Be it modeling (currently the face of brand campaigns for Diesel and Indochino), acting (staring in Verizon Go90’s new music series “Lost Generation”) or music, Craig’s versatility affords him any number of creative outlets to focus his attention on; but it’s music that has become his true passion.
Canadian born, now living in Los Angeles, Craig has toured with Alessia Cara and Coldplay, and played venues like the Rose Bowl as well as Coachella, among others. In February, he embarks on a 14-date tour with Matthew Good.
Recently, I had a chance to chat with Craig, while he waited in LAX, to board a plane home to Toronto, prior to his upcoming tour.
Shannon: Touring with Coldplay must have been a trip. Do you have any stories you’d like to share?
Craig: First of all, just the nicest group of human beings you could ever imagine. You don’t get to that level without being, just the salt of the earth. They deserve everything they’ve got in their lives. They were so welcoming, so nice. Let me just solidify that, anything is possible. They were a starving university band, and became the biggest band in the world. My amp broke one day, and Jonny, the guitar player, and Matt, the guitar tech, said ‘hey dude, why don’t you just plug into John’s rig.’ I said, ‘excuse me, you want me to play their rig?’ Of course, I plug in and play, and it’s the nicest sounding amp I’ve ever heard in my life. He’s like ‘you can play it every night if you want, Jonny has like 10 amps.’ Then he gave me spec sheet of everything that comes with the amp, and said, ‘hey man, go ahead and build you own amp. Here’s all the parts, here’s how to do it.’ I mean, they are total rock stars, and the nicest bunch of guys. The nicest guys ever. Really go out of their way. They take care of their crew so well.
Shannon: Is there a different kind of psychological prep to do for acting or modeling, as opposed to performing on stage in front of thousands of people?
Craig: Not really. It’s funny, obviously, there’s way more pressure when it comes to music, because it’s my passion, it’s what I strive to accomplish in life. It’s funny, ever since I started working out, I’ve realized the power of it. It’s become so engrained in my life, if I don’t work out first thing in the morning, my whole day is off. I find that I’m really focused, when I’ve done something like that to clear my head, and take some time for me.
What is it about the music that has become your passion, over your other creative outlets?
Craig: With music, you have to put in tens of thousands of hours, to become a great writer, or singing, or whatever. You have to put in time, you can’t fake it. Otherwise you’re not going to last. It’s something I’m creating myself, and no one can tell me ‘no.’
Shannon: Your bio says you have stories to tell with your music. What are some of the stories you like to tell with your music?
Craig: I write based on how I feel. When I start to develop an idea, it’s therapy in a way. Whether it be I’m happy or sad or a relationship thing. There’s also certain songs I’ve written about the state of the world I want to get out there. When Trump became nominated and became President, I wrote this song about how we need to learn to understand each other. There’s this “my side” vs “your side”. And I was like ‘no guys, we need to come together.’ So, I wrote a song about seeing things from another person’s perspective. There’s love songs, there’s socially conscience songs, songs about just feeling good.
Shannon: There term “Indie Rock”, is used to describe your music. I find that term vague, a catch all .. how would you describe your music? If someone said, ‘what kind of music do you play?’ what would you say?
Craig: I would say it’s rock music with pop sensibilities. There’s a lot of soul and blues mixed in there as well. I’d say it’s modern rock music with a tinge of pop.
Shannon: I saw you built your own tour van for this upcoming Matt Good Tour.
Craig: It was going to cost me a ton of money to do this tour. I was thinking, how can I budget the least amount of money for this tour? Then I discovered people converting Sprinter Vans. So, I’ve been working for over a month straight for 15 hours a day, and it’s still not done, because anything I could possibly dream go wrong with the van built, has gone wrong. (laughs)
Shannon: Looking at the dates of this upcoming Matt tour, I know there’s some venues you’ve already played in the past, do you have a favorite that you’re looking forward to playing again?
Craig: Yeah, I’m looking forward to playing Vancouver. There’s 3 nights at the Commodore. I just love Vancouver so much, and I can’t wait to get back there.
Craig is kicking off 2017 with a new single called “Warning” and expects to release a brand-new LP this year, while he continues his exhaustive touring schedule.
Tickets for Matthew Good, featuring Craig Strickland available at craigstickland.com
Feb 11 Alix Goolden Hall – Victoria, BC
Feb 16 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, Canada
Feb 17 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, Canada
Feb 18 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, Canada
Feb 24 Grey Eagle Resort & Casino – Calgary, Canada
Feb 25 River Cree Resort & Casino – Parkland County, Canada
Feb 26 O’Brians Event Centre – Saskatoon, Canada
Feb 28 Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, Canada
Mar 3 London Music Hall – London, Canada
Mar 4 First Ontario Concert Hall – Hamilton, Canada
Mar 8 The Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Canada
Mar 9 The Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Canada
Mar 11 The Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Canada
Mar 16 National Arts Centre / Centre national des Arts – Ottawa, Canada