Interview: Timothy Street
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I’ve always loved music ever since I was a little boy. I think it was Tom Petty who said it’s the closest thing we have to real life magic and I believe that’s true. If I had not gotten into music I don’t know where I’d be, but I’d probably be a lot less happy.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I’m a carpenter by trade. I run a lot of power tools in the course of a day that make a lot of noise. For some reason I find all that background noise pretty conducive to songwriting. I can hum a song while I’m working and no one else has to hear it. It’s amazing what your mind comes up with while your hands are doing something else. I’d recommend it.
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been playing music pretty regularly since I was a teenager. And I’ve played with a lot of bands since then. This isn’t the first time I’ve started playing solo, but it’s the first time I’ve really started to take it seriously. I just put out my first solo album “Folk Town” in February.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I’m currently based out of Grand Manan island in New Brunswick. It’s a beautiful spot. When I was living in Halifax before, I made a lot of heavy music; hardcore, metal, rock n’ roll, that kind of stuff. I guess living out here in the country is a much slower pace. Maybe that’s why I’m trying out the acoustic thing and making folk music now for a while.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
So Timothy Street is actually a moniker I adopted as a teenager. When I was about 17 I was playing music in bars and I couldn’t very well go around advertising my real name. I’m not sure why I’m still using it but it seems to fit.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
That’s a tough question because there’s been a lot. They tend to blend together after a while. Especially after a couple drinks. I did play a show with a band completely naked once or twice.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I got my start at a few venues in Halifax. The Pavilion, which unfortunately just closed recently, was a unique all ages venue that gave a lot of kids the chance to get up on stage and play with some really big bands. Gus’ Pub, Reflections Cabaret, or the Seahorse Tavern was where I spent a lot of time playing or watching other people play music in Halifax There are no real music venues on Grand
Manan yet, but I’ve been helping to get the ball rolling on that. I think house parties usually make for the best venues. If you have a house party you want me to play, hit me up.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That’s another tough question because there’s a lot of bands and artists I’d like to play with. If we’re talking playing solo, I’d love to open a show for someone like Neil Young, Steve Earle, or Billy Bragg.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Practice more, give it your all, and above all have fun. For my younger self, I’d say practice more. I could probably use that advice now too. You really can’t practice too much.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I spend a lot of time and effort writing and producing my songs. In a way I never really finish themI just kind of stop working on them. So in one sense they’re all kind of like my children and I could never just pick one. At the same time, I know some of them turn out waaaay better than others by the time I’m done. Music is subjective though, so one’s I’m not even completely happy with, someone will tell me that one’s their favourite.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I like to play “It’s Been Too Long” because it reminds me of friends I haven’t seen in, well, too long. “My Home Town” is the one that seems to be getting all the radio play right now.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
If I truly understood how the creative process worked and where all the inspiration came from, I would be writing music for eight hours a day. For me it comes in waves.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
On this last album I wanted to get across a hopeful message. I hope I did that. Times have been tough all over for far too long and it’s pretty easy to find something to be upset about right now. Music can be an escape, and it can also be a powerful tool to shed light on an issue. I’d like to think I go back and forth between those two.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I used to have disagreements with bandmates all the time. The easiest way to get past them is to play solo.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I just finished writing and recording “Folk Town” and now that it’s out I just want to promote it as much as I can. I spent a long time working on this album and I’m pretty proud of it. Check it out.