A couple years ago, I discovered a local folk-pop artist by the name of Asim Chin at a fundraiser in my high school gym. I was very impressed by his acoustic covers of a vast range of songs, and his smooth, mellow voice. Fast forward to the present, and he has come a long way since then! Asim has just released his first full length album, and I caught up with him to ask him about the experience of making the album and what this album means to him.
S+N: What does the title of the album mean?
Asim Chin: The album title shares a name with the last track on the album… but it really does a great job of encompassing everything that this album means to me. Like everyone in any profession or industry, the music career has been quite a journey, and both in the relationships that most of the songs reference, and in the people that I’ve met along the way that have helped me to get to where I am today… the road definitely wasn’t one that I walked alone.
What was the writing and recording process like for you? How different was it from writing and recording your EP?
Completely different! When I recorded the EP, we had pre-produced every second of the three songs down to the exact notes, rhythms and tones that each instrument would play. Going into the studio to record it was essentially just laying down everything for one final time; I knew exactly what everything was going to sound like prior to actually going into the studio, and while it saved a lot of time and money, I definitely didn’t feel the same magic that I felt this time around.
Recording ‘Road Designed For Two’ involved moving away from home for a few weeks and driving a few hours south to the small town of Three Hills. I lived right in the studio sleeping on an air mattress with ants crawling around everywhere. Instead of recording for a few hours after work and before a hockey game, we were in the studio for full work days that sometimes would extend into the late evening hours.
In terms of the music, it was very refreshing to be able to go into the studio with a clean slate and my songs stripped down the way I wrote them in my bedroom… with just my voice and an acoustic guitar. I put a lot of faith in Matty McKay, my producer, and Mark Troyer, my recording engineer, in that we would walk out of the studio with songs that I really was proud of… and that confidence really allowed us all to work well together. A prime example of how amazing it was to discover and build the songs in the studio setting was the fact that the song Change Their Minds only became the stand-out single after Matty went off on this incredible electric guitar riff with a ton of reverb and delay… I had never thought that the song would end up being a single, but that was the magic of the way we approached the whole recording process.
As an artist, what is your preferred form of distribution of your music? That being said, how will you be distributing the album?
While cost effectiveness of selling my music digitally is probably the biggest reason for putting it up on distributors like iTunes and Amazon… it’s definitely also a huge advantage to be able to have my music sold around the world. Most of my family is in South Africa, and it’s really great to know that the day that I release my album, which also happens to be my birthday, will be the same day that my aunts, uncles, and cousins can grab a copy and listen.
That said, I will also be selling physical CD copies of the album at my live shows as well as through CDBaby.com for those outside of Edmonton that would like a copy… and I’m also always open to shipping some overseas if someone really wants to listen!
What did you listen to while recording the album?
During the recording process I tried to listen to a lot of early John Mayer as some of the tones and sounds that he had on his initial Room For Squares album have always been inspirational. That said, I also didn’t want to focus too much on it as I did want this album to have its’ own sound and character.
When it comes to my regular listening preferences, I listen to a lot of top 40 music, which I not only enjoy… but that also gives me a good idea of what’s popular with the masses these days.
What inspired this album?
The inspiration for the album lyrically came from personal stories and relationships that I feel are fairly universal… but the overall reason and goal is an easy one for me, as I’m the type of person that is always looking to express my thoughts and feelings with those around me. Releasing an album is such a rewarding way of sharing my music and I can’t wait to have it heard by as many people willing to listen.
“Road Designed for Two” is a fantastic debut album for Asim. It accurately reflects his relaxed yet heartfelt musical style. If you’re looking for new local music that is acoustically inspired, and plugged in to the popular flow of the Top 40, or you have a thing for genuine, personal lyrics (so really, I’m directing this at ALL of you…yes, you), check out this debut album! You can stream the album on his Soundcloud site http://soundcloud.com/asimchin/changetheirminds, or you can buy the album on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/road-designed-for-two/id563522127.