Mixing his methods in such notable bands as Caddywhompus, Riff Tiffs and various other bands, Chris also has a striving solo career. Having Written, recorded and released 6 full length albums and three short running EPs. (from late 2007-February 2010) experimenting and developing his overall sound and style from each assertion, January of this year saw the release of his 7th solo effort entitled “Worries Etc”. Oh yeah and Chris is still in school. Impressive right? Circuit sweet was lucky enough to speak to Chris in his own blog feature regarding his drive, collaborations, gear and future plans…
- How have you got to where you are musically right now? Can you tell us what made you pick an instrument up and what has led you to becoming a musician?
- As mentioned you are also active in a few other outfits, what made you decide you wanted to release some solo tracks away from a full band?
During high school, I saw A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Crash, three movies which proved to me the emotional power of ambient music, and began making some of my own, recording my first group of works in that vein in 2007 (Four Drops/ Pieces of Rain). After that, I became obsessed, and filled my parents’ hard drive with droney soundscapes from artists like Fennesz, Brian Eno, Belong, Marcel Turkowsky, William Basinski, Harold Budd, Eluvium, Grouper and many others. Once I got to college, my friend Sean Hart (also played drums for Riff Tiffs) and I started a noisy guitar and drum duo in New Orleans called Caddywhompus.
I’ve continued to make solo music since then. I write and record all the time, and some of my music doesn’t always seem fitting to perform with a group. My solo music has become a sort of personal therapeutic release of emotions and energy.
- Following your releases do you feel you have a renowned Chris Rehm “sound”?
- How would you describe your sound in 5 words?
- Where do your ideas orginate from, what is it that inspires you and your work?
- How has your writing process changed throughout each release?
Today (and this is the case for the last three years or so), I write and record my solo music at the same time, thinking of the song as the whole of it’s parts, instead of just acoustic guitar and vocals. Not that the latter is frowned upon by me (I actually have a primarily acoustic/vocals album), but recently I feel I often need additional instruments/vocals/effects/etc for emphasis and definition. I have my recording set-up in my bedroom (my computer, a condenser microphone, a Yamaha mixer, some monitors, and instruments everywhere) and I’ll be in there for hours at a time constructing, destroying, and creating sounds by myself. Between Salivary Stones and Worries, etc. little has changed except for the recording software I used. I paid a lot more attention to detail in Worries and tried to make it a little more cohesive, but the writing process is fairly similar.
- During your solo work do you ever become conscious of the music you’re creating or have you a set direction you plan to go?
Worries, etc. is about slowly losing touch with my best friends in high school due to distance. I dwell on how we’ve all changed so much because of the new groups of people we’re surrounded by every day and how these changes rear their heads when we get the opportunity to see each other. It’s also about my own anxiety surrounding a labyrinthine disintegrating romantic relationship. The album fairly accurately sums up my internal, isolated reactions to these events.
- Did you have a similar working/recording approach for this album as the rest?
- What aspects of performing live do you prefer both solo and when accompanied by others?
- What is that one piece of gear that’s changed your life?
I guess my life-changing piece of gear has to be that ProTracks software I got in 8th grade. It actually came as icing on the cake of sorts with a multi-effects guitar pedal I got for Christmas from my parents after I expressed interest in a “guitar pedal”. I had no idea what I wanted and I ended up rarely using the pedal itself, but the software was used extensively. ProTracks, as elementary as it was, was the tool that allowed me to follow my curiosity/passion to discover the science and technical aspects behind the music I loved. I began thinking of recordings in different, more analytical ways and ever since then, I’ve had a greater appreciation for music, musicians, and sound in general. I now record my own music, both solo and with a group, as well as that of other bands.
- Any plans to come to the UK?
As of right now, neither Caddywhompus nor myself have any specific plans to come to the UK, but we definitely want to come within the next two or three years… I’m still in school here in New Orleans. Darn. I have friends who have toured there and they say it’s nothing like touring the states.
- You are invoved with Chinquapin Records, how did this come about and how has it helped you?
Chinquapin Records is actually a group of musicians and enthusiastic entrepreneurs, including myself, here in New Orleans. The idea behind it is on hoping that our group of friends who are all actively making music and touring (many of whom are studying Music Business at school) could fulfill all or many of the roles necessary for an artist or group to be successful (whatever “success” is to each). The group is still in it’s infancy, but the hope is that we all focus our efforts on a project at hand and in turn double or triple the amount of people involved in all the nuts and bolts of sharing music with those who might be interested. The desire to get rid of our dependence on BandCamp and many other social media music sites motivates us to do this as well.
- With your work in Caddywhompus your about to play an ep release gig on the infamous Tera Melos/Marnie Stern tour, how did this come about and do you see yourself as an icon yet considering your gigging with other symbolizing musicians?
As far as the Tera Melos/Marnie Stern show, that was offered to us by a friend working at the House of Blues and we (of course) accepted. We’ve been lucky enough to play with Tera Melos a few times in the past, so it seems fitting for us to be on this show.
These bands are huge idols of ours and we’re honored to share the stage with them and other great bands throughout my life as a gigging musician. I don’t know if it’s quite soon enough to consider myself or my band as icons because of this or other shows, but some people definitely flip their shit when they hear we’re playing with their favorite band.
When we tour as Caddywhompus, sometimes we are auxiliary to shows and sometimes we are the exciting group that everyone’s there to see. It’s all relative to the part of the country and the people we’ve managed to touch and how evangelical they are. The people who hear us, freak out, show us to their friends, and make them all come to the show that we play in their hometown are our lifeblood and we’re blessed to have these people who are as excited about our music as we. I guess, to answer your question, we are situational icons, depending on where we are. But as of right now, those places are still few in number and we know we haven’t reached anywhere near as many people as there are out there that might be down with our music. I’m going to stay productive.
- You’re active all the time and you’ve had some extensive live dates with Caddywhompus, how do you find that right balance between your solo work and your work within a band?
My solo music is created during my free time away from Caddywhompus and touring. It’s the time I spend by myself and I feel this time for introspection and recording is very important to me, so I make sure I do it frequently. A good amount of my friends here are currently very into drone/ambient music, so being surrounded by them and their creativity inspires me to make time for these solo recording sessions.
- You made the decision to distribute online for free, we are currently living in an environment that thrive from free music which can be beneficial to some artists but excruciating for those needing support. Is this a permanent decision on your behalf or given a physical release would you change your mind?
It’s terribly easy to get any and all music you want for free online. I have no big internet police team to protect my media, and I don’t feel one is necessary, so I have my music available for free online. I also give listeners the option to donate for my music if they like, and many people have opted to do so. It seems that people who really care and are listening closely to what I do actually want to help facilitate my creativity, either by donating or spreading the word about my music to friends who might be interested.
That being said, I have put out physical releases before for sale (Salivary Stones was a limited run cassette, and all of Riff Tiffs/Caddywhompus releases were physically pressed vinyl and/or cds) and generally, these albums are also available for free online. At least at the time being, I simply want people to listen and experience my music and leave the option up to them whether or not they feel it’s worth a monetary exchange. I don’t want there to be any barriers between listeners and my music.
- All featured artists are asked this- What album or track has been stuck on your turntable, ipod, cd player for a while now?
As of right now, I can’t stop listening to Camille Saint-Saens’s “Le Cygne” (“The Swan”) from his Le Carnaval des Animaux (The Carnival of Animals). I was first exposed to this song by Clara Rockmore’s recording of it on her Art of the Theremin. Haunting and beautiful (as if those two words aren’t used enough together).
- Finally What does the future hold that we can all look forward to?
As previously posted we featured Chris’ Worries etc on the day of its release, you can find that again streaming below and available for you to download now. Access the bandcamp page to indulge in previous rad Rehm releases. No doubt the forthcoming release will also be featured but for now keep tracks on Chris’ ingenuity HERE. The whole point of these features is so that more people can be introduced to new talent, Chris is talented and is music is here for you to share.
Support the work involved with Chinquapin records- http://chinquapinrecords.com/