What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.

The rural public school I attended has an excellent music program. I studied trumpet and got my start making music in the school’s concert and jazz bands. In jazz band, I started improvising, which started me on the path I’m on. I met my bandmates through music circles and friends. Two of my bandmates live together; two were college roommates.

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

I’m very proud of Child of My Sorrow. I think it’s the best thing the band has done. The tone – musically and lyrically– shifts quite a bit. I gravitate toward albums that are dense, sonically, and this album – though it was recorded, mostly, live in the studio, with five or six musicians performing at once – has many different sounds, many timbres: horns, strings, keyboards, guitars, etc.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

In terms of writers, I love Marilynne Robinson, Annie Dillard, Willa Cather, Walt Whitman, William Stringfellow. While making this record, I was on a Faulkner kick. I was particularly enamored with As I Lay Dying, which, at times, is much lighter than its title would suggest. Dillard calls the novel “perfect.”
I made a playlist of music that was influential to our album. It’s on Spotify and YouTube.

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

I think our instrumentation, with two keyboards, guitar, melodic bass, and – at times – frenetic drums, is unique and, for me, exciting. I think we’re worthy of your time. Additionally, as I alluded to earlier, the band records live in the studio (we then add strings, etc., as overdubs), which is rare these days.

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

I’m tempted to cheat here and pick a Collected Works edition that is one giant tome. Those estimable and very heavy editions aside, I’d be glad to read any number of books, including George Saunders Tenth of December, Marilynne Robinson’s Home, and an annotated study Bible, though a historical printing could be nice – perhaps the Geneva Bible. It’s what was used by protestant dissenters during the Reformation; its glosses permitted the overthrowing of oppressive governments. It was also Shakespeare’s Bible.


Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

They can be distinct art forms. Many of the best players loathe recording. I enjoy both.

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

Last October, we played a show at a bar in Baltimore. The opening band was a group of teenage boys. After a few songs, the bassist removed his slacks. He did this for an audience that consisted solely of his and his bandmates’ parents.

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

I’m partial to “No Compass, No Map.” There are many shifts in timbre, though the songs coheres, I think.

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

Soon, there will be an album by MAGIC VIDEO, a project by Luke Pigott and Ashley Hartman, both of whom are chairman dancers. I contributed a bit to the record, which sounds (my parts aside) fantastic. Luke and Ashley are incredible musicians and composers.

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…

Question to myself: Would you encourage listeners to interact with you on social media, via email, at shows, etc.?

Yes. Unlike authors who do readings and, traditionally, meet with folks who are engaged with their work, musicians play in dark bars and clubs and, traditionally, do not meet with those listening to their music. I like keeping to myself, so a part of me is grateful for the peace that comes with a lack of interaction. That said, it’s important for me and my bandmates to hear what you think about our music, songs you identify with, those you don’t. Your thoughts are important.

Photo credits: Jonathan Brown (Steady State Productions)

Curated by: Christos Doukakis

Recommended listening:

Connect with The Chairman Dances:

Website: https://thechairmandances.com/

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