How did you first get involved in the arts?
Well, I first picked up the guitar a little less than two years ago, which was the first time I'd played an instrument since being in the middle school band.
Before that I'd always had a love of music and I would write a little of what I'd guess you'd call poems. Each little poem had a particular sound to it in my mind, and eventually I really felt like I needed a medium to express these sounds that were building up inside my head. I think that's what made me want to pick up a guitar and start singing.
What is your latest project?
My most recent song is called "On Owl Creek" and it's kind of a folk song based on the Ambrose Bierce short story "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge".
It's a Civil War era story about a Southern man who tries to destroy a railroad bridge to sabotage the Union army's advance into his homeland. Ultimately, he's captured and hung, but somewhere in the middle he makes a fantastical dream-like escape within his mind.
I chose to write a song about it because it's a peculiar story that sort of turns the idea of death on its head -- the character feels most alive only as he comes to the end of his life.
What advice do you wish you'd received when you first got started?
To be quite honest, I feel like I'm still getting started myself, but I feel like one good piece of advice I can give is -never set out to create something with a plan or a frame that's too rigid and doesn't allow you to transfuse the work with your own honest thoughts and emotion.
Don't force something that you want to "sound like" or "look like". Instead, take the time to think, listen, and revise many times to let your truest work come out.
Who are some local artists people should check out?
Check out the Stamford indie-rock group Sea Rhapsody (www.facebook.com/SeaRhapsody). We've done some shows together and they are on the verge of releasing an awesome new EP. They put on an incredible live show as well.
Stephen Bak can be reached on Twitter or Facebook at: https://twitter.com/StephenBakMusic