Fondest memories of music growing up: “For sure it was my dad playing in his country western/bluegrass band night after night in the basement. My brother and I would go down there and listen to him play songs by Randy Travis and Johnny Cash, along with all kinds of old jams. We really grew up around the country vibe. Later in life, I feel in love with rap and then got turned on to alternative rock. When I discovered alternate rock, like Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, it really made me love music. Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam were a huge influence on me. They expanded my world by leaps and bounds. Reading his lyrics was incredible. I remember “Ten” had just come out and I was still into the Vanilla Ice, Public Enemy stuff and the rap scene. My brother Matt had told me about this band Pearl Jam. At first, I thought they were freaks and it was strange but the more I listened and read the lyrics, I really started to relate. More than anyone, Eddie Vedder has been a huge inspiration to me.”
On where he would categorize his new album Plurality of Words: I would definitely categorize it in the category of alternative rock. My stuff, especially “Plurality of Worlds,” has a lot of rap styles in the songs but I would say, overall, it is alternative rock. We are going to start recording the next album in January. I am really looking forward to it. The thing about “Plurality of Worlds” is I am completely locked in my safe zone and now I can experiment with getting out of that safe zone. Honestly, if I can’t get comfortable with being out of my safe zone, I might as well just quit now! I am really confident that vocally and lyrically, will be even better on my part come the next album.
Any goals or expectations for his album: Honestly, I don’t have any goals at the moment other than to get better. The way the songs make me feel when I hear the professionally produced finished product, it is the best thing ever! Dale Oliver is our producer down in Nashville. He is the main music guy at TNA Wrestling. When I get the finished product from him, it is the best! To be able to share that with the fans and see how they react to it is amazing. It is still in the early stages right now and my fans seem to dig it. “Time & Fate” is my new theme at TNA now. The first verse is a rap I wrote back when I was in the eighth grade. Just to hear that verse every night when I go out and wrestling is amazing. As I am running out, I think “Oh my God, this thing is still alive!” It is so cool to hear it because it originated so long ago! I have notebooks stacked miles high of different writings, so to bring something back to life from all those years ago is really cool. As far as expectations and goals, I just want to get better and I hope the people support me in doing that.
On working with Dale Oliver: Dale pushes me and he is my teacher. We recorded five of the songs in Nashville over several sessions. It just got better and better. I got more comfortable each time. Last summer when I was out there, we finished up by recording “Time & Fate” and a song called “Anxious.” I am talking about spending all day in the studio singing things over and over again. He would push me to try higher tones or suggest different notes to go for. By the time the day was over, I was worn out! I could barely speak and it made me wonder how some of these professionals do it night after night! That is just what I needed and I have to do it more and more. Dale has really become a mentor and a leader to me.
On possible music videos for his songs: When it comes to music videos, TNA and I were a little rushed. We wanted to get the music and video out there for the fans before Christmas. For “Every Other Day,” I had written out a long script that would have taken a good day, if not two, to film my vision of the “Every Other Day” video. We just didn’t have enough time to get that done. There is a song on the album called “None of The Time” that I am going to try and shoot all by myself at home. I have this vision and I want to bring it to life. Matt’s wife is an amazing editor. I want to do this video on my own, out of nowhere and pay her to edit it and see how my images come across through the video process and see if TNA will air the video. I think that is going to be very important for me, to try and express what I mean in the song and what I am talking about through a music video. I think the cheaper you can do it and still make it cool, the more impressive it will be. That is my next step, trying to shot a video at my house, all by myself and see how it goes!
On a possible follow-up album: At the moment, the most exciting thing about the new album is that there will be a lot more singing. There is a lot more positive emotion involved. There are three songs we plan on starting with. One is called “Obsolete” and although it still highlights some of the negative, it has catchy chorus. It is a little dark but the way I am going to sing is a bit different from what I have done on “Plurality of Worlds,” where I am kind of rapping/talking. On the upcoming album I plan to sing a lot more and that is what I find most exciting about the project.
On what he is currently listening to: Yeah. More than any, as far as new bands go, is Imagine Dragons. I caught their performance at the American Music Awards and thought “Holy shit! How do you follow that?” It was awesome. We also saw Pearl Jam about a month ago in Charlotte and they are better than ever! The new album, “Lightning Bolt,” is crazy amazing and the place was packed! But again, as far as new bands, Imagine Dragons is my favorite.