Ed Roman: Messenger, Radical, Godfather of Love?
Canadian singer-songwriter Ed Roman exploded onto the worldwide music scene in 2014, with his critically acclaimed ode to his northern homeland, Letters From High Latitudes. The award-winning album received airplay on more than 100 college and am/fm radio stations in North America, while being heard on over 400 stations worldwide. From the alternative indie rock Billy Joel-meets-Dave Matthews track, "I Told You So" to the soulful reggae jam, "Jamaica" and his socio-political earth song, "I Found God," Ed enlisted legions of devoted fans, affectionately known as "Ed Heads.
Now, Ed Roman is back with a brand new, vividly colorful and ominously titled collection, Red Omen. Produced with renowned engineer, Michael Jack (Bono, Hillary Duff, Rush), the new album continues Ed's eclectic, earthy, funky and magical journey through all genres of music. From the bass-heavy groove of first single, "I Am Love" to the punk-meets-metal blast of "Clone The Sheep" featuring the blistering lead guitar of renowned guitarist, Xander Demos (Sabbath Judas Sabbath, XDB) to the fully-produced version of his tender Heart Songs for Veterans acoustic benefit single and Top 10 Yallwire.com video, "Lay One Down," and beyond.
Ed took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his latest album and his message of love...
MTS: In your new single, “I Am Love” you sing, “I’m a messenger, I’m a radical, I am Love.” What does that mean, and are you a radical?
ED: The message is... and it is radical.... Be LOVE. People must understand that this came to me at one of the most darkest moments over the last year and a half of my life. We as human beings are all experiencing extremes in our emotional bell curves not only as a result of the triumphs and conundrums in our own existence but the continual recycling of hatred and anger that is capitalized off of by so many. The haiku or mantra is suggesting that the most important thing we can do is not only love our friends and family's but try to understand and show love towards the things that oppress us. We are all defined by our living environment and cultural cosmetic but we are all human beings trying to cope with this beautiful life we've been so lucky to live. Life is a precious thing and the blatant disregard and heightened sense of anxiety and anger do not help anybody's situation. Jimi Hendrix once wrote "we are all bold as love"
MTS: Are there any plans for a video for the single? Can you tell us anything about it? When will it be released?
ED: The video is in the works and it will be released with the single "I am love" over the next three weeks. I'm trying to describe and show to people that no matter whatever walk of life we come from, we all have the potential for emancipating change.
MTS: Tell us about your new album, Red Omen. What was the writing and recording process like? How did the title come about?
ED: Don't say anything to Ed that you don't want to end up in a song. A number of years ago I was gigging in Toronto and a close friend of mine called out to me as I walked into the club yelling RED OMEN! Artisans are a clever bunch of people and are always forced to think on our feet. Somehow it remained in the file cabinets of my mind. It is of course an anagram of my own name. Our language is becoming more and more acronym an emoticon based in fact we will put words daily of which their meaning we know nothing of. I often ask people what a mortgage is. Invariably their response will be a loan from the bank. If you separate the word, the Latin meaning of Morta is death. In Latin word gage is an action word meaning to grip. Put these two together and you end up with death grip. We open our smart phones and push Iconographical symbols that compute billions of bits of information in an instant. The record is filled with these kinds of concepts and philosophical ideas.
MTS: If you had to pick just one, what would your favorite song on the new album be, and why?
ED: We're always going through different things that affect us in different ways so at the moment the song RED OMEN gets me charged up. The song is greatly about me and the people that have helped me in my career. The people that believe in me and are more like my family. Michael Stover, Ken Siegrist and even myself who've gotten me to where I am today needed to be barbarically yelped in song a lyric.. Love those cats..
MTS: Your music touches on so many eclectic genres, in fact you’ve charted on a national country music chart with your song, “Lay One Down.” Why do you think you haven’t been
“labeled” as one genre or another? Do you think that artists pigeonhole themselves by sticking to just one genre? If you had to label yourself, what would you call your music?
ED: Music...Many of my musical mentors showed me that the very essence of an art form is not about defining it into a catalog but in fact expressing yourself continually. They fought great diversity to find their own originality and therefore this is what allows stature to exist.. This is my mantra..
MTS: Is radio airplay important to you? Why or why not? What do you think of the current state of radio?
ED: Major commercial music can have its place but it quite often back burns so many incredible musicians. They have a baseline money agenda and not an artistic one. Independent radio and music have collided in the most exquisite way that once again we now have a brand-new breeding ground for people, artists and listeners every year where around the world to engage with music as it once was. Sometimes the public has trouble playing catch-up and realizing that all this new wonderful activity is occurring. I always say to my friends in independent and talk radio that were really involved in something quite wonderful and we are witnessing the birth of a new kind of musical revolution..
MTS: You are from Canada. Do you think that being from Canada has helped you break out internationally, or has it hindered your progress?
ED: Canada geographically is huge and far more timid than other cultures about experiencing and into reacting with their own communities. It almost seems like it is written somewhere in a book that Canadians must leave their own country to find acclamation elsewhere. Music is meant to be heard all over the world and it transcends language, time and space and will continue to resonate in the cosmos forever..
MTS: Your music touches on different social and political messages. How would you describe your social and political views?
ED: I'm a Messenger. I'm a Radical ;)
MTS: I’ve heard you on several gardening and paranormal radio shows. Do those two interests make their way into your music, at all? Can you give us any examples of how your music may have reflected your love for gardening, or your interest in paranormal happenings?
ED: Life is like a garden. It depends on how we tend it and embrace it that allow it to overtake ourselves as well as take hold of it in our own right. Art and gardening to me are very similar. It works in a seasonal and emotional change inside of you just like the concept in a song. Seeds are slowly planted to define something in the beginning's of ideas. As you hoe and weed through the information the prospects of what your hands are capable of become overwhelming. As you nurture it it starts to nurture you. Music works the same way. It takes time, skill, ability and passion to drive you through the process in order for you to feel the subtle energy of the way the information comes to you and feeds you once again through the emotional process..
MTS: What does Ed Roman have planned over the next year? Touring? Videos? More recordings? Please fill us in...
ED: You crazy cats. Thank you so much for having me again and I just love talking to you guys. Everything under the sun and just about all that you mentioned. There are many things in the work from videos to planning a tour as well as multiple appearances on radio, publications and blogs. I'm most happy to be bringing you the video for I am love in the next couple weeks as I think it's message is most powerful at this moment.
The message is, and it is radical... Be LOVE..