Interview: Great Lake Swimmers

Compared to Nick Drake and Iron and Wine, the Canadian folk band Great Lake Swimmers have created, through fantastic acoustic mastery, a sound that is encased with a serene spirituality. Led by lead vocalist Tony Dekker, the Great Lake Swimmers have already released four full length albums and toured across the world. Such amazing achievements, I believe, are in the most part down to intimate nature of the music the Great Lake Swimmers produce. Tony Dekker‘s majestic lyrical construction makes the listener feel as if they are the only person in the audience, leaving one in a state of belief that one had a personal window into the woven meanings contained in every song. This emphasis on carefully crafted lyrics and well orchestrated instrumentals have led the Great Lake Swimmers to be considered one of the finest Folk bands of today. Therefore Crack In The Road were delighted when Tony kindly agreed to answer some of our questions.

CITR: If you had to cite one band/artist as a major influence upon you, who would it be?

Leonard Cohen.

CITR: What has been your favourite gigging experience to date?

Touring in China.

CITR: How much do you feel growing up in the rural surroundings of Wainfleet affected your music?

It’s definitely a deep source for me. When I sit down and think about something about the natural world that I feel I may have a unique perspective on, it always comes back to that.

CITR: Your sound has been described as ‘spiritual folk’ weaved within a ‘melodic melancholy’. Do you agree with this assessment? If so, what has inspired you to create such a sound?

It’s difficult for me to agree with this assessment. I think the media is very quick to put labels on things, though I understand that people need reference points. I’m not sure what inspired my sound. The songs just came out that way.

CITR: You have been reported as saying your lyrics are deliberately left open for interpretation. Is this to encourage a more active listener and to make the relationship between artist and audience more intimate?

I think the songs are designed so that the deeper you get into them the more rewarding they are. I try to write songs that stand on their own lyrically.

CITR: You released your fourth full length album last year ‘Lost Channels’; can we expect any further releases from the Great Lake Swimmers in the near future? If so, how has the sound evolved, if at all?

I think the sound is continually evolving. We just released an EP of live, acoustic versions of ‘Lost Channels’ called ‘the Legion Sessions.’ Other than that, I hope we can get back into the studio soon. I’m excited about developing the band chemistry with the lineup that we have now.

CITR: And most importantly, when do you plan to tour the UK again?

We toured in the UK twice in 2009 but unfortunately don’t have any plans to return just yet. Hopefully something comes up soon.

CITR: PC or Mac?

PC for work & Mac for fun.

CITR: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

Invisibility. It’s self-explanatory.

Check out Great Lake Swimmers’ Myspace!

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