What inspired you to be a musician? Are any of your family musicians/did anyone in your family push you to be a musician? I am actually a black sheep. No one in my family plays music. I’ve just always been drawn to it, and at a certain point I felt it was the only thing I knew anything about! I guess it chose me. It was the only place I ever felt free. It’s still the only place I ever feel free. How long have you been playing/creating music?
I’ve been playing music for ten years and writing music for about 7-8. Started out in the orchestra at my local public school and then taught myself guitar and everything from there around grade 8. What instruments do you play and which is your favorite? I play violin, guitar, piano, and some bass. I would say my favorite is guitar, as I just love being able to move around while I’m playing a live show, however I’ve really enjoyed learning more about bass and writing bass parts, especially for this newest record I’ve just tracked. What's your writing/creative process? (specific location, time of day, etc.) There really isn’t a process. If something happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I try not to force it. I genuinely believe in the notion that inspiration is purely childlike and if I’m not in that state of mind, it would be a waste to try and force something out of myself. I accept that, and accept that I’ll probably write only about 15-20 good songs a year at most. What are some of your goals/dreams with music? Have you accomplished any already? I would say my perception and goals have shifted a lot since I began playing music. Of course when you’re younger you see this beautiful vision of everything working out and being the biggest thing in the world; however, I’d say now my goal is to just be able to survive off music alone and live a very full and happy existence that is full of things other than music. I want to live intensely, I want to be present, and I want to love hard in everything I do. Do you have any advice for artists who are just starting out? I’d say just keep going and don’t give up. I know that sounds cliche, but I do believe that work ethic is more important than actual talent. Yes, talent is important, but the people I know who are doing well are sincerely some of the hardest working people I know. You have to be willing to put in the work, to have the long nights, to sleep on the floor on tour, to spend all your money on mixing, to eat beans out of a can. It’s just how it is. If it doesn’t feel worth it, maybe you aren’t passionate enough about it, in which I say go out and try and fail a million times until you find what you are passionate about. Life is too short to waste time on things you hate. Do you have any studio/tour traditions? Right now I just work out of my home studio, wherever that happens to be at the time. I’d say I work most during the day recently. I’ll get up quite early (6, 7am) have a coffee, play through whatever needs to be tracked that day and get to it. As far as tour, there are no traditions really. I guess we always play “take me home country roads” whenever we enter Virginia, but that’s about it. Tour is so chaotic and ever-changing I do think it’s important to have some sort of routine though, otherwise you lose your mind. Who are a few of your favorite musicians? The whole of Radiohead, Thom Yorke as a solo artist, Unwound, DIIV, The Dismemberment Plan, Sun Kil Moon, Amine, Jawbox, Meat Wave, Pile, Billie Eilish… honestly I listen to everything as long as I feel that person has something honest to say or the player plays with real emotion. Do you have a favorite song or album? That’s a difficult and almost impossible question. I feel that if I had to pick one favorite of all time that I would have to put on every single day it would be The Eraser - Thom Yorke. Favorite song would probably be The City - The Dismemberment Plan. Some of the best songwriting I’d say, especially having lived in New York. Of the projects you've worked on, which is your favorite? I would say that From Indian Lakes has definitely be such a wonderful project to be part of. Of course, the entirety of the genius behind the music is owed to Joey Vannucci, who’s actually been releasing music under the name Joe Vann during lock down, so great. However, he lets me tag along on tours playing keys and singing some BGVS and I sang a bit on the latest From Indian Lakes record “Dimly Lit”. I also got to work on my friend Declan McKenna’s record last year in Nashville, and I mean he’s just a genius as well as a wonderful human, same as the rest of his band. I’m very grateful for the people I’ve gotten to know through music. How has COVID effected you and how have you been able to push through it? I think the biggest thing it did was shift my priorities. I was so used to touring constantly and always going to shows that when it all went away I had to take a big ugly look in the mirror of “who” I am. I learned a lot I’d say. I think that it’s been the best thing for me and my creativity without it being directed toward that on purpose.
Tell us about Tummyache's newest record you just finished tracking. I just spent 16 weeks quarantining in Texas where I set up a little home studio with my interface, one microphone, my pedals, and my squire bass. It wasn’t my intention to make a record but I guess I didn’t realize I had that much to say. I tracked 11 songs and had a few friends play on it. I’m very excited to be able to share it in the future. I felt it was very therapeutic as I had recently been processing a very painful breakup and also a sort of breakup with my sense of self. I hope that someone in some way can relate to any of the songs, as they certainly helped me while I was creating them.