Five Questions With Birchcliff

Birchcliff (aka Jake Harding) is named for a small neighbourhood in Scarborough, Toronto.

His new single, “Anxiety” offers a window into Harding’s mindset and benefits listeners a distinctive perspective on the artist’s hybridization of folk instrumentation and hip-hop lyricism.

Themes such as mental health, wealth disparity, and climate change ring throughout the song’s opening until heavy percussion and electric guitar slam into a triumphant dirge—“Anxiety/ Got me/ I ain’t free no, no/”—that lingers in the air after each chorus.

“I’m inspired by people I witness from all walks of life living in Toronto. It’s often human struggle that inspires me most – rich or poor, we all struggle with something. Pain manifests in many different forms, at varying degrees of intensity, but it’s something that most of us can relate to,” says Harding.

Anxiety’s introspective nature plays to the strengths of Harding’s experimentation with two genres, the rhythm and cadence leave the listener a sensation of a march towards answers, answers that may not be found.

“It took me until I was in my late twenties, with my own space, and a lot of life experience to pick up the guitar and put pen to paper. As soon as I did, the songs just poured out,” says Harding.

The single is one of the tracks from Birchcliff’s debut EP, The City and the Mountain. Check it out below, and find out more about Birchcliff via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name’s Jake and I go by the name of Birchcliff to represent the small neighbourhood in Scarborough, Toronto, Canada where I grew up. I’m a brand new artist with a debut EP called ‘The City and the Mountain’ coming out on November 5th.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My music is a mesh of all my favourite genres – folk, hip hop, indie, and alt-rock.

I love to tell stories and move people with words. My first EP is a bit of my own story.

What have you been doing to keep yourself creative during the pandemic?

I’m an extroverted introvert. The pandemic gave me a legitimate excuse to stay in, strum my acoustic, and write songs; not that I needed one!

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

The song that means the most to me on the upcoming EP is called, ‘Fine’. It’s about first love and I picture it as a modern version of something played at a 1960’s high school dance.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

I’m a big fan of Jeremy Dutcher. I have Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa on vinyl. I’ve heard it a thousand times and it still brings tears to my eyes.

I’ve been listening to Meredith Moon a lot lately. I hope I can play the banjo like her one day.

I’ve been on the road a lot lately and have reintroduced ‘The Wild’ by Rural Alberta Advantage. I think that’s my all-time favourite driving album.

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