Artist INTERVIEW: STEVE CRAGGS
1. Hey Steve, super nice to have the chance to chat with you. What first got you into music?
Hi there! Thanks for getting in touch. Good to see we’re starting with an easy question then ha! Thinking back, music has always been a part of my life, as it has been with many people. We live in a society drenched in musical creativity, from advert jingles to fully formed songs by world renowned artists, it would be difficult to go an entire day without accidentally hearing some form of music! But the point where I decided to engage with it as more than a casual listener wasn’t a singular moment in time but rather an evolution of a love of music combined with an unusual fascination with the electric guitar. Having never played an instrument before, I was always drawn to the guitar for reasons unknown to even myself. It eventually become compelling enough to prompt me to ask for my very own. So on my 14th birthday, after getting my first electric guitar, my love of music was cemented in reality, and I had a direction to point it in, guitar-laden rock music!
2. Your latest song is “North Star” . Can you tell us more about the making of it and if there were any unusual things happening during the process?
The making of North Star was quite unusual from top to bottom, not least of all because it was recorded in isolation during a pandemic, but also because it was my first serious attempt at writing and recording music. I’d spent years playing in various bands performing covers of classic rock and pop songs but had never really considered myself a songwriter. When lock-down happened and the gigging stopped, I saw it as a chance to express a different side of myself creatively, and so began the arduous task of learning the craft of songwriting, and arduous it is! I’d like to say I take my hat off to anyone who has sat and written a song or album from start to finish. It’s strangely cathartic but also, as there is no guarantee at the end of a month’s work you will have anything that sounds good, it can be slightly discouraging too. There’s not many jobs that don’t guarantee some sort of payoff at the end, but this is one of them! Fortunately ‘North Star’ turned out great and I’m very pleased that I spent the time learning not only how to create a song, but also how to use the technology involved in all the recording, editing, mixing and mastering processes too.
3. When did you fall in love with rock music?
My love of rock music definitely has a single origin point. A moment where my life split into two, there was me before rock music, and me after rock music. I remember it as though it was yesterday! I was at college, fresh faced and full of the joys of life, innocently walking into the college’s social area only to hear on the stereo ‘Surfing With The Alien’ by one Joe Satriani. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but I knew I wanted to do whatever THAT was. Whatever he was doing on the guitar then became a life’s mission for me. Hearing that track then opened the door to all the other musical greats in the genre, and coupled with all of my other more mainstream musical interests I believe it has helped to shape my own personal sound and style which I now create my own songs in.
4. What do you think your role is in this world?
My role in this word is to write the best instrumental guitar song ever! And I’ve done it now. It’s called North Star, and I’m destined to be adrift for the rest of my days, an existence void without meaning as I’ve achieved my life’s purpose already. A burden I don’t mind bearing to be honest!
5. What was the most difficult challenge you faced?
Though I loved playing, studying theory, and performing with the guitar, I was always turned off by the technology side of the music world. Recording, mic placement, mixing, mastering, editing. It all just seemed so dry to me compared to the expressive freedom that an instrument can bring. This meant that as I came to record the track I had a lot to learn in terms of music tech, including all of the software that musicians use in their home studios now. The availability of all of this technology does allow more people, including myself, to be creative and bring their music to the world but it also has the downside of the artist now has to be skilled in every aspect of production. From songwriting to recording, to using virtual instruments, mixing, mastering, promotion, social media management. The list is endless! It can be overwhelming and easy to get distracted from why I decided to do this in the first place, because I loved playing the guitar.
6. What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of having taking on the challenges of everything I didn’t know in music technology. It’s been a giant learning curve but I’m proud that I remained motivated and inspired enough throughout it all to come out of the other end with a song and an album that I can stand by for years to come.
7. Do you listen to podcasts?
I do listen to podcasts yes, mainly when driving as there’s less adverts on them than the radio! To be honest though none are really music related, I tend to switch off when listening to podcasts and go for something easy to listen to including comedy or audio books.
8. Do u think technology is improving lives?
I take the stance that technology is very much a double-edged sword. It does provide very obvious and immediate benefits to people’s lives; instant communication, films, music and games all at the click of a button. It’s also much easier to have wider social groups than ever before, which all sounds great, right? Well on the other hand, it can also impact people’s lives negatively. Online interactions often replace genuine human contact, and though mobile phones; for example, are great, people often find they interact with friends more, but see them less and less when using technology. If I were to be dramatic; which I’m about to be, so brace yourself, it could be argued that this type of interaction through technology, coupled with an increased distancing from genuine one to one experiences can’t be good for a persons mental health in the long term. Now all of that said, I think the internet is great and I release my music online, which allows it to reach people that otherwise may never have heard it. Which is a very good thing! So is technology good or bad? It’s probably a bit of both.
9. Do you like “All Star” from Smash Mouth?
I do! I mean, everyone does. Right?
10. Do you usually agree with the Pigeon?
Only when he’s not trying to steal my chips.
You can check out the released music below. If you like what you hear, make sure to follow along so you can stay on top of future releases!
Words by The Pigeon
Discovered via http://musosoup.com
This coverage was created via Musosoup