SayWeCanFly chats with us about his musical journey!

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While sometimes it’s fine to get a little weird and goofy in interviews, my favorite part and what’s kind of kept me going in this crazy pursuit is talking about the actual songwriting and recording process. I want to know if they do it in one take, how they break it down on their album board. I want to know why they chose to record in a certain location and why they chose a certain producer. Everything!

So when I sat down to chat with Braden Barrie aka SayWeCanFly, I leapt right into it and knew I was in for a good one. Along with being an excellent writer, he’s produced several records and completed several successful tours despite just turning 21 this past November. Read our new one below and look for him out on the road during the rest of 2016!
A soft one to start, you’ve obviously been really actively touring.  You did your headlining tour then Warped Tour and this. Maybe the three things you must have with you while on tour to survive? 
My phone obviously because if I don’t know where it is for five minutes I panic because it’s become like an extra limb. Probably for a lot of people. And then I’m trying to think of something else. You have to have like a good music playlist to listen to in the van so I usually try to download some stuff beforehand. I don’t really bring a lot with me. I just bring like my clothes and stuff. I usually like to have a book or two. Right now it’s just this book I got for Christmas with all like these nice, happy, positive quotes in it. Just anything like that I usually like to bring so when I’m bored I can read something.

Then maybe how has this tour been going? I know you started originally as a solo act but obviously you have a live band with you on this run. How have these shows been going for you? 
It’s been amazing. I think this tour was kind of the reason I decided to get a band together. So it’s not like I’m going to be switching to a full band project but it’s just for like tours like this. I wanted to be able to play the songs the way they sound on the album. To just kind of match the energy level. So it’s been really, really cool. This is like my first really legit support tours. It’s amazing to be up there with these bands. They’re all amazing. So nice and professional. It’s been like a definitely new experience and I used to listen to some of these bands back in the day.
Oh really?
Yeah like The Ready Set and Set it Off. It’s actually cool because like the first show I played ever in my hometown like years ago, they were supposed to come and headline it but they didn’t make it across the border. I like brought it up with them, I was like yeah remember that? It was really cool. Cool connection!

Then maybe how has it been. You have a very strong internet presence, I know you’ve been doing this for a long time. A very DIY vibe but you’re also a Canadian artist. It’s hard to come down here, maybe advice to bands coming over for the first time?
Get a work visa, you need a work visa. The first time I tried to do a tour here, I didn’t know that I needed one. I wasn’t getting paid for the tour but I went to the border and was like hey I’m doing these shows because I didn’t want to lie about what I was doing. They were like yeah you can’t, you need a work visa. So every single time since then, I get pulled aside and questioned because they flag that. So make sure you have your paperwork and also just make sure you’re pumping the shows on social media beforehand. It’s hard because there’s so much on social media. Just make people aware of the shows. Sometimes I’ll post like I’m playing here tonight and people are like what? I didn’t even know about it. So just make sure you’re on top of that and have a good time. It’s a good experience!

And I wanted to ask you, you’ve been steadily releasing new music. Maybe how do you feel the writing process has changed for you? Is it still the sameway that you wrote before, is it kind of different every time? 
I think it’s a little different. The core is still the same but I think since I started writing, I’ve been getting older and stuff. There’s more like going on inside my head now. Just like everyone but it’s a little harder to get into the spot where you just kind of freely write and not worry about what people think. When I first started writing, nobody had ever heard of my music. It was easier, it was like I don’t know if people are going to like this. The management and the label need to like it. So, there’s just more thoughts that I kind of have to push away but it’s still kind of the same. Me and my guitar and my phone where I just record on the voice memo app. It just like starts there. So it’s just like a lot of thinking I had to push away.

Then other musicians have gained a lot of success after an Internet assisted boost like NeverShout Never, Mod Sun. You’ve all kind of done it yourself. Maybe something you would have told yourself when you first started? Maybe something you would have avoided? 
I think the biggest thing would probably be enjoy where you’re at because when I started, it was always man I want to get here. Focusing. Which is good, you have to have your goals but it always feels that way. No matter where you get to, you always feel like you need to be somewhere better. Even like this tour. I went to a show where it was a similar package and I was like oh man I think this is the coolest thing ever. I remember like wanting to be on a show like that when I was fourteen so you have to step back and remember that where you are is probably further then you were before. You have to not get caught up in that but it’s very hard and I think that’s probably the piece of advice I would have given myself.

Then maybe for you, you talked about how you listened to some of these bands in the past and maybe influenced you. For you, the first CD or cassette you can remember getting as a kid then the first concert you went to? 
The first CD I ever got was Relient K’s “Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…but Three Do”. I had a Walkman. Actually my mom got it for me I think and I listened to it every day. It was just like man I have a CD which was really cool back then. I listened to it every single day and that was kind of one of the first albums that got me into that kind of genre. I think the first legit concert I ever went to was Mayday Parade and they were headlining. Set Your Goals and The Secret Handshake, it was in Toronto in like 2008 or ’09. Something like that. So yeah those are the first and it was cool. I really had a great time at it.
You’re still pretty young right so that makes sense. 
Yeah I’m 21, I turned 21 in November. I don’t know! Sometimes I feel old, sometimes I feel young.
You’ve been doing it so long despite being so young. 
It changes all the time. Sometimes I miss how I felt when I first started. I’m just doing it to do it. I was doing it because making music made me happy. Then it becomes a job, there are all these other components that you have to take care of and sometimes you forget about why you started. It’s a crazy experience.

And like I said, you steadily release new music. Are you currently working on a new record or an EP? 
Yeah I actually have some music already done so I’m just working on like the technical stuff of what I want to do. Most times when I have a record recorded, I already have like the next one half written. So I’m always working on new stuff. It’s kind of like a battle of I write a really good song and I want to save it for a full length but I was planning on doing a new EP because it may tie into the story better. Every time I write an album, I kind of look at it as a story. So it’s like a constant battle where you think you’ve written your best song then two months later you’re like wait a minute, this is better.
And that’s something you always kind of intend to do, to write a record as a story or a like a concept album?
I think so yeah. I mean I know some bands are writing forty songs then pick like ten of them but for me, it has to tell a story. It has to bring people to like a certain place. That’s just kind of how I’ve always written and it probably isn’t going to change.

Perfect then maybe to end it off, like you said, you’re only a few days into this tour. Obviously a pretty long run. Kind of what’s coming up for you after this tour? 
Well, I have a couple things that I can’t really say yet. So I’ll be doing some shows but I’m probably going to be taking some time to just work on new music and write because I just really haven’t done that in a while. I just feel like I need to. To be efficient and be able to focus on the others thing, I just need to put some attention on the actual art part. So I’m just going to be chilling at my place and working on music for a while, making some videos. It’s just sometimes hard to put like ten hours into writing a video treatment or something when you’re on the road all the time. I haven’t really had time lately just because I’ve been busy to go on Twitter and talk to people for two hours. I really want to like re-establish that connection, I feel like it’s drifted a little bit.
Just a thing you always try to do, like an interaction?
It is and when I first started, that was really all I had. It’s just really when there’s more and more being thrown at you, sometimes it’s just hard to put time into that but it’s always going to be really important to me. I feel like I need to dedicate some more time to it. I always try to post all the time but I’d like to have more time to converse with people!

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Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.

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