Christopher O'Keeffe

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Here's a boring opening line: I have always had realistic and attainable goals for my music. It's never been about external validation. Yes, I want thoughtful people to listen to my music and feel something. No, I don't need to be signed or win online popularity contests. I think it's because I didn't really start defining those goals until I was a bit older. By the time I was getting into music, most of my friends wanted out. I played my first show at 25, an age that many of my peers were already snakebitten by shoestring tours, shady deals, intense competition, or any number of the pitfalls of "going for it" in your early 20s . I had been writing and recording since I was a teenager, but a debilitating stage fright kept me from singing live. I also had living room fright, bedroom fright, party fright, campfire fright...I didn't want to sing anywhere, in front of anyone. So, in my mid-20s, I was sort of swimming upstream. It was like this parade of burnt out young musicians screaming "don't go in there! You're going the wrong way!" as I brushed past them to happily take a Tuesday night slot at O'Brien's or The Abbey Lounge. It gave me space to figure things out. I wasn't really competing with anyone. And I was grateful for every show. I still am. In the succeeding years I have written hundreds of songs, and released dozens of them, officially and unofficially, under multiple band names. I'm grateful for the slow start, as it gave me time to workshop things without an audience. I wouldn't have been proud of the music I made when I was 18 (I know, because I have whole albums sequenced in my head. The songs make me physically cringe even though I've never performed or recorded any of them). I do it because I love it. Because it's therapy. Because sometimes I'm pretty good at it. Because there's so much negativity and cliche out there. A partial list of Influences: Most of my heroes are insular, evocative lyricists who understand how to cast themselves in the popular culture: Tom Waits, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Neil Young. That generation that I will never feel as old as. Closer to my age: Kristian Mattson (Tallest Man on Earth), Mike Doughty, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt. Also love: Collage artists like Aphex Twin and The Avalanches. Inscrutable shoegaze from the 90s till now. Tuneful 89s/90s trainwrecks like the Lemonheads and The Replacements.The great, loud female guitar groups of recent years (Bully, WAAX, Courtney Barnett, Hop Along). Finally, my friends, and the secret call-and-response language we have with each others' songs. The Sound: I primarily write songs in the rock traditions, generally on electric or acoustic guitars, but also will overdub parts with bass, percussion, various keyboards, samplers and more. I am interested in sound collage, such as layers of noise and conversation. I have always been a voracious listener of music, and will often approach songs as experiments, perhaps asking, ""What if Curtis Mayfield played clavinet on a Dinosaur Jr. Song?" or "What if The Magnetic Fields covered a Lemonheads album?" I am committed to optimism and try to avoid cliche. I tend to remember the good things, even in bad situations, and I bring that to my songwriting. At shows, I introduce one of my songs with, "This song suggests that the light cast by the burning wreckage of a failed relationship can be sort of flattering, sometimes". It's meant to be funny, and people usually laugh. In 2021 I released my first book of poetry, "Drinking from Snowglobes".
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