What kinds of music did you listen to when you were in high school?
When I hit high school, the "alternative" thing was exploding. I was very into Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day. That's also when my Radiohead fetish began, and it still continues today. But all of that kind of paled in comparison to my discovery of The Beatles, which occurred sophomore year when [I got] a mixtape of their later material. I knew the early standards ("I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the like), but I had never heard "Sgt. Peppers" and "Abbey Road." That blew my mind wide open.
When did you start writing music? Do you remember what your first song about?
As soon as I learned my first guitar chord, I was writing songs (or trying to). That was at age fifteen. It's hard to remember, but I think my first song was called "Gray," and it was probably about how sad I thought I was at the time. It was prototypical insular teenage thinking. The whole "woe is me" thing. Pretty embarrassing.
Why did you decide to become a musician/singer-songwriter?
Because I am most happy when I am creating something. I like [the] process; it makes me feel alive. I've found music gives me that in a lot of ways. As long as I can continue to make a living in that way, I will do it.
Do you ever get writer's block? How do you deal with it?
I used to get writer's block, but I don't anymore. Writer's block is a misleading term. It suggests someone trying to write but not being able to. I never try to write. If I'm in the mood to write, I do. If I'm not, I don't. I just set it aside and come back to it at a later time. I write because I need to emotionally, or want to creatively, never because I am being made to, by myself or anyone else. Because of that, I don't feel I ever fall victim to writer's block.
What inspires you while you're writing music?
The inspiration for lyrics and music usually comes from two different places. For lyrics, it's all about human emotion-- in whatever form. For music, it's often other music that inspires me, but just as often it's film. I'm a big movie buff and I am interested in the drama created through the use of music in film. It's all about the drama for me, no matter what the song.