Hello, Ervin. Congratulations on the release of ‘Broken Compass’! What was the highlight of making his album?
For me the highlight was receiving the physical CD in my hand. It felt like a milestone in my music career and it represented the culmination of so many mini highlights.
‘Broken Compass’ takes listeners on a journey through your experiences over the past seven years. Can you elaborate on the themes or specific events that inspired the autobiographical tales and observations woven into the album?
The biggest contributing event was the death of my wife, Dorothy, in 2017. She was my first love and a great supporter of me and my music and she made me a better man in many other ways. There is a verse specifically about her in “She Never Made Old Bones”.
The theme of “breakups” is quite prominent and I saw this happening amongst my circle of friends. “Fall From Grace” and “Oh Why” are both breakup songs.
“The Busker” was written the day after I busked and experienced an event filled session in Cromer. I love busking.
I spent a few years studying psychotherapy in the 90s. So I suppose I am still emotionally literate. “Carolynn” comes from my life experience of having a relationship with someone who suffers from depression. One of the other things I learnt in the 90s was to avoid having unfinished business with another person. “Pick Up The Phone” was written to reflect the odd problem I had with friends in my life and how important it is to deal with problems and not brush them under the carpet. The album title track “Broken Compass” is really a song about how you need to deal with trauma that happened in your young life in order to not let it colour your life experience in the here and now.
The collaboration with producer Aeron Z Jones appears to be a crucial element in the creation of ‘Broken Compass.’ How did this partnership influence the overall sound and direction of the album?
Aeron is a great producer for me, and a friend. We work very creatively together. I write the song and play it for him. He gets ideas from this and runs them by me. We record me playing guitar and lead and backing vocals. Sometimes I’ll have some strong arrangement ideas and we go with them. On other songs I leave Aeron alone to do what he thinks will sound best. Aeron is a skilful musician and often brings lap-steel, bass, and other instruments to the party! Initially when we started working together, I wanted songs with more of an acoustic feel, but over the last year we have arrived at a more sophisticated mix of sounds.
‘Carolynn,’ recorded at Abbey Road Studios, offers a unique perspective on depression. Can you delve into the creative process behind this particular track, and how the iconic studio setting contributed to its emotional depth?
I have experience of being in a relationship with someone who gets depressed. Depression is an awful illness. I wanted to write a song about my experience. I think the song has a great message and I felt that by selecting “Carolynn” to be recorded at Abbey Road, it has given more gravitas to the message I am trying to give.
Your distinctive indie-folk roots shine through in every track of the album. Which artists inspired you most while writing this album?
I feel like I am continually influenced by old and new artists. I just try to tell a story with each song. If I were forced to choose one artist influencer, I would say Paul Simon.