I recently got to chat with Nashville’s Thad Kopec about stories and his latest EP, The Ridge. Read on…
EJ: Your latest EP, The Ridge, is driven by a narrative. Why did you decide upon this approach?
TK: Well, I wrote the songs over the course of about three or four years. The first song I wrote was the title track, and over the course of time, I added to the story bit by bit. So really, it just sort of developed over time. I didn’t really intent to put the EP together until I realized I had written three songs that told the same story. Then I wrote the other three because I felt the need to complete the story. The new ones are Guardian, Hunger, and Owl Wakes Up.
EJ: For those who haven’t heard the EP, how would you summarize this narrative?
TK: It’s the story of a boy whose father goes missing. He sets off to find him, and in the process finds the thrill of discovering new places, but also faces the difficult realities those places hold.
EJ: What were some inspirations for this story?
TK: I’ve always loved fantastical stories of journey, and though they can be a bit corny, there is something about the grandness and imagination of them that catches a certain magic humans have indulged in since the beginning of time. I think part of me just wanted to play with that tradition, however clumsy the final product turned out to be.
EJ: Why did you decide to use woodsy/forest imagery in a lot of the songs?
TK: I love being in and writing about nature, and I think this was my effort to encapsulate the experience of being in the midst of an outer wilderness that reflects an inner wilderness.
EJ: What is the most personally meaningful song to you on the EP? Why?
TK: Probably the title track. For me, The Ridge is a symbol of adventure. I’m the kind of person who thrives on new experiences, so it’s hard for me to stay in one place. When I leave the apartment to go for a walk, I’ll end up being out for hours because I am drawn to every alley and street corner that intrigues me. I always look for what’s on the other side; it kills me not to know.
EJ: You have mentioned that you got to work with some very talented musicians on this release. Were there any memorable experiences that resulted from these collaborations?
TK: The place I was living in at the time I made The Ridge was this really cozy room on the third floor of an old apartment building with creaky wood floors. The way I tracked with people was basically that they would come over, and we would go over the parts together and then just track in my room. That was a unique space for those friendships–I think I’ll always have memories of being tucked away in that room overlooking Nashville laughing with Molly, getting really excited about a cello or violin take with Maggie and Cassandra, or Alex running over from his place next door with his trombone to lay down a part before he had to run to work.
EJ: What was the last book that you read, and what did you like about it?
TK: Notes On a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian by Bernard Lewis. I love reading an autobiography that I can hardly believe is a real person’s life. This book is especially fascinating because you learn a lot about the history of the Middle East and international politics from someone who was in the middle of a lot of huge moments in recent history and writes about them really insightfully.
EJ: Like many people who have been featured on this blog, you’re based in Nashville. What do you like about that area?
TK: Everything. There’s such an amazing community of creative people, I feel like there is always a new project or idea waiting to blossom and an almost overwhelming amount of resources to complete it. I also grew up in the South, so it’s really nice to be around a lot of the things I love about that culture, while most of the negative and stifling aspects of it aren’t really present.
EJ: When did you first think that you would be a musician for your career?
TK: Around the time I graduated college, which is ironic because I studied Religion and Literature. I was starting to get lucky with composition jobs and licensing placements, so that’s when I started to really conceptualize music as a career. That was only at the beginning of this year though, so I still have a lot of work to do before I can start throwing around the word “career.”
EJ: What have you found to be rewarding in the process of meeting that aspiration?
TK: Like I said, I don’t think I’ve quite met it yet. But beginning to have consistent work composing music is pretty amazing. Especially when I like the videos I’m composing for. But right now the satisfaction is more in the potential of some of the projects I’m at the beginning of.
EJ: What have you been planning for the future of your musical endeavors?
TK: There are a few projects that I am working on with some really brilliant people here in Nashville that I am really, really excited about. They involve bigger teams of musicians and creative people than I’m used to, which so far has been amazing. But I’m also beginning to really press in on finishing the full-length I have been working on for two years on-and-off now. That is what I have really been excited about, even as I have worked on the last two EPs, so I’m really glad to be fully focused on that now as an artist.
We would like to thank Mister Kopec for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to pick up his EP from iTunes (read our review here), and check him out on the interwebs.