By: James Morrison
"I'm a little sick of talking about myself, to be perfectly honest." Edwin, the no-last-names-please vocalist who made music-trade headlines after a very public departure from Canadian chart-toppers I Mother Earth, is one tired dude. After a week of criss-crossing the country to promote his brand-new solo debut, Another Spin Around The Sun, he's returned to his Toronto home base to recharge his batteries, and is spending part of his precious weekend with Profile.
He's especially weary of the endless inquiries about why he left his former band (which is also hard at work on a new record with a new singer), but he seems to understand why his fans, after two years, are still trying to make sense of his decision.
"When you're dealing with people on a day-to-day basis, you have to have a good dynamic between you," he says, "And we didn't. I thought, and hoped for eight years that we would reach that level of harmony amongst ourselves. But after eight years, and a complete record deal, I realized that it wasn't going to happen. So it was a choice between doing it for another five or six years with the same individuals, or trying it on my own."
"Sometimes, to get great music, you have to have that little friction, that aggressiveness, that competition in ideas, you know? But it wasn't about that. It was about personality conflicts and basic philosophies. I felt I couldn't grow in that lineup, and that they couldn't grow in that linup, either. And the only thing that was going to save us was to separate."
The first hint that there might be life for Edwin beyond IME came via an invitation from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson to work on Lifeson's own solo album, Victor. At the time, it seemed a validation of a new generation of Canadian rock musicians. But to the young singer who suddenly found himself working alongside one of his own boyhood idols, it was "an injection of confidence. Not so much as a frontman or a performer, but as a singer. To know that my vocal style, my sound, was enjoyed by somebody like Alex Lifeson, that somebody I admired was admiring me a little bit... I was, like, 'Hey, maybe I don't suck!"
Another Spin was made with a varied cast of outside writers and session musicians, from Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Damn Yankees fame to guitarist Ruben Huizenga and drummer Chris Simpson, ex of Glueleg. "That's the beauty of being a solo artist," Edwin explains. "You can pick and choose the sound of the guy, or the style of the guy, that you think is best for the song. I like versatility in music, which is why this record has so much of it."
One thing is for sure; as he gears up for a summer tour that will kick off with shows on this summer's Edgefest mainstage, fans will see a new, pop-friendly side to this well-established performer.
"I grew up with the classic rock, the slightly underground rock and the pop of my generation," he says, "That's a part of me. I was celebrating the pop side of me on this record, while still keeping integrity and as much originality as possible. It challenged me in areas where I haven't been challenged before. I was trying to be more accessible, not obscure or bizarre."
"I'm still proud of the I Mother
Earth records; I still think they hold their own. But I want people to
hear my music. I want them to sing along, celebrate it, drive
along or lay out in the sun with it, whatever people do with their music.
I don't want it to be something that only a small, select group of people
can identify with. I've done that. I don't want to just walk around the
same playground all the time."
"...I thought, and hoped, for eight years
that we would reach that level of harmony
amongst ourselves. But after eight years and
a complete record deal, I realized that it
wasn't going to happen."