EMQ’s with DEAD DEFINED
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Toronto, Ontario, Canada based Modern Rock solo project, Dead Defined. Huge thanks to main man, Craig Ewan, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Of course! Dead Defined was formed in 2018 and is a Pop/Rock/Industrial project. It’s instrumentally written and sung by myself, Craig Ewan. It is produced and engineered by Mike Dmitrovic of Voodoo Records Canada. It’s more or less an amalgamation of all my favourite styles of music focused into one project.
How did you come up with your band name?
The band name actually comes from a dark place but the music is actually quite positive, ha. The origin of it stems from questioning one’s own mortality. I’d been watching too many documentaries at the time about assisted suicide in the critically ill and elderly and the question I always asked myself was how does one define death? It’s a bit morbid I know, but Dead Defined had a better ring to it than any other descriptive pairing of words, haha.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
I’m born and raised Canadian. I live about 45mins Northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Sadly, we don’t have much of a metal scene in the Toronto core as a lot of the better known venues have been closing due to Covid and poor attendance. One province over in Quebec is where there’s a better known Metal scene. They hold ‘Heavy Montreal’ every year and have a massive attendance when doing so. A lot of bands from my area tour to play that festival and book their gigs through Quebec on the way back home.
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)
My latest single release is entitled ‘Ignite’. It’s a bit of a step out of my comfort zone as it’s a bit of a genre bender. I wanted to bend the mould of my typical four-on-the-floor percussion driven rock anthems and push the boundaries when it came to the sound and style of this tune. I like to show diversity in my writing as Dead Defined is my own solo project. I now have that freedom to do so and having that freedom to experiment by dipping into different genres is really what I love to do as of lately. You never know what the end result will be as long as you are willing to try.
‘Ignite’ (Official Video)
‘Today (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
I have way too many influencers to list and most come out subconsciously through writing music, but I’ll name a few of my favourites! I grew up listening to the late 90’s, early 2000’s commercial Hard Rock scene. American Hard Rock/NuMetal was a huge part of my musical influence even if that doesn’t transpose to my own style of writing. I do take a few things here and there idea wise, but try to compose music that’s more relevant for today’s listener. Growing up it was bands like P.O.D., Sevendust, Staind, Korn, Creed, Alter Bridge, Nirvana etc.
These days I’m all over the map when it comes to new music and ideas as it’s so easily accessible and easy to find daily. I listen to anything from Top 40, Country Rap to Chill Lo-fi and Instrumentals.
What first got you into music?
I got into music like mostly every other Rock’ n Roll musician I know. I wanted to be the cool Rockstar everyone idolized haha. Once you grow up a bit after playing copious amounts of Live shows and going through financial struggles, reality sinks in and you realize it’s more about the passion for the actual music and hard work than just wanting to be the ‘Cool’ guy. That inflated ego dies off pretty quick once that sinks in and either you love to do it or you don’t. Thankfully, it’s my passion.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?
I’d love to collaborate with rock guitar icon Mark Tremonti. (Alter Bridge, Creed, Tremonti) I started playing his guitar riffs when first learning to play guitar and writing songs. His writing style has had a massive influence on my own music over the years. I’ve followed his career since I was a teenager and to this day, I’m a fan and always will be.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Wacken Open Air in Germany. Although my music isn’t as heavy compared to most bands that play that festival, I’d love to play on one of those stages. The sheer number of people and size of that festival has to be a sight to see. From what I hear the Germans are quite the crazy crowds as well!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I’ve actually never received anything weird from my fans surprisingly haha. I do still find it flattering when asked for a hug or autograph but thankfully I haven’t received anything too awkward in return.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Keep supporting independent artists. It’s now tougher than ever to continue recording and promoting our music as live shows are still on hold in Canada, as of now. I know some states have opened up in the USA but here it’s still going to be awhile. We aren’t even allowed to cross the borders yet. Our main source of income was the live scene but with Covid putting a stop to that we have to rely on mainly merch sales as streaming platforms don’t pay much for artists.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Chris Cornell. I wouldn’t say he was my main influence when it comes to rock music but he definitely had an impact on my style and writing. I try to promote mental health awareness through my music and seeing as he died by his own hand is a sad reminder that even if you’re at the top of your game and famous worldwide we all have inner struggles. We are all just human.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
To be a bit specific, the best part of being a musician is the rush of adrenaline and pure energy from performing a live concert. There’s no other euphoric high that gets you there. The downside to that is the comedown after is just like any other drug. A lot of musicians get caught in the ugly cycle of addiction because of it. Getting used to the highs and lows of your body’s endorphins after a great show or a crappy one is not for the weak. It takes quite a while to adjust to it and stay on the straightened arrow, so to speak.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
This sounds kind of like a cliché artist answer I’m sure, but if the start of free music services like Napster or Spotify were never invented that would have been great, ha. The pay out of streaming compared to hard physical sales just does not compete anymore. Music isn’t all about money and profit, but to keep making music at a high level and performing it takes a certain income to maintain consistency which is almost impossible to do with how much streaming platforms pay out.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
An album that comes to mind that’s killer from front to back is Breaking Benjamin – “Phobia”. I definitely used to have the CD version of this and I don’t think it ever left my cars CD player, ha. To this day it’s a go to album for working out or inspiration when writing my own music.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Speaking as an artist, anything but downloads haha. Sadly, reality is most people stream or download music for free these days and rarely want to spend money on new music.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
One of my most memorable gigs was with a previous band of mine years ago. Sadly, the club doesn’t exist anymore, but it was a 2 stage venue. One small stage floor room which was kind of hidden away at the back of the club and one larger stage which was the main stage. This story is a bit of an ego booster haha My band was booked to play the smaller stage of the 2 in the back of the club. There were also bands playing on the main stage that night as well. From what I remember as our set got underway was the room starting to just fill up with more and more people until they couldn’t let anyone else in. Apparently as us and another band on the main stage started playing, a promoter that was watching their gig popped in to see ours and I guess really liked us so he stole the crowd from the main stage and funnelled them into our gig. Haha. It was a real ‘Rockstar’ moment for us all at the time as we mainly depended on foot traffic and word of mouth to drive ticket sales as social media wasn’t even a thing at that time. Quite a memorable one.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
If I weren’t pursuing music as my overall main focus in life, I’d probably end up being a Meteorologist. What? I know right? To be frank, weather is another passion of mine. Specifically violent weather like Tornadoes and Hurricanes. Maybe one day I’ll be a Weatherman?!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Michael Blakey, Elvis Baskette and my 3 Standard Poodles…Haha, I know that doesn’t count but hey they’re good conversationalists. As for the other 2 actual humans, feel free to Google them.
What’s next for the band?
Plans for the future are to keep on the same path as I’m on. Spiritually and emotionally. I find I write best when I’m not in my head as much. I like to take time to pursue other hobbies and passions other than music 24/7. If I obsess about it, I find it zaps my creativity. The nice weather in Canada is now approaching so I like to get out and free my mind so to speak.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I try to focus mainly on Instagram as of now but utilize Facebook and TikTok as well. As for streaming I’m on all of the major platforms Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud etc. under ‘Dead Defined’.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Is it bad I had to Google what a Jaffa Cake is? Haha. I don’t eat much sugar! But I’m going to have to say biscuit on this one.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I have just dropped brand new merch for the 1st time on my website. It’s pretty exciting to be able to create new ideas on items being sold directly through me. It’s another creative outlet I can have fun with. I hope to design and sell new designs and products, 1-2 times a month, shipping Worldwide. Please have a look and hopefully it’s something your fanbase and readers will be interested in. www.deaddefined.com/store
Thanks so much!
Much Love, Craig Ewan.
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