“I like to find things that make me want to move. When I’m creating – in my bedroom or out in nature or whatever – I can make something that sounds nice, but I tend not to go with that all the time because I’m thinking about the performance.
What is something that others will want to see and experience?
I do a good job portraying emotions in the stories I’m telling. I was talking to a friend I have, Blkk J, and he said, ‘You tend to paint a blank canvas with your music,’ and I had to sit with that. He’s right. In a sense, you can interpret my words the way you want.
Justin Vernon with Bon Iver and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse are two of my major influences, and [what Blkk J said] made me think of Isaac Brock’s lyrics, ‘We’ve got the land, but they’ve got the view.” With songs like that, you can talk about all kinds of topics, but how they affect us individually. The connections begin to happen.
I grew up very conservative. I wasn’t able to listen to music at all. It was nothing but Portuguese pastors – pastors speaking passionately. Then I went to church, and it was Mennonite music, so harmonies and melodies. When I was in middle school, I found my way to a group of friends who listened to Blink-182. That’s how I found Modest Mouse.
My guitar tones draw heavily from The Smiths guitarist, Johnny Marr. My synth is more Childish Gambino, 2013. My performances derive from Jimi Hendrix and a little bit of Prince.
And some pastors, really.
When I started making music, my mom said, ‘Don’t ever talk about stuff you don’t have and things you don’t do.’ How can I still be me if I leave out the experiences that made me? So, I kind of triple- and quadrupled-down on authenticity.
I like Goshen because they will always see me as a person. I’m not my art. I’m not my job. I’m just a person, and you meet me where you meet me.
I still have ideas in my head of what I can do. I feel like I have not even touched the edge of that. I’d love to have a whole band! And I haven’t learned everything I wanted to as an artist.
“Waterfront” was one of the first pieces I made entirely on my own. I feel that the lyrics and the storytelling are impeccable to this day. If I were to die and someone wanted to make a playlist, I think there would be something worth listening to.
Would the quality be good? Probably not. But if you listen to it as a human, the joy is there. I think there would be a really great playlist there. I’ve listened to it, and it makes me cry. I’ve been able to make myself feel something, and I’ve enjoyed that hugely. I love that.”