Interview: Dead Defined
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music like mostly every other Rock’n Roll musician I know. I wanted to be the cool Rockstar everyone idolized haha. Once you grow up a bit after playing copious amounts of Live shows and going through financial struggles, reality sinks in and you realize it’s more about the passion for the actual music and hard work than just wanting to be the ‘Cool’ guy. That inflated ego dies off pretty quick once that sinks in and either you love to do it or you don’t. Thankfully it’s my passion. If I weren’t pursuing music as my overall main focus in life, I’d probably end up being a Meteorologist. What? I know right? To be frank, weather is another passion of mine. Specifically violent weather like Tornadoes and Hurricanes. Maybe one day I’ll be a Weatherman?!
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I’m a very hands-on and artsy type of person overall. I like to build with my hands, take things apart and put them back together. I find it’s very mentally stimulating. A hobby I’ve had for many years is Nitromethane Radio Control Cars. They take a lot of tinkering to get going but they’re great for concentration and focus. It’s a great way to be creative, always purchasing new upgrades and hop-ups (like real cars) to make them your own.
How long has your band been around?
Dead Defined was formed in 2018 and is a Pop/Rock/Industrial project. It’s instrumentally written and sang by myself, Craig Ewan. It is produced and engineered by Mike Dmitrovic of Voodoo Records Canada. It’s more or less an amalgamation of all my favourite styles of music focused into one place.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the recording studio and my band players live all over the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Being a solo act it’s easier for me to just coordinate a meetup/rehearsal spot when needed in the Toronto area that everyone has access to easily.
Toronto was once a great hub for new up and coming Rock’n Roll bands. The Rock’n Roll music scene has taken quite a hit since Covid has just about shutdown every live venue in Southern Ontario though. I hope to see it flourish again once the venues start to open back up.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
The band name actually comes from a dark place, but the music is actually quite positive ha. The origin of it stems from questioning one’s own mortality. I had been watching too many documentaries at the time about assisted suicide in the critically ill and elderly and the question I always asked myself was how does one define death? It’s a bit morbid I know, but Dead Defined had a better ring to it than any other descriptive pairing of words.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
My favourite venue as of now would have to be based in Toronto, Ontario. The Opera House. It’s an early 1900’s styled building with crazy acoustics and layout. All of the big bands have played that stage including me on a few occasions with different bands. Metallica performed and recorded a surprise pop-up show a few years back at that venue. That must say something if one of the biggest bands in the world chose that venue to showcase.
My dream stage to play would be Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. It basically looks like it’s chiseled out of these massive Red Rocks and you’re surrounded by them on either side of the venue. It’s a pretty steep slope to the stage as well. The overall appearance of that place looks like something straight out of Mars.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Papa Roach, KoRn, Breaking Benjamin, P.O.D., Sevendust, Alter Bridge, Staind… just to name a few haha I’m more of a Numetal head when it comes to watching live bands. I love that Live energy from the early 2000 bands and how they interact with the crowds. That’s my scene.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Fun comes first, and make sure the bandmates you’re playing with are your ride or die type of friends. I’ve been in too many bands where that bond of friendship wasn’t as strong as we had thought and the bands imploded pretty quickly. Once politics and money get involved it opens up a whole new can of worms. Communication is key just like any other type of relationship. To this day I don’t have contact with many of my former bandmates from past issues that were never solved.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Fun comes first haha. Yes again, I say that as once you’re on your way up the proverbial ‘ladder’ and start having to make real life choices that affect your day to day life and it no longer becomes a hobby; you tend to lose the want and passion of why you started to play music in the first place. Once contracts are negotiated, who owns what, and money gets involved, it can get very overwhelming quickly if you don’t have your ‘shit’ together and a good head on your shoulders. I’ve seen to many friends and fellow musicians go down the dark path of least resistance, if you know what I mean.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Lifeline. I wrote parts of that song about 5 years ago for a recording that was never released for a previous band. I chose to rework it and studio record the latest version as it’s still a very relevant song today. Lyrically it depicts someone who struggles with addiction and the day to day strain on a relationship. The opioid crisis in Canada and many other countries is at an all time high, so what better time then now to release it I thought. The feedback from fans and critics was very positive and even landed me a CTV Morning News segment talking about mental health/addiction in the music industry.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Since Covid has shut down the Live industry in Canada and there’s no foreseeable future of it opening anytime soon, I haven’t yet played my new music to an audience. I only started this project at the end of 2018 and my main focus was building an online fanbase prior to live shows starting up to get the ball rolling. Then Covid hit. As far as past performances with my other bands, I loved to play covers of the music I grew up idolizing. Renditions of Three Days Grace and Seether were always crowd favourites.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process can really be anything. Sometimes I pick up the guitar and just write, or start humming a hook in my head while on a walk outside to anywhere. It can really start with anything. Luckily these days we all have cellphones so it’s very easy to record those ideas on the fly. A lot of my successful ideas came from boredom to be honest. If it’s a slow day at home or work and have nothing better to do I’ll just dick around with past recordings and splice some new ideas toegther that fit well. A lot of ideas come from in studio collaboration with other artists or producers as well. That’s where it gets really fun.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Messages that the everyday person can relate to. I used to write very metaphorically lyrically but never really had anyone that could relate. With my more recent writing I have stuck to my inner thoughts and feelings and let them out on the page. I find if I write from my own place of where I’m at in life and more bluntly, more people actually connect with it.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
The only disagreements I have as of lately is with myself haha. I feel I should be writing more but there’s always a place and time I find where the real good stuff comes out. I can’t ever force myself to just sit down and write, it just doesn’t work. It has to be something that’s already in my head and am wanting to really record it or write it down.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Plans for the future are to keep on the same path as I’m on. Spiritually and emotionally. I find I write best when I’m not in my head as much. I like to take time to pursue other hobbies and passions other than music 24/7. If I obsess about it I find it zaps my creativity. The nice weather in Canada is now approaching so I like to get out and free my mind so to speak.
I have just dropped brand new merch for the 1st time on my website. It’s pretty exciting to be able to create new ideas on items being sold directly through me. It’s another creative outlet I can have fun with. I hope to design and sell fresh new products 2-3 times a month. Shipping Worldwide. Please have a look and hopefully it’s something your readers will be interested in. www.deaddefined.com/store
Much Love, Craig Ewan.