“Beware of the black one,” Logan says.
“The cat?” I ask.
“No, the rooster,” he laughs.
Crowing could be heard from beyond the front porch as I arrive at his place on the reserve in Six Nations, outside of Brantford where we agree to meet for an interview.
(Clip is NSFW and includes preview audio of new album tracks!)
The sun has just come up and Logan hasn’t slept at all. He’s been working all night, writing a new album that has clearly been on his mind all day, every day.
Entering the front door of his place there is recording equipment at a desk. Guitar stands and amps are everywhere. His place has all the marks of a musical bachelorhood but it’s small and inspiring. The Aboriginal People’s Choice Award for Best Rock Album sits on a speaker amongst small potted plants in the window. He laughs and tells me not to worry, there isn’t a hidden, passed out band member under a blanket on the couch as he invites me into the living room.
Logan apologizes for not responding to me when I sent texts to tell him that I had gotten lost on the drive: “I was writing. I told you this is the time when I get the most done. Between like, 3 and 5 in the morning. It’s crazy- I wrote a song in thirty minutes while you were messaging,” he said.
He wastes no time: “Wanna hear it?”
Eagerly, I say yes.
Logan’s music is like a rainy day. It consistently draws you inwards to contemplation and on the best of days, draws you out to dance barefoot and defiant in puddles. It’s freeing, whether it’s opening your mind in solitude or widening your eyes on the open road.
There’s something different about this album. I have heard a couple of songs in progress and they have been exceptional: he’s challenging his voice and working hard on the production end, an effort that has granted him an Indigenous Music Award nomination (he’s up for three!) for his sound engineering work on his first solo album, Goodbye Goldia.
He says he’s been experimenting with a greater scope of sound, and it shows. He’s included a small gospel choir on a few tracks. Knowing this, I am surprised by how bold and quick to the point the lyrics are when the song comes on:
“This is song is about a lonely man. It’s written by a desperate man. This one’s for my boys. This one’s for the wolves. This one’s for my hustlers, out there selling souls. This one’s my girl, wearing that pretty thing. This one’s for my woman, hiding those wedding rings. I’m not a holy man, hell I don’t even pray. I’m not a holy man, but I hit my knees that day.”
We laugh about the church choir backing up that one. “We recorded them separately,” he says.
I can’t quite grasp where he is going with the lyrics, “What’s up with this one, Logan? I mean, Goodbye Goldia was definitely running a theme.”
“It’s about the last girl that I loved and lost,” he sighs. “Sabrina.”
I can hardly hear what he is saying. His audio levels dip to literally half the decibals reached when he’s enthusiastic. “I haven’t talked to her since we split. I just can’t. It hurts too much. I’ve emailed her some of the tracks but that’s it.”
I don’t understand how he can clearly feel so much and yet say so little. “I’m not a half-way liker,” he says.
“Are you mad?” I ask. “No, I’m not mad,” he says. “I’m sure you go through like, the whatever billion steps you go through, …: Insanity, sorrow, insanity again, sorrow. More insanity. I did that for four months before New Year’s and I was like, I did that all before with Charlotte, and even Riley’s mom. I’m not doing it again; I’m pouring the pain into my work.”
He says he’s making every word count, putting everything he does back into what he calls the Machine and asks if I want to hear another song.
I do, but when I hear it, it’s so painful that I gasp.
“I got my fists up, but I don’t want to fight. I can’t find my day’s love. So I’m searching the night. She just wants a folk song. One she can say she knows. She just wants a folk song. And I can’t let go. Well I know that I’m right, but I hope that I’m wrong. She’ll never love me, but she’ll always love my songs. I know that I’m right, but I hope that I’m wrong. She’ll never love me, but she’ll always love my songs.”
When it ends, the room is quiet. Logan sits across from me. I feel guilty. Isn’t that what we all want? The folk songs?
Until the festival in Germany and a busy circuit of summer festivals to come, fans in Canada will have to wait for what his sleepless winter has produced.
In the meantime, Logan Staats is writing madly, alone as he will be on stage, but without the spectators.
You can follow him , , and and listen to a YouTube playlist made specifically to fill the void:
Soundcloud Interview, Storify, and YouTube playlist by Allana McDougall.