New Jersey native Chris Rockwell is on fire with his new album "Diner Kids," out today December 8th. The album in which Chill Smith serves as executive producer, "Diner Kids," is Rockwell's own documentary, and also acts as a commentary of himself. From beginning to end the album is filled with slick instrumenation, storytelling lyrics, and an infectious vibe that Rockwell spent his heart and soul cooking up. Kicking off the release is his incredible new video for "Catch a Vibe," that had us falling in love with the buzzworthy artist. We had the honor of catching up with Chris before his release party tonight (Details below!) as he digs deeper into the album and what
Find "Diner Kids" and Chris Rockwell on Spotify
This Fall we saw the release of the new single and video for "Catch a Vibe". When writing the new song, what was your inspiration behind the piece?
I just wanted to write something about being unapologetically myself. The hook kinda floated into my head while I was driving one day in the summer and I just went with it. My partner Amanda is always reaffirming self love in our lives, so I wrote, "I got a crush on myself/ I'm feeling myself even if you don't" and she loved it.
When creating and penning the latest track, what artists or influences did you channel?
I love Jesse the Tree and Myles Bullen, two indie rappers from New England, and I'd just performed with both of them on tour earlier in the summer. They're so genuine, positive, and they're wildly talented writers. They rubbed off on me, I guess. I hope so anyway!
You seem to be very hands on in the process of your music and songwriting which is GREAT! Can you walk us through the process for the latest single?
I wrote all the lyrics without a beat. When I was listening to what we had so far for Diner Kids, the new album, it felt like it was missing a beginning. So I brought the idea to Josh Cabrera. He's a gifted multi-instrumentalist, and served as Co-producer throughout the album. I tapped out a drum beat on the keyboard, and he just laid down some smooth, simple guitars and keys. When we were doing the photo shoot for the album art, my executive producer Chill Smith had recorded ambience audio from the Diner we were shooting in. Josh and I asked Chill for a copy of that audio, and we dropped it in behind the track to add a little atmosphere, and it worked perfectly.
Your video for "Catch a Vibe" is absolutely brilliant! Can you tell us how you created the idea for the film and how you brought it to life?
Thanks so much! Brian Cutts has shot a bunch of videos for me over the years. He's so energetic and passionate. So when he asked what I was up to, I told him I wanted to just vibe out in a diner. He loved the idea, and really egged me on during the shoot. The Brick Diner was kind enough to lend us space for the evening. The shut down half the Diner for us.
When writing songs, what key instruments do you start with? Beats, vocals etc? Or a combination of things?
It's really different every time. Sometimes I start with verses, sometimes hooks. Sometimes I make a beat and write to that. On this upcoming album, almost every track started with an idea I already had in my head. The only exception was Chasing the Sun. We made the instrumental in the studio with Alix Gagliastro, and wrote lyrics to the music on the spot.
With the new song in tow, how does the song differ from your prior work? Or how does it feed into the upcoming?
It's really simple, mellow, and not overly poetic like my other songs. Some of the other tracks on the album are more intense, but some are still pretty chill. There's definitely an emotional roller coaster that occurs, and "Catch a Vibe" is the slow roll into it.
As we head into 2020, what do you want to accomplish before the year ends? What do you want to accomplish after the New Year?
Before the year is over, the goal is to sell out the Album Gala that's for sure! We're gonna play the entire album on stage for the first time with a full band. Next year, I'd really love to do a full band college tour. And press up some vinyl for the first time, that would be rad.
New Jersey, head on out!
Chris Rockwell's Album Gala & Art Show at The Downtown TONIGHT December 8th, 2019 at 6:00pm. The night features live music, spoken word poets, and artwork. All ages welcome. 21+ w/ID to drink. Advance tickets are $12.
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