Local musician and songwriter Roger Mindwater performs around Summerville regularly.
Not only does he perform and write, he is a father, tradesman, and poet. His last name caught my eye (as his real last name is Kodrzycki).
Mindwater writes with a lot of imagery and metaphor. His CDs are: “You Are,” “I Am Small in My Own Hands,” and “How Could I Forget?” Singles and EP’s include: “A Silent Place” and “Missing Songs.” While I am from Portland, ME, Roger has actually lived in the other Portland (Oregon) which I need to get to.
Regan: How did you think of the stage name Mindwater?
Mindwater: Years ago, a friend and I were writing a short book of nonsense and somewhere in it, one of us wrote the word “mindwater” alone on a page. It just stuck with me. We ended up burning the book in the oven, and my friend passed a couple of years later, so it has some meaning for me.
R: When did you start in music?
M: I took a little bit of piano and drum lessons when I was a child, but I really didn’t start playing music until I was 18 when I picked up the guitar. A year after that, I started playing drums regularly, too. I was writing songs pretty much right from the beginning.
R: Your music has evolved over time—explain your progression? How do you define your genre?
M: I don’t like to stay in the same place for too long. Over the course of 11 LPs and seven EPs, I’ve gone in a lot of different directions.
When I started making music, it was all lengthy instrumental songs, with a lot of psychedelic and noise elements. Eventually, I discovered I loved to write words, so lyrics came into play. I became interested in old folk music and my songs got shorter and more stripped down. Recently though, I’ve been adding layers again, kind of like I’m putting all my styles together. It’s hard to define my music because I’m so close to it, but I guess it’s some sort of indie rock.
R: You perform a fair amount with Chris Baur of Campfield — do you two co-write songs (E.P., “Campfield Campfood” on a YouTube video, the third member of Campfield, Rick, said you introduced him to “noise music”—what is that? Local musician, Fleming Moore, compared your music/style to Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground?
M: Yes, Chris and I have been playing together for over a decade now as Campfield. We finished a new self-titled EP this year. Noise music is music that focuses on timbres and textures rather than melodies. What results is often very abstract music which doesn’t concern itself with adhering to conventional songwriting styles and structures.
I do love The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed’s style, in particular, so I imagine it has rubbed off on me somewhat.
R: What is your take on the challenges and opportunities of being an indie artist these days?
M: I think it’s a great time to be an indie artist. The costs of recording your music and getting it out there are smaller than ever. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to network and promote your stuff, and to discover other artists. The main drawback I see is that, as a result of these positives, the pool of artists is bigger than ever and sometimes it’s hard to stand out and get seen or heard.
R: What is next? Do you have another E.P. coming out this year?
M: Well, I just released my first book of poetry, “A Few Good Places,” which is available on Amazon. As far as music goes, I have been working on a large recording project for over a year now, but I’m not sure what form it will take. I may split it up into two to three EPs or try to make one big album out of it.
I’m having difficulties deciding what to do because the material covers a wide range of styles and topics, with a lot of experimentation. At the beginning of this year, I made my first music video and that was a lot of fun, so I’d like to try recording another music video or two, as well. I’ll have another book of poetry coming out, too. There’s no shortage of things to do. In addition, I make all the album artwork.
Mary E. Regan, columnist, is a publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com.
R: Which do you prefer—writing music or performing it…and why?
M: I’m going to be difficult and say neither. The way I see it, performing is sort of like an extra layer of writing. I write music in order to deal with the world around me. It’s kind of like a way of communicating with myself. If I’m performing, I’m just expanding that circle and communicating with more people. They’re both good in the same way that I need alone time and I also need social time.