A CALMER COLLISION: “I live to create…”
A Calmer Collision is a music project of producer/engineer Ryan McCambridge, that is located in Toronto, Canada.
After playing in his former alternative rock band “Recovery Child”, he now decided to enter the studio as a solo artist.
Recently he took some time for a nice interview with us, which turned out to be the perfect occasion to find out more about this charismatic musician.
– When have you decided to become a musician?
I’ve been a musician since I was 12 years old… which was a long time ago! As a kid I didn’t really gravitate to any activities, really, but when I started getting into good music I got it in my head that I wanted to play as well. At the time I didn’t really understand what that meant but it quickly grew into a necessity. I completely identify with myself through music now and it’s always been the biggest priority in my life. Once I recognized that, I knew I would always be a musician.
– Tell us a few words about your new solo-project “A Calmer Collision”.
I’ve spent the better part of my life working in studios as an engineer/producer because I love both the artistic and the technical aspects of it. As much as I love playing live and being on stage, I’m much more at peace in the studio because it’s the catalyst of creation. More than anything else, I live to create. I started casually working on A Calmer Collision years ago in my spare time in the studio. It was a way for me to experiment with sounds without the commitment of being an artist for those sounds. I was in my band Recovery Child at the time and the two didn’t really gel so I kept the separate and Recovery Child always took priority. I was fortunate enough to have had a couple successes with A Calmer Collision though despite not really putting much effort in, but recently I committed to legitimizing it. I didn’t want the music to be kept in hiding anymore so I set out to actually make A Calmer Collision something that could artistically represent me.
– Is there any special meaning behind the name of your project?
I came up with the name years ago. I loved the phonetics and alliteration of it, and the visual it created. I think that it’s a good description of who I am and how I approach music creation. I like when there’s a balance of control and chaos and in the end I think that gets represented in the music I make.
– Nowadays people are often too lazy to check out new and unknown music. Why should they make an exception for your music?
(Laughs) I can’t blame people for being disinterested. There’s so much music out there now that it makes it hard to know what’s worth your time. I don’t create music arbitrarily. I’m not the kind of artist that constantly throws songs out in the world to see what sticks. I try really hard to create music with meaning, something that I’ve dug deep for and pined over. I want people to hear my music and be moved and affected, and for them to hear all that I’ve put into it. I can’t give a good reason for people to listen to my music, at least not one that is going to sound sincere, but people tell me that I’ve achieved all that I’ve set out to do with music. If you believe in the sincerity of art, it’s perhaps a good reason to have a listen.
– How would you define your music in general?
That’s a tough one. I’ve been told by many people that A Calmer Collision doesn’t sound like anything else, which is about the highest compliment that you can be given as an artist. I didn’t really set out for this project to sound like anything in particular but the nature of my creative process and my overall influences have likely led me to make this music how it is. I’ve always believed in the importance of creating music that is sincerely you. It may not be fashionable or cool, but at least it represents who you are as an artist. I’d rather be great at being myself than be mediocre trying to be someone else. I’ve always subscribed to that, and to be honest, I don’t think I could create music for myself any other way. As for defining A Calmer Collision: Part of the sound comes from my commitment to wanting it to be a solo project. I do collaborate with people, like my co-producer David Bottrill, but I really wanted to not have to rely on others to make music. This means that I end up playing most of the instruments. If I can’t pull off what I’m trying to do, I’ll bring in a collaborator to help, but for the most part it’s just me. That’s the process. The other contributor is the fact that I grew up heavily influenced by both 80s new wave and 90s alt-rock. I feel like A Calmer Collision is my interpretation of those two eras of music. That’s how it sounds to me, anyway.
– Were you already lucky to gather any live-experiences and if so, would you tell us about your feelings on stage?
I have been really focussed on creating the music in the last while so I haven’t been on stage as of late. In Recovery Child playing live was easy: Songs were written, everybody learned their parts and we were ready to go. A Calmer Collision is different because all of the parts were created by me in the studio. There is no band, per se. Also, the music production is a bit more complicated so there’s a process in having to sort of “reverse engineer” the sounds. I will eventually commit to putting A Calmer Collision on stage but I really want to give people more music first before I shift gears into playing live.
– In which place or atmosphere do you usually write your songs?
I’ve learned to write everywhere but I’m most comfortable in small, dark, quiet spaces. I think that’s why I like being in the studio so much. It’s really easy to make excuses not to write though, so I try hard not to make my environment one of them. I’ve written songs on buses, on planes, at parties, in rehearsal spaces, etc. You can’t really control when creativity will strike you. For that reason, I just place a lot of importance on making the most of the time when it does.
– What is your biggest wish for your future?
There are so many! (Laughs) The biggest wish though: I want to leave this world feeling like I contributed something to the greater good. I want to feel like I affected people positively and that what I did with my time was important and meant something to people. It’s so easy to lose sight of that though… of what really matters. But the personal connections that I’ve made with fans tell me that I’m on the right path. They’ve shared their stories and experiences, their loves and tragedies, and entrusted me with their feelings. They tell me that the music I create means something to them and that it’s inspired or helped them. That’s what I set out to do and that’s what I truly hope I’m able to continue to do. How could I ask for more than that?