Ten years ago Hawksley Workman experienced a creative explosion, releasing three albums in the same year. With another ten records out in a decade, Workman is both exploring his old music and diving into new songwriting opportunities. Hawksley touched base with the Gazette to talk about his upcoming performance with Symphony Nova Scotia at the Rebecca Cohn, and the soon-to-be-released reimagining of one of his first albums, Almost a Full Moon.
Gazette: You’re in Halifax working with Symphony Nova Scotia. How do you feel? Is this your first time working with an orchestra?
Workman: Yeah, this will be my first time, so obviously it’s pretty exciting. It tickles your ego in a really funny way to know you have all these learned musicians giving their all to your song. Beyond that, for me it’s musically uncharted territory, so I’m pretty geeked.
Gazette: What is the process like, adapting your work for an orchestra?
Workman: Folks associated with the Symphony and I selected four or five arrangers to pick songs and build music for them. On the arranging side I didn’t have a whole lot of input, which is also exciting because I’m not really one of those precious types. We chose very talented, gifted folks and it will be a nice surprise to hear how these folks have interpreted the songs.
Gazette: It’s only for two days, and then your schedule seems pretty open. Is there something else you’re working on right now?
Workman: Yeah, there is, it’s a production thing. I’m labouring away in studio. Don’t get any big ideas: I’m not sitting around picking my nose! My nose is to the grindstone.
Gazette: Is it a video thing, or some songwriting?
Workman: I’m currently producing music for what I believe will be a television show, and it’s going to consume me. I’m actually trying to sneak little rests whenever I can, because the thing about TV is that it keeps more radical hours than I’m used to. The show must go on, so if it means you staying up two days in a row with no sleep for a shoot, that’s what it means. That takes me to the end of October, then it’s the Vinyl Café Christmas tour. I mean it’s Stuart Maclean, it’s a guy in his own lane, a rockstar storyteller, and the stuff he has going on is pretty amazing, including the Christmas tour. On the topic of Christmas, I also wrote and recorded a Christmas record when I was living in Paris ten years ago and I’ve just re-recorded it. I’m actually walking to the mix session as we speak.
Gazette: Well, thanks for touching base, and letting us know what you’re up to in Halifax.
Workman: You know, I love being out east. I’ve spent a lot of time in Halifax. I pretty much lived at the Delta Barrington for a couple of weeks while I was working on the Hey Rosetta! album out there.
Gazette: So you’ve discovered the city already. What would you recommend the new students see? What’s cool in Halifax?
Workman: Fish cakes and eggs at the Bluenose Café is what I would check out. I also love the farmer’s market on the weekends. There’s a lot of cool stuff, but those are the two things that comes to mind the quickest.
Hawksley Workman will join Symphony Nova Scotia at the Rebecca Cohn on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1