Christopher Griffiths Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Answer: Well that’s a tough question for me. I like so many different types of music. I feel like an ice cream shop letting you walk through with a spoon and taste every different flavor. I live in Nashville so I make a lot of country music, but on this particular album it’s definitely pop and dance oriented, which I also love. So basically I’m the Jackson 5 plus Alan Jackson.
Lamitschka: How did you choose the titleMidlife Pop Crisisfor the EP? Is there a story behind the name?
Answer: There’s always a story I suppose. For me, I’m 38, so recording a pop album at 38 is a bit ridiculous. That seems like a young person’s game. But I’m not afraid to be myself and it felt good to make music that brings joy, so that’s the midlife part. Also, when making hiphop there’s a machine called an MPC that samples drums and sounds so I wanted the initials to line up. My first title was gonna be “Dad Body Rock.”
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your EP (influences, etc).
Answer: Well there’s only four. I wrote them in quarantine during this covid-19 pandemic. Not being able to tour, I found myself writing a song a day and just sending it out to anyone who’d throw a couple bucks in my Venmo. I wrote 35 songs, but these four just seemed to share a vibe together so I paired them up. And of course only having the instruments in my house at my disposal it’s a lot of synth and guitars. A side effect has been that I am much better at piano and keyboards than I was 40 days ago. There’s no great personal story behind the songs, they are meant mostly to convey joy and happiness. Kitchen dancing music is how I think of it.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?
Answer: I once read a lyric by The Who that said, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” and I think it rings true. Technology changes, and how people intake music changes, but mostly it’s still a community of people just trying to get loud and make some noise, to express themselves. I try not to judge music by what’s popular, but more by what’s new and innovative. Lately, I’ve really been into Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, St Vincent, Butch Walker, Elvis Costello, Janelle Monae. There was a time when streaming music became a thing where I thought digital music was gonna kill all the good indie artists. But the fact is I listen to more artists, and a wider variety, than I ever did before. The scene is ALIVE!!!
Lamitschka: As an artist, you do so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Answer: Sleeping is my favorite activity, after a big chocolate milkshake. But as an artist, it all goes together. I love writing and recording. I try to make time everyday to do both. I guess the creative phase is my favorite. I try to get better everyday. And, being in isolation right now, I miss touring so much. I’m excited about touring this EP after the shutdown lifts. I also enjoy interviews because, much like my music, I feel like I have something to say not everyone has heard. So my favorite part? Sleeping and chocolate ice cream shake.
Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?
Answer: Wow, there are so many moments. The first time I played the Grand Ole Opry stands out. That was with Will Hoge on hisAnchorsrecord and they said my name from stage. So that’s a big one. Winning theJunofor my writing and recording on Crystal Shawanda’s third record was cool. I don’t really believe in art contests, but once you win one, it does feel nice. Once, a long time ago, I played with Vanilla Ice at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee and he sang “Ice Ice Baby” and “Family Tradition.” He was really nice. And I have to say, I’m very proud of this EP and the joy it brings people when I play it for them. No one has been able to sit still yet.
Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Answer: By making more music. I don’t really take a lot of time off, it’s a bit of a cycle. I make music, I get in the car and play music, I write while I travel, and I come home and make more music. But this year I have a lot of time off so my wife and I have been doing a lot of cooking and gardening and planning for trips. My wife and I love to travel, and when I tour with other acts, it’s a good way to get reacquainted with each other.
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?
Answer: I want to play the sunset strip in Los Angeles. Also France. I’ve toured through when playing in Europe, but never actually played there and it’s a dream of mine to hang out in Paris. Japan would be awesome too as I have so many cool bootleg T-shirts from there.
Lamitschka: When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
Answer: You don’t, but sometimes you just have to make time. I’ve seen bits of New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Las Vegas. You just have a couple hours to go do something be it gambling, eating, or seeing some sights. When I’m touring alone, I can do whatever I want, but when I’m touring with Will Hoge, we tend to have dinner or lunch and follow it with a long walk right through the heart of whatever city we’re in. And knowing me that probably involves buying a souvenir and some kind of desert because I have a huge sweet tooth and am not ashamed of it at all.
Lamitschka: Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
Answer: I do have a website. It can be found atwww.christophergriffithsmusic.comThere will be news and pictures, a store, and most importantly you can stream some of my music there. So please don’t be a stranger!!