Can you tell us a little about the title of your album, Observere?
Ah, yes, Observere is the Norwegian word for observe. The album has a running theme of what it means to belong. I have some Norwegian heritage, and, for me, that has become a really important part of who I am-I've found a sense of belonging with it. Most of my songs are based off mundane observations I have walking down the street, or sitting down eating dinner. It just made sense to call the album Observere.
I love how on your website you describe your music as a “lyrical outlet” - how can singing and writing be a cathartic experience, and what is it that you are trying to capture in this album lyrically?
Like I said, most of my songs are based off observations and details I notice during everyday life. When I start writing, I begin with how I'm feeling at that moment, and then try to expand to how other people might be feeling, or people I don't know. I like to incorporate how I felt when certain things happened that day, how it might have happened to others. Feels therapeutic in the sense that it gets me thinking about what's in my head, and then a sense of compassion for other people. Lyrically, I wanted to accomplish a sense that yes, life stinks sometimes, but appreciating the small details, there's a calm light to that.
Released 30 May 2017
I also love the album cover for Observere, a softly colored water color painting of mountains. What influenced your decision to use this type of imagery in the album cover?
Yes! One of my best friends painted it, so it's very special. Growing up, I spent my summers in the mountains on the east coast of the US. The imagery goes back to that sense of belonging and togetherness.
Many of your songs, such as my personal favorite I’ve Been Stressin', seem to show you working through a feeling or emotion. What was the biggest influence on the songwriting in the album, and how did you go about the process?
It took me a long time to become comfortable writing songs that showed vulnerability. Write songs that felt naked, in a way. When I first started writing at 14, they were really goofy songs. I wanted to be serious about it, but I was worried about really, you know, spilling my guts out. It wasn't until my freshman year of college I decided to just go for it. The last song on the album, I Feel Like, was the first serious, emotionally pulling song I had ever written. After writing that, it set a spark. I wanted to keep my songwriting simple, but dig to figure out what's in my head right then, what's going on around me, who am I thinking about, what message do I want to convey right now. Staying in the moment is a key element to my songwriting process, and in the album.
Many of the songs in Observere also seem to be very personal and anecdotal - as a musician and songwriter, is it ever difficult fleshing out what you feel comfortable sharing, and what you would rather keep private?
Definitely. There are a lot of topics I haven't covered because I haven't reached that comfort level yet. Just like when I was 14. I wasn't sure how to write emotional songs, but I got there. I trust I'll find the words some day to cover other topics, it'll just take more growth as a human being.
One thing I’ve noticed about your musical style is a preference towards the classics - your music is good old fashioned rock, your biggest influences were bossa nova and rock, and the album cover is a painting. What about this format do you find compelling in a time when electronic music and technology are so on the forefront of popular music?
Don't get me wrong, I love electronic music and technology blows my mind. I'm a sucker for simplicity, though. The watercolor is stunning, but it's nothing flashy. I like to use lots of strange chords in my songs, but it's a simple three piece band. Almost feels organic in a sense that I know exactly who has touched the album and where it has been. The simplicity compels me.
You’ve been playing live shows since you were in college - does it feel gratifying for you to play music live as a culmination of hard work in the studio, or do you find it just another part of the musical process?
Just another part of the process! I love performing. It's a happy place to be.
Who are some of the biggest influences to your on stage presence, or just some of your favorite performers?
Ah, yes, anyone who knows me know I love Sondre Lerche. He's a musician from Norway. Really, really quality music and performer. On stage, he just become the epitome of energy. You can't take your eyes off him because he shines. It's insanity.
Thank you so much for sitting down with us to do this interview - and what can we expect from you and your music down the road?
I've already started writing for my next album, and my goal is to tour around up and down the east coast of the US, and travel to Europe in the next two years.