Artist: Chris Shiflett
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
Latest album: Hard Lessons
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Shifty, Jake Jackson, Boat Plastic
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?
I remember a few years back I realized that I only ever read books on current events, history, politics, etc… and wasn’t reading much fiction, so I dove into some classics and took a couple creative writing classes. You have to put good ingredients into your brain to get the ideas flowing.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
It was the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I went to visit a friend of mine down in Los Angeles and it was right when the glam rock thing was kicking off in the mid-’80s. We walked all over Melrose and everyone looked like Hanoi Rocks. I was hooked.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
If a song is too hard to write than I usually give up. When they’re too labored they never sound very good.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I try to surf as much as I can. Sadly, it’s never enough. I don’t know if there’s a direct correlation to song writing but surfing just makes me happy. Puts me in a good frame of mind.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
Almost never! I’ve tried writing songs in character but they never seem to come out very good. I think sometimes we all use “you” when we mean “we” but that’s just life, right?
Photo credit: Brantley Gutierrez