E M P O W E R I N G M O V E S
"If I have an Idea... I can make it happen"
How did you get started in the industry?
If you go all the way back, you could say it started by putting on a cowboy hat and singing Garth Brooks songs when I was in preschool. I was born with a passion for the stage, and that continued all through my adolescence. I would go to a lot of local punk and hardcore shows as a teenager, and that was when I really started getting into playing out. My friends and I would play the local venues and make our own DIY records. It just sort of all snowballed from there. Flash forward to now, I've toured professionally as a sideman, played hundreds (maybe thousands?) of shows all over the US and in the UK with various groups. I'm living in LA, loving it, wearing many hats in the music industry. Now, I'm putting back on the hat of "original artist," because at my core, that's really what I've always wanted, and now is as good a time as ever. So it begins!
What's your biggest motivation?
I want to inspire people the same way that all of my favorite artists inspire me. There are a few artists that I’m utterly obsessed with, and listening to them takes me into these magical new worlds... I want to do that for other people! I want to take people on a wild ride to outer space with me and then land them comfortably back at home with their headphones in.
What inspires your music?
Oh that could be anything. I just start making noises based on whatever I’m feeling at the moment and then build on it until a song starts to form. Sometimes it's abstract, sometimes it's straightforward. A lot of my ideas just come to me out of the blue - could be any time of day. As far as lyrics go, usually I'll just start blurting out stream-of-consciousness nonsense over a few chords or a bass line until the right words just sort of happen. Once I get a hook figured out, that usually helps me figure out what the song is actually about. That's when I have an "aha!" moment and fill in the blanks, make it into more of a story.
What is your greatest accomplishment yet?
Finishing this album, "Digital," that I’m releasing in August. I spent years on it, and the result ranges from somber acoustic to screeching rock, and even abstract electronic sounds. I put a lot of heart and soul into it, by playing all of the instruments and generally recording the whole thing at home with one or two mics. There were a couple songs I needed a full drum kit on, so I went to a local studio in Nashville (where I lived at the time) to play the drum tracks. So many of the ideas on the record came from late night bursts of manic creativity, or sudden "oh, I have to drop everything and write this song... right now" moments. I let all the weird sounds come out and didn't filter myself too much, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
Tell us about your new single!
"The Green Man” is one of my favorite original songs. I took my iPhone into the woods early on and recorded myself tapping a beat on small rocks, then crunching some leaves and sticks, in rhythm. I took those sounds into the studio and carved them out into the beat that starts out the song. I’m really proud of that one. Continuing on the woodsy theme, I wrote lyrics about an old legend, a tree creature that in some tales, meant renewal or fresh starts, but I let my imagination run with it. In my tale, The Green Man is portrayed as a haunting, sinister entity which I ultimately try to overcome. It could be taken at face value - or maybe it’s all symbolic. That’s up to you to decide. I just love the beat, the guitar lines, and all the layered sounds. I'm really proud of it and hope you like it, too! It was released on Friday the 13th of March, so it's now available on all major platforms!
What do you love most about your work?
I love that it can sound however I want it to. If I have an idea, I can make it happen. I don’t have a label, or producers, or anyone telling me what to do. It’s where I get to hear my ideas come out of my head and into something tangible. There’s no way to quantify how valuable that is to me.
What is something you have struggled with in your career?
I’ve been discouraged by some people throughout the years. Saying that I should just be a background player, or that I didn’t have the right look or voice or whatever. That stuff sticks with me. I try not to think about it but it has its ways of manifesting here and there. So I definitely struggle with self doubt, thanks mostly to a few negative people that I've encountered throughout my time navigating the business. I get depressed sometimes (ok, more often than sometimes), and tend to really beat myself up when it's bad. That alone has prevented me from releasing my music - so starting this whole Nice Ghost thing, this is very empowering. I feel like I'm in control of my life again. This is all quite therapeutic, actually.
What are you currently working on?
Well right now I’m consumed with this album release - one single at a time, all the way up until the full record in August. I’m also working on new songs for after that - I want to keep releasing music.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Headlining Coachella! (Ha!) Ok realistically I’m hoping to be able to do just Nice Ghost related work full-time by then. Baby steps. I need to be able to sustain myself from this alone. I believe that if I just keep working at it, I'll be able to reach that goal - and hopefully within 5 years. That's doable, right?