Hi Gavin, how are you?
I’m dynamite, how are you?
I’m good; I’ve been dying to talk with you.
Me too, I’ve been waiting to talk to you all day.
I’m a designer and a writer… but, like anyone else… I can get really bad creative blocks. It’s funny because I always find I get ideas and do my best work when I’m listening to YOUR music. I’ll just turn the “Chariot” album on, and now your new record and I work so much better. Is there something that does that for you? When you sit down to write a new song and come to a road block is there something that makes your creative juices flow?
Uh, good question. I don’t really have a typical go to. Sometimes I’ll put different artist in, Bob Dylan, The Stones or Aretha Franklin or something… Sam Cook. It kinds of helps, but typically what helps me is, I take long walks [laughs]. I’ll just walk and walk you know, ’til the heals wear off my shoes.
Well it must be doing something, because your albums are just phenomenal.
Thank you so much.
“Untamed” is definitely a favorite of mine. I wanted to know more about that song and the inspiration behind it.
[laughs] Well you know I don’t necessarily feel like people change. Some people say how people change and I think people don’t change. So if you find yourself in a situation or someone’s expecting you to change or wanting to get a change. Many times people aren’t willing to change; you know if nothing people are more habitual than nothing else, because that’s our comfort zone, the things we don’t have to change. [laughs] Sometimes things you like about yourself, they’re things you do on a regular basis but that might become annoying to someone who you’re dating. They might ask you to change those thing and those might be things you find most comfortable.
Your sophomore album was such an anticipated release. You waited a few years after your first record, “Chariot” to release your new album. Was that a decision of yours from the get go, to have a long break?
No, it really wasn’t. I mean in some sense I knew I had to go away for a little while, I wasn’t sure how long. I wanted it out about six months before I put it out, but then the recording process got a little tricky. Because I kind of made the album, almost had it finished and then I went to a different producer and started the record over. So you know I had really planned on releasing the album a good six months earlier than it was released.
Everyday musicians fight with their label to have more input, more involvement with their records. Your album is your sound, your thoughts… it has your creative input. From the start were you very forward with doing your album your way?
Yea, I was a little bit pushy about it. Definitely yeah. Because if you don’t let people know what it is that you want, they’ll tell you what you want. But I think that applies to life in general. It’s like going to a restaurant and they’re like ‘well okay it comes with pickles’ and well ‘I don’t want fucking pickles’. [laughs] You know everybody hates pickles. I think if you really let them know what you want then you’ll get the respect and more of what you want.
That is a great way to put it, I never thought of it that way.
Right? This is the formula and this is how we serve it, this is how we serve this meal.
You just have to change that and get what you want right?
Well you want to get as much as you can. The way that you want it, because it’s important that…. You want to have a good relationship with the people you’re working with, but you also want them to know that what you’re doing is not exactly that same as everything else that they’re trying to push as well. I think that will help you have your own different type of relationship, I think they’ll be a little more respectful.
Speaking of wanting things…. “I Don’t Want to Be” was more than just a theme song for “One Tree Hill”. The lyrics describe the show and the characters so well, but more than that… fans of the show connect to it in such a strong way. What place were you in when you wrote it? What does it mean to you?
Uh, well I had been noticing the trend in American Pop Culture, a lot of kids from the suburbs driving around and walking around like they thought they were in a gang from Los Angeles. I thought that their identity crisis was actually very funny and I was laughing at them with people like my brother and friends of mine. I thought to myself ‘Wow this is what America has become? A bunch of kids with identity crisis?’. So you know I wrote a song based on not having an identity crisis. What’s so wrong with waving the flag of your father and your mother?
I doubt you ever thought it would be used for a popular television series.
No, never crossed my mind.
How do you feel about the song always being known as the theme song to One Tree Hill?
[laughs] I think it’s cute. But you know, you can’t necessarily question what people love something for, just be happy that they love it. If they want to affiliate it with a TV show then they can.
You’ve had so much involvement with the OTH over the years and have appeared twice on the show.
Yeah, been on there a couple of times, and the people who created the show have been really good to me, the cast as well. It’s been really a nice little group of people.
Would you be open to appearing on it again?
Yeah, why not.
Fans have been strongly disappointed that the song hasn’t been opening episodes since the start of the 5th season in January, but you actually made an appearance for the season finale in May singing an acoustic version with Jackson Brundage. How did that come about to have Jackson be apart of it?
I don’t know, it was more proposed to me and I agreed to it. I mean the kid was adorable and he was a lot of fun.
I think it was one of the most talked about cameos on the show to date! It really set the finale off.
Aww, that’s so nice.
When Mark Schwahn was asked about having the song return this season, he mentioned that it might be done in a different way for the special episode Chad Michael Murray wrote. Will you be the one altering it for the episode?
I have no idea.
I know your album inspires people, because it inspires me and my sister. You know, as I mentioned before… it’s like my own personal muse. I want to know who or what inspires you? Do you have a musical inspiration that has made you strive to be the best you can be at your art?
I was always a very big Billy Joel fan, Elton John, Beatles, Allman Brothers, Sam Cook, Ray Charles, Hank Williams, George Jones … gosh just a lot of different artists. Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, there’s really a lot of really good ones. So they all hit me for different reasons.
You’re currently on tour! Do you ever do any of their song covers?
Yeah, I mix it up here and there. Once in awhile I’ll bust something out.
How has the tour been going by the way?
The tour has been going really well. Right now we’re in Portland, Oregon, actually kind of cool weather here it’s a little bit overcast but not cold just kind of comfortable.
Do you ever get to check out the cities you’re in a little bit?
Yeah, yeah definitely. I pretty much make that a point to do that. Pretty much everywhere I go, we’re in a new town almost every day and I really make it a point to be a tourist. [laughs]
You just dropped your new single, “Cheated on Me”. Is that song based on an actual experience in your life?
Yeah, it’s based upon my jealous thoughts.
I just saw the video today, which was really good.
Thank you very much. I wrote that video, so I’m happy that you liked it. You know, I got to be creative on it and I think it really helped the song.
In the spirit of Halloween, since it is October. What was your most memorable Halloween costume?
My most memorable Halloween costume? Probably not very creative, I dressed up as a ninja and then got caught by the guy whose car, one of my buddies hit with a rock … that was an egg Sir. It was an egg and I was like ‘yeah’. Not so stealthy Mister there are you. [laughs]
Well, I just wanted to say it was a pleasure talking to you and we’re looking forward to seeing your show this December. Good luck with your show tonight.
Thank you very much. Have a great day.
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photos: Eric Ogden, courtesy of J Records