On Megan Landry's Soundcloud profile, her bio line states "I am an artist", but after listening to her new single "Screaming Sun", it is clear that she is much more than just that. Based in Ottawa, Megan is pulling double duty as a college student studying multi-media design and is currently working on her next project, which follows her debut album from 2015, "STILLS".
We connected with Megan to find out how she manages being a student and aspiring rock star, how her latest single came together, how she stands apart from her musical influences and much more. After reading our Q&A with Megan, be sure to stream/download "STILLS" below.
I really love the instrumentation of your new single "Screaming Sun"; it's almost like a second voice on the song. Who produced it and how did the track come together?
Thanks for noticing that. I love the details in pulling a piece together. I've been working with the same music engineer, Scott Walsh, for six years now—I was 14 when we did my first recording. It's always been the same pattern with us. I write all the music and lyrics first using my piano, often super late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning, and alone. Though piano is the base, there's always a full blown production in my head. Then I go to the studio to create that accoustic piece into my vision. It starts with recording how I first wrote it, then I direct the editing to build what I'm imagining. 'Screaming Sun' was done this way—piano and rough cut of the vocals, and then building around it. The notes organically progressed into voices during recording, accompanied by a citar. That part was spontaneous and experimental. I like doing that, even surprising myself sometimes.
Voice or instrumentals, I love the way music can tip toe or slam, dance or run. It's on a different realm of reality, yet so connected to us in ours. Even with no words music feels happy/sad, it speaks in a universal language of its own and that's what I love to play with.
Who are some of your musical influences and how do you stand apart from them?
This is always a tough question. I don’t identify with or measure myself to any one particular artist or band. I seriously love all music, all genres. I respect what goes into creating—it’s not easy. Some of my favourite artists include: St. Vincent, Lianne La Havas, Frank Ocean, Muse, Radiohead, Tame Impala, Patrick Watson, OkGo, Nirvana, Beatles, Beyoncé, The Neighbourhood, Skrillex, just to name a few—my genre list is varied too, including classical, some blues and jazz. My taste is all over the place. Maybe this is why I've never felt like I belonged to one genre.
What can you tell us about your second album? Do you have a title for it yet and how will it be different from your first album "STILLS"?
My second album is four songs away from finished, very excited about this release. There's no general theme, just a stream of various thoughts influenced from things going on around me, including politics, world affairs, climate change and personal things too. The biggest difference between the two albums is the pace; my new album is more upbeat. I experiment with large choruses and big drums. From the lyric content to the music, I love to be expressive and individualistic straying from basic chords and topics choosing ones instead that I feel are culturally significant to my generation.
There's no name yet, mulling around a few ideas still. I really want it to be special. As a share though, along with 'Questions [on the Cliff]' and 'Screaming Sun' some of the other titles include 'No politics in Pangea', 1996, Salt, 20 Candles, Paradigm, and Crawl.
To follow up on the last question, what are you most proud of with your debut album "STILLS"?
STILLS was my first album, so the accolades it got took me by surprise, a good surprise. It was released in late August of 2015 and received two Indie album of the year acknowledgements. One was called a Rokky Award from a Canadian magazine Rokline, and the other was from a fairly prominent e-zine called Jammerzine.
You can catch the 2015 Rokky Awards: Favorite Canadian Indie Albums (top 15) article here ... mine is #10: http://www.rokline.com/2015-rokkies-favorite-canadian-albums
And, Jammerzine's, The 25 Best Indie Albums of 2015: Megan Landry – STILLS, I think it's American but I can't find anywhere where it says they are from http://jammerzine.com/the-25-best-indie-albums-of-2015-8/
I don't have a favourite song, they are so different. Some like 'Pieces', 'Cut To It' and 'Fork' are more personal than some of the others like 'Human Leather' or 'Yellow at a Funeral'. I am pleased though that as a debut album it was so well received.
How do you juggle your college life with your musical aspirations?
It's challenging. School has to come first, above all else. I think an education is critical, regardless of your path. I do feel though that education doesn't just come from school. I've learned and done so many things because of music. I'm not rushing towards anything either though. College life has other things about it, like partying and friends that is part of life. Everything will come together as it's meant to be.