On November 1st, Eric Reid, the multi-talented singer, songwriter, and musician from Toronto, took to the stage at The Piston to perform songs from his debut solo EP, “Eric Reid – A Prince”. The EP was released on October 21st and is a compilation of six original songs written and produced by Reid himself.
Reid has a truly special talent for expressing intimate experiences with an authentic bluntness. On the album he explores some familiar themes related to love, death, and the futility of life, but from multiple perspectives that are both inspired and convincing.
While thematically heavy, the songs are not angst-ridden. Reid finds a way for the songs to remain catchy, energetic, and relatable. The production on the album is a rich fusion of rock ’n’ roll and indie music, with crashing drums and dreamy synth prevalent. Reid’s Facebook page proclamation that he adopted Robert Downey Sr.’s “do-whatever-the-fuck-you-want, on no budget, the way you want to do it work ethic” is real and works. His voice and music is in your face, but also in your life.
Just hours before the show, Reid recounted a big risk and blunder he had made when performing with his old band, LadyFace. It illustrates what Reid is all about; taking risks and keeping it real:
“Before the first show I played with my old band, LadyFace, I impulsively decided I was going to play acoustic guitar, even though I had always played our songs with an electric guitar. So, I went on stage and I broke three strings almost immediately and we couldn’t play the show. I just hope I don’t ‘rock’ that hard tonight.”
Seeing Eric Reid on stage, you could tell he was not holding anything back. Without the fear of broken strings, he plucked and strummed his way through an acoustic playlist that included several of the album’s songs, some new material, and a Strokes’ cover. Brianna Bordihn, a member of the New Market band Bordeen, accompanied Reid on stage. The two will be pairing up in the new year to release a duet album that they previewed as being a “pretty and acoustic-y” work.
The full interview with Eric Reid is transcribed below. To watch the video for his song “Again and Again and Again” from the EP “Eric Reid -A Prince”, open the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EI6TJJo5V0
Background & about Eric:
I: What is your background with playing music?
E: I’ve been playing music my whole life. I went to school for music in Newfoundland, Canada at CNA (College of the North Atlantic,) which is basically a music performance school. The program was more about how to “make it” in the music industry. It was sort of a stupid course. I was trying to get as far away from where I lived as I could.
I: Did you grow up in Toronto?
E: No, I grew up in Muskoka, I grew up in the country.
I: Do you think that because you grew up in Muskoka and in the country, this influenced your music?
E: I think it helped me to focus on music because there is like, nothing to do there, so you have to find stuff to do. It’s either, you ride snowmobiles, or you play music, or you play video games. You need to find a hobby.
So yea I went to school in Newfoundland for a couple of years – it wasn’t great. When you’re going to music school, you’re going to a place where there is a bunch of other musicians. I learned more about how to play music, and what it is to perform, and write songs, just through hanging out with people who are all doing the exact same thing as I did – more so even than from the actual courses.
I: If you could only listen to music made by three musicians for the rest of your life, whose would you choose?
E: Leonard Cohen, and Conor Oberst. I would also probably pick Richard Edwards, he’s the lead singer from Margot & the Nuclear, which are some of my favourite songs ever – I couldn’t not listen to him. So yea those three dudes. I relate to them the most, and they’re all incredible.
“A Prince” album info:
I: What is your favourite song on the album? Why?
E: It is “Precious Time”, because I can play it on any instrument and I still like the way it sounds. It holds its own. We’re playing it acoustic tonight and it sounds better than the recording. I feel like if a song is written well, you should be able to play it on any instrument and it should still sound like a good song.
I: Where did you find your inspiration when you were making this album?
E: I take a lot of stuff from my life, like break up stuff.
I: The lyrics in the album sound very personal, is this kind of ‘autobiographical’ writing something that comes naturally to you?
E: Yes and no, I’ve never really written a completely autobiographical song. It’s more like, you take bits from what you know and then it’s also other people’s experiences. It all sort of gets filtered down, for me at least. It’s all sort of one theme, and I find that theme through other people’s stories along with in my own and then that becomes what I write about, as oppose to just myself because my life is pretty boring.
I: Do you feel like there is a certain theme that the album follows?
E: I feel like half of the record is about being present. Half of the songs I wrote are about people being on their phones all the time. Like “Precious Time” is about being on your phone at a party, “Astronauts” is about people constantly being on their phones because they’re bored.
Not that people being on their phones is necessarily a bad thing, because I am guilty of it too, and I am also not saying “oh, live in the moment, man!” it is more just like this general sluggishness I feel with a generation of people that constantly have this escape route into their devices. It is not necessarily good or bad. I guess I am just a tiny bit apathetic about it. I never really reached a consensus or theme writing about it, I just wrote about it.
What’s up next?
I: If someone were to miss the show tonight when can they see you play?
E: I think I’ll play some shows around Ontario. I’m just taking things one day at a time, one show at a time. I’m working on getting a band together. Right now, it’s just me, and my friend Brianna singing the songs. Tonight we’re gunna play softer versions of the recorded songs.
I’m recording new songs right now and they are all actually she and I singing. They are more of a “very pretty”, acoustic-y type of stuff. The new set of songs is also a bit more coherent (than A Prince,) and more current to my current state of mind.
I: When is that new project gunna drop?
E: Maybe, in February.
Photo By: Natalie Toombs