I took piano lessons when I was really young, like five years old, and I didn't really enjoy that very much. It was kind of too strict. So when I was probably 11 or 12, I started playing guitar and just kind of taught myself.
Any musician - I would say 99% of musicians - needs some help along the way. Most people, even if they're self-produced, have someone else mix it, or they'll have someone else master the record. Inevitably, it's like somebody else's personality being put into your art.
My parents live out in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of this peach orchard. It's actually Peach County, one of the largest peach-growing counties in Georgia. It's very rural, and there is nothing much going on, so I guess that's had a big influence on everything as far as just not having much to do.
The music is at this weird intersection of dance music and indie music. It's not quite dancey enough to do a full-blown DJ set, and it wasn't quite rock enough for a rock band. But I guess it's what makes us unique - drawing from a lot of different influences.
I definitely enjoy the kind of magic that happens being on stage with a group when everything's working. The vibe when that's happening gets even better if the audience is involved and you can feel that interaction. That's something you don't get with your headphones on in a studio; it's much different.
I definitely enjoy my time by myself - and that's kind of the weird thing about touring; you're kind of constantly surrounded by people - but I actually do enjoy going out and doing things and being around people.
When you work this intensely on something, the recording process becomes a bit like cabin fever. I shut everything out and, for a while, I totally lost perspective. To an outsider, I imagine the whole recording process sounds like torture.
A lot of the early Washed Out material was done on a couple of synthesizers that did most of the work, but that's the great thing about synths - you can recreate sounds or make an entire record with just one piece of gear.
The thing that's good about music-making software like the DAW-kinda systems is that they're all generally the same; the kind of interface is normally laid out in a similar way. Depending on the program, the sounds might be quite different, but they tend to all have a drum machine or synthesizer or a sampler.
For some, being involved in a scene is a great thing because the social element can drive creativity. For me, though, it's never really been like that. It's the opposite. I've always had this instinct to escape.
Texture is very important. Just the feel of everything. It's not always about recording everything in pristine quality and having everything mixed where it's absolutely perfect. It's more about a vibe.
I try to be as optimistic as I can. I feel like that's the beautiful thing about art and music. It can take you places, and they can be a positive influence. A very soothing influence. Honestly, I feel like there's enough pain and terrible things that happen in life. That's beautiful thing in art, you can really idealize things.
When I first started writing songs, I never intended on singing. I didn't really consider myself a singer at all. I was just kind of recording the demo vocals as a holding place until someone else came and sang.
Where I grew up in the middle of Georgia, hip-hop is king, and on Friday and Saturday nights, local DJs do mixes. It's a great mix of local stuff and then some of the bigger hits and remixes of the hits, and it just has this nice flow with a dirty-South sound to everything.