Recently I had the opportunity to interview Greg Connors about his new single “Future Nostalgia.” As I was listening, I was so drawn into the track, which prompted further listening to Connors’ vast cannon of eclectic material. I found his songs speak to me in a familiar voice, both vulnerable and comfortable. His melodic, yet ‘cut the crap’, self-styled phrasing dances with a deliberately off-kilter, sweetly angular guitar motion.
Listen to the single while reading the text.
What was the inspiration for “Future Nostalgia”? It’s such a cool idea, did it come from a personal experience?
I was on an international call with a friend and he mentioned the term “Future Nostalgia”. It’s about being in the present moment and feeling the awareness and wherewithal to persevere. It’s a way around a certain new-age bovine mentality that tells us “just think positive” and “turn your frown upside-down” or “manifest harder!” It’s a shame free way to acknowledge the present in all it’s beautiful grinds, amazing and mundane complexities. It’s the bigger picture. The “full circle” stuff. Things not being what they seem also.
I collaborated with videographer, George Pereira, on the video. We worked together quite easily. He’s very talented and his well runs deep with great “off the cuff” ideas. He has a disarming confidence and intuition and a keen eye.
What is your work process like? How long does it take you to create a single like this?
I wrote the music and the words in about an hour. I immediately had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to sound like, and who I wanted to have involved.
I recorded at the New York Vocal Studio with Mark Smith. It was basically two one and a half hour recording sessions. I just sang and played it acoustic in real time. I added some electric stuff with Marc’s old Gibson hollow body. Marc and I both played organs. Second session Amy Gandolfi sang background vocals and the claps and percussive things occurred. John Leon of The Royal Arctic Institute added some guitar remotely. I would say the whole tracking experience was probably about five hours.
Have you always know that music was your path? How old were you when you started? And what was your “Ah-ha! Moment”?
I don’t think I always knew. There’s been a few “ah-ha’s” I suppose. As time goes on they have called for recalibrating, but when I was about 20 years old I played with the NYU Independent Music Festival at cbgb’s omfug. They said it was a slow night but they handed me thirty bucks. I guess it pleasantly surprised me that I could make some money doing this.
Another time there was a place called ‘Mud Shack’ in Atlanta, Georgia and there were all these older, wiser guys, these wonderful poets, William S.Burroughs-and-James-Baldwin-types. They were very encouraging to what I was doing. I remember they said this is a poetry reading but you can play your guitar too. There were some other great musical things, but being from New York they seemed leary of me. People applauded and I felt so all sorts of accolades and approval for doing what exactly it is that I do.
So “career” is a funny thing… But as far as recognizing that I can’t not do this, it was somewhere in my early 20’s.
Who are your musical inspirations? How has that changed over the years? Do you find yourself going back to the same sources?
At a very early age, I always liked hearing Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Something about their voices and their phrasing and the words that they sang. They also brilliantly marketed the idea of not giving a shit what anyone else thinks.
The Cure and Pixies hit me in adolescence and spoke to a certain penchant I have for the absurd and vulnerability.
There is something about the way the Elmore James recordings sound. Whether it was in a bar or studio, something about the ragged and sturdy tones. The feel of those is ghostly and inspirational, he sang and played like that was all that was happening in the world at that moment. I find I can get a wealth of information from it still, years later since I first heard it.
What is on your horizon? Can we expect to hear new things from Greg Connors this year?
On December 23rd 2018 I released an EP called, “Holiday Cards on the Table.” It’s a Lo-Fi seasonal album. Nothing has ever been done like this that I know of. I recorded it on a digital 4-track in my room. It’s very personal and peculiar.
I think it would be quite prudent to expect more video and songs from me! I have been thinking of new material. I enjoyed working with this 4-track, barely beyond the learning curve. The benefit of that was really losing myself in it at any given available moment. It does have its limitations…and some hiss, but that could just be being on Main Street.
I’m putting some songs together for an album tentatively titled “Greg Connors Presents Craig Gonners”. There are some talented friends I’d like to hit up for some collaboration. Frankly, I really think today’s music could use more of me.
I still sort of have to pay for “Future Nostalgia”…..so to speak.
Apparently I’m not impervious to the cold…