Raised by Swans is the solo musical project and alter ego of Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eric Howden. Eric has released two critically-acclaimed, independent albums as Raised By Swans (Codes and Secret Longing, 2005, and No Ghostless Place, 2010), and will be releasing his third, Öxnadalur, on November 5th, 2014.
Songs from Raised By Swans’ first two full-length albums have not only drawn admiring words from media (reviews by Exclaim! and Rhombus magazines described No Ghostless Place as “13 moments of aural splendour…transcendent and angelic” and “starkly beautiful”; see here for more) but have made fans of some influential and well-respected filmmakers. Academy Award and Palm d’Or nominated director Atom Egoyan included three songs from Codes and Secret Longing in his film,Adoration (2009) and two songs from No Ghostless Place in the erotic thriller Chloe (2010). The live version of the band also appears as itself in a scene in Chloe, which stars Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson.
“Violet Light” from Codes and Secret Longing is featured in novelist Douglas Coupland’s film Everything’s Gone Green (2007), voted Canadian Feature Film of the Year at the Vancouver International Film Festival. The song was included on the soundtrack CD for the film (Lakeshore Records) alongside such artists as Final Fantasy, The Golden Dogs, The Fembots, and Sloan.
Eric himself is to blame for the misconception that Raised By Swans is a band as opposed to an individual; for the past many years he has often defaulted to using “we” instead of “I” when talking about his music. This is partly because the people who have played live shows with him over the years are very dear to him; partly because he felt uncomfortable correcting anyone who’d already assumed that Raised By Swans was a band; and partly (mostly) because he’s fond of hiding.
For Öxnadalur, Eric kept the recording process even more private and close to the chest than he had on his previous two albums, and besides a few drum tracks added during the final weeks of recording, no other musicians were involved in its performance. To begin writing its 14 songs, Eric went to North Iceland in the winter of 2011, where he stayed alone for six weeks in a farmhouse that he’d discovered and fallen in love with in October 2010. He then devoted the next three years to building the songs part by part at Andy Magoffin's House of Miracles in Cambridge, Ontario.
Only three very special release shows for Öxnadalur will be taking place in 2014; a solo show in Akureyri, North Iceland, and two full band performances in London and Toronto, Ontario.
For full band performances in 2014/2015, Eric will be joined by Andy Magoffin (Two Minute Miracles) on bass guitar, Ray Cammaert (Pink Moth) on keyboards, and Brady Parr (Tournament!) on drums.