Adam Cohen – Like A Man
Submitted by Michael Williams
MW: I lecture at high schools, Universities and Colleges ...through this,I came in contact with Paul Koidas from Centennial College. He called me twice about Adam Cohen. Once after he first saw his Idea City showcase… and was really excited about it. Then again when he needed a venue for an Alumni Concert featuring Adam Cohen. After listening to Adam Cohen, I decided to use St. Paul Cathedral on Bloor Street, acoustically perfect with no microphone; I fell in love with the room. Now I am interviewing Adam Cohen.
Adam: you found the gig!
MW: yes, I did, was the room magic for you?
AC: it wasn’t that it was a good room but it was the beginning of what would later become the launch of the entire revival of my career. It was the most pivotal show and showcase and confidence booster and proof provider. That I could take this intimate quiet record on the road and actually equip myself better than I ever had on stage. It provided that cozy intimate quiet comfort. The funny thing is that only about ten days ago, when I was last in Toronto for the Glen Gould Award show, I had a meeting in a building in a building adjacent to the church. I found myself reminiscing fondly about that night again and you bring it up.
MW: besides your father, what made you want to pursue this career in music?
AC: you don’t have to be a famous person’s son to be seduced by music. There was no actual moment but an accumulation of experiences that gain momentum, found time dedicated to writing, all of which became a life in music.
MW: you played all types of music, you experimented a lot.
AC: yes, it took me a while to find my own voice. In a way I should be thankful that I found it at all!
MW: when you became a father, how did it change what you?
AC: it was the most life altering of events for me, as all parents understand,that wonderful moment of when I had my kid on one side of me and my father on the other side, that connection I felt, that responsibility persists. It’s about wanting to honour what has come before you and will come after, within the context of the family.
MW: how was the Glenn Gould Prize Award Show?
AC: it was a fun show to be a part of and invited to as well, especially closing the show out with two powerhouse songs appropriately placed at the end. To have a warm, enthusiastic and excited response is extremely validating and capped off by my father leaping out of his seat!
MW: where does this record take you next?
AC: I am just back from South Korea, then we prepare for a summer tour, opening dates for Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones and Bob Dylan in the South of France.The record itself is just a premise itself for me to be back in music. Playing and establishing, hopefully a relation for the first time with an audience which I hope to foster. I often forget that I am not in the record selling business.
I do at times scratch my head with frustration, at why I am not selling more records, the truth of the matter is for the most part I am building a relationship that is very hard to build in this day and age, especially when you are peddling such obscure,quiet little wares.
MW: at what time did you think you found your voice?
AC: the truth of the matter is that I am always plagued with a sense of un-assuredness about my own recording and career, even now, with all the great and positive things that happen to me.
I still have bouts of genuine deep worry about my place in music, my mobility and my ability to last out the leaner period. I don’t know if these feelings a connected to a deeper truth or just how I am wired.
MW: what was it like working with Patrick Leonard on the record?
AC: he’s a genius and a friend; rarely can you say genius and friend together. I got to benefit from his faith in me and his friendship and advice to extend to his studio, friendship and loyalty. A remarkable person, I owe a lot to him.
MW: he was so excited by the track “Sweet Dominique”, it required no mixing.
AC: it’s pretty amazing; I never thought I would do a record like that; that anyone could say that about!
I was actually terrorized for many years by the idea that there were some people that could play and sing and have no overdubs. One take and they could be great and it resembled my experience in recording so little that it terrorized me. It planted seeds of great doubt that I wasn’t any good. hen to make a record where I was doing these things with people that I so admired; were folklore for me. Playing and singing, doing one take vocals and capturing magic and just being really good for the first time in my life. It took instruction from a master.
MW: once you got the instruction, did you believe him?
AC: I did not believe myself; I did not believe I could do it!
MW; was it more of a live record for you?
AC: I guess, it was cut so quickly… three weeks.
MW: who decided on Patrick Leonard as producer?
AC: He’s the one who came up with the idea to make the record, he lent his time and came up with the rules, and how to do it, his studio, and his time financed it and flew in musicians and did it around his other work.
MW: did you want to do it, did you believe him that it could be done?
AC: I did not believe I could do it but I thought it was an experiment that I was going through , I did not get into it with a enormous amount of faith. In fact I did it with a lot of fear. I was willing to face that fear for the first time and that was a victory in itself.
MW: Quincy Jones told me, production of a great record is to convince someone to leap without a net and know that they will always catch you.
AC: that totally works! The goal was to have a real, intimate record, this the first time in my life I can say mission accomplished.
Editors Note: Michael Williams also had the opportunity to interview Patrick Leonard on the recording of the CD.