M: When you play guitar or write music, do you need to be in a certain mood?
C: Sort of. It helps to be "in a mood," but there isn't just one mood that will do. I'll play when I'm happy and really enjoy myself, or I'll play when I'm stressed or upset to feel better. Same goes for writing songs.
M: So would you say that the mood you're in is channeled into your work?
C: A lot of times, yes.
M: Is there some ritual you go through to prepare yourself to create new music?
C: Not really, I actually like it to be more spontaneous. I don't think I work well under pressure, so I never pressure myself to make music. I never think to myself "Ok, I'm gonna write a song today." It's more like "Ok, I'm gonna fool around a bit because I feel like playing some guitar, and if I hear something I like, I'll remember it or write it down."
M: You're in a band with three other people, how do you think working as a group influences the creative process? Do you think it's easier or harder collaborating with others?
C: I really like having other people to work with when I'm trying to flesh out a song or a riff. A lot of times when an idea pops into my head I get excited to share it with the others and see what they think.
M: How do you guys generally go about writing a song?
C: Like I said I feel like I'm more of a spontaneous person, and I think the others are the same way. Generally when we get together, someone will present something they've been working on, and we see how we can add on to it to make a full song. For example, I'll show them this riff that I like, and if they like it too, we try to think up drum line, bass line, and lyrics to go with it.
M: Do you guys ever disagree? Are there times when you present something and they shoot you down, or when someone else shows you something you just don't think is good?
C: Yea sometimes, but it's never really a problem. It actually don't think I ever really hear stuff from them that I don't think is good. Sure sometimes someone comes up with something and in my head I'm like "I don't really see this going anywhere," but even so it's still fun to go along with it and just start playing. Sometimes I end up liking it after all.
M: Do you stick to writing just guitar parts, or do you try other things too?
C: Mostly just guitar, at least when I'm on my own. I honestly don't think I understand enough about the other instruments to just write out music for them, plus I really need to have the instrument on me to mess around with to try to write anything. Now when we're together it's a bit different. First of all since we don't really have a dedicated singer, we pretty much always come up with lyrics together. Sometimes someone will bring in a line or chorus that they really like, but for lyrics we mostly just bounce ideas off each other until we find something we like. Anyway for other instruments, when we're together we give each other input, like I'll listen to Alex banging out some drum line and I'll ask him "Hey I think it would sound good if you hit the cymbal every other beat instead of every beat."
M: Who or what inspires your songs? Are there any specific places or artists that you or the band draw from?
C: Yea a lot actually. It's not like I can even tell you a few main bands we like because it's really just whoever we've been listening to lately. At least for me. Another thing we do is share interesting stuff we've heard recently with each other. I think often times there will be a song that we like, and then you can see (hear) the influence in a song we come up with. It's like this unspoken influence. Well sometimes someone points it out, like we were jamming on this one riff, it wasn't even a full song, and Alex goes "This is just like The Day that Never comes," and then everyone else was like "Yea I know I was thinking the exact same thing." Anyway I'd say that we usually don't plan it out, you know we never get together and say "We really like the sounds of this album, let's do something like that."
M: So I know you don't consider yourself a professional, how do you think things would change if you or your band made music for a living?
C: I've thought about that a lot, I think we all have. I don't know about the others but I'm not sure how I'd like it. Sure it'd be really cool to be famous and have millions of people listening to your music, but again it's the pressure. If my music was my job, I'd constantly feel pressure to write songs. I'd also be afraid that people wouldn't like our music. Right now the only people that I care about whether or not they like the songs are the other guys in the band. As long as we all like it, we play it, and if other people like it, that's great. But if you're a professional, it's like you've failed if other people don't like what you play.