Who are your top 5 musical influences? Also, please tell us who inspires you?
Beach Boys / Brian Wilson, Neil Young, R.E.M., Steely Dan, Tom Petty, Wilco, Matthew Sweet (I know that’s 7 – my lucky number!)
I’m very inspired by nature – obviously the beach! Also my family – my parents, brothers, and sisters-in-law. They are all passionate people who try to enjoy life fully every day, and do something that’s important in the world or create art.
In your opinion, how do you and your musical style differ from other artists?
My style is clearly very retro, because I grew up listening to ’60s and ’70s pop/rock music. When writing a song melody I very quickly start imagining possibilities for harmonies and background vocals.
How many songs /albums have you released to date? Would you mind naming them and telling us a little bit about them?
This is my first solo album. In 2015 I released a compilation album called Strange August by my old band Thick Blue Sky – you can find it on the major music stores and streaming services. (Fan note: this was the former ’90s San Francisco band Strange Angels but we had to change our name.) This was re‑mastered by the incredible Grammy-nominated team of Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering. I also produced some other indie rock albums and songs but they are generally not available online.
Can you tell us about your upcoming release Scarborough Beach Sessions also, the background/inspirations behind it?
All five songs were written in August 2018 while I vacationed at Scarborough Beach in Rhode Island. I rented a beach cottage near the ocean, wrote lyrics while at the beach, and composed the music on a cool wicker bench behind the cottage. The words and music were mostly inspired by the water, ocean, and sand… plus some characters I met in recent years.
Is there a song on your latest EP release that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
It’s a cliché, but at this point all the songs feel like my children because I’ve spent so much time with them! The first song on the album, “Underwater”, is a stand-out track for me. I channeled my love of Memphis and Motown soul – like Booker T. & the MGs, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green – to put together something with upbeat and cheerful music. It turns out the feel of the lyric and melody fit that classic style, even though when you hear the words they kind of go in a different direction.
In what genre or style would you classify the music on your upcoming EP Scarborough Beach Sessions?
Neo-soul, power pop, and indie rock are the main styles referenced. In addition to the artists mentioned already, If you like Hall & Oates, Chris Isaak, The Replacements, or the Staple Singers, you might dig these tunes!
Can you tell us a little bit about your soon to be launched crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com for Scarborough Beach Sessions? Why did you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign for this particular project, and what are the goals of the campaign?
Recording in a top studio (Q Division in Somerville, Massachusetts) is awesome, but when you go with professional recording, mastering, etc., the costs add up. There are also other typical expenses like graphic design and some CD printing, even though most of the sales will be via online music stores. Indiegogo was co‑founded by a former co-worker, and also I had recent experience using it to help fund an indie film by my brother (check IMDB for the new movie Where Were You).
Where can potential supporters find the campaign and read about it online? What’s the URL?
I’ve got a few projects in progress. One is a song for an indie movie. After Scarborough Beach Sessions is released, I’ll start recording demos for the two new albums. One of them will be new original tunes, and the other will have some cover tunes that are stuck in my head – probably including some written by R.E.M. and Matthew Sweet.
Thank you for your time today, and may you continue making great music.
Thank you very much, and I hope everyone listens to Scarborough Beach Sessions and spreads the word online!