(Photographer: Gabriella Kashani)
1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Where to begin? I've been influenced by so much great music and so many life changing moments/experiences over the years... My father was a huge influence; he's also a singer/guitarist and I remember watching him play in his band when I was a kid, probably around 6 or 7 years old, and thinking, "I want to do that too.” Nirvana also had a profound impact on me; a friend of mine in 6th grade gave me “MTV Unplugged in New York” for my 12th birthday. I remember learning every song on that album by ear in about 2 hours... changed my life. Nowadays, I'm really into jazz and classical, I get bored easily so it's nice to listen to music that’s so different from what I write... helps keep things fresh, when I’m coming up with new material. It's like wiping the slate clean and creating from a very pure place. I could go on for weeks and weeks and months and months and years about what influences and inspires me, but who has that kind of attention span anymore? Lets save a little for the next one.
2. Windy City Gentleman - this is an interesting moniker, especially for someone working out of Los Angeles. How did the name and band come about?
I AM Windy City Gentleman... after my last band’s breakup I decided it was time to go it alone. That way I would never have to deal with egos and drama that come along with being in a band. I just feel that a band is such a sensitive machine; I really didn't want to gamble another 5 years of my life on something that could be undone in the blink of an eye with a meaningless difference in opinion.
The name came about when I came across a book written about an infamous ancestor of mine, Herman Webster Mudgett. The book was titled "Gentleman from a Windy City," liked the sound of it, and well, the meaning behind it is even more chilling... I share blood with America's first serial killer...
3. How did you end up working with Brian West?
I don't know; it's all a blur!! Haha… no, actually used to hang at Track & Field Studios [Hollywood, CA USA] when I was just this punk 20-year-old kid. I was working on some tracks with this guy named Joe (Joseph Lobato) at the time, and he was asked to engineer Nelly's [Furtado] second album "Folklore.” So when he was working on the session, Joe would call me up and say, “Hey man come though, you should get in good with these guys.” So I just started coming around, so much to the point that everyone was completely comfortable with me being there while they where recording… saw some really cool stuff, and learned a lot from those days. But it wasn't until a few years later, after my band had split, that Brian and I met up and began discussing working together on this project. He saw potential in the new songs I was writing and felt it was time to take things to the next level.
4. "Good Old Friend" is really a standout track... What range of music can people expect to listen to on "China White"?
Haha, it's funny to hear that now... that song almost never was. That was one of the first tracks I brought to the table when meeting with Brian, he kind of dismissed it, reason being that it sounded too much like the stuff I had been writing in my previous band, and he was set on doing something new and different with me... Joe (whom I mentioned in the previous answer) and I swayed Brian to give us the keys to his studio for a weekend that he would be out-of-town and from that session we got "Good Old Friend" and "Time Flies." “Good Old Friend” hasn't been touched since, and sounds amazing… ended up being one of Brian’s favorite recordings.
Because there is NO band, I feel that I had a lot more freedom to explore things I typically wouldn't have if there were one. As I mentioned earlier, I get bored easily, so I like to write and record music that is going to keep me interested… music that I would like to hear… and to do so it has to come from a very real and honest place. I'm not concerned with what others will make of my music or words, I figure if at the end of the day I’m happy with what I’ve created, then who cares? So the record will play from track to track like a schizophrenic psychopath. It has highs and lows, dirt and clean… screams and whispers.
5. The music industry has changed radically over the last few years with the broadband revolution, and so has the way musicians connect with their audience. How has the Internet been an advantage and disadvantage to you?
If it weren't for the Internet, Windy City Gentleman wouldn't exist. Seriously. Not now, anyway... I don't have an album out yet and I haven't performed in quite some time... I keep thinking I really am a figment of everyone’s imagination, I only exist in this cyber "avatar" world, but with tools like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, I’ve been able to build awareness for myself and my music and when my album does come out and those tours are booked, it's gonna make all the difference in the world. After all, isn't the net how YOU found me?
Keep up with Windy City Gentleman on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here is Windy City Gentleman’s video “Ethanol” from his MySpace Video page.
Windy City Gentleman - Ethanol
Windy City Gentleman | MySpace Music Videos