Portland singer-songwriter Adam Zwig is preparing for the release of his latest EP, Stones, Bones and Skin. With less than two weeks before its arrival, we recently caught up with Adam to ask him what to expect from this new five-song record, and get to know this up-and-coming artist a bit better.
"I'm really excited to release this new EP," he told us. "I had an experience writing the songs that was very shamanistic. I fell into strange altered states and heard the words and melodies as if they'd already been written. I like the vibe of the tunes and the [album] artwork with the shamans, because they pretty much reflect what I went through creating the EP."
"My creative process is totally unpredictable," Adam continued. "I never decide to write a song or make a record. I go months without writing anything, then suddenly one day songs will start happening. The only must-have I need is a cool vibe in the studio. I usually write the songs alone, and when I bring them to the band everyone has to be in synch with the vibe of the tune, the colors of it, and the words."
If you couldn't tell, making music is as much a spiritual experience for him as it is a creative one. As such, his philosophy as an artist is a pretty simple one. Asked what's most important to him in his career, he told us, "Staying true to the music. I feel that the best stuff was done between the 1940's and 1970's, before the corporate world realized they could make a lot of money from rock 'n roll. The greatest songs were always done without the spotlight.
"Once people started analyzing what sells, I think they killed something essential, snuffed the breath out of it. A lot of it has been neutralized, familiarized, strategized, and is no longer challenging, threatening, or magical. So authenticity is what's important to me."
"Older music is a completely different beast than current music, and this older stuff is what I'm drawn to," Adam continued. "Music before computers is what music after computers is trying to imitate. I would recommend listening to almost anything from the early 70's, or check out some Miles Davis, John Coltrane, or some early [Bob] Dylan, or older blues like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf."
He's a little more critical when it comes to picking out highlights of his own work. "I don't really have a favorite album or song. Each one is a picture of a moment in time. It's a process," he said. "But a while ago I listened to a few of my older super low-fi albums - Koan and Cast Iron Letters - and I was surprised. There's no striving to hook the listener; they sound more like poems than albums."
But Adam's cool and thoughtful nature serves him well; while fans eagerly await the release of Stones, Bones and Skin, he's not losing any sleep at the release date drawing near. In fact, he's looking forward to it. "I have a huge backlog of material," he told us. "I'm always ahead of myself in terms of where I'm at by the time a record is released. Sometimes in the in-between time I'm already into new songs.
"But when it gets near record release time, the band rehearses for the tour, and the songs come alive on stage, I get super excited. After having let them be for a while, letting them breathe, leaving them alone, forgetting about them for a bit, I get a bit of objectivity and can hear what I think they sound like to other people."
Once the record arrives, he has plans to hit the road. "We are doing a twenty-show national tour in October. East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast," he said. "We've also posted some live videos of a few of the songs from the EP, and are in the process of making some other videos too.
"I'm currently focused on the lyric video for the EP's 'Waiting On Heaven (To Make A Move) (Remix),' which is an orchestral version of a song off my last album, Visions Of The Shimmering Night," he added. "It's going to be a really creative and surprising video, directed by Aya Tanimura."
No matter what happens after the release of his latest record, this unique artist is going to continue turning out his own different brand of music, and enjoying the journey of his career. "I'm very happy with where I am. My music career is like my songwriting - I follow the process of where it goes," Adam reflected. "My only goal is to stay true to the art. Following the muse is really all I'm interested in. I never think of myself as ending up in a certain place, because life is a process that's always going forward to somewhere new."