Volume 92, Issue 64

Thursday, January 21, 1999


Ember's success still burning

Tijuana cracks the London scene

Uravelling Japanese past

Virus goes home with the flu

Ember's success still burning

Gazette file photo

I COULD STAY AWAKE IF THESE WALLS WEREN'T SO DAMN COMFORTABLE. The always interesting Ember Swift blows into Call the Office on Saturday night.

By Lisa Weaver

Gazette Staff

Can an artist's work mature in the mere course of a year? Toronto's Ember Swift has proven it possible.

Her latest release, Can't Corner Me, comes quickly on the heels of 1997's Insectinside and a self-titled album in 1996. Although she had previously worked mostly on her own or with a rotating band of accompanists, Swift notes her process of musical creation has changed with the new album.

"Working with a regular band is really great for the development of new songs because now I'm in a position where I can think of new songs in terms of what their rhythm is like," she explains. "It has certainly widened the way I write music. Prior to that I was thinking 'how do I make these sounds?' because I'm responsible for making them all."

Swift's sound is defined by its strong sense of emotion and opinion. Each song has a style of its own, ranging from soulful solo vocals with intermittent guitar to full out rock. Can't Corner Me is similar to her last album in the fact that Swift still has her eye on the world around her.

"I really like Insectinside, my second album, but I think Can't Corner Me is a progression," she says. "But at the same time, Can't Corner Me took a lot less time to record and I put a lot less time into the perfection of the recording process, because it was live and we couldn't do extra takes."

Swift has developed her ideas and the lyrics reflect this sense of deeper knowledge. "For instance, 'Bargaining' is similar in subject matter to 'Stop Fighting You.' But then again the song 'Ridiculous' is a new concept about how crazy and petty life is," she notes.

Ember Swift has kept herself busy in the past year, touring across Canada, playing various shows in Toronto and managing Few'll Ignite Sound, her own record label. Despite continuous hard work, Swift notes there are still those who minimize artists' efforts.

"But I always hold that I'm an artist, I'm Ember Swift and I happen to be a number of other things. So focusing on those other 'happen to be' things like female, white, Canadian or young – those subsidiary things that I happen to be – does a disservice to my art because I'm an artist. I'm Ember Swift and from there it trickles down."

Swift says she has applied for funding and is going into the studio in May to work on a new album. The industrious artist has already finished six new songs, has three older ones which have never been recorded and a few which have been reworked from the first album which was released in cassette form – so fans can expect a comprehensive full-length album.

There appears to be no end in sight to Swift's creativity and energy. "There's always little plans, small goals. I think it is just a constant need to continually push and pursue my abilities as an artist," she says. "I don't see it as 'I must be here by this time' because it's been really successful so far. So if it stopped tomorrow, I've succeeded."

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999