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TONKS Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

TONKS Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

1. Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
I am a fan of Neil Young and James Taylor.  Both are artists my dad played as I was growing up and I think I got a lot of my acoustic/ singer songwriter inspiration from them.  I come from a family of three kids and we were all put through violin lessons starting at age 4, and all played string instruments through high school.  I picked up a guitar pretty early on because my dad had played and taught some of the neighborhood kids.  

2. What do you think about today's music scene versus its past and where do you see it going in the future?
Music is more accessible than ever which is good.  I think everyone deserves the shot to make music if they have it in them.  Not everyone can afford lessons, or instruments, or studio time, but in 2018 you can buy a mic and record an album in your living room.  I can’t say for sure where it’s going to go in the future, but I hope musicians can continue to figure out how to make a living doing it.  Maybe not the rock stars that we imagine from the 60’s and 70’s but artists that can exist in the middle class by making music.

3. As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?
I think being on stage is my favorite part.  I love recording music and talking about music, but my favorite memories even as an audience member is hearing a crowed sing along to song lyrics.  Anytime I’ve been performing and got to hear an audience sing the lyrics back, there is no other feeling like that shared connection.  

4. What does it mean to have the support of your friends and family?
It is extremely important, and will make your experience a lot easier if you have it, but it’s not a necessity.  In most cases playing out, usually starts by convincing your friends to come out to your shows.  And a lot of time, they aren’t coming because they love your music, they are there because they want to support you.  If they ending up liking your stuff then that’s even better.  Your friends will be the first to share your music to potential fans.   

5. What inspired you to become a songwriter?
I think from early on when I started writing songs I knew that I wasn’t very good at playing covers.  I was a little self-conscious about my voice and felt like it only worked when I was playing my own songs.  When I would listen to music I always found myself adding parts that weren’t in the songs.  It also just became second nature to make up melodies and riffs, because it came easier than learning other people’s songs.    

6. What drives you?
At this point the big thing that drives me is the thought that I do this better than I do anything else.  I’ve played music my whole life; I’ve been on stage my whole life.  So I just tell myself that I have no excuses.  My hope is that if I just keep doing it forever then eventually it has to work out in some way.

7. What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
The booking aspect has definitely been the hardest part.  I think the most important thing musicians can do is be out on the road playing for people.  It’s easy enough to put music on the internet, but playing out regularly takes work and scheduling.  If you are willing and capable to be out on the road 8 months out of the year I think that’s the best way to start making a living.

8. Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?
I am definitely my biggest critic, which is why I spend hours a day writing and practicing.  If I was less critical I would probably only demo a song once and be content.  I have no trouble at all trashing songs I’ve written that aren’t good enough.  I may write two or three songs before landing on one that sticks, because I’m so critical of my own work.   
9. When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
I love running.  I ran track and cross country growing up, so that’s always something that keeps me feeling physically and mentally healthy.  I also enjoy hiking/camping.  Hopefully when I find more time in a few years I’ll be able to focus more time on completing some backpacking trips.

10. Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?
I wish I could go back to when I was growing up, and take piano lessons instead of violin lessons.  I have since taught myself enough piano to write in my own style, but I think if I was classically trained I could really improve my writing. 

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