Interview – Chris Riffle

chris riffle2

OH MY GOD.  I love this man, his voice, his music, his subject matter.  He is like a male Lana Del Rey or Sade, the very best of the singer/songwriter, with a voice that can melt your heart a mile away, and he’s beautiful, which is a plus.  I am in love.
AudioFuzz sat down with Chris, and got some great answers.
1.  How did you come to music, and when?  When did you get “the calling”?
I grew up around music… my parents were hippies ;)
My dad was always writing songs and playing guitar… I have very fond memories of falling asleep at night in the cabin that he built in the woods to him playing his original songs. He’s a great songwriter, I’m a huge fan! My mom also loved playing guitar, but more for fun with friends and would always bring it out around campfires. I always kind of knew it’s what I wanted to do… In fifth grade I had a brief time I thought I wanted to be either a lawyer or a hairdresser. Mostly I think because I loved to win arguments and looked up to a really cool gay hairdresser that we knew. But underneath it music has always been my passion. I always get the feeling that I’m doing exactly what I should be when I’m in the midst of playing…
2.  Who are your main influences?  Who did you grow up listening to?
My Dad definitely. I grew up listening to folk music through my parents and a lot of Donovan and The Beatles. I also was a huge Elliott Smith fan and loved his quiet vocal style. I loved the four track recording methods he used and how we would layer his voice so subtly. I’m also really influenced by Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen.
3.  Who did you listen to now, anyone?
London Grammar, Mazzy Star, James Blake, Daft Punk, Django Reinhardt, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Radiohead, Nick Drake, Nina Simone, Smog, The National, Bon Iver, Beck, Miles Davis, The xx, etc, etc… a variety for sure, but I definitely like mellow stuff! Some of my favorite songs are: “You Could Make A Killing” Ammie Mann, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I was young when I left home” by Antony & Bryce Dessner, “Hero” Family of the Year (reminds me of the movie Boyhood).
4.  Do you prefer live performances or studio work?  How do you prepare yourself to perform?
I really love both. They’re so different. But I love the way in the studio you can just build a song. I have an idea of the song and then I bring it in and we just get to play and add new elements and ideas to it. I can sing harmonies. We can try things out and discover stuff we’d never try live and sometimes abandon them or sometimes let the song go in an entirely different direction. It’s so fun. I, of course, wish I could just do that all the time!
Live, I love the interaction with the audience and the musicians. I love just getting to play with the insanely talented guys I get to play with. I love that it’s never going to be the same and that we feed off of the energy in the room. It’s a very thrilling experience. As far as prepare myself, I like to try to give myself sometime the day of to relax before the gig. Eat right, take care of myself… that sort of thing.
5.  Do you have any causes you strongly support?
I have been vegetarian since I was 9 years old. I strongly support being kind to animals, this planet and each other. I think it’s very easy for people to categorize each other and forget our similarities and I think we need to actively work to connect to one another and be kind. I don’t like telling people what to do though, because everybody comes to their own understanding from their own place at their own time. All I can really do is be who I am and try to spread kindness.
6.  Anything else you’d like to talk about?  I could easily crush on you, if you don’t mind me saying.  If you were a wild animal, what would that be?
Thanks. I’m really excited about this album. I had a lot of fun making it and really believe in it. It’s such a collaboration of so many people in my life and it feels amazing to be able to package that up.
Hmmm… My middle name is Ursli, which means, “little bear,” so perhaps that’s the wild animal I’d be.
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