Interview: Christopher Griffiths to Release Debut EP, Midlife Pop Crisis
Since every project has a story, what’s the story behind your debut EP, Midlife Pop Crisis? I am stuck in quarantine with all my instruments and no gigs. I have all this recording software and synths and gadgets I’d never used, so I decided to record a song a day and offer it up for people who donated to my Venmo. After 35 songs, these four just seemed to go together. So I figured an EP of something for my friends and I to dance in the kitchen to was a pretty awesome thing. Pop star at 38, watch out Bieber!
Which song off of your EP is the most dear to you and why? “My Dream and My Adidas,” because it reminds me of 90’s Quincy Jones, back on the block era. Also I have owned a pair of Adidas shell toes since I've been wearing shoes. The story of the song is pretty much about my wife and I dancing in Miami while drinking Mojitos. We had been together eight years at that point, but sometimes you catch the magic of a first date together. So it’s my ode to that kinda sound. And those kinda shoes.
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? I write once a day, so pretty much anything I read, watch, or see it just goes into the gridlock of my brain and comes out a song. I force myself to write a lot because if I wait, I won’t get it done. The key to all of this is: No Fear.
Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now? I mean it’s a huge swath of artists who have made me. Quincy Jones, Iggy Pop, Butch Walker, Loretta Lynn, Dr Dre. I love it all. I really don’t feel like I need to be anchored into a genre. I play and write country music all the time. But when I’m with Will Hoge that’s all American rock n roll. I think I’m gonna do this Pop EP, and follow it with a rootsy Americana EP take it back to Hank Williams, then who knows, I’m writing a score for a comic book right now, you never know what my next thing will be.
What’s your advice for young artists trying to establish a name for themselves? Do it because you love it. If you do it for fame, or recognition, the buzz never lasts, nothing you make will ever be good enough, and everything will lack perspective. Just be true to yourself, and fall in with a group of peers who also have integrity and make music everyday. Write everyday, record everyday. And get a darn haircut.
Name your biggest career highlight. I’ve played the Ryman twice and I’ve played the Grand Ole Opry a handful of times. But touring with Social Distortion was amazing because I have been listening to those guys for a really really really long time. Big big fan. Mike Ness showed me some boxing moves in the dressing room while we drank shots of beet smoothie. How’s that for a rock’n’roll story?
What are you doing during your stay at home quarantine? Writing and recording everyday. I made that whole EP in four days. There’s probably at least two more coming out of this downtime. I’ll do a roots music one, and I’m scoring a comic book. I’m also producing a couple other bands albums, so I’m staying busy. So far I’ve written 42 songs since this started. Also my garden is looking the best it ever has.
What are you doing to stay positive during this time? I try to exercise everyday, its easy to get into a vegetative state when I’m not moving around and traveling. I’m reading a lot, I make a new playlist and post it on my social media everyday. Basically, between my pop dance EP and my daily digital mixtapes, I’m revisiting my early teens. I’ve been listening to that new Sturgill Simpson record a lot, it's so crazy and cool. When this is done I’m sure I’ll be touring for the new Will Hoge record off the bat, so I guess I’m trying to soak up all the downtime I have left.
What are your “must have” albums for the road? Anything Steve Earle, anything Bruce Springsteen. There’s a Texas guy named Charlie Robison who always has a place in my truck. I like a lot of story so anything Guy Clark, Dwight Yoakam, Janelle Monae, The Flaming Lips, its gotta be engaging. And when Iggy Pop comes on I tend to get speeding tickets.
What’s your dream venue to play? I want to in play Paris. Specifically, I want to play the Bataclan. It was such a tragedy when that shooting happened, and I want be one of the bands that plays that stage. I guess to me, it would be healing. My way of saying that you can’t shoot art.
Thank you! Anything else you want to share? My website is www.christophergriffithsmusic.com. The EP comes out on June 2. I played on Will Hoge’s new record so that will be out June 26th and I produced an artist named Tera Lynne Fister who has new music coming out, so tune in and enjoy! I’ll see you soon!