Jim Guthrie Talks the Process Behind 'Takes Time'
Published May 23, 2013After releasing 2003's Now, More Than Ever to critical acclaim and plying his trade with Islands and Human Highway, Jim Guthrie is finally back with a new studio album. Out now via Static Clang, Takes Time represents Guthrie's arguably finest and most mature songwriting to date. It's a rich, stately affair that he makes sound easy, but as Guthrie tells Exclaim!, releasing the album was a painstaking process — one that saw him battle writer's block, self-doubt and an impossibly busy schedule during the six-year recording process.
"It's crazy because it was overwhelming how far I felt from being done," he says, "but sometimes you just hit a point and it all comes flooding in, and if you have the wherewithal to jump on the train as it's rushing by, amazing things can happen. I managed to finish like 60 percent of the record in maybe 10 months or something. So I definitely think the record is way better for having been 10 years in the making. I probably would've made a really crappy record had I rushed it."
For Guthrie, the key to success was opening up to those people around him, something that's not always so easy for a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who is accustomed to going it alone.
"I really felt out of the loop, I didn't trust myself. And then I just started sharing. At first, I tried to be like, 'No, I'm going to work on it all myself until it's done and then I'll show people; I'm not ready to share yet.' But then," he admits, "I realized how stupid that was. I need feedback, even if its just people saying, 'That sounds cool.' That was a big turning point, I started letting people in more and it made it easier to finish."
Now that the album's out, Guthrie is excited to start playing shows again. Still, the Toronto-based Guelph transplant will not be quitting his day job anytime soon; he just finished scoring a documentary called Manor (a hit at this years Hot Docs), and there appear to be more videogames and films on the horizon.
If success means juggling rock'n'roll with commercial work, that's just fine by Jim.
"I have a distinct memory of saying when I was a teenager if I could just have a room full of so many instruments and I could just get up and make music every day then I'd be successful. I have a basement full of junk to make music with and I get to wake up and do that every day, and I make a living creating sounds. So I don't take it for granted."
Read more of Exclaim!'s interview with Guthrie here.