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.
I think it was always there, my Dad said that I used to make up songs really early on. They were about Garfield or what we were going to buy at the grocery store. But when I was 10 years old I was riding in a car through North Carolina with my grandparents and my cousin, Nehi. Her friend Vicki was there and said in a thick southern accent, “you wanna hear some skater music?” I had a walkman and had been listening to the Monkees or the radio. I must not have been opposed to hearing “skater music” so she gave me a cassette that had the Boy’s Don’t Cry album on one side and a New Order album on the other. It started with the Boy’s Don’t Cry side and it felt like every molecule in my body awoke for the first time. I was absolutely transfixed. I had never heard anything like it. It sounded old and new but definitely from another world. At that moment I felt like I had found my people. In a way that’s where my life began and ever since that moment all I wanted was to be part of music. Honestly it’s all been an evolution from the instant that cassette clicked. I was permanently changed. I had had some hints before but that was when I knew what I needed to do.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Loving the Void will be out on June 17th and it’s the first time that I think I’ve ever really transcended that moment I just described. I’ve always made music that was true to what I wanted but with this album I fully have my own voice. I didn’t refer to any other record or expectation I might have. In the past I might have tried to emulate bands I liked by accident or maybe I’d thought about what it would be like to play the album in a certain room but this time I didn’t let myself check any boxes. More importantly when I got nervous I was pushing something too much I didn’t dial it back. Starting the album with a two minute reading of Chants De Maldoror in French isn’t exactly inviting your audience in. Another good representation of pushing things is the song “Reasoning with the Guards.” Honestly, I think it’s a masterpiece. I don’t mind saying that because I’ve never felt that way after recording a song. It’s surprised arrogance, that’s my marketing for the album, surprised arrogance. I’ve never heard anything like “Reasoning with the Guards” into “Almost Like Oblivion” as a mood. “Here’s the Ghost” is special too. I’m too surprised for it to be arrogant for me to say that. I can’t believe it’s that good.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I love PJ Harvey and Fugazi. They were major touchstones for me and are ever changing artists. Seeing Fugazi play (and eventually getting to play with them at a young age and in my first real band EULCID) was a very freeing moment. They made their own world and defined their own language. What could be better than that!? I’ve also been influenced by having an incredible group of musical friends. Steve from Cave In is a musical genius and somehow an even better and trusted friend. I spent a lot of time with Kurt from Converge in my early 20s and all those people’s work ethic and creativity was inspiring.
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?
The new album has some things I’ve not really heard before from other albums. I’m spending time writing this because I want you to hear it. I really do want people to hear this one but the most important part to me is that I made it. I can’t control it past that point but I’d love for people to discover this album. I think some people will at one point or another.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Honestly, it’s terrifying to have only three things on the island so I’d prefer to have none and play music back in my head.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I like them both. Right now touring is my favorite.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
When I was really getting into music I would go to the record store whenever I could. One day this guy said to me that I NEEDED to buy the PJ Harvey album, Rid of Me. He incorrectly told me that she finished the album and was put into an insane asylum (not true.) He was so persistent that I buy it that he gave me his employee discount and I went home with the CD. There are some wild lyrics on that album and if you listen to it in the context of thinking the person has gone mad it’s terrifying. It also starts off so quiet and explodes in volume which just about knocked me over the first time the chorus of the title track came in. It was an amazing experience I’ve never forgotten.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Definitely “Almost Like Oblivion” and “Reasoning with the Guards.” Those are the obvious ones but a song like “Night Time” also holds a feeling I’m not sure I’ve heard before even though there’s nothing that unique in the arrangement.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I’m hoping to play this record a lot live. I also have a few pop songs in the vein of “Crowded House” that I’d like to record and release immediately, like the next day after they’re done. The idea of releasing some music with no expectations has been really appealing to me lately. It’s bizarre how much we try to fit it into a form designed around selling albums and a type of capitalism that is dead and that never worked for musicians anyway.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Why is this all you want?
I’m not sure, I’ve actually stopped wondering aside from thinking it’s funny, but thanks for checking in with me about that.
Photo Credits: Lindsey Law
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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