Interview: Roderick August

Roderick August is an up and coming folk musician/organic farmer who has toured all over the US and this summer he released his debut album, Forever the Far the Closer the Near, which has gotten a prominent feature in Atwood Magazine. His goal with his music is to make something that people from all walks of life can relate to, no matter what your skin colour, geographic location, job, religion, gender, whatever.

Fed up with dead end jobs and long commutes from Oxnard to LA, he took a chance and moved across the country to follow his dreams playing music. After a crash that wrecked his Mustang, he made that first step as a musician and wrote some songs while it was being repaired. Then in December 2017, California was on fire and he took it as a sign that it’s time to go and so on the road he went.

Below, you can stream his debut that is 100% his – vocals, guitar, production, mixing, mastering. If you like folk music, give this album a listen! “Float” is the optimistic song we need for 2020. “More Easily” reminds me of something I’d hear in the Life is Strange soundtrack. I also recommend the title track, “Lightning Bolt”, and “Run With The Horses”. This album is like a hug and telling you it’s all gonna be alright.

The album cover reminds me a lot of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and to me that’s such a plus!

If you want to learn more about Roderick August and his music, keep on reading!

Angie Moon: Who is Roderick August in a nutshell?

Roderick August: He’s a guy who understands all art has been contemporary. He sings what he’s experienced and some call him a folk singer, some call him alt country but he’s probably a purist at heart. If he can’t wow you when the electricity goes out then he doesn’t feel he’s wowed you at all.  He loves throwing himself out into America and connecting with folks of big and small towns alike. He’s a one man wrecking crew with a story for you and wants you to slow things down, breathe a little, everything’s alright.

Angie: How did you get started playing music? 

Roderick: Piano, a whole lot of piano. I’ve gravitated toward it my whole life. Guitar came much later in my teens and it was great because I started recording and collecting gear so by my senior year I had an upright piano crammed into my tiny bedroom with mics and a drum kit. I would later discover this was how Jack White rolled so I knew I was crazy but in good company.

Angie: Which musicians are your biggest inspirations?

Roderick: Gregory Alan Isokov, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Ryan Adams, Dylan

Angie: What inspires your songwriting?

Roderick: Lately it’s been the madness, I see a world largely prioritising materialism and status as what we value most, followed by disappointment when those sorts of men come into power. The more complex the world gets, the more I just want to simplify my approach. Things are getting hairy, I come bearing razor blades.

Angie: What was life touring around the country like?

Roderick: Every morning I’d think to myself ‘Tonight I’ll probably be somewhere in America I’ve never been’ … I love that. Especially on the last tour, my only expectation was knowing I was well-rehearsed and that I’d play each song to the best of my ability. That created some beautiful nights across the Southwest and into the east coast. It was the live audience that made my debut possible, they showed up, they listened and they’re listening today. I’m very grateful for all the love I received across this country and looking forward to more of it.

Angie: What are your favourite places you’ve visited in America?

Roderick: New Mexico is up there. The album cover photo was taken one pretty morning after playing in Tijeras, NM and the entire state just had something mystical going on. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen was North Carolina. I may have frolicked through a flower patch or two while there. New York was cold but the people were warm. New England was a lot of fun and going into New Hampshire was the most picturesque winter I can recall. Played this old hotel turned venue from the 1800s…creepy cool folky times.

Angie: Tell me about your life as an organic farmer, how did you get into that?

Roderick: When the lockdowns started, all of my upcoming gigs started getting canceled one by one so I started thinking what to do in the meantime. I’m happiest when growing things and wanted to work somewhere I could hear the birds sing. My neighbours were all starting their backyard gardens so obviously the next logical step for me was to get a gig harvesting on a 400 acre farm, all organic of course.

Angie: How does your mixed background influence your songwriting?

Roderick: It’s hard to have a problem with race when you have so many in you. You see it all the time, maybe someone’s prejudiced grandmother or grandfather sees people a certain way their whole lives but then their grandkid has a mixed child and all the sudden that grandparent loves them unconditionally. I believe that’s how we should always try to see things, without conditions, ready to see someone as family. I’ve played for people from every walk of American life and I’m hoping to expand that over oceans sometime when the world is open again. If someone’s in a bad place, I hope my album can help them make that transition to the other side. I wanna open minds here and get straight to the heavy stuff, I think it’s time.

Angie: What was recording your debut, Forever the Far, the Closer the Near, like?  

Roderick: I was thinking about recording my debut while living in Brooklyn in 2019. At that point I had played enough gigs to know which songs people liked and why I enjoyed playing them. By the end of that year I moved to Nashville and bought a couple of Neumann microphones and started started recording. Doing an album alone is a mind bending, wrist numbing experience but I learned a lot during those 7 months spent making it. I wanted to just basically introduce myself on this one and keep the vibe of me being a performer, intact. I’m really excited to start something new here soon!

Angie: What does the album’s title mean to you?

Roderick: The album title meaning is basically this, forever is always far away but the sooner you get going, the closer you’ll be. It’s an album for the weary travellers. Travellers of roads, travellers of time, travellers of love. If you’ve taken a risk or ever put yourself out there, the album might be for you.

Angie: What do you wish you knew before you got into music?

Roderick: Myself

Angie: What are your goals as a musician?

Roderick: I wanna hug the world in a meaningful embrace. I want my arms to stretch out until they wrap around the planet for some serious healing. I want to share this record with everyone who needs it right now.

You can follow Roderick on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Shoutout to my friend Patrick for supporting the blog!

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