When did Christopher the Conquered form, and how did you meet your band?
I started the project completely on my own and performed that way for quite a while, from 2006-2008. Slowly started adding musicians to create the sounds I was looking for. Looking back, I realize I was just trying to solve the problem of connecting with people through musical performance. Having more musicians gives me more freedom. I don’t ever want to think about the piano, and I sure as hell don’t care about whether I play the intended thing or not, who am I to say what I intend?, as long as the people in the room are engaged and we are having a conversation about who we actually are and not just the faces we put on for the world. My band, on the other hand, they have to play everything right. I need to the bed to be made, freshly pressed sheets, plumped pillows. I met the band in that place where people find what they’re looking for.
Are you all native Iowans?
Most of us were either born or at least raised in Iowa, but what’s more important is that we think and live like Iowans.
What do you like about being an artist in Iowa?
There are so many meaningful opportunities. Places like Des Moines and Iowa City are cities with national and international reach, but the communities in those places are still very accessible for someone with drive. In Des Moines, it’s not too hard to find yourself having a beer and brainstorming with the people who are the “movers and shakers” of the city. Then you’ve got places like Ames and Fairfield, which are two examples of places that have such a powerful sense of community that it seems anything is possible there. I also think that is why those are the two most cutting edge, progressive towns in the state, when it comes to music.
So you must love the community that surrounds GDP. How long have you been playing the show?
I played in a pop-punk band in the very first GDP! It was great, I remember The Envy Corps slayed, The Lifestyle played, Slaughterhouse 6 made (they have a reunion show on March 31 at the Vaudeville, by the way!), Sword Of Exactly rocked. Christopher the Conquered played two years ago, that was fantastic, I had a great conversation with a fog machine, last year I played with the band The New Bodies, and this year, I’m back. I’ve been to at least one more that I didn’t play. The time when the dudes from Poison Control Center dangled from the chandelier. So perfect. That did happen, right? Or did I dream that? Anyway, I’m most excited for the fact that it is our goddamn album release show for Des Moines! I’ve put more passion and energy into this album than anything I’ve ever made in my entire life, and my band put way too much love into it, and it probably wasn’t worth it, but hopefully some people learn something about themselves!
New album, huh? What kind of music is on it?
American pop songs with soul. I incorporate a lot of jazz and blues elements. I try to make sure every part of every song sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before, but they’re still western pop songs. American is a better word for it, I think. I mix together my favorite western sounds from the 1930s to now and shake it around. Then I put what I think about on top.
Sounds groovy. We’ll be looking forward to the launch! Anything else we should know about Christopher the Conquered before GDP?
Know that my words are mine and you can’t take that away from me, no you can’t take that away from me, though you can change what they mean! Basically the song can go to hell, long live life, if it’s there, we will find it together. Anyone who isn’t looking can go sing a song or two for their granny!
Thanks Chris! Look for Christopher the Conquered at christophertheconquered.com, and stop by for the new album release April 14 at Hotel Fort Des Moines for GDP!