You’re here for Auckland City Limits and a couple of sideshows. Do you find touring enjoyable or is it quite laborious?
It’s a horribly taxing experience and there’s a thousand ways to do it. I’ve been touring for going on three or four years now and have a certain love/hate relationship for it in ways I manage on my own. The worst parts of it are being away from your family. I think for every day you’re on tour you need a day to not be on tour.
That seems fair, but probably very hard to manage?
*laughs* I mean, that’s the sane way to do it. That would be the most ideal.
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It’s been 18 months since you released your sophomore album And The War Came, has there been a lot of momentum building in the time since?
It’s really been building since its inception. It’s just been one step at a time for the last ten years.
And I guess that’s reflected in the fact that the industry is so hard to break into. How did you chip away at it?
Y’know, a nice blend of idiocy and confidence. My family’s all performance based people so it’s not uncommon to take stuff like this seriously. I’ve always tried to find a nice blend of how to monetise it enough to where I can focus on it and take it seriously. I think everyone also gets into the mentality of if you wanna do something like this you wanna be at the top. The top can mean a thousand different things, and sometimes the top can be too far from what you want. I think when you make music you want people to listen to it to do it justice.
So how did you fall into the Americana genre?
It’s just what happens when I play music. When I started playing guitar the people I really focused on were singer/songwriters. People that had a lot of influence on how I play guitar are folks like George Thorogood, John Prine, Tom Waits, Neil Young. I feel like this is a golden age if you can treat it right. The old mindset of the way music was bought and sold in the industry—record labels and everything—is in flux right now. It’s been a long time since there has been such a self-opportunistic, prosperous time to create your own content.
That’s really cool to hear because a lot of people are super down about that—about being able to build your own brand through the internet.
I mean, I think it’s just paralleled by culture. Ten years ago you couldn’t find quinoa anywhere and now it’s in most food stores. Now it’s like, “what kind do you want?”
Most New Zealanders haven’t made it to your part of the world [Austin, Texas], so I’ve got some stereotypes I’d like to run past you to confirm or deny their validity.
Yeah, yeah, hook me up.
Number one—football is life?
That’s not too far off base. I’m not a huge football fan, but I watched some of the Super Bowl. It’s just like how we don’t play cricket here, but the last time I was in New Zealand the Cricket World Cup was on and I loved it. You might be totally tired of it by now, but I was like “fuck yeah cricket, this is awesome.”
Ooh yeah the most recent tests with Australia weren’t so flash.
Well at least you’ve still got the All Blacks.
They’ll be dominating for a very long time.
That’s what they’re saying. I didn’t know any of this shit until I went to New Zealand for a week and I was like “ohhh, it’s all about the All Blacks.”
You assimilated immediately.
I’d just sit around and drink wine for nine hours and watch sport. It was great.
Stereotype number two—do you drive a pickup?
I own a pickup truck, but I don’t drive it all the time.
Do you exclusively drink iced tea and beer?
Uhh no. Iced tea is great, it’s very much a Texan institution, but there’s different types of tea. In parts of the South like Georgia and Louisiana it’s a lot more of a sweet tea which I hate, but unsweetened iced tea is definitely a classic. It’s plenty caffeinated, you can drink a whole bunch of it. There’s also so much beer to be consumed. People make fun of Americans for their beer choices cause it’s all so light, but the last thing I wanna drink is a Guinness in the middle of summer. You drink stuff that’s kind of like carbonated water and you drink it all day long, forever. And then you get fat and you die, it’s great.