When Zane contacted me to set up the interview, he told me that he would take the earlier time to let his brother Ulysses sleep in. Coming from a family of four boys I could relate. From the brief time that we had to get to know each other, I could tell that Ulysses possessed a single pointed mind refined over the years. True artists are typically found on the fringe, and I think this position serves the Coppard brothers well.
“I love consuming the art form just as much as I like creating it.”
What does passion mean to you? I feel like it's synonymous with purpose. I think the most important thing is choosing the right thing, because if you have a purpose but it doesn't compel you to fight through all the stuff that isn't so exciting, maybe you haven't chosen the right thing. So I think it's a really personal choice.
What is your most meaningful passion? I like to make music, and its really evolved into this cool thing.
How did you first get involved? Well, my parents put me in Waldorf School, and it's sort of an alternative education school type thing. In fourth grade, you have to learn a stringed instrument. So I played cello for five years, and there's choir every day, and we painted every day. And we often did sort of sculpting work because it's just basically 50-50 arts and crafts type things. I didn’t pay any attention to the academic stuff. So it was like art school for kids. And I guess that just sort of got under my skin. I haven't really been able to figure out how to not think that way.
Also my father, he works with people's voices, creativity and songwriting. I grew up going to his workshops constantly, so I kind of learned to express myself through writing songs. But not in the context of the music industry, just songs. Also I grew up hanging out under the piano while he was playing, and that was pretty big. So it just really tied into who I am.
What moment influenced your life? A pivotal moment was meeting Tobias, he really shook shit up. At the time, I was living with my parents on Vancouver Island with my brother Zane in this nice big house. I had dropped out of school years before, wasn’t really working, and didn't really have much life experience or anything. I was kind of just in this little bubble and not really sure how to make my life do anything.
I was making music, I knew I wanted to, but at the time I had no idea what it took to make any real progress. I mean creativity is one thing, but you can't just be a creative person in a bubble and expect to get anywhere; but I didn't know that. I met Tobias, and he's quite a colourful character and I just sort of went with it. We became buddies, we made some music, because we had a studio at my parent's place, and we made our first recordings there.
And then there was a week, I had an interesting week where I was fired from two jobs, and I left my girlfriend, in one week. And Tobias was like, "Hey dude, I'm moving to Vancouver tomorrow, do you wanna come live on my couch?" I was like, "Fuck yeah, I do.” So I did and I never really looked back, and it's been three or four years now. But that was a really big decision that happened very quickly, spontaneously, and I'm very glad I did it. Yeah, I just had to open myself up to a lot of new experiences, meeting different people, and just not allowing myself to think I knew it all already. So that was great for that, I think it's just what I needed.
How are you fulfilling this now? The most important thing for me right now is to have a project to work on. I've just become really project-oriented. Now that our band “Smash Boom Pow” has just got some momentum, we're moving. And then I'm doing a follow up EP for my own stuff that I'm working on now too. So just everyday, really.
How has your passion changed over time? When I was younger and just starting out I had this idea in my head that I had to specialize. To me, that meant I was only a guitar player or only a song writer. I even had trouble choosing between the two because I really felt that I had to for some reason. All because of the advice people were giving me, and things that I'd read. Advice can really fuck you up sometimes.
Now I've completely turned that idea on its head, and I'm trying to learn as many skills related to music as possible. I've become a music producer and recently put out a solo EP. I want to take this as far as it can go. Eventually, I'd like to produce the next Smash Boom Pow record.
What struggles keep emerging? Just finding balance, I feel like a crazy person sometimes because it's not a normal way to live your life. Also just being creative, and having ambition at the same time. Most people I know are fairly understanding, but my reaction these days when people ask me to hang out is like, "Why are you trying to take my time away from my creative projects? You need to fuck off!” So the struggle really, I think, is mostly time management.
What need is being met? I think the creative fulfilment, just making something that wasn't there before, and has my stamp on it. I kind of feel like it's a way of defining myself, it's like you create something and you're like, "Oh, I guess that's where I'm coming from." It's kind of equal parts self-discovery and self-actualization.
How does your passion connect you to society? People sort of identify themselves with musical groups, not just based on how it sounds, but how they wanna fit in into society. They're like, "I wanna be this kind of person, in this kind of scene; Now I have to find the right band to listen to." Which I find hilarious, but it's also kind of true. I mean we all sort of do it, define ourselves by the sort of art that we're into. So it's so weird because now that I'm aware of that, I can't help but sort of play into it a bit.
Do you have any recommendations? I don't know if they do this in other industries, they must, but in music they go, "What's your audience? You gotta make stuff for your audience." And it's like, I understand that you wanna make the people who care about what you're doing happy. But the reason a lot of people get into stuff in the first place is that it's unique and that the artist is expressing their own uniqueness, and that withers and dies a painful death when it tries to cater to people. So it's an interesting balance to strike, you have to find your own unique thing.
But if you settle... I mean, Smash Boom Pow hasn’t been around long enough to do this, but if you settle into that, you become a joke of the years, like the Rolling Stones. And that's part of why, for instance, David Bowie is such a true artist. If you look at his catalogue over the years constantly changing and shifting; he's changing and shifting with it. I think he was really aware of this thing we're talking about. And then you can play into that and still be genuine, I think that's real artistry. And that's what I'm trying to aim for.
"No, I'm going to do what I wanna do, and the people who like it, are gonna find me.”