Hi Christopher, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me! Lately I’ve been a bit overwhelmed working out how to travel with a band. Playing live is always preferred for me reaching new people, but it gets incredibly complicated when you need to coordinate the schedules of 5 people, or find other musicians to sit in when the original lineup can’t make a show. So I’m good, just trying to figure this whole thing out.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Moonlight”?
Sure. Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about gender. I’ve recently come out as being gender-fluid and so I’m trying to dig into what we mean when we talk about gender. About the concepts of being a “man” or being a “woman”. It’s caused me to ask myself questions like “What are the qualities I think of when I use the word ‘woman’ or ‘man’ to describe a person?” I feel very connected to the women in my life, so it’s been easier to answer how I feel about being a woman. I see patient perseverance in women. I see a strength in women that is constantly moving forward. The song “Moonlight” is about how I view women, I guess.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
I talk about this tree I once saw on the side of the road that was being blocked by this iron fence. And instead of being stopped by the fence or breaking through the fence, the tree had slowly grown through the bars. And now that tree has moved past it’s obstacle, but the obstacle is still very much a part of it. Ever since I saw that I’ve associated trees and nature with women. Being male bodied, the closest I’ve ever been to a female body is during sex. And that’s where the phrase “she reveals herself like pollen in the blossom.” came from. That gift of vulnerability is life-giving and should be respected, even if you only share that moment with someone once. Even if it’s a one-night thing, it should be respected as something awesome. That’s what the song is about.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Nastasia Green, who sings with me on the album, is also a film maker with her own webseries currently in production. So when I decided to make a video for Moonlight, I told Nastasia that she had first dibs. I’m not sure where she’s gonna go with it. I mean, I have ideas as to what the video could possibly be, but I’m more interested in giving the music to another artist and seeing where they go with it. I think there’s the obvious choice with a song like Moonlight because of the romantic imagery. It’s essentially a love song. But Nastasia doesn’t like to take the easy choices. Which I totally understand and encourage in my artist friends. I think she might go a bit deeper than the casual romance route. Maybe create a statement on the real companionship that comes along with good sex. I mean, maybe other people can have good sex without liking the other person or feeling a real companionship with them. I can’t really do that, haha. Long story short, yes, we’re trying to put together a music video very soon!
The single comes off your new album Notes to my Blood – what’s the story behind the title?
I’m not close with my family. The people in my life who I’ve met, stayed connected to, and trust are my family. I make gifts for them without their knowing and I say that they’re just songs. This album is full of gifts for them. They are my blood. They keep me moving and I do my best to keep them moving. I also consider these songs reminders to myself. I think a lot of writers use the act of writing to figure things out. To explore and realize how they actually feel or think about certain subjects. Or just life in general. These songs are my best effort at getting to know myself.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing is always a scattered mess until it finally comes together. I’ll have pieces of songs in my head for years before I figure out where they go or what they are. One of the songs on the album, “When The Time Comes” was written six years ago, but I never played it out live until this year. I just didn’t think it was ready. Or maybe I wasn’t ready. That’s more what it is, I wasn’t ready to perform that song and mean every single word of it. I had some growing up to do. But yeah, the writing is always very tumultuous and doubtful and melodramatic and wonderful. That’s my time to really play around. The next step is just as fun, but I take more of a leadership position because it’s when I start working with the rest of the band on how to flesh the songs out. Maybe some things change, maybe something new is found. That’s the band’s time to play and I love watching them do it. Honestly, recording is the easiest part. The people I play with are great at what they do. They come in ready to go and they trust me to put it all together with the engineer to make something awesome. I love every step of the process.
What aspects of society did you get to explore on this record?
I place myself firmly in The Middle of society. I am not a liberal or a conservative. I’m not a man or woman. The only reason I’m white is because I have the people in power giving me privilege so I’ll turn against my black, latino, asian, etc. brothers and sisters while they’re being oppressed. But even though I accept that white privilege exists and work to fight against it, I am still very privileged. The Middle. It’s a fucked up place to be because you can’t assume a god damn thing about anything and you have folks on all sides trying to sell you a mantra. You’ve gotta think critically about everything around you. You have to take situations and people on a One-on-One basis. And that’s true in every song on the album. These are songs about people, not generalized ideas or selling points. Complicated, monstrous, human beings. They show the weaknesses that we all share. The song “Prayer” is a whole song about me begging whatever other-worldly power there is to make me less of a coward. That song is me admitting that I need to be braver, and that’s a feeling everyone has at some point or another. It’s a feeling that I can share with anyone from anywhere and we’ll both understand. People don’t cross boundaries and make human connections over strength, they do it over weakness.
Any plans to hit the road?
I would LOVE to travel more. Like I said earlier, it’s all about scheduling and convincing busy people to take the time out of their schedules to travel and make music with me. We all have dayjobs and if I can’t pay them for touring, they can’t do it. But I’m figuring it out. Maybe I can do some northeast shows with the band and then go out west to visit some friends. Play some acoustic sets with a friend singing back-up and a local musician filling in the lead instrument parts that Hajnal (The Violinist) plays on the album. I love my band, but I also jump at the opportunity to hear what other instruments bring to the songs. We’ve had violins, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and even french horn played on these and it’s always exciting. If anyone out there wants to play, let me know! I’m trying to book a Chicago show or two for the beginning of the fall.
What else is happening next in Norwood’s world?
I have the beginnings of about 11 or so songs that’ll comprise the next album, which is tentatively titled “Lizzy White Doesn’t Give a Fuck.” It’ll be my attempt at making something close to a concept album. We also have a fairly large catalogue of covers that we do, songs like The Cardigan’s “Lovefool” and Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughtta Know”. There’s even an Offspring song in there. I’ve been tempted to record a cover album if I can get some studio time. Just for fun. Hopefully playing shows in new places and maybe with new musicians jumping in to join the fun! We’ll find out I guess.