Interview with Gary Edward Allen
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
What first drew me into music was seeing posters of KISS when I was a child. I begged my parents to buy me KISS albums, and then worked on them to buy me a guitar. With my new guitar, I discovered I could make the sounds I heard on those albums, and I knew that is what I wanted to do with my life.
It can be challenging to earn a living with music, so I have always had a day job. I work in residential construction in Toronto.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love walks in nature and bike rides. I read a lot of autobiographies on my favorite musicians. These activities transport me back to being a child when I first discovered music.
How long have you been making music?
I have been playing guitar since I was seven years old. I have been singing since I was sixteen years old.
I have been recording since 2012.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I am based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There is a vibrant music scene in Toronto with musicians of varying styles. As a result, I have had the good fortune to share bills with punk bands, metal bands, funk bands and me on my acoustic guitar. Genre is over. People just want to hear good music.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
The best part of playing live is winning over new audiences. This is what makes playing live memorably! When I am standing alone on stage with my guitar I start to play. People are milling about not paying attention, and then I start to sing. The room goes silent and people take out their phones and start recording….hopefully because they like it. Hahaha.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue to play is the Linsmore Tavern. I have played there dozens of times since I moved here from Vancouver. The Linsmore gives me the freedom to book whatever bands I want to play on the bill with me.
I would love to play The Danforth Music Hall.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Oh god, that is a hard question to answer. I would love to play a show with a band like The Arkells, The Sheepdogs, Jack White….AND Robert Plant.
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 give the same advice to a new musician and my younger self: comparison is the death of happiness. Never compare yourself to any other artist. Never judge your merit by comparing yourself to where someone else is in life. Good art is never made by a committee. Set your vision and work towards it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The song I have written that means the most to me is a song called The Precious Ones.
I wrote it about two good friends who were both struggling with mental health issues. It’s about the strength it takes to face those struggles and to get through them.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite song to play is called Three Days Early because it has a nice, flourishing intro, and is a very well-written song.
The song that gets requested the most is called Lost My Way because it has a sing-songy chorus.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I keep a diary of random thoughts and ideas. I write free-form, stream-of-consciousness. When I hear a melody with my guitar I go to my notebook and pull anything that rhymes and build the song. A big part of the creative process is thinking about music all the time. I am always thinking about music. Thinking about how a song is going to go is equally as important as playing it.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
My music is about trying to find peace within yourself on this earth. The world is a crazy place and if anybody can find solace in my music then that is a blessing.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I want to write songs for many different artists. I like to joke that some of my songs are too good to be only sung by me. Ultimately, I want a publishing deal and a recording contract so I can work on music every day.
I am playing at SLOCAN LIVE, outside of Nelson, B.C. June 16-17, 2023. www.slocan.live
I will have CDs for sale at SLOCAN LIVE
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
YouTube- Gary Edward Allen
Spotify- Gary Edward Allen
I am not hard to find. Type me into Facebook, I have an artist page and a regular page.