Hi. We’ve been fans of your music for a while now and love your latest release “The Serpents Song”. Is there a story behind the song title, and is there a story behind the song? What kick-started the writing process for this release?
Thank you, I truly appreciate all of the support I have gotten from Pillar Artists!
I have always loved the guitar work on “Do I Look Worried” by Tedeschi Trucks Band and also “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the Royal Albert Hall for the Concert for George. The idea for the song started with wanting guitar in that style in a song. After working out the rhythm and the keys, it was just finding the right guitarist for the sound I was after. Niels is a phenomenal guitar player. He asked for a reference of the style I was after and I told him “Derek Trucks but he has been dropping a lot of LSD and playing with David Gilmour”, and he delivered. He sent three different solo takes for the ending of the song and told me which one he liked the best. As I listened to them, I got the idea to use all three of them. I took parts from all of them and made it sound as though two players were trading licks back and forth. The title for the song came after everything was complete. I really liked how the guitar had this mesmerizing effect over the rhythm section, like a snake being charmed.
This song is instrumental: do you enjoy composing instrumental songs? How might composing be different for an instrumental track in comparison to a song with lyrics?
I feel composing instrumentals adds a layer of difficulty because the emotion of the song has to translate without the use of lyrics. Even the songs I released with a vocalist were originally instrumentals. As I think about it, I haven’t ever composed a song with lyrics in mind. There are times I have an emotion or theme I want to translate, and I will spend hours on the sound design of a synth or finding the right tone for the keys. Other times I just have a bass line stuck in my head that I write around. Like the song “Come Underneath My Covers”, that bass line had been running through my head for weeks before I finally sat down to record it. And It wasn’t until production had wrapped up that the title came to me. For me, composing with only the instrumental in mind really forces me to push each element so that it translates.
You have released quite a bit of material now. Who, or what, influences may you have in regards to your music? What inspires you and pushes your creativity?
I was raised on a heavy dose of Little Feat, Pink Floyd, Spirit and Jellyfish. I really appreciate my father pushing the music he listened, the level of creativity in those bands is astounding. I absolutely love collaborating with other artists, it carries an energy that is hard to match. I had an artist send me dry vocal stems for a song idea she had and I composed the song around her vocals. To say I am beyond excited for the world to hear that song would be an understatement, it is such a powerful song. My goal is to work with as many artists, across all genres, creating songs that resonate at any point in space and time.
For readers here, what artists would you recommend that they listen to or see live?
Howe. Not only because I have worked with her, but because her voice is immaculate. Her creativity is also incredibly inspiring. I know Jellyfish was critically acclaimed 30 years ago, but their songwriting is masterful. Listening to them at full volume with my father when I was young was profound. For live performances, I think going to a show at the SnowKing Amphitheatre in Jackson Hole, WY should be on the bucket list for anyone who appreciates quality sound in a live show. I’ve been to many shows there, but the Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic are at the top of the list. Both bands went beyond their allowed play time and had to end up paying the city fines for noise nuisance, or whatever the politicians there call it.
What have been music highlights for you so far? Whether that be any particular live experiences, achievements, or personal goals related to your music?
I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists. I am currently co-writing and engineering a concept album with an artist. The theme starts in the present day and develops into a dystopian psychedelic future. The way it flows and transitions from song to song is magnificent. I composed a new song for Howe (…The Stars Would Explode) that is incredibly powerful. From the moment it starts it just sucks you in, very excited for it to be released. I have also started diving into making Hip Hop beats and will have two of them featured on a Brooklyn rappers album coming out soon. One of the beats is being worked on by a legendary Grammy-nominated engineer. The fact my name will be next to theirs on a song credit is definitely a bucket list item. I would love to name drop but it is still being worked on so I have to be hush about it. My main goal in music is to work with as many artists as I can across all genres creating timeless songs, regardless of how much clout they might have. Talent is exclusive to big name artists and good music will always be good music!