Eddie Berman is a talented American singer songwriter with a new album out called Before The Bridge. He kindly answered my questions and this is what he had to say.
1.What was the inspiration behind the new album how was it structured?
I wrote the album between getting married to my wife Joanna and the birth of our first kid, Bridget. There was an intense type of introspection that took hold of us in the lead up to having a child, where we were forced to look at the dissonance in our lives and figure out how to possibly ease it. I wasn’t directly thinking about any of that as I was writing the album, but I see, in retrospect, how all of that bled in to the content and structure of the songs.
2.Are you happy the way it turned out and what do you hope people will get out of it?
My band and I recorded all the songs totally live, sitting together in one tracking room. So what’s captured on the album is a very immediate and organic expression of these songs — and I’m really happy with how we performed them.
I almost always thing it’s best not to talk too much about what a song is about – so that anyone who listens, receptively, will get something unique out of it.
3.How was the recording process different to your earlier material?
The recording process was very similar to my past albums. We recorded, again, with the incredible engineer and mixer Pierre De Reeder at his studio in Los Angeles. We tracked it entirely live, just us sitting in a room together, with our instruments and voices bleeding into every mic.
4. How does a song normally come to you?
In writing songs I always start with the guitar (sometimes piano or banjo). I’m noodling on the guitar all day – whether I’m sitting with my one year old daughter or watching a baseball game, I’m usually picking at the guitar. Eventually through the hours of playing, a progression or melody that I dig emerges – so I’ll record myself singing gibberish over with the guitar. Then, sometimes right away and sometimes months later, I’ll sit with the recording and replace the gibberish with actual words. The songs come from a sort of marriage of the unconscious and conscious.
5. What inspires you now when writing music from when you were starting out?
When I was younger I think I drew more from things I consumed. I didn’t have enough life experiences to say anything terribly interesting — books, music, and film were responsible for most of the grandeur of my inner life. Like a lot of young artists, my earlier work was hugely derivative of the writers and singers I loved. Through the slow course of working and evolving, eventually I started to sound less like I was doing a bad impression of those folks.
6. Has your songwriting changed from when you were starting out?
It’s been about 10-15 years since I started writing, so I certainly have more to draw on now, especially as a husband and father (in a world that appears to rapidly be coming apart at the seems).
7. Do you have moments where you just can’t write and need to take a break?
The vast majority of the time I have writer’s block and/or some heavy-duty undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. I usually write in intensive bursts, so I just need to be receptive to when the flood gates seem like they’re starting to open.
8. Since sadly Tom Petty passed away, what your favorite song of his and what did he mean to you?
One of my very favorite childhood memories is when I was 5 or 6 years old, sitting in the front passenger seat, driving around with my dad, listening to his Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers ‘Greatest Hits’ CD. “Free Fallin’” was my favorite then and is still my favorite today. Every time I hear it, I immediately feel like a little kid again, silently sitting next to my dad, driving around with the perfect San Fernando Valley soundtrack.
9. Are you happy with the support from your fans and your peers getting behind your music?
It’s been great seeing the overall response to the songs from “Before The Bridge”. I know the comfort and catharsis, especially when I was younger, that other songwriters brought me – so anytime I get a message from someone expressing that they’ve gotten a semblance of that from my music, it’s really beautiful.
10. Social media how does it play a part in what you do?
I’ve never been big into social media personally or professionally. (**But please go follow me on them so I get yelled at less by my label and management!**) I mostly post pictures that I take around Portland and some videos of me fingerpicking.
11. Will you play Australia some time soon?
We’re rolling out the larger 2018 tour plans soon, and I’m really hoping we can make it in the spring. (the northern-hemisphere’s spring, that is.)
12. What is next for yourself?
I’m starting to write the new album now and we’re putting together some tour dates for the next year. Other than that, I just bought a new bike, so I’m hoping to ride around Portland a lot before the weather turns.