In school I was painfully shy. But as soon as I had to get up in front of the class and give a book report, it was alarming - I'd suddenly be very articulate.
I've always been fascinated and stared at maps for hours as a kid. I've especially been most intrigued by the uninhabited or lonelier places on the planet. Like Greenland, for instance, or just recently flying over Alaska and a chain of icy, mountainous islands, uninhabited.
Usually bands with violins - it's this little, poorly amplified looking kind of futile on stage, and that's not the way that my music is put together.
I guess I'm attracted to more archaic words because they can be imbued with more meaning, because their definition is elusive.
There is something comforting about going into a practice room, putting your sheet music on a stand and playing Bach over and over again.
Honestly, I didn't have the patience for biology or history in an academic sense, but I always liked the kind of big questions.
Music as a social conduit has always been important to me.
I spend a lot of time working by myself developing songs, but I really need some other counterpart to help me pull it all together, because you go nuts working if I had to finish an entire project all within my own head.
No, it's not dissatisfaction that inspires me to tinker with my songs, it's just restlessness.
I am, in some sense, a writer. Even though I kinda downplay the word thing, I do enjoy writing sometimes.
A day off after a show with no agenda in a foreign city is about the most fertile creative situation I can imagine. Just walking with nothing to do, killing time and hearing the sights and sounds of an unfamiliar place.
There was a fascinating handmade poster scene in Chicago in the '90s, and I became friends with many of the artists; the posters were often more impressive than the bands.
A good espresso to me is a little bit salty; you just become used to a good taste. Anytime I go into a new place and they don't clean their machine properly or the water temperature isn't right, it tastes awful.
Melodies are just honest. They can only be what they are. Words have the capacity for deception. They're all full of subtext, and some of them are cliche and overused and vernacular. They're tricky. All I can say is, words are tricky.
All the folks I play with come from jazz backgrounds or at least appreciate spontaneity within the parameters of a pop song.
Since I first picked up the violin, I've been very interested in tone and texture: I would have very visceral reactions to the texture of a snare drum or a pedal steel guitar or a violin.
The problem is, when you're working with orchestras, you only get the orchestra for about two hours before the performance to pull it all together, and that doesn't sound like a real collaboration.
I think when I was pretty young I got really into the tone of my instrument and I remember just playing one note for an hour to just kind of feel the resonance of the violin.
The way I work, I'm not a confessional singer-songwriter.
I don't want technology to take me so far that I don't have to use my brain anymore. It's like GPS taking over and losing your internal compass. It's always got to be tactile, still organic.