Getting to Know…Greg Arcade

What’s your favorite kind of sandwich?

Bacon & Carrot on toasted Canadian Rye bread with mayo or butter.

The Beatles or Elvis? Why?

I’ve got to go with Elvis. Not this is a popular opinion, but I don’t really care for The Beatles. They had a few good records early on which spoke to me when they were playing mod-rock & covering American R&B, but they allowed the sensationalized hype and government support due to being Britain’s largest export to get to their heads. Hell they wrote albums to mess with their fans. I get a kick out of people when they hear I don’t like them. They always say, “it’s because you don’t get it.” No… I get it. I get that it doesn’t do a single thing for me and it sounds bad. 

Elvis though? Tortured artistic soul. Good talent with a lot of fortunate occurrences along the way that helped him, but also sealed him into a life of living as a pet to his funders. He did the movies; did the prescribed music, but in the end never really truly got to be himself. He came from performing at state fairs and bandstands into a huge career. People like to say, “well he didn’t play his own instruments.” Yeah but the pickers who did play on his albums were unreal, and it would surprise you to know which bands didn’t even perform their own music on their recordings.

Lyrics to live by?

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away” – Neil Young

“Desert Island” album?

This is always a hard one for me since I’m listening through artists & genres in phases and that changes with the seasons. If I had to pick one, I’d pick one that takes me back to a place that I was really happy. That would be PINK MOON by Nick Drake. He’s got a whole hell of good music, but that one there, which I believe is perceived as his most “pop” album, is one of those records I could throw on anytime for any amount of time, and I’ll never get sick of it.

What country music artists do you listen to the most?

The artists you’ll catch me listening to the most these days span a few, but I’m really loving Cody Jinks right now as far as current artists go. Jon Pardialso has some great songs. If it’s just a regular day and I need something to drive or work to, you’ll catch me throwing on George Jones, Alan JacksonDavid Lee MurphyGeorge Strait or Travis Tritt. If I’m looking for something with a little more gusto, I do love Blackberry Smoke.

How do you see country music evolving within 10 years?

I work within a lot of areas of the industry from programming music festivals, to running a record company, and still finding time to be an artist. I think people are real tired of this pop-rock infusion coming out of Nashville these days, but they still listen to it and learn all the words. I was just taking about this today on a podcast with the host. People say they hate pop country, but learn the songs. Does that mean it’s going to change anytime soon? Well I don’t that’ll go away right away since people are still buying it, but I do think there is a resurgence in, and a desire for, authentic from the heart music.

I had a buddy get back from Nashville the other week and he was complaining about how he was walkin’ into Nashville bars and if it wasn’t pop-rock, it was people covering Fleetwood Mac. I love the Mac. Does it fit in there though? That city has its own brand and its adopting the practices of other general-centres. I personally think Nashville is walking a thin line; that place still has the rep, but reputations can change; hell I know that better than anyone. If it doesn’t get back down the straight and narrow in the sense that it is pursing truth and authenticity, the general audience will start to get wise and start looking outside the big machine to find their music. When the money leaves, thats when the pop stuff will cool down.

Outside of that place there are a lot of cool things going on musically. Texas always had a great community for music, but it seems to be growing stronger from where I’m looking.Up here in Canada the main stream community really seems to follow a similar model to the pop-machines from Tennessee, but I know a whole whack of artists around here cutting music that speaks so much more to the audience than radio tunes. It’s an interesting time to be from Western Canada. I have high hopes for what can happen here.

Country Music is more than just a genre to a lot of folks, myself included. It’s a heartbeat. It needs to have substance and soul, otherwise it’s just background noise. We’ve got enough noise in our lives already. Music is supposed to help us get past that. I’d like to see more people stepping up and creating outlets for us to continue growing and building our community. Without a strong community it’s really hard to grow and be more than you’d hoped. Rising tides raise all ships.

Where do you see your musical career in 5 years?

I am planning on putting out an album every year for the next few years. Next one is slated for spring 2019 to keep on pace with the one I put out last May. I’ve been building some music festivals around these parts that are starting to get a lot of traction. Our record company Golden Oak Record Co. is growing and we’re starting to get to that point where we need to make sure we use our time efficiently or we won’t get everything done on schedule. It’s great, but it is also hard to find some time for yourself.

I’d love to be in a place where I can do a couple tours a year movin’ music and meeting with the people who want to meet me. I’d like to be able to do it from where I live right now as a home base so I could be close to my amazing partner Kalyn & my dog Jacob. Music keeps changing, and we’ve started putting more content out very recently online. We’re late to the Youtube game youtube.com/goldenoakrecordco but we’re already starting to get some great feedback there and I plan on using it as a platform to connect with people doing what we’re doing, and people who want to see something different out there. I feel it humanizes us as artists as well. People on the internet are nuts. They believe you are who they believe you are, even if they’re wrong. Connecting directly though interactive content can put that back in perspective for them.

Ultimately I’d like to be somewhere as someone people would be excited to work with, be it with my music, our company, etc. I don’t ever want to retire from this line of work. I love it.

Are there any instruments you don’t play but wish you did? Why?

I have been pickin’ in bands since I was just 16. Since then I’ve learned over 15 instruments proficiently, however I haven’t ever tried my hand at a Pedal Steel. That thing is a spaceship; the cadillac of country instruments. You’ve got to play it with your hands, knees, and feet. A lot of respect to the people who can pick those things up and play them correctly, with the correct tone, and sit in the mix properly. It adds so much to the sound you create as a band.

I’ve also got this beautiful gold tone banjo I received as a gift from my parents. I’m able to pick around on it, but I still can’t rip on it. One day soon I tell ya; I’ll get that thing rolling like a waterfall.

What was the best advice you have received?

I was 12 years old and sitting by a fire with my folks and some of their friends. Heck I can still see how still the lake was. There was this old man there sittin’ next to me, he said something like this, and this is the best that I can remember it: he turned to me near the end of the night and asked me what I liked. I didn’t have an answer for him. He asked me what I wanted to do. I didn’t know, so he told me “that’s alright kid, it doesn’t matter what you do, but you’ve got to do something and stick to it. You’re standing in the middle of a crossroads right now, with as many roads leading away from here as there are stars in the sky. Pick one. Start going down it. And damn it don’t you dare turn around once it gets hard, because you’ll just come back to here and then you’ll be starting all over again with nothing. You can restart a couple times sure. Maybe that wasn’t the right road, but when you find a road you can get down you keep going. You can’t get anywhere if you just keep giving up and starting all over again. You’ve got to make it to the end of one of these roads.”

Can’t tell you why, but that stuck with me.

Where does most of your inspiration come from?

My life. Even the songs that sound like they’re just written to be written about something? Those come from real experiences I’ve had. I can’t just say “hey let’s write a sad one today.” I’m more of a “I feel something because of this experience. I need to put this into the song.” It doesn’t just help me get over it, but it also gives me something to remember from that experience.

What do you consider to be your first big break in your career so far?

A couple years ago I won a contest to track a song in a studio in a small town around here. We run our own studio, but I figured we’d go out and have some fun. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to get myself back in gear. That song got added to SiriusXM on rotation on a country station and helped me win an award last November [2018]. That was my tune Honky Tonk Gone. I pulled my boots back on that day and got going again after a period of nearly throwing it in. Now I can’t imagine doing anything but music all the time. It’s an amazing feeling.

What’s on the horizon for you that you would like to share?

I’m performing at the Manitoba Country Music Awards this month.

We’ve got a performance coming up at the Centennial Concert Hall in the new year.

There’s a new record on the way for spring 2019.

I’m doing a song-a-week challenge. You can find that on our youtube.com/goldenoakrecordco and if you comment a suggestion I’ll try and do it for you on a later episode.

I’ve started producing music for other artists again. I’m excited to be able to help people make their music, and honoured to be a part of it.

I’m opening up for Lonestar in July 2019.

Working on some tour plans now, but nothing is set in stone yet. If you want to get us out contact me through my website.

My album was just made available for purchase on www.gregarcade.com. If you buy it from there I mail it to you myself which is cool. It’s available in all major online retailers too.

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