Hi! “Through the Static” offers a deep dive into personal and emotional experiences. What inspired you to explore these themes of love’s beginnings and endings in your latest EP?

A: Hi there! The inspiration for these songs, as well as most of the songs I write, come from my own life and my past relationships. I’ve been a songwriter for a few years now, and I think over time you learn how to keep your ‘channel’ for inspiration open all the time, so that when something in your personal life warrants an observation, you feel that tap on your shoulder that maybe it’s something worth writing about. That was certainly the case with these songs – I’ve always wanted to explore the different ‘stages’ of romance, particularly how different one can feel at the beginning vs the end, so this project was very much a commentary on that.

Your journey from a small town near Calgary to the heart of Nashville’s music scene is quite remarkable. How do you think your roots have influenced the stories you tell in your music, particularly in “Through the Static”?

A: Thank you! A bit of familiar feedback I tend to get as an artist is that my music has a nostalgic feel to it, and that is no accident. The music I write is reminiscent of my upbringing, which took place in a very rural setting in Western Canada. So it probably goes without saying I heard a lot of country music growing up, which I think you can hear in the songs. But in addition to that, I was also a very curious mind when it came to the great American songbook, and I went through a pretty substantial phase in high school where I made an effort to learn about Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, the list goes on. I would say the nostalgia that comes with the territory of those two genres is most definitely baked into the material that I write now.

Working with Bobby Campbell, known for his work on the Nashville TV Series, must have been an exciting process. Can you share how his production approach helped shape the sound of this EP?

A: Bobby and I have been friends now for nearly a decade, and our collaborative relationship has really helped craft what the Sykamore sound is today. He has a great ear for what a song needs, and maybe more importantly, what it DOESN’T need. I’ve come to really respect his opinion and instincts when it comes to an overall track, but we also collaborate quite heavily on my vocals in particular; coming up with harmonies and parts that are a little more nuanced. I think that is a good word to sum up this latest project – we really embraced the nuance and the ‘little’ things that you don’t necessarily hear in the songs, but the things you definitely FEEL. Those cornerstone pieces of a song that really make it pop. It was so fun to work with him again and dig even deeper into that side of it.

“Emotional,” the opening track of your EP, sets a powerful tone for the entire collection. What was the creative process like for this song, and why did you choose it to lead the project?

A: I think that song is one that really blatantly discusses a conflict of emotion, and I thought it was important to sort of put that subject at the forefront of the EP before the rest of the songs came out. The tracks on this EP all talk about mixed emotions to some degree, so I think I chose “Emotional” because it was setting the table for that theme.

You’ve described the EP as illustrating the emotional journey of opening your heart. Could you share a personal experience or moment that significantly influenced one of the songs on the EP?

A: “Highway Towns” was inspired by a very personal experience of mine – or rather lots of the same experience being lived again and again. Being a touring musician you drive a lot, you spend a lot of time on those long haul trips between venues and driving home when the tour is over. I can remember one such trip when I was headed back to Alberta, and I saw a sign for an upcoming town and it happened to be the hometown of someone I used to date. It instantly triggered nostalgia and memories of that person, and I held onto that moment and brought it up in the writing room when the time came. It provided the initial blueprint for “Highway Towns” and I always think of that moment in the car when I listen back to that song.

Your music has always resonated with listeners for its authentic and relatable lyrics. When writing for “Through the Static,” how did you ensure that your songs maintained this connection with your audience?

A: I think part of what makes a song authentic is whether or not it’s something true to you. I’ve found that when you write something you are passionate about, your audience can always sense that, and it fires them up in return. I try to always write from a place of passion and create music that I like, and that usually stems from something personal to me. I think because of that tendency, I like to believe it helps the audience resonate with my music that much more.

Having been nominated for “Album of the Year” at the 2023 Country Music Alberta Awards and amassing over 10 million streams with your debut full-length album “Pinto,” how do you feel “Through the Static” builds upon or diverges from your previous work?

A: I believe you can hear my improvements as a songwriter on this project, and just how much more life I have lived and time I have invested in my craft. I have to agree that this EP builds upon where Pinto left off, as they both explore life and love and the human condition, but I think sonically these songs differ from Pinto in that they have a bit more contrast – some of the songs have a lot of country influence, while others have more pop influence than country. I think Pinto had a convergence of these sounds as well, but they were more of a hybrid within each song. This EP lets each song stand in its own structure a bit more.

The EP covers the spectrum of love’s lifecycle. Do you have a track that you feel most personally connected to or that represents a significant chapter in your own life story?

A: “More Where That Came From” echoes a feeling I’ve had a few times in my life, probably more in the days when romance was relatively new to me and everything was exciting. The thrill you feel when you know you’ve stumbled upon something great and you just can’t wait to see what else is in store, there are few feelings in life that top that, honestly. Knowing you’re at the beginning of a cool new adventure, it’s truly exhilarating.

Considering the intimate and vulnerable nature of “Through the Static,” how do you hope your listeners will feel or what do you hope they will take away after listening to the EP?

A: My hope is that wherever someone is at in their love story, they can resonate with these songs. I feel like there is a stop on the route for almost anyone – whether they’re just beginning a romance or watching the door close on one. The EP is supposed to be a reflection of that road map and all the feelings you are capable of having along the way, so I am hopeful that those listening can see themselves within these stories.

Finally, as an artist who has successfully navigated the transition from independent releases to signing with notable labels and back to independent releases, what advice would you give to emerging artists about the importance of authenticity and staying true to one’s artistic vision?

A: I always tell people to think in the long term, and do what’s best for the brand. You know your message and your brand better than anyone, so do your best to advocate for it and find a place where it can be reflected in the best way. That looks different for everyone, and it can certainly change over time, so I think it’s really important to stay aware of what it requires as you grow and change as an artist. Like I said before, your audience knows when you’re giving them authentic material, so I think your best bet as an artist is to set yourself up in a way that allows you to be your most authentic self. I know it can be really tempting to think in the short term in order to get ahead, but I think you’ll ultimately reward yourself in the long run if you always ask yourself, “will I be grateful I did this in 10 years time?” Artists with 20 and 30 year careers are the ones who have always operated from that point of view. So I think those are the ones we should model ourselves after!