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INTERVIEW: Charlie Burg

Hi Charlie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

What’s good VENTS !! I’ve been great, super stoked to be chatting with you guys!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “U Used To”?

This one I wrote in my head while I was walking back from an evening class in October last semester, and I remember I had to be over at a friend’s house in like 10 minutes so I ran home really quickly, grabbed my guitar and recorded an improv verse into my voice memos.

Instrumentally, after I got to the pre-chorus with that line “Go ‘head and tell em that” (total improv hahah), I was just feelin this groovy instrumental breakdown that I had in my head, cos I was listening to D’Angelo’s record Voodoo a lot at the time, and I imagined a solid Questlove groove under some thick bass and a good amount of space in the other instrumentation to create that pocket ya feel.

The actual recording process was a lot of fun. I was in a studio recording class last semester and our group decided to record one of my originals for a project. So we used what we had learned about mics in the class to track all the instruments, and we made sure everyone did their part and got involved. Brought some of my friends from the music school to track violin and harmonies. It was just one big collaboration and everyone had fun and it gave the actual recording this nice warmth to it.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yeah it’s vaguely about a past relationship, and this yearning feeling I had for this girl I used to date in high school, who wasn’t as invested as I was. That second line, “You used to tell me bout a song that you heard on the radio,” that’s kinda the concept that the song came from – just me thinking about her and how we would share music with each other a lot. Music was a big part of what kept the infatuation alive for so long. The song morphed into this kinda lament  about her not being proud of what she had with me, not wanting to show her friends that we had something, and me professing that I’ll always be there for her even if she bein whack.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes! Heading over to Chicago in a month or so to work with the same homies who did the Phillip’s Bicycle music video last May. Very excited ! Got some cool concepts.

The single comes off your new album Two, Moonlight – what’s the story behind the title?

Ok let’s see… in a nutshell, my father gave me a collection of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (incredible writer, I highly recommend), and in one of his essays entitled “Love”, he writes this: “…When the moonlight was a pleasing fever and the stars were letters and the flowers ciphers and the air was coined into song; when all business seemed an impertinence, and all the men and women running to and fro in the streets, mere pictures.” Reading that line immediately gave me the exact feeling that I wanted my projects to live within. So, as the EP is a series of three, the first one is ‘One, Violet’ (which comes from the line “blood of the violet” from the same essay”); the second is ‘Two, Moonlight’; and the third will be ‘Three, Fever’. Hahah it’s pretty obscure but I know what it means to me and that’s what’s important I think. Those words also fit the color/mood of the songs that are in each project.

How was the recording and writing process?

It’s been a journey ! I write all the time, almost every day, but it is difficult for me to see songs through all the way because I’m very self-critical. So, it takes a lot of conviction for me to commit to a song once I’ve written it and see it to its completion. Other than that, it’s been a cathartic, fulfilling experience creating this project and I think it’s shaping out to be something I’ve very proud of 🙂

What role does Detroit play in your writing?

I’m actually from a suburb of Detroit called Birmingham, about 20 minutes outside of Detroit, so I will not claim to have been raised in an inner-city setting. I will say that I grew up listening to classic Detroit Motown which my parents exposed me to since I was born, so those soulful timeless influences of folks like Al Green, The Temptations, Edwin Starr, The Jackson 5 etc. have always been a part of me and my expression. They taught me how to make music with soul baby.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

Honestly I think writing these songs made me realize how much I reflect on myself and my identity haha and being genuine in what I do. Each song felt like I was questioning how I’m developing as a person or who I’m growing into, and a lot of those things I guess I’ve felt a desire to challenge. I think that facilitated a good amount of sonic exploration, pushing my own boundaries both creatively and emotionally. I’m at a point with both my music and myself where I feel ready to expand and develop and reach further, and this EP kinda materializes all these thoughts of reconsidering my emotional/spiritual identity, my purpose, my direction, etc.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yeah ! Definitely working with my booking agent on getting out west a little bit this summer to play some gigs and meet some peeps. When it comes to feeling fulfilled and excited about music and life and humanity, playing shows and giving music to the world and facilitating togetherness is at the very top of my list.

What else is happening next in Charlie Burg’s world?

Merch. Live videos. Tons of dope collaborations (musically, visually, etc). New gear, new sounds, new music. Traveling. Side projects. Books. Cooking. Drawing. Photo shoots. Playing at house parties. Starting a concert series. ETC ETC !

Listen here

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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