TJ Stafford a sinister yet dark artist of sorts has released his newest and latest song in the form of a single called "Crazy", off his upcoming debut full-length album "All My Bad Habits Have Prepared Me For This". The Los Angeles, Californian is a song writer and performer, whose work can be heard in various bands over the years, hence why he has decided to step out on his own, doing his solo work which can be found right here, right now, discussed by TJ Stafford himself below.
1.Can you give me a brief summary as to why you wanted a career in music?
It's really the only thing I knew how to do. And by "knew how to do" I mean that I felt halfway competent at the music making portion, not necessarily the money making portion. That portion took awhile.
2. Why did you want to name this project after yourself TJ Stafford?
It's the first project I've been a part of that I controlled top to bottom. Also, the songs are the most intimate and revealing I've ever written. It's an extremely honest project, so creating a band name or pseudonym would have felt dishonest.
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
I think it's having always felt out of place in any one particular genre. There was always a feeling of claustrophobia having to cater to a particular sound or style so this project I allowed the songs and feelings behind the songs to dictate where the sound went, not the other way around. It may have lead to some slight schizophrenia in the end product, but, honestly, I feel a little schizo in my daily life at times, so the album feels true.
4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Heartbreak, internal psychological struggle, spiritual struggle, moral struggle. I guess you could say...ummm...struggle. I by that I mean the constant struggle between the opposing forces of any given area of life: light vs darkness, good vs bad, sane vs crazy, love vs hate. I tried to somehow live in the tension that the existences of those opposites create.
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Yeah, I do. I am rarely able to write about a particular situation if I'm in the middle of it. I've read that most artists write as as sort of cathartic relief in the middle of a situation, and I wish i could do that, but, for example, writing about heartbreak while I'm going through heartbreak feels like throwing gas on the fire to me. I need to check out and watch New Girl or something.
Anyway, once I've had time and space, I start with the music. I mess around on the piano or guitar and find something interesting that feels like it fits the mood, then I hum some melodies until I find something I like, then I start mumbling random sounds that fit said melody (and sound like an idiot while doing it), then I find words that fit those sounds within that melody. The first write doesn't involve a lot of self editing, and I've gotten to where I don't spend a ton of time nitpicking the song, mostly cause I'm busy, but also because I can over do it. I'll usually do one edit and come in as an assassin and chop anything that feels superfluous or masturbatory. Then I call it done and move on.
6. How do you describe your music to people?
I tell them it's "mostly good." Sometimes they chuckle and leave it at that, and which point I happily leave it be because I'm terrible at describing my music. If they push it, I tell them it's got hints of NIN, Black Keys, Zeppelin, The Kills, James Blake, Debbie Gibson,.... and then usually their eyes go a little blank and that kind of empty smile appears, the smile that we're all great at exhibiting when the person speaking has lost us completely, and then there's an awkward silence for a few seconds, and then, since I'm from L.A., one of us says "we should get coffee" and the other says, "yeah, for sure, hit me up," knowing full well that there will be neither hitting of up nor coffee. Like I said, I'm horrible at describing my music.
7. What image do you think your music conveys?
That middle ground between sunlight and shadow.
8. You will soon be releasing your new album "All My Bad Habits Have Prepared Me For This". This just so happens to be your debut album, what comes to mind when hearing such a thing?
Honestly, it feels really good. I'm proud of this album, top to bottom. Even if nothing comes of it, not making it would have haunted me forever.
9. What can you tell me about it, that has not already been said about it?
There's much more joy in and behind the album than it may ostensibly convey. I'd spent a large part of my life worrying too much about the thoughts of others and thus hid certain aspects. This album was an extension of my decision to not do that anymore, to put all the cards on the table regardless of and often despite the thoughts of others. There was so much freedom in creating it, and thus a ton of joy in creating all of it.
10. What is your favorite song on the record and why?
Catch. I wish I could be deep about this one, but it's just aesthetically very pleasing to me. Matias Mora, my producer, did an amazing job with the soundscape.
11. What can fans expect from the new album?
I'm pretty sure they'll find something they can relate to. What I've been through and speak of on the album are not unique to me.
12. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?
I would like to think the sound of this album is unique. Being driven by what we thought the song dictated, and not by what a genre or 'my sound' dictated allowed for a lot of freedom and lack of boundaries in the sounds we used. Of course those sounds are influenced consciously and subconsciously by music I've listened to and loved, so there's still some familiarity in it.
13. What do you want to achieve as a band?
Honestly, it's to continue what I'm doing. I really enjoy my life. I make music daily with people I love, music I really like, and can pay bills doing it. That's a very namaste answer, but I've been through too much stuff not to appreciate how priceless peace and simplicity is.
14. What does next year hold for you?
A new album with The Rigs, finishing Godel Escher Bach, a lot of travel.
15. Describe yourself in three words.
Loyal, strong, confused.