Adam Pietrykowski is a Studio Production major in the Music Conservatory expected to graduate in 2016. He was raised in a town named Huntingdon in the province of Quebec. The town is about an hour southwest from the city of Montreal, barely nine miles from the New York State border.
It was a combination of convenience and it met my goals. I’m a little older; I’ve already been to college once. I did an Associate’s degree in music, and I stopped doing that to work as a musician for a few years. I also taught guitar for many years. I play for money, and have worked with other bands, even had my own for a while. I started production/engineering.
My best friend lives in Manhattan, he’s from Montreal. He’s been telling me for years, “You have to come to New York, you’re gonna get better opportunities, come to New York.” There’s not much music industry going on in Canada right now. I wanted to move to a music center. I wanted to be able to network, meet a lot of people. I also wanted to sharpen my production skills. So I figured Purchase was the best option.
How are things different between here and Canada, especially because you’re from Quebec?
It’s kind of funny, that’s why I asked if I was foreign enough for you… Definitely the language is a big deal; this is the most English people I’ve been surrounded by [laughs]. Quebec is the only province in Canada that is not bilingual: You work in French, you live in French, and then there’s the little cloisters of English-speaking people you hang out with.
I don’t have a very strong Canadian accent, but some people pick on the way I say words, and some of the borrowed words I use from French that I just use in my English vocabulary. It’s easier for me than other international students guaranteed, but at the same time, I am still alien, and it’s like nobody notices [chuckles], which is great. I’m just different enough that most people think “What’s different about you…?”
Why should someone visit Quebec?
There’s a lot of interesting history if you go to Quebec City. Obviously there’s a lot of history related to the US as well; Canada exists because of the US. Loyalists to the British Empire moved to Canada when the US seceded. There’s a lot of beautiful foliage, and skiing, hockey, the standard Canadian answers.
I have travelled, and I hate doing touristy things. If I were you, Montreal is the best city to chill in in the world. It’s hard to get work done there, that’s why I came here!
There’s a few political problems in Quebec right now. The separatist thing has come back up, and it’s particularly xenophobic and racist. People who know about it are trying to stay away because of a lot of overt religious oppression… It’s kind of weird. If you look at the news [from there], you’ll see all kinds of strange statements [some Québécois] make about other people’s religions and stuff like that. I’m not qualified to comment on this, but, definitely, people are feeling the pressure. Liberal-minded Francophones and obviously the Anglophones are very worried about this because [the Quebec government] are rather… aggressive in their policies.
Just an FYI: If you get yelled at for speaking English over there, they don’t mean it [laughs]!
Judging from the music scene in Canada now, do you see yourself staying here after graduating?
I really hope to. That’s part of my purpose. I know there are certain work availabilities once you finish a degree [at Purchase], too; that was obviously factored into my decision. I like it here. I want to be here, I want to keep working here, and I’m just hoping to figure out a way to make that happen.
Check out some of Adam’s work by visiting his SoundCloud page.