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During his recent trip to the Yukon, musician Corey Harper got a chance to connect with nature and find new inspiration. In the latest Far & Wide episode, “Songwriters Guide to the Klondike,” Harper visits the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Takhini Hot Pools, the Carcross Desert and sets out on Arctic Range Adventure‘s Aurora Viewing Tour. We caught up with him to talk about his favourite parts of the trip and learn how the experience evoked musical creativity.
In the episode, you said getting out of your comfort zone was the most important part of writing music—how did this trip do that?
It’s easy to become stationary as a songwriter and musician, especially when making a record. Something about a change in scenery and new surroundings is important—it brings new thoughts and expressions. My time is slowed and generously used in new places I go, especially when they’re as strikingly beautiful as the Yukon.
How did the Yukon challenge you as a musician, and what did you learn from the experience?
It’s challenging to live outside of my head sometimes. Ironically, sometimes I can spend too much time thinking about music—which sounds unrealistic for a musician—but sometimes beauty doesn’t need to be translated into my own language (in a musical sense). I have a hard time depicting what it is about my surroundings that I need to focus on. Sometimes the right thoughts come later.
How did the wildlife and landscape inspire you?
In the moment, I don’t think it was about being immediately inspired by everything. I think I was more focused on learning how to digest what was in front of me so I could find a way back to those archived memories. The inspiration usually comes later, and when I least expect it.
What was it like having all these diverse nature experiences in the Yukon?
The nature reminded me of back home, but I felt connected to the Yukon in a new way. I felt I could let all the scenery become a part of what I was doing there, and I was effortlessly living within the landscape.
Between Takhini Hot Springs Visit, Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Miles Canyon Hiking and the Aurora Viewing Tour, what was your favourite activity and why?
I had always heard of and seen pictures of the northern lights, but never experienced it. It was a magical moment to witness what so few people get to see with my own eyes. I felt very blessed.
What’s something you experienced in the Yukon that you wish was more accessible in L.A.?
Clean air (haha) and probably the use of Jim’s amazing studio [Green Needle Records]. I would kill to have a spot so secluded and accessible.
What’s another Canadian city you’d love to visit for songwriting inspiration?
I would love to explore Quebec. I feel like it’s the most diverse of the Canadian provinces based on its demographic and culture.
Our office is located in Toronto, so if you were to write a song inspired by that city, what would it be called?
I read an article recently in CBC News about the declining culture of live music, and venues that are being shut down by condo developers inflating the market. So as a fan of live music and venues and wanting them to stick around I’d write a song called “Soundcheckyourself,” then turn it into a short film/narrative called “Behind the Encore.” Here’s the plot:
On a late summer’s eve in the early 2000s, Paul Martin is wandering the astonishingly low crime streets of Toronto and hears the faint sounds of the most fire bars he’s ever heard. A young boy is singing and dancing his way down the sidewalk. He says, “Son, someday you’re going to be huge,” and re-directs funds to be focused on live music in Toronto. He guides and aids the boy financially and mentors him throughout his childhood. That boy grows up to be Drake.
Watch Corey Harper’s Far & Wide episode below, and check out Bucket List: Experience The Best Of The Yukon for learn more about Arctic Range Adventures. Also: Get 10% off a Yukon summer dream active adventure tour right here.