Interview – Tablelands

At first listen to Tablelands, it’s easy to label him as a “folk artist”, but upon closer inspection, he is so much more. Sure, he’s got those folk roots from his small-town upbringing, but when he paints a picture with his clean vocals, solid harmonies and honest lyrics, you get a true artist that can’t be pigeonholed. Check out their newest video for their single, “Drive-In” below.

Your debut single “Drive-In” isn’t one to just listen to and forget…it’s a “listen three times in a row” track. How do you find that “right hook” in the creation process?

Thanks! I think the right hook finds you, and usually at the most unexpected times. If you ever see me ghost out of a room, it’s probably because a tune has popped into my head and I’m now in the bathroom humming it into my phone. My creation process is then just turning that voice note into a full arrangement with words.

The melody & harmonies have such a laid-back vibe, yet the lyrics are persistent in a way. Do you attribute that to your upbringing in Everton, ON, but maybe a craving an escape to bigger pastures?

Absolutely! Growing up in a small village meant making the best of what was available. Most opportunities to play were around a campfire where people wanted to hear old tunes they could sing along with. That same vibe made its way on to the track, but the various guitar sounds and lyrical content make it feel like it’s summer in the city.

The name Tablelands originates from a set of hiking trails on the East coast; an area you spent much of your childhood visiting relatives. Are there any other specific memories from childhood that sparked your love for music?

I remember getting my first drum kit back in grade 6 for Christmas. My dad scrounged together all the microphones we had and set up a basement studio. With him on guitar and little me on drums, we recorded a few classic rock tunes on cassette. We sent out copies to all our family across the country, and my teacher even lets me play it for everyone during art class. We called the project ‘In the Zone.’

Your Instagram shows you playing literally every instrument in the recording studio. Was this how it was for your entire debut EP?

I try to play as much as I can, but for the more complicated stuff I hand the instrument over to producer Sam Arion. So far ‘Drive-In’ is the only recorded track off the upcoming EP, but I think the process will be the same for the future sessions.

I’ve seen names like Neil Young and The Band in terms of just a couple of your musical influences. Who else were the artists/bands that helped awaken your passion for making music? Any newbies you’re loving?

I prefer music with warmth to it, especially with real instruments recorded in a room that you can hear. Neil Young and The Band are like hot soup on a winter’s day to me. That being said, I think good music is good music. I try not to change the station just because of the style it’s classified as. Currently Terra Lightfoot and Ryan Adams have been getting heavy rotation from me.

What’s next for you?

Writing, recording, performing, repeat.

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