Interview with Chuck Copenace
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
The trumpet got me into playing music. When I found that I was good at it, I just stuck with it, and my love for playing music grew from there.
When I got sober in my 20s I found that I enjoyed helping people, and was good at sharing my experience in a way that helped people. I then found myself working in the addictions field and into other social services jobs. So If I did find my way to sobriety, I imagine I would be in soclai services.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Right now i spend “not music” time mainly raising my son and daughter who are ages 2 and 4. THey keep me busy and reinforce how important it is for me to demonstrate to them that it is totally possible to do what you love.
I’m a Sundancer as well and I attend sweats regularly. I find that ceremonial activity keeps me focused, enhances my creativity, and allows my musical individuality to come through in my playing and composition.
How long have you been making music?
Starting at the age of 13, with a break for around 3 years more recently, I’ve been playing music over 30 years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Winnipeg is a great place for musical talent, and open minded, highly skilled, musicians. I think the tight knit smaller musical community makes it easier to create new music.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I think Guatemala Jazz Festival experience in 2018 has to be it so far.Travelling there and being treated so great by the festival was amazing. This year's Winnipeg Jazz Festival show will also be up there, mainly because I quit working a full-time day job, and had such a more personally fulfilling time.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Right now I would have to say I feel the most comfortable at the Cube outdoor stage in Winnipeg, and definitely want to travel more in the near future. Montreal Jazz Festival is my current dream gig.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Snarky Puppy would be headlining that ticket.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would say to find what type of playing that creates excitement inside you, whether it’s performing, improvising, creating new work, or performing work of others, or all of it. Practice and learn from others, but never surrender your own voice.
I would tell my younger self that, and I would also tell him that finishing the educational part won’t take long really, and then security can come along with all the exciting stuff.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
What I’m most proud of at the moment, is a soon to be released song called Nothing Simple, which is the first thing I wrote after my relationship with my children’s mother ended. To me it had a life in the studio, and with my incredibly talented friends all contributing their individuality, it became something I didn’t expect. I think its somewhat hidden odd meter, and multiple themes, is similar to what life feels like when you're going through something challenging emotionally and mentally. The arc of the song with its organized chaos and eventual resolution reminds me of how I felt during that time of adjustment within myself.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I can’t say that I have a most requested song at this time. I do love to perform a song called the Opening.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I compose music at home on my keyboard, creating a structure that I then bring to my band. I find that the most inspiration comes from listening to other musicians, as well as significant events in my life.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I think a message I try to get across with my music is that it’s ok to play what you love, and there will always be someone out there that will connect with what you're doing.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My plans are to continue recording and releasing new material, and do more collaborations with my fellow artists. I plan on doing workshops as well to share my musical journey, and my spiritual journey as well.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
My Instagram and my website are the best places to check for future performances and new releases. Instagram is chuckcmusic and website is www.chuckcopenace.com