Christopher Owens: Interview
Interviewer Corey Bowen is a young art pop songwriter from Middlesbrough who toured with Christopher Owens in 2014, after the pair connected on Twitter. Corey catches up with Christopher three years later to talk about the former Girls man's new band, their joint love of The Everly Brothers and extraordinary lives.
Q. Hello Christopher. You recently announced on Twitter the formation of a band named Curls with Cody Rhodes and Luke Baće. How did the project come about? And when might we hear some music?
CO: Hello Corey! Pleasure to connect with you again. I guess I'd call it a happy accident, sort of like Girls was. When I moved to San Francisco from a small town in Texas it was to enjoy and be part of a culture I wanted and needed, but didn't have in Texas. At the time I was a painter, I was a diligent and talented painter, but I wanted to express myself, and find my own unique voice... this never really happened for me. As I was trying to meet people and going to concerts and exploring the city, I was quite depressed to feel that I didn't like any of the music I was going to see. It was a disappointment, because I had thought everything would be much better than it was. Music has always been very important to me but just as a fan, I never thought of playing myself.
But good things come to those who wait. After about six months I finally heard something that turned me on, it was a band from LA called Holy Shit, the only band out of hundreds that spoke to me. A few weeks later Holy Shit came to San Francisco for a gig and I went, they never played... the show was cancelled for some reason. So we went to a house party and Matt Fishbeck showed up. I told him that his music spoke to me and that I thought it was radical, this led to us talking and hanging out for two days without sleep. By the time Matt was leaving for LA I had joined the band and made a new friend. It was through Matt that I tried and discovered that I could write music... and quite naturally—unlike my attempts to paint. When I played Matt my songs he said "you should start a band, it should be called Curls." I loved the name, but through a series of coincidences this ended up being Girls. After leaving Girls and recording three solo albums, I tried to work with Jr. again and record new Girls music, but this didn't work out. So I thought, well I'll record solo again ... in the process of making these recordings I sought out a local drummer and bass player. Luckily, the first two guys I auditioned were incredible musicians. By the time this recording was finished I asked them if they'd like to work together as a band... they said yes ... this was my chance to start the band I had initially wanted to start. Curls.
Q. Does it feel like a reinvention? Or are you picking up where you left off with Chrissybaby Forever? Or neither?
CO: It's none of those things, just people working as a team to record my songs, instead of doing that alone, or, as was the case with Girls; with a revolving cast of non-committed hired friends. This is something new for me, and something I've always wanted.
Q. What is your favourite song of your own?
CO: The last song on the record that will come out next.
Q. What song do you wish you had wrote?
CO: Love Me Tender.
Q. I know we share a fondness for The Everly Brothers. What are your top five tunes by them?
CO: Dream, Let It Be Me, Love Hurts, Bye Bye Love, When Will I Be Loved. I think the Everly Brothers invented pop music, by simply blending country and Rhythm and Blues. Ask any essential pop musician, from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones and they will tell you that they are who they wanted to be.
Q. You have a rather unique life story - do you personally take more interest in other artists who have had extraordinary lives?
CO: Sure, but that's subjective, I find what many people may find ordinary to be extraordinary. I'm mostly turned on to genuine and committed people who give their lives over to their calling.
Q. Are there any new artists that you’ve been listening to recently?
CO: Not really. Nothing so radical as Holy Shit was.
Q. You’ve been spending a lot of time with beads - could you tell us a little bit about that?
CO: It's something fun and creative that I like to do and simply noticed others could dig. I live on Ashbury street in the Haight, it's a part of our culture and fashion that went missing. I didn't like that. Anyone can afford beads, and they can be traded to build sentimental value. Sort of like a savings account that is truly for "the people".
Q. What film or TV show have you enjoyed recently? Do you find that film or television influences the way you write?
CO: Oh god, yes, and I'm a big fan, but I can't go there right now... I could write a book about that. Lol. I don't care too much to talk about it in relation to my work, because I think people should find what turns them on. But yes, all dreams are inspiring.
CO: I wish you all the good fortune in the world Corey, you're voice is beautiful. I dig it!
Corey Bowen is a songwriter from Middlesbrough, he will release an EP in May.
Watch the video for Corey's single 'Back to '95' below.