How Did You Get Into Music?
I’ve always loved listening to music and I am fascinated with the stories it can tell and the emotions it can convey, even without words. One of the first genres of music that I really got into was actually video game soundtracks. Many modern video game soundtracks are very cinematic and at least as good as movie soundtracks in my opinion. This style of music seems especially good at giving emotions a musical texture and telling stories without words. Eventually I branched out to other musical genres, and I learned how to discover new music besides the overplayed songs on the radio. Music became a true passion for me. Then at some point I started craving my own creative outlet. I realized that music was a way that I could express my own thoughts and emotions in a poetic and thoughtful way, and that’s when my musical journey really began. I sat in my room and practiced singing the same songs over and over—trying to extend my vocal range—and I began to fill notebooks with my lyrics. I had no talent for playing instruments, but luckily my cousin comes from a very musical family and can pretty much play anything, so we started writing songs together. We started our first band and the rest is history!
What Made You Decide To Write Christmas Songs?
It was somewhat of a spontaneous decision to be honest! Our lead instrumentalist listened to Sia’s Christmas album and it sparked his interest to do some Christmas songs as well. He told us his ideas for a song about mistletoe. The basic premise was a song about the humorous misadventures of someone trying (and repeatedly failing) to find themselves under the mistletoe with their love interest, and their resulting reservations about the entire tradition—but they would have a change of heart after it finally worked out as they had always hoped. I had never really considered writing a Christmas song, but it sounded like an entertaining concept for an original Christmas song, and I just decided “Why not? It could be fun.” So I started writing some lyrics and I was pleasantly surprised with how the song just came together. I’m a fan of classic Christmas music, but I especially love when artists try to create something fresh and original for Christmas, so it was an incredibly fun challenge for me to try as well. After I had a taste of writing my own original Christmas music, the ideas just started to flow. I immediately started writing our second original song Light It Up, which we also released last year. It really was a lot of fun and we are quite happy with how the songs turned out. We even have enough ideas for a couple more Christmas songs that we hope to finish and release in the future!
Does ‘Light It Up’ Have A Story Behind The Song?
I have a lot of special holiday memories of Christmas lights, and one of the most important moments of my life was when I proposed to my wife during the holidays. Christmas lights will always remind me of this moment. It has become a tradition for my wife and I to visit big Christmas light displays every year, and it always brings me genuine joy. I wanted to write a song that expressed the excitement, joy, and nostalgia I feel every year when I see the Christmas lights start to appear.
Did You Find That The Writing Process Was Different From A Non Holiday Themed Song?
For me personally, the writing process wasn’t too different. I often start with lyrics, and the rhythm of the words helps me come up with a melody. Once I have a foundational melody, the challenge is to write the rest of the lyrics to fit it. I usually send a recording of the melody to our lead instrumentalist and he magically transforms it into an actual song! It’s a creative process that seems to work well for us, and our work on these holiday themed songs pretty much followed the same pattern. Perhaps the main difference with the process for us was that there was more of a focus on cheerfulness, positivity, and fun. Our lead instrumentalist says that the process of making the music wasn’t too different for him either, he just needed to add in some bells to give it that holiday sound and that was the only change in the process he needed!
Were You Taking Influence From Any Bands Or Songs In Particular?
As a singer/songwriter, I’m sure that I am subconsciously influenced by many different bands and songs without even realizing it. I didn’t really have a specific song or artist in mind when I was writing the lyrics for these Christmas songs, but as I think about the finished songs I think I can identify a few influences. Some of my musical ideas probably came from the songs Do You Love Me by Guster and Christmastime Again by MercyMe. Both songs feel upbeat, lighthearted, and nostalgic to me and I wanted our songs to carry the same feelings. Christmastime Again is currently one of my favorite original Christmas songs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a strong influence on my holiday music. Our lead instrumentalist’s answer is that Sia’s Christmas album sparked his interest in writing Christmas songs in the first place. He was inspired by the creativity and fun of the album and wanted to do those same things with our own style. He says that the music for Light It Up was probably influenced by the song Life of the Party by Boys Like Girls, and he guesses that the style of Under The Mistletoe was possibly influenced by the music of the band Colors.
You Have Several Songs Up For Streaming, Do You Have A Favorite?
I think my personal favorite is Light It Up. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and it just makes me want to get up and dance. Both of our holiday songs have become extra special to me though because my kids really latched on to them for some reason, and even my two year old can sing a lot of the words now. She practically has Under The Mistletoe memorized and will randomly break out singing it. It’s adorable. My favorite non-holiday themed song is Something Real. It’s a song about how eventually everyone wants to have real and meaningful relationships, connections, and experiences; not just the superficial friendships and curated digital lives you often see on social media. This song is my reminder to put down my device every once in a while and make time for the people that matter most.
Are you currently working on any new music?
Yes! I’ve got more lyrics and recordings of musical ideas than I have the time or money to finish… haha. But we are definitely hoping to release a couple of new songs this year!