Q: “Nothing Left” not only showcases your captivating light vocals but also your unique ear for creating cinematic soundscapes. How did this track come together and what was the inspiration behind it?
TED: I started “nothing left” using a vintage “garage-sale” Casio SA-20 keyboard. I created the arpeggios throughout the record by playing one note on the Casio and running it through Delay Designer on logic. This plug-in allows the user to not only design detailed custom delay patterns but also shift the notes of each delay. The syncopation of the two arps was actually a fortunate accident. I was dragging the second part and didn’t quite drag it enough. Instead of playing on top of the first arp, it played slightly after, creating the interplay between the two parts. Lyrically, the song is about not sacrificing what is truly important in order to achieve your subjective idea of success.
Q: On Instagram, you stated that you were going for the simple and the surreal in your video for “Nothing Left”. I love how the visuals play with light and dark in an interesting way. Walk us through the making of this music video. Which scene is your favorite?
TED: The video creation process was unique in that it was all shot and edited remotely in Toronto, Canada by Black Lake. Due to the border closure during the pandemic, I was unable to attend any of the shoots. However, via many brainstorming sessions and some back and forth my team and I were able to communicate with the video production team in order to achieve our mutually desired outcome.
My favorite scene is the spooky forested world that is navigated using a desk lamp. I love putting everyday objects where they don’t belong. I’m always drawn to juxtaposition which can be heard in my music.
Q: “Nothing Left” was the first video in a series of six videos to accompany the songs from your debut solo EP, morning. Each video is tied together by motifs such as the glowing orb and everyone looking up into the sky at what looks to be the Roman Numeral Three. What do these symbols mean and how important is symbolism to you in your work?
TED: The symbol is an homage to the Ted When logo. The three pillars are extrapolations of the elongated T D and H. I like pieces that aren’t restricted to one interpretation but are instead open to many unique personal interpretations. I interpret the orb and the obelisk as the music which brings otherwise unconnected people together.
Q: What was it like collaborating with Canadian filmmaking collective Blake Lake for this series?
TED: It was very exciting getting each edit back! They are professional and very creative. But they’re also receptive to input and able to collaborate and include other creative visions.
Q: Before going solo, you used to be the frontman of the successful indie band, Mansions on the Moon. How did that experience shape you into the artist you are today?
TED: When I first started Mansions On The Moon I was only using Garage Band to create rudimentary recordings of my ideas and adding my songs, melodies and lyrics over the other member’s productions. My first real live performances were in front of thousands of people on the Wiz Kalifa tour. So, needless to say, it was a sharp learning curve. This rapid learning curve also applied to me as a person. Through a succession of triumphs and failures I learned how to be the musician and person I am today. I also learned a lot from my bandmates who are more like brothers to me than fellow band members. My experience with MOTM taught me to be humble and appreciate everyone involved in the creative process and it’s publication and marketing, no matter how small their role may seem at the time.
Q: After the band dissolved, you moved from Los Angeles to Nashville to launch your solo career. What drew you to Nashville? How has Nashville’s music scene inspired your music?
TED: I lived in LA for eight years before moving to Nashville. I absolutely love LA and have a feeling I’ll probably end up there someday. However, I found myself needing more space, nature and a slower-paced lifestyle. With this sentiment, my wife and I looked at the map and chose Nashville as a home where we could achieve our lifestyle goals while still being able to pursue our career goals. What has influenced me the most about Nashville is my proximity to green spaces and the changing of the seasons. I find I write different songs in the winter, summer, spring and fall. This is a big difference from the perpetual sunshine of Los Angeles. Also, LA hits different when I return; I feel the city’s energy much more after I’ve spent some time away.
Q: What’s coming up next for you?
TED: I’m currently working on a full length album! I just completed a productive and inspiring trip to LA. During which time, I developed six song ideas with talented musicians and producers. I hope to return again soon to finish these and other works for the full length album. After that, with fingers crossed, I will begin developing a live show in hopes to go out in support of a similar act in the fall.
Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant