Wally Bartfay Talks To Fanbase Music Magazine About New Single, Music Career, And Benefits Of Music Frequencies

Interviewed by Duzzy Clayton

Intro

Dr. Wally Bartfay is currently a Professor and former Associate Dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. He is also affectionately known as the “Rock N’ Prof” by his students because he often plays original songs that he has written prior to the commencement of lectures to create certain vibes and buzzes in his classes. His music has appeared on the Euro Indie Music Chart lists top 5 World Indie Music Chart lists top 2, and BWNR Music List’s top 5.

Ever since Wally was a little lad, he wanted to play the electric guitar and make music that creates smiles on people’s faces. He can remember playing his imaginary electric " air guitar; in his parents’ basement to various rock and country songs for hours on end. He got his first guitar when he turned 14 after taking on various odds jobs including pumping gas on weekends and
cutting lawns. He quickly learned to play it on his very own, along with several other instruments. He is passionate about songwriting and his songs often reflect personal experiences and challenges that he has faced over the years. Wally has been interviewed on NBRN Radio in
Nashville, Tennessee’s show, “Playin’ on Music Row with Fran” as a new emerging country-rock songwriter and artist (February 01, 2023), where he describes his musical journey and influences.

Questions

Hello Wally and welcome to Fanbase Music magazine, Let’s start at the beginning, Where are you from?

I’m originally from a small town called Chateauguay, located in the province of Quebec, Canada about a 40-minute drive from Montreal. It was mostly agricultural in nature with lots of fields, dirt trails, apple orchids, and farms nearby when I was growing up, but since then it has grown significantly in size due to urban and population growth in the region.  All these things that I knew and cherished as a child have disappeared and have been replaced with houses, apartments, schools, and shops now.

Currently, I live in Oshawa, Ontario.  I’m a professor and former associate dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University, just a short walk from my home.  When we moved here in 2005 with my family, we lived only a 5 minutes’ walk from Windfield Farms where several famous racehorses were bred like Northern Dancer who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.  We used to go there with our 2 boys and feed the horses when they were young with carrots through the fence.

Unfortunately, like my hometown of Chateauguay, this farm has been replaced by urban growth and sprawl in the Greater Toronto Area.  I’m a country boy at heart and really don’t like big noisy, crowded, and traffic-infested cities, but you must pay the mortgage and feed your kids which isn’t always an option in my profession and chosen career path.

What got you into music?

When I was a small lad, I can recall playing air guitar in my parent’s basement to various artists like the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner who I played on a portable monotone RCA record player. I couldn’t afford a real guitar until I was about 14 years old.  I took on odd jobs like cutting grass, shoveling snow in the winter for neighbors, and working in my uncle’s garage on weekends pumping gas, fixing flat tires, and changing oil to earn the money to buy a secondhand 6-string guitar that I bought for around $50 Canadian.  I learned to play the guitar on my own by taking out books from the library and I played it until my fingers literally bled.

I also learned to play a variety of other instruments like the keyboard and piano, bass trombone in my high school band, and accordion, although I am not a master of any instrument per se.  My first real public performances were during the Christmas Holiday season.  Along with my cousin Irene Bellon and my sister Kathy, we put on Christmas concerts for seniors and veterans in our local nursing home.  My mother and aunt would bake Christmas treats like cakes and cookies for the patients and we would play music and sing various Christmas carols for them.  Seniors and veterans are often neglected during the holiday season, and it can be a very lonely time of the year, We wanted to give back to our community.  It really warmed our hearts to perform for these patients and I cherish these memories to this day.

Later in life, when I was attending college in Montreal, I often played in coffee houses with my friend Danny Arseneau for meals, tips and to try to impress pretty girls.  We played a variety of popular folk, country, and rock songs and some original songs that I wrote during that time.  Unfortunately, Danny passed away after a tragic accident.  I also did some public performances to raise funds for some charitable causes during my early university years.  However, after finishing my doctoral studies, getting married, having kids, and career obligations I really haven’t picked up a guitar or written a song until the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada and we were all forced into lockdown.  I decided to dust off my old guitar, put on some new strings, and then started to write and record music formally.

How would you describe your sound and genre?

I would describe my style as a hybrid between country and rock. Hence, country rock would be the best description here.  We often listened to music while driving up to our cottage by the lake located in the Laurentian Mountains near Weir, and would listen to a variety of country artists on my dad’s AM radio in his 68 Buick Skylark like John Denver, Jonny Cash, and Dolly Parton to name but a few. Somehow, “Take Me Home Country Roads” seemed to be playing all the time when we drove up to the cottage and every time I hear this song, it brings back fond memories of swimming, fishing, and hiking by the lake as a child.

What sort of bands and musicians did you grow up listening to that have formed your musical taste?

Later in life, as a teen, I listened to quite a bit of music by the famous Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot. I also listened to country bands like Alabama and the Eagles. On the rock side, I listened to the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Fleetwood Mac, and Tina Turner.  My mother really liked Tina Turner and we would watch her concerts on TV also.  Great performer and has great legs. Currently, I really like to listen to Eric Church and Luke Combs.

One of my favorite tracks of yours is called Ball and Chain, can you explain how that track came about?

Well, first off.  Thank you for the kind compliment regarding one of my latest Indie releases called “Ball and Chain”, which was produced by Stephen Wrench and Wayne Killius of Musik and Film in Nashville, TN.

All of my songs contain personal elements and life experiences, some good and some not-so-good, that have shaped me as an artist and songwriter.  Ball and Chain tells the story of being in a controlling relationship with double standards and lies when it comes to love. There is a realization after time that it’s time to break free of this relationship.  Hence, the ball and chain are metaphors for being tied down and the need to break free from a toxic relationship and move on with one’s life.

I’m delighted as a songwriter and artist that Ball and Chain has been well received by various Indie and FM radio stations globally.  In June of this year, for example,  Ball and Chain was No. 4 on the World Indie Music Chart list; No. 6 on the Euro Indie Chart list, and No. 18 on the US Top 20 Show-The Weekly Pulse of Music.  So, as someone who only got back into songwriting during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, I’m quite delighted and jovial that people are connecting with my music and lyrics.

As well as being a cool musician you are also involved in something called Music for medicine, First of all, can you explain exactly what that is you do and how has it helped the people you work with in this aspect?

First off, I believe it is interesting to note that the ancient Chinese character for music 樂 shares the exact same character as happiness, and medicine 藥 with the added symbol for plants placed on top. We are only starting to rediscover what ancient cultures knew about the connection between music and healing now. For example, the ancient Greeks recognized the association between music and healing by designating a single god, Apollo, for both disciplines. Indigenous people in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa employ repetitive drumming, chanting, and singing as part of their traditional healing practices and ceremonies of worship.

My first clinical experience with music as medicine occurred when I was doing a clinical rotation back in the 80s at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, which is a Canadian psychiatric hospital located in the borough of Verdun, Quebec.  I was reading in a patient’s chart that she was a music teacher and played piano. This elderly patient had advanced Alzheimer’s disease and was totally disconnected and disengaged from her surroundings and environment.  This often occurs during the later stages of dementia and patients will also begin to forget the names of their loved ones and their own name as well. I wheeled her with her daughter to the common room where there was an old stand-up piano.  I placed her hands on the keys and after a few seconds, she literally “woke up” out of her stupor and began to play piano. Her daughter was very emotional and started to cry and she played song after song with expressions of joy and happiness on her face for almost 2 hours.  We had to stop her, unfortunately, because lunch was being served.  This was my first experience with music as medicine and a form of healing and reconnecting with the environment and surroundings of a patient with dementia.

Later in life, my own father developed advanced frontal-temporal dementia following a series of strokes over the years. Both his short-term memory and later long-term memory failed him, and he often forgot who my mother was who visited him in the nursing home almost daily despite her own health challenges and physical disabilities.  Ironically, this was the same nursing home in Chateauguay that we used to put on Christmas music concerts when I was a young lad with my sister and cousin. So, the wheel of life often has a funny way of bringing us back to our past and reconnecting with time and environments. I would sing old folk songs to my dad that he still remembered, and this would positively change his affect and mood and bring big smiles to his face.  My father passed away in February of 2022, but my experiences with him served as a stimulus to begin doing some clinical research into the benefits of music therapy for patients with various forms of dementia at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, located in Whitby, Ontario.  We actually set up a specialty unit called the “Clinical Demonstration Unit” or CDU for short,  for patients with dementia as a collaboration between the university and this hospital a few years ago.  Student training, research, innovative forms of holistic care, and evidence-informed clinical are the driving forces for this specialized clinical unit.

Dementia is a neurological disease that results in a decline in cognitive, social, and physical disabilities which currently has no cure, and there are over 100 different forms of dementia that we know of.  Music therapy can be employed as a nonpharmacological cost-effective intervention to help alleviate or decrease so-called Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) such as aggression, depression, sun-downing, and anxiety.  There is a small but growing body of evidence to demonstrate that music therapy can improve a patient’s quality of life, increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, alleviate and/or prevent BPSD, and decrease the need for anti-psychotic medications and direct nursing care.  Hence, I would argue that music is medicine for the heart, soul, and mind as well.

Here’s the link for two peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that I wrote related to music therapy and how it may benefit patients with dementia that your readers might be interested in: LINK HERE  AND HERE

 

 

 

 

I am a huge believer in Binaural beats and music frequencies, what are some of the ways music has helped you in this way?

Let’s first define what a binaural beat actually is, and how it is produced in our minds. So, for example, if the left ear of a patient receives a frequency of 300 Hertz (HZ) and the right ear receives one at 310 HZ, the binaural beat the patient hears would be 10 HZ (310HZ -300HZ = 10HZ ). The human hearing frequency, or audible pitch, is between 20 HZ and 20,000 HZ with optimal hearing and conditions present. Hence, a 10 HZ binaural beat would have 10 vibrations or cycles per second, which would constitute an auditory illusion because it is outside the optimal range of hearing that a human ear can detect for a monoaural beat or sound.

I would like to highlight the fact that everything in nature and within our current known universe vibrates, pulsates, oscillates, or resonates at a given frequency. For example, planet Earth’s natural frequency pulsates at a rate of 7.83 Hertz (HZ) which is known as “Schumann’s Resonance”.  In fact, according to present string and unifying M-theory in physics, absolutely everything in the known universe—all of the particles that make up matter like protons and electrons and the various forces of nature like the gravitational force and electromagnetism—is comprised of tiny vibrating strings.  Hence, one may argue that the very fabric of nature and the universe is based on vibrations from these strings, and they are alive with their own unique musical frequencies and sounds.

In fact, our known universe vibrates at a frequency of 432 HZ, and listening to a sound at this frequency is reported to be especially pleasing to the human ear and may help to alleviate stress and promote emotional stability by putting you in sync with the heartbeat of the cosmos.

We are all familiar with how music can make us dance, sing, or change our mood.  However, sounds employed at certain frequencies have also been demonstrated to be capable of producing acoustic levitation for various objects in mid-air in laboratory settings. Acoustic levitation is defined as a method for suspending solid or liquid matter in the air against gravity using acoustic radiation pressure from high-intensity sound waves. Curiously, some prominent archeologists, Egyptologists, and ufologists alike claim that acoustic levitation with specific sound frequencies that could lift solid objects like stone slabs may have been employed to build the ancient pyramids in Egypt and other ancient structures, but this technology has long been lost with the sands of time.

The term “binaural beat” was first coined by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839, who was a physician and amateur meteorologist. Earphones were not invented during his time, so he used tuning folks and discovered that slightly different frequencies played separately to each ear in his patients produced a perception of an interference beat at the same rate as would be physically created. However, the first scientific paper was only published by the biophysicist Gerald Oster in 1973 in the journal Scientific American entitled “Auditory Beats in the Brain”.  He argued in his paper that auditory beats could be employed as an important clinical research tool for auditory and neurological disorders and may also be a potential diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s disease.

If a binaural beat is played over time it may synchronize with your brain waves and alter brain activity and different levels of arousal, cognition, and personal insights.  There are some preliminary investigations and reports that note that binaural beat therapy may be employed to modulate cognition analytical thinking and problem-solving, reduce stress and anxiety levels, decrease the incidence of hallucinations in patients with Schizophrenia, improve sleep quality and quantity, enhance memory recall, as well as enhance mood states. This is an area of research that certainly warrants further investigation because it may demonstrate to be of great clinical benefit for patients with dementia and for diagnosing other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Okay, let’s talk about your latest single, 3 Come Together. What is this song about?

3 COME TOGETHER is a catchy, funny, and light-hearted song about an ordinary guy who has everything in his life going wrong for him from a boss who makes him work until his fingers are raw to the bone; to a pick-up truck with a flat tire; a boat on the river that won’t float and a cabin in the woods with a leaky roof. However, his life gets better when 3 magical things come together. Namely, 1. Whiskey, 2. Cold Beer and 3. A Pretty Woman.  Again, previous life experiences over my lived years have served as a stimulus for this song and fond memories at the cottage.

Where was it recorded and who worked on the track? Can you tell us about the recording process?

Delighted to do so, although it may come across as somewhat unconventional or unorthodox in nature. Indeed, I have a small recording studio that I had set up in the basement during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown here in Canada.   I still have my old trusty 6-string second-hand $50 acoustic guitar that I upgraded with a high-end pick-up, new turning pegs, and strings.  I also have an electric guitar and keyboard that I use to produce the musical tracks separately and then mix them down.  I also have some studio-quality instruments and vocal mics that I bought and a 10-channel mixer. Stephen Wrench, the musical producer whom I worked with on 4 previous tracks to date including this one, noted that the raw vocal cuts I was sending him had somewhat of a “bathroom recording” quality due to the echo effect produced in my basement studio.  Hence, I’ve subsequently been doing the raw vocal cuts in a walk-in closet that I insulted with padding to decrease this noted echo effect and improve the vocal quality of my recordings.  There’s a gas hot water tank also located in this closet that will fire up periodically, so I have to get the timing right when I do the vocal recordings with no extraneous sounds present. I also sometimes record only in my briefs to increase the edginess, and unveil of certain emotions and/ or human vulnerability that I want to come across in my songs. Hence, you can call me a “closet vocalist” if you wish. The final cut of the song 3 Come Together was produced by Stephen Wrench and Wayne Killius of Musik and Film in their Nashville, TN studio.

How would you describe your songwriting, do you come up with the lyrics or the music first and what is the process like from there?

I often carry- around with me a small notepad and pen, because inspiration for a song comes in many forms and without notice or planning for me personally. That is to say, I don’t go down into my basement studio, pick up my guitar, paper, and pen, and start to put down lyrics and cords as a planned purposeful activity per se on my weekly calendar. Sometimes I may get inspiration driving on a beautiful country road with the sun setting just right, doing stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Ontario and being in that zone with nature and the waves, flying on a plane to a new country that I haven’t visited before, looking at old photos or just coming across a long forgotten scent in the air like someone’s perfume or the smell of a freshly based pie.  The lyrics and music always come to me concurrently and are integrity and mutually connected during the creative process.  I find writing music and songs very therapeutic on a personal level and it’s somewhat of a metaphysical experience that is difficult to put into words accurately.  Music is all about feelings, emotions, connections, and frequencies that merge and flow like time itself in my mind.

Do you have a band or musicians that you play and record with and if so can you name your band members?

As noted previously, I used to play music with my friend Danny Arseneau during high school and my college years, but since he passed, I basically have played solo except for the odd fundraiser here and there where I might have played with a small band or duet.  Nonetheless, I am close to several artists on social media and we often provide critiques, feedback on ideas, and suggestions on various songs and productions.

Do you play live and what is a typical live experience like?

Over the past few years, when the opportunity arises, I have performed in front of my class often at the beginning of the term. I would walk in with my guitar case, pull out my old trusty 6-string second-hand guitar, and just sing a song to the student’s astonishment and surprise.  Music is an excellent way to break the ice with students and get them excited about you as their professor and their class.  Especially for first-year students who are attending university for the first time and find themselves in a lecture hall with 150 other students who expect to see some academic wearing an old suit jacket with patches on the elbows, instead of someone wearing a Stetson cowboy hat, vest, jeans, and boots.  I developed the nickname “The Rock N Prof” by my students, which has stuck with me over the years and makes me smile every time I hear it.  I also include music videos for my online courses when I’m not lecturing in person and may share the odd music chart listing with them since I started to record and distribute my music formally.  However, I have not performed any gigs per se for “tips or free meals” since my college days.  Nonetheless, I have always enjoyed making that magical connection with my audience be it with patients in a long-term care nursing home, patrons in a coffee shop, or my students.

Can you give us your social media links?

Yes. I would be delighted to.  Basically, I’m on all the platforms and social media links out there under the search terms “Wally Bartfay music”, but here are the specific links.

Website: Wally Bartfay Music Productions

Spotify

Apple Music

VEVO- Music Videos

YouTube Music Videos-Wally Bartfay Music Productions

YouTube-Wally Bartfay Lectures

SoundCloud- Wally Bartfay Music

SoundCloud-Bartfay Music Productions

Facebook:

Instagram 

Twitter

Tik Tok

LinkedIn

Thank you for doing this interview, do you have any last messages for our readers?

I hope that my music makes a connection with your heart and soul and that it brings joy, peace, happiness, smiles, and healing to all who listen.

 

Social Media

Website: Wally Bartfay Music Productions

Spotify

Apple Music

VEVO- Music Videos

YouTube Music Videos-Wally Bartfay Music Productions

YouTube-Wally Bartfay Lectures

SoundCloud- Wally Bartfay Music

SoundCloud-Bartfay Music Productions

Facebook:

Instagram 

Twitter

Tik Tok

LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *