Can you talk to us more about your latest single “1000 Years”?
It’s a really cool song that pulls together all the pieces of what my music’s made of. Take the rock, take the electronic, take the atmospherics, and then think about the state of the world – and where you want to be in a thousand years, think about all these years that the world has been here. Would you have done anything different a thousand years ago? Technologically, we’ve made such advances, but this growth isn’t matched by how our humanity and how our value system has evolved.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, the current state of affairs. Why aren’t people asking themselves what can they do to better life…? for themselves, for everyone. How can we all just be here, acting like there’s nothing to be done.
We’re all significant and powerful, even as we’re all specs in the bigger picture of the universe. To find the reason, then work to the betterment, that’s the trick.
I was sitting there in Ireland, at a beautiful studio on the Ocean, writing the song. Just started thinking about what happened on the earth where I was sitting, before I came along. A lot of work has been done up until now. The rappy faster vocal is a lot like the way our thoughts just spin; those cycles really match the patterns that are happening and digging us deeper in.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes, we just premiered the acoustic version on the HuffingtonPost. Ideas for the video for the full version are in the works.
How was the recording and writing process?
Organic. I got some amazing musicians in a room, and we played. To me, there’s not enough of that – both amongst players and people in every day life.
What’s been like to work with Sterling Campbell and Gerry Leonard, and how did those relationships develop?
Inspiring, and awesome. When you think about where they’ve been musically, the people they’ve worked with – and how generous they are with me in terms of their experience and their talent, it’s humbling. Over time, when you make music, you become friends. You talk about life and where you’ve been, and I’ve learned, the larger the actual life, the less arrogant the people are.
How much did they influence the song?
Quite a bit. Gerry’s known for those atmospheric guitar sounds, and all those layers of distinct and ethereal sounds create the mood that you feel inside the song. Sterling’s playing is huge. You can’t help but feel it – the insistence, and the propulsion to keep moving through the song.
Those guys understand songs are more than notes, they’re emotions – and that’s what they bring in a way that defies words.
What role does NYC plays in your music?
New York? The rhythms and the energy alone are unmatched. And I’m struck by the amount of talented musicians who’re there. The access to players, it’s hard to fathom… to be able to play with some of these folks, to collaborate with them? And those players open portals to other songs, ways of approaching.
Known for blending and playing with different genres – does one particular genre shine out the most depending on the lyrics’ theme; or how do you balance them all together?
Mostly, I’m determined to keep real instruments and edgy guitars in the songs. Some element of rock will always be the main driver for what’s in it. The emotion underlying these songs, there’s a tribal element to it that pushes the rhythms in ways – and you have to trust the song to show you.
How has The Cranberries influence your writing?
It’s amazing how this keeps coming up. They’ve never been a direct influence, but I so love Delores’ voice. The purity of it, and the tonality and emotion. She has a really unique sound, and her sense of inflection.
How’s your new album coming along?
It’s exciting. I just got back from London where I got to write with some new people, which – as I’ve said – opened up my music in new ways. It makes me reconsider what’s on my record already, and where we want to take it from here. But it’s on track for being able to give it to people sometime this fall.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
RAIN, and it will drop later this fall.
Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely, but I want to really focus on getting the album done.