What is a choice you've made that sticks out to you that landed you where you are today in your career?
Being open to new opportunities even when they are uncomfortable has been my guiding light. In fact, the more uncomfortable a choice, the more likely the richness of the outcome. The most current example is the tour right now. A lot of fear and paranoia are being spread in the USA right now. This is far more dangerous than a virus with a 99.9% survival rate IMHO. Some people very close to me expressed concern about going through with it. And I also had a few sleepless nights before leaving California: is this responsible? What we are finding, however, is the affirmation for both the band and the new crowds is incredible. The mental and emotional response has never been more important. There is a gratitude to the shared ritual of making music with an audience. Just don't be dumb: wash your hands, keep your space.
What is the strangest part of the music industry?
The whole thing is strange, isn't it? Should music just be free? If you hear a bird sing, that's free. Strange is a whole industry created around music that somehow still starves the creator. And social media has only made it worse. As someone who is an artist that also works in the tech industry, I can tell you the almighty dollar has and always will go to the platforms and not the creators. It's the struggle of all time, and no different from major record labels, radio, MTV, or any other content delivery system.
Is there something that you would change if you could about how the industry is run?
The direct-to-artist model of payments is great - ex: I play a livestream, and you tip me virtually. Or on the tour right now, we perform a show, and you buy our LPs and hats. It's similar to handing someone playing guitar on a street corner a dollar - zero layers between value and artist's compensation. The music and associated delivery industry is like having 4 people standing next to that guitarist each asking for 20 cents just so the artist gets 20 cents. So the person playing the music gets 20 cents of your dollar even though you should be able to directly hand it to them.
What do you feel like you do seamlessly when it comes to your craft?
If everything's going smoothly, I think my stage banter is pretty on point. I'm probably more of a secret stand up comedian than musician, anyway.
What do you feel like you have to work on daily when it comes to your craft?
The physicality of making music has never been more important to me. Paying attention to what I eat, posture, stretching, and breathing are all part of being a better artist. This is especially true as we are touring and playing consecutive nights. One terrible fast food meal too late at night can totally bring me down for the next show. Mindfulness in my constitution also extends to the stage. Just before we hit the first chord, I look around at the physical space of the stage, the club, the bar and think about all the people and resources that went into the band being able to just set up and play music in that space. I've been exploring the interbeing writings of Thich Nhat Hanh. To consistently realize how we are all connected has never been more important.
Name the most beautiful part of being an artist?
Connecting with each other, and encouraging the cultivation of the creative spirit within. Sometimes that starts with sharing a drink and a chat with a stranger!
What touches your soul in particular when it comes to your music?
The newer generation is excited to play instruments again. Did you see Nandi Bushell play with the Foo Fighters yet? As nice as it is to DJ and make music with hardware - two things I enjoy - there is nothing that replaces the physicality of instruments moving air. That's what I missed during the pandemic lockdown, and that's what the band is enjoying on tour right now.
How are you making your mark with your music?
Ha! I'm not sure the answer to this is something for me to know, really. My hope is when someone takes their hard-earned money and hands it to me for a vinyl after a gig that it becomes something they treasure & return to often. At my house, we play a lot of records for my one year old daughter. There are some LPs we play again and again — Jim James, My Morning Jacket, Nikki Lane, Chuck Prophet, The Beatles. Knowing my music might be in someone's rotation is an honor and an inspiration.
Can you talk about your latest single? Can you talk about the origins of it?
Sure! 'Highway 101' was written over 10 years ago before I even lived in California. It's a story of falling in love on a road trip. It was my first attempt at writing from that wistful, nostalgic point of view. The sweetest part is that after I moved to California, I had moments that the story of the song predicted! I've rented convertibles to drive from San Francisco to LA with friends, and I now take my Jeep out on the coast as often as I can. With all the strife & change in the world, it's never been more important to savor the moments with each other within nature.
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End of Interview
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