With the first half of his two part EP series, 2x4 Vol. 1 out now, we got the chance to chat with singer-songwriter Aryk Crowder about the new EP, the reason behind the series and his inspirations as an artist. You can pick up 2x4 Vol. 1 now and keep an eye out for the second installment in the series next spring!
For anyone who hasn't had the chance to listen to your music yet, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How would you describe your sound?
Hi, my name is Aryk. I like ice cream, my favorite color is dark green, and I write songs.
As for my sound, I may not have the stereotypical sound, I play Soul music. Calling myself a soul artist was something I struggled with for a long while as I, myself didn't feel I fit the soul/R&B mold. But after hearing some respected R&B musicians call me a soul artist, I now wear the badge proudly.
How did you first start writing music? When was it that you really knew that it was what you wanted to do?
I first started writing almost as soon as I started playing. It was the primary reason I started playing guitar. I wanted to create music. I floated through a number of bands until my mid 20's which was when I felt I needed to write and sing myself. My music and songwriting has been evolving since.
So your new EP 2x4 Vol. 1 is the first half of a two part series - can you tell us a little bit about it? Where did the idea to release two separate EP's come from?
Honestly, the two EP release originally came from a financial standpoint. I didn't want to wait until I got the funding for a full album and so I wanted to record and release what I could instead of waiting another 6-12 months for a full 8-10 song record.
Can you talk a little bit about the concept behind the series?
Well, the concept of breaking the series up into two EP's originally came from a financial standpoint. After that idea bloomed, I then started with the concept of the album. For the past year or so, I've played a lot of acoustic shows and so I wanted to showcase that on the record. The majority of the songs on the 2x4 series are stripped down to vocals, acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. Essentially the building structure of a song, similar to how 2x4's are the building structure of a house.
Was there anything you wanted to accomplish with this release? Any messages you really wanted to put forth?
I'm aiming for this album to be the next step in growing the dream of performing and writing my music full time. I just started touring regionally this year and I'm getting some great responses. Really hope to expand upon that with the 2x4 series.
What was the writing process like? Did you work on the two parts separately or together?
All of the songs on 2x4 were written in about a year's time with a few of them being older songs that I've been hanging onto, waiting for the right time. I was in a spot last year where I was really overwhelmed with things and so took about 6 months off from performing to focus on writing. Many of those songs landed on the 2x4 series.
Did you have any big influences (musical or not) while working on this series?
Coffee and Bourbon, ha! Seriously, I'm a bit of a connoisseur of both. I feel influences can come from all over, not just musical. Though I do have a number of artists that keep me motivated in making music, sometimes it's a great comedy record that get's me excited to create.
Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?
Of course! But they're all favorite for different reasons.
Your music has a lot of soul to it and I feel like your lyrics are a really important aspect of that, so if there was anything you'd want listeners to be able to take away from your music, what would it be?
I used to want to tell the whole story behind my songs as so they don't get confused, but I've grown to want the listen to make what they need of it. Sometimes we hold a song dear for reasons other than the true story of it's meaning and I don't wanna ruin that for someone.
Do you have any big plans coming up for the end of the year?
Well, I'll be releasing my first music video in November that coincides with next song released in the 2x4 series. The song ("One By One") is really important to me as it touches on an issue that's central to Chicago as well as the rest of our country.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yo, Thanks for taking the time to put me on! I would love your readers to connect with me on facebook or twitter. .com/arykcrowder for either.
Much appreciated for the time.