Five Questions With… Spencer Burton
The Ontario roots songsmith discusses his new track Further, his relationship with new label boss Dallas Green, the impact of parenthood, and adapting to life in the pandemic.
By Jason Schneider
Like his former Attack In Black bandmate Daniel Romano, Spencer Burton has evolved from his punk roots into an engaging roots-based singer/songwriter over the past few years, releasing two acclaimed solo collections, along with an album of songs for kids.
He's now returned with the single Further, the first release as part of a new deal with Still Records, Dallas Green (City And Colour)'s imprint under the Dine Alone Records banner. The song conveys Burton's concern over the state of the world, and how its recovery won't happen until we all start taking better care of each other, and the planet.
It's a view that native of southern Ontario has long tried to promote through both his music and personal lifestyle. After years of city living in between tours, Burton was feeling drained and uninspired.
Feeling the need to plant roots upon becoming a father, Burton opted for a quieter existence in the rural surroundings of the Niagara Region. The impact was immediate, leading Burton to develop an even closer relationship to the environment, and embrace the freedom that solitude brings.
Further is available on all digital platforms via orcd.co/spencerburtonfurther
Tell me about writing Further and is it indicative of other new music you're working on?
This song was written in early 2019 and recorded during the summer of that year. I’ve sat on it for… well, until now. It’s a song that I’ve been told means something different to everyone who hears it. To me, it’s a song about change and how we all need it. We’re leaving our young with a fairly broken world, one where money and power mean everything. I’ve seen it first hand, even on the smallest level. Basically, it’s a song about how the ones who could change our world may not be given the chance.
You're now signed to Dallas Green's label. How has your relationship with him developed over the years?
First comes love, then comes marriage. Who knows what’s next?
Your last album was for kids, The Mountain Man. How has becoming a father changed your outlook on music in general?
Having children has made me realize that everything we do is for them, or should be. And not just my children, but all children—the ones who are going to be here when we’re gone. Music is no exception.
How have you adapted to engaging with your audience over the past few months during the pandemic?
I find it to be a lot more personal. I’ve done the live streams and find myself simply wanting to chat with whoever is watching instead of playing songs. I’m also getting really good at Zoom and Skype. I feel young again!
What's your mindset looking ahead to next year and the prospect of hopefully touring again?
I’ll tour again, one day, when there’s no risk of anyone being uncomfortable about health and safety. However, even then, I’m sure I’ll make the audience uncomfortable somehow.