Crow Speaks truly began one fall day in 2015 when Edgar Sopper found a used Tascam MKII Portostudio four-track cassette recorder in a Goodwill for $20.
It was a fitting find for the end of a three-year stint in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the end of a three-year romantic relationship. This used tape recorder accompanied a secondhand microphone on Edgar Sopper’s travels to Buckeye, AZ, where he would find his father unwell, and doctors unable to provide an explanation as to the curious behavior that he had been exhibiting for years.
Finally being diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Edgar Sopper battled his own inner demons with his trials and tribulations in life as he would attempt to adjust to a new reality.
Crow Speaks is the channeled frustration, loss, hopelessness, and depression expressed in hopes that the sound acts as a guidepost to anyone who can relate that it can and will get better.
Releasing a compelling series of songs on his most recent EP, “Crow Speaks,” the self-titled compilation incorporates five tracks written over the course of 2015 to 2019 in Oregon and Arizona. Edgar Sopper began undertaking this self-recorded, written, performed, and mixed EP in December of 2020, where he would pour his heart and soul into the body of work that would later be released on February 20th, 2021.
“Crow Speaks,” commences with the dark essence of “Down.” A song that carries an edgy foundation that trickles into furtive lanes of expressiveness. Transporting this innovative sound into the second record, “Drive,” an expanding scope of the miscellany of genres that Crow Speaks reconnoiters is rediscovered in the body of work.
Consistently playing upon the experimental elements that trace a spirited psychedelic fusion molding your mind in mesmerizing ways, the five songs heard on “Crow Speaks,” carry out the echoes of Edgar Sopper’s distant vocals surfacing through hazy layers of entrancing guitar riffs. The prevailing ricochets that are shed through the vocals pleas act as a cry for help as Edgar Sopper shares his story of dissonance with those who are willing to listen.
The rhythm that’s held in each composition, most notably “Collapse Relapse,” lures you into a headspace that Crow Speaks effortlessly crafts as the envelope is pushed into eye-opening angles of keen wit, and therapeutic framework. In an enticing atmosphere that is focused on exposing the vulnerability of Edgar Sopper, we fixate ourselves upon the emotional turmoil that has us encountering ominous hues of mystery in the abstract lyrics intricately crooned.
The fogginess that lays in the instrumentation of each body of work has you simmering a shockingly raw display of talents from Crow Speaks. The enduring potency of each track exceeds the influential traits taken into account as we seek a deeper meaning into the textured layers of synergy released into the portentous environment that surfaces amongst the melodic mist.
Striking our ears in an upbeat fusion, we find the development of “Crow Speaks,” to be remarkable as we tour numerous time signatures in a syncopated rush of artistic versatility pumping through each composition. “XYZ God,” leans into a more upbeat atmosphere that turns heads and places the tempo in a dance-like realm.
Encrusted in a progression that you want to write home about, you truly never know the direction that the project “Crow Speaks” is headed in. Drifting through moments that allow you to feel a thorough blend of sentimental tenors, you also find yourself weaving around the enticing tone of a high-impact battlefield waiting to be torn apart as you await the moment reality sinks in. “Winter In A Glass House,” is a prime example of the turbulence you can expect to feel as you reach the final song and attempt to take in the full meaning released.
Crow Speaks has set out to impart the sentiment ‘Express. Even if you are limited in what you can achieve at the moment, express by any means possible. By expressing whatever it is we're going through, we can free it and ourselves.’
With “Crow Speaks” being dedicated to David Abe Falkena, the various supporters of Crow Speaks, Olivia, and Mr. E for telling Edgar Sopper that he is a quitter, we are certain that the expectations that the project of “Crow Speaks,” had set in place have been conquered as all is left on the table for fans to bear witness.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Crow Speaks! We love the exhilarating ride that your self-titled EP “Crow Speaks” takes us on. Could you please share with us the main messaging that you hope to put forth in this project?
The messaging I hope to convey by being brutally honest about my feelings while they are happening is to show folks that when you're hurting or experiencing it's okay and necessary to talk about the things that society has labeled negative or unpleasant or taboo or social suicide whether that's spoken or unspoken through response or inaction.
I believe we need to as a society need to come together to discuss the pain we experience on an individual level and able to express these things safely and without immediate and pre-determined judgment to get to the root causes and address them to improve the quality of life for ourselves and the whole. I believe too often we are placed in economic circumstances that make us competitors, instead of family members of the human race and co-pilots on this fantastical, epic, unbelievable voyage through our lives here on what we know as Earth.
I hope that if anyone who hears my music and relates or feels the way I felt when I wrote these songs that they know that another soul has been in that place and made it out and it gets better. There is a better choice than calling it quits prematurely. There is a way forward and out.
From 2015 to 2019 you wrote the songs that we can hear in this body of work. Do you remember the year that you wrote each song? Did you end up revisiting them before the recording process took place?
Great question! And an astute observation. Yes. The songs were written at different times and were changed along the way before or during recording.
Down was written in the spring of 2016 shortly after I returned to Arizona and discovered my father was unwell, but we were still unable to definitely say what was happening with him. This song was written and finished mostly in one sitting, with harmonies on the breakdown added during recording and a heavy lower octave guitar added as well during recording thanks to the software capabilities available.
Drive was begun in 2017 or 2018 and the opening long inspired by leftover feelings of growing up in the midwest and living in places I didn't really resonate with. A friend of mine I had met while doing security when I lived in San Diego for a year was starting up a podcast and asked if I can help him buy the equipment and start it up, so I did and he wanted to use one of my songs. He happened to have a lovely Fender tube amp, so I set up my pedal on the spot and played what I had so far with no accompaniment, dry vocals, and because of not being bound to a microphone or I was able to fidget with my pedal with my hands while still singing which resulting in the bass loop repeating at such a moment that it created a great flow that opened up just enough before keeping it moving again. I worked with this for quite a while to recreate that. I finally was able to figure out something comparable that I could do while singing. The lead guitar line used to come before the bass, but during the recording found that I loved the pairing of "Since I can't be honest..." with the bass entry. The midsection of the song that features the vocal backups and bass only I do spontaneously live, so it was fun to look at what that translated as visually in the recording software and changed the sequence, so it will be interesting to learn to have to do it the way I recorded or to tweak it and build off of in the future possibly. The song's ending was the final piece..because of the pedal I use, it's difficult to make sure the songs have enough variation, especially as the drum machine is so repetitive, so I felt I needed to make sure the song wasn't lacking in dynamic or variation or range, so if folks make it to the end, I hope it catches them by surprise. Only by recording it, did it feel finished finally.
Collapse Relapse's was written in about 5 minutes in 2016 after returning to AZ on an acoustic guitar and the lyrical content originally reflected more economic/socio grievances and heartbreak from my previous relationship in Oregon ending. The day after Dijon Trump was elected to office in 2016, I decided to try to transform something just heartbreaking and negative into something positive and changed the lyrics to be an apology piece to the Universe/Earth for the way we've messed things up and ourselves. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. I tried to draw parallels to the civil rights movement, but we really are continuing that same fight that was never fully resolved.
XYZ God was written in the winter of 2016 in my folk's garage in Buckeye, AZ. I had no friends yet and no life and was emotionally a wreck, out of control before I got some counseling help and got sober....fresh off of a Paxil cold-turkey wreck. XYZ God is the product of my love for one of the Zoom G1On's sub-bassy effects and discovering its layering capabilities. Definitely might be a little extra and busy, but it's so much fun to play. The lyrics were written during recording on the four-track cassette demo's I did and the song's structure was influenced by my f-ups like miscounting in my head where other parts should enter....recording on tape is a different thing...it's much more difficult to fix error's so I had accepted some of the f-ups and work with them and incorporate them into the work. The instrumental line after "You can lay awake all night..." is exactly that. Accidental empty space that needed filler. A few additional changes like extra choruses and lead guitar harmonies or lead guitar parts were added in response to performing the song live. The ending vocal lines "Gets out. Gets out." were added during the recording, as well as the choppy intro vocals.
Winter In A Glass House was begun in the fall/winter of 2015 in Portland, OR. I was still living with my ex-fiance in a one-bedroom apartment and burned through another job because of my mental health and an awful manager with anger issues, as well as a best friend who I had just fallen out with. It all culminated in a moment of resignation and hopelessness, which resulted in the intro, first verse, and chorus. After returning to AZ I came back and wrote a second verse. The four-track version of the song featured a loop segment and piano parts from a $20 used children's keyboard, that I kind of regret omitting, but, wanted to keep everything reasonably close to how I can perform it live, rather than create an unrealistic expectation. I am completely new to digital recording. This album was my first attempt. I'm putting off having to do my homework with digital recording. Something about keeping it simple with just me and a few pedals is appealing to me, where if I forget to make a change or hit a button live...it can, has, and will be a train-wreck, as opposed to relying on a programmed sequence...I kind of like that. Apparently, I enjoy situations to potentially humiliate myself.
Out of the five songs on the EP, do you have a specific song that resonates with you more than others? Why?
XYZ God will always be my baby...I love that song with all of my heart. It's so personal to me and I love the rhythms, textures, mood, weirdness, business, and harmonies of it all...I can go nuts on stage with that one a really release some energy, but after recording these songs I can admit 'Drive' is what I keep returning to and continuously keep wanting to turn most days even a month after releasing the album. It just has a fresh, upbeat, light energy that is refreshing and I think catchy. I had to imitate my friend's Fender tube amp that sounded so good when I helped him with his podcast through recording software's simulators, but I love the sound I was able to achieve for the bass. I love the outro and can listen from a progressed and safe place and removed space from the song and feel a sense of love and compassion for the person who wrote that song, as opposed to all of the destructive, painful feelings which created it.
With each artist varying, what was the thought process behind the tracklist in place?
The thought process when writing for me comes second...I usually go strictly by feeling and catharsis...I just vocalize whatever comes out unplanned. So, really, there was no thought process. I apparently needed to purge my feelings of being trapped somewhere you don't want to be. After performing it the instrumentals took me to a place where I apparently felt was a good time to purge the "Run run away. I tried. I tried. I tried. I tried." and "I couldn't run no." The unwanted sexual experience I had as a child was something I only told to two or three of my friends at various times and counselors. I only told my parents a couple of years ago at the age of 33. I used to journal every day for nearly 25 years and had never addressed or confronted these feelings, so it's very much like that young boy I see in pictures talking to me directly, and thanks to the help of professional mental health providers and counselors I can realize that the love, compassion, and care I feel for that young boy belong to me and I am indeed worthy of love and will protect that kid.
How have you found yourself growing as a writer, artist, and individual from 2015 to this present moment?
Sadly, I feel stagnant as an artist, though I know it's not true. I have always required absolute solitude in regards to physical proximity from people for me to be able to open up and be vulnerable and purge and create free from any outside perception or judgment or feeling like you have to perform, so I'm biding my time for the opportunity to potentially see what comes out. I have learned so much from that time period, to now that I'm sure the changes will be reflected in whatever comes next, but even if nothing comes next. I'm proud of what I've done and where I've been.