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Fast Five: CHUCK



When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?

I really began making music at 15 or so. I was trying to duplicate the sound of groups like Boards of Canada and Squarepusher on my family’s Dell Desktop using free keyboards I downloaded. I went by “Medical Quality” back then. It wasn’t pretty, but right from the start I was packaging albums and trying to give them out to friends and stuff. I was already ‘Bandcamping’, sort of. As to the second part of the question, making music is not my career haha. I’ve probably spent something like $20,000 on gear and producing and mixing and mastering over the years – and have received like $1,000 of that back from sales. I’m not complaining at all, I’m just saying if this was my career or if I was in this for the money, I’d be a chump. I’m primarily a writer and television editor during the day. I work on a show called Alone for the History Channel, the new season will be premiering in the US in early 2017. Music is just a fun hobby, and I intend on keeping it that way by investing as little expectations as possible in the financial or critical outcome.

How would you describe your music?

When people ask me, I usually drop names like Daniel Johnston, Guided by Voices, and Pavement. Sometimes I make an effort to sound like artists I listen to (“2014” was me trying to do Blood Orange) but I’m not very good at being anything other than me with the music, so I focus more on the songwriting than the production. I guess Jonathan Richman is an apt comparison. I like the way he tells stories in most of his songs. It’s very literary and visual. That’s the kind of thing I’m going for. It’s rough around the edges, literary, computer produced, rock music.

What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?

I just put out a compilation of some old songs on Audio AntiHero called My Band is a Computer back in September. It’s a sampler for people who are just showing up to the party, to bring them into my world of songs. I’ve put out something like 7 records since 2010, but it’s mostly been in obscurity. We made some cool cassettes, and I consider the record a success, but what I’m really excited about is my new LP. I’ve been working on some of it for 3 or 4 years now, and I hope it’s going to be a breakthrough moment for me. I have a song written from the perspective of a dog, I got stuff I recorded in a real studio, and I also might have a few songs written by my friend who is kinda in the band. It’s gonna be called Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store and it’ll be out in 2017.

If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Kanye. I wanna rap on a Kanye track so bad. His music gets me so fired up. I saw him the other week at Madison Square Garden and I just love his world. It was crazy to hear some of the older songs I had forgotten about. He’s so prolific. I’ve been listening to him, avidly, for longer than any other musician I think. And at this point, I’m more confident in my abilities as a rapper than as a rock and roller. My strength is my writing and my sense of narrative, not necessarily my instrumentation or mixing abilities. But I’m always trying to get better!

What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?

Right now, at this exact moment, the first thing that popped into my head was Aja by Steely Dan. I’m gonna go with that. Seems like I could dance to it, I could watch the sunset and cry to it, I could listen to the whole thing front to back, etc. “Deacon Blues” has been one of my all time favorites ever since I was a teenager.