 2014.  We’re branching out further than before and hope to cross the border a little this year as well.  Fans in our area can expect to see us hit our hometown and surrounding area as well.

You recently were added to the Bands Fur Animals roster, what made you decide to work with this organization?

SL:  As soon as I got the message from Jess asking us if we wanted to join the family, we were all immediately interested.  We’re all animal lovers and are big supporters of rescues and finding homes for animals.  It combined the love we have for what we do with Still Life as well as our love for the well-being of animals so naturally, we were really excited to be a part of what BFA are doing.

Speaking of animals, it’s seems only right to ask, do you have any pets? If so, what type, and what are their names?

Erik: I have a miniature dachshund named Shopsy and she is an angel.

Evan: We have two pitbulls (named Buffy and Asia) and a cat named Salem, who can be a bit of an ass****.

Graham:  I’ve got a dog named Cricket who is an Australian Sheppard crossed with a whippet and a black cat named Benny.

Mike:  My girlfriend and I have two dogs.  Jagger, who is a lab/collie/wolf mix, and Rookie, who is a beagle/pitbull mix.  We also have an orange tabby cat named Cat as my girlfriend is a bit Audrey Hepburn fan.  She also has a rabbit named Honey and her sister who lives with us has a rabbit named Vic.  All of our animals are rescued.

When writing songs, what inspires you?

Erik:  Thinking about whether the people who I look up to musically would be able to appreciate what I’m creating as much as I appreciate what they create.  This line of thought keeps me fresh with myself and motivates me to push my boundaries constantly when writing and performing.

Evan:  I think the point in my life where I feel I had really grown into musical adulthood is when I realized I don’t have to write songs that are stories.  I can write songs that are from my heart about issues and things I feel.  You’d be surprised by how many people don’t do that.  I have so much to say and so much emotion to pour out of me when it comes to my daily issues and problems.  Well, not necessarily problems, but relevant things.

Mike:  I find the biggest catalyst in emotions causes me write at my most honest perspective.  When something pushes me to feel intense love, anger, happiness, desperation, it’s times like these that my heart gives way to the words that my logical mind tends to overlook.

In all the songs you have written, what song means the most to you? Why?

Evan:  The most important song to me happens to be our first single “Lost and Found”.  The song explains in a very powerful way how it feels to be a musician and not simply settle in life for something that you aren’t meant to do.  I feel this every single time we play it.

Erik:  This Open Air.  There’s just something freeing, simple and beautiful about that song to me.  I enjoy songs and albums that reflect their titles in a picturesque way.  This Open Air feels like an open sky or a feather floating to the ground.  When we wrote that song, we knew it had to kick off the album and that never changed in our minds for track order.

Mike:  Cheap Wine means the most to me.  It was the first song Evan and I put together when we first started writing acoustic together.  It’s about realizing how much of a different person you’ve become since growing up.  I’m happy with the choices I’ve made in my life that have led me to the amazing place I’m at now, but my mind always wonders where I could’ve ended up if I had done things differently, you know?

If you were able to tour with any other Canadian band, which would you choose?

Erik: On a larger scale, Metric.   I dig that band a lot and I think us supporting them would be a great fit on both ends.  On a smaller scale, The Baxters.  They’re my favorite Canadian band and they’re some of our best friends, and like us, nobody really knows about them.  But one day, people will, and it will be awesome.

Evan:  I feel like we would fit really well the The Arkells, and it’s not just a coincidence that they’re also from Hamilton.

Mike:  Definitely Arkells as well.  They’ve been my favorite band since 2007 and I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done, from the Deadlines EP to Michigan Left.  I’ve seen them more times than I can remember and they always do it for me musically, plus they’re really wicked guys.  I feel like Max and I would have bagels every day for breakfast.  That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

At Canadian Beats, we always like to include a little portion of the interview that is random and fun questions, that may give your fans some new information about you, so let’s do this!

Up until now, have you had any crazy fan experiences? If so, what was the craziest one?

SL:  There was one really weird experience when we were in our trailer after The Baxters cd release in London that got really weird.  We’ve also managed to lock our keys in our trailer after two separate London shows, and one guy happened to know how to break a padlock easily.  Like, it took him ten seconds.  It was mind boggling how easy it was.  We were grateful but we got stronger locks the next day.

If you were only allowed to listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would you choose? (Not one of your own)

Erik:  “Beware” by Deftones.  That song has a lot of deep meaning to me.

Evan:   That’s a tough one.  I’d have to say “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead.  I’ve heard that song 3409203940293043 times and I’ve never got sick of it.

Graham:  That’s a hard one.  But as of right now, I’d have to choose “Emotional Sickness” by Silverchair.  I love the melody and flow of that song, and it’s a great opening track off their album Neon Ballroom.  Plus I’ve been a big fan of theirs for a long time.

Mike:  It would have to be a tie between “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters and “Resistance” by Muse.  I think Everlong is the greatest, most raw and perfect love song ever written, and Resistance is just incredible through and through.  I love Matt Bellamy’s vocals on the chorus of that tune.  He was the vocalist and really taught me to push my voice into much stronger territory and this song is a perfect example.

What is your all time favourite movie?

Erik:  “Pi” Daron Aronofsky.

Evan:  “Saving Private Ryan” for dramatic and “Dumb and Dumber” for comedy.

Graham:  Probably a tie between The Matrix and maybe Anchorman.

Mike:  A tie between “Man on Fire” with Denzel Washington and “I Am Legend” with Will Smith.

What is the best part of being in a band, in your opinion?

Erik:  There aren’t any rules so you can do whatever you want but still be really smart.  You have to take educated guesses, fail a lot, pick up the pieces and restart.  It’s painful but that’s how you know you’re doing something right; it’s not supposed to be easy.

Evan:  Brotherhood.  You have four guys who become the best of friends and are part of this incredible experience that they’ve created.  It’s the best feeling in the world to see these guys around you dedicating their lives to something you started.

Graham:  I really enjoy playing shows with bands I would’ve otherwise never heard of or seen and getting to hear a lot of local music because there are some really great bands around Southern Ontario right now.

Mike:  I’ve been in bands for years and this is the first one I’ve honestly poured my everything into and been proud of every step.  It’s really the only thing in my life I’ve had no reservations about and have given my whole heart to something I’ve created.  It’s like having a kid that you can’t go to jail for dropping.

If you could be in one TV show for an episode, which show would you pick?

Graham:  The Eric Andre Show, because it’s just completely insane.

Evan:  The Nightman Cometh, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Erik:  It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Mike: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

What is one thing that your fans would be surprised to learn about you?

Evan:  I’m an avid gamer.  I used to play counter strike for money online.

Mike:  I used to be 70 pounds heavier and was in the top 128 in Ontario at one time for both Pokemon Cards and Magic: The Gathering cards.  I needed to carry a pitchfork to fight off the ladies.

Last, but not least, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Evan:  Support indie music.  There are musical gold mines all around you, just seek them out.

Graham:  I would just want to say thanks to anyone who’s taken the time to check us out, and I hope you enjoy the music!

Mike:  Don’t listen to what your friends think you should listen to and don’t be afraid to give new bands a chance.  People tend to narrow their minds so much when it comes to music and would really be blown away if they’d allow themselves to be.

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