Portraits/Cover Photo/Band Photos © Erin Little
All Photos © Jackie Spencer Photography
What inspired you to become a Soul/R&B Musician/Hall of Fame Songwriter?
It stems from the most impactful man in my life, my father Phil. For those who have met him/heard him perform, it’s no surprise how much he’s influenced me. As his son, I grew up listening to one of the most soulful and tasteful singers in the history of the world ever (there’s absolutely no bias involved in that statement, haha!).
Some of the most influential situations I can remember weren’t when he was on stage though, it was when he and his buddies would sit around a living room with a couple acoustic guitars and trade songs, singing harmonies with each other, and just being in the music with so much effortless comfort and joy. It really made me fall in love with and understand the true power of music. He and my mom introduced me to so much incredible soul/funk music as well as so muchc beautiful songwriter/folk music too. At the same time, my sister was showering me with all of the 90’s hip hop and R&B I could get my hands on, which really grew out of the soul/funk movement. It became a really cool connection for my father and I too, as I would turn him onto folks like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and the neo-soul and soul/hip-hop movement, and he would turn me onto the folks they were sampling or inspired by. As I started to develop my own desire to make music, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by friends that were equally, if not more, passionate and experienced. I didn’t really start making music until I was 16 or 17, but once I did I serendipitously reconnected with my childhood best friends, Dan Boyden and Pete Genova (us three started Model Airplane a couple years later). Our high school/early adult parties were always surrounded and driven by music (I mean… they still are), and alongside our close friends Billy Libby, the Cambiata boys, and the community of incredibly talented and encouraging musicians that would circle through, it was first-class, one-way ticket to creativity. Billy was the first friend who’s songwriting truly blew me away and he quickly became one of my favorite songwriters ever (still is). As I expanded my community, hearing the limitless creativity of friends like Dave Gutter, Nigel Hall, Tony McNaboe, and Chris Moulton showed me that anyone had the potential of expressing themselves in ways that would and could resonate with people. This was the groundwork, and once I caught the bug, it’s been a nonstop affliction, ha! I’ve been really blessed to be surrounded by amazingly imaginative and passionate friends ever since, no matter where I’ve lived, so the desire to create has only grown, matured, and will continue to for as long as I can make noise.
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your innate musicality?
I thrive on and strive for experience, knowledge, and reflection. I love conversation, adventure, trying new things, and putting myself in situations conducive to growth. I have been blessed to be surrounded by outgoing, open-minded, passionate, empathetic friends and family who share my love of the human condition. I can’t get enough of the path toward understanding the human condition within such a crazy and ever-changing world. On the other side, I love secluded studying of the same things. I love exploring the lineage of music, musicians, and the cultural impacts of the writing and reaction to the music, as well as reading, learning new skills, and pushing myself to be more of an independent, well-rounded human. Without the desire to grow as a person, you can’t grow as a musician/songwriter. I’m learning to meditate, increasing my exercise, and finding routines that allow me to stay in touch with myself and create a better body/mind/spirit relationship, as well as learning new ways to be creative in areas outside of music – cooking, building, problem-solving, etc. It’s always a process, and that’s really exciting to me because it means that there’s no limit to what we can do or achieve.
What are one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your journey as a musician?
This is not an easy lifestyle, and you sure don’t get into it for comfort, stability, or routine. But, in a sense, that’s what makes it even more rewarding. There are so many small achievements that, as long as you keep in touch with yourself and stay realistically positive along your journey, those achievements can encourage the desire to keep you constantly reaching for your ever-growing potential. When you’re not in your best state of mind, however, it can be spiritually crushing. I think that’s where the biggest challenge comes in. When you’re doing something so vulnerable and self-exposing, it’s easy to feel not only like a failure when it’s not working, but like an imposter when it is working. It’s been interesting to start arriving into a place where my music is being heard by more people, when I see articles written about me, and starting to create relationships with musicians that have inspired me for years. It’s difficult not to ask myself, “why do they even want me here?” or tell myself “I don’t belong here with these people, I’m not on their level” when I’m not feeling confident or the best version of myself. It’s been really important to check in with myself about that, and analyze what parts of myself allow me to sink into that state of being. I guess one lesson that I’ve learned stems from the reaction to that challenge. I’ve been able to slowly get myself to a point where I take that questioning and use it as inspiration to keep growing. To use my ears and my intuition to grow that much more. To take advantage of the opportunity to be around these incredible musicians/people and absorb the genius that I see in them. To ask questions about their process, listen to the way they approach their own music/lives, and do my best to take those ideas/concepts/techniques and see how they apply to my own journey and voice. No matter what we do, no matter who we are, we are a superbly screwed up and stew of our influences and experiences. There’s no use in questioning why I’m where I am… I am where I am, so what am I going to do about it, so it’s really about asking myself, how can I learn the most from my present in order to best shape my future?
What are your top two LD barefoot, on-stage moments?
Best Barefoot On-Stage Moment: My favorite barefoot on-stage moment would have to be the first time I played at Red Rocks in July 2016 – one of the most legendary outdoor venues in the country, if not the world, built in the side of the mountains in Colorado that holds 10,000 people. Not only was it my first time ever seeing the venue, but it was also my first time playing for my new band (The Motet)’s hometown fans. It was a sold out show and may have been the most momentous show of my life. It flew by in an instant, but I will always remember the moment I came out, introduced myself to my new fan family, and was able to experience something so rare and inspiring.
Worst Barefoot On-Stage Moment: This came maybe a month before the aforementioned Red Rocks show at an amazing festival called SummerCamp in Illinois. At this point, this was the largest crowd I had ever played to, around 13,000 or so. We had a crazy weekend already, traveling to 4 different states in 3 days with very little, if any, sleep along the way. We were also playing right before George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. We had our usual 30-minute festival changeover to get the band before us off, and us on and sound-checked, and we had 4 cameras ready to record our first couple songs for some high quality live-show media for the band. We had to hurry because we were running a few minutes behind, so I ran backstage, kicked my shoes off and came back out to get things started. As I hustled to the front, spread my arms wide, and welcomed the seemingly never-ending crowd with 2 giant cameras right in front of me, a fire shot through my entire body from the ground up. It turns out, a black stage absorbs the scalding summer sun quite well, and on this 95 degree day when the sun was setting directly on the stage, that stage decided to share all of that heat with the soles of my bare feet. Needless to say, my feet have never moved so quickly, and never hurt so much. There were blistered burns and plenty of painful traveling experiences in the following days, but the show went really well despite it, and I even got summoned by George Clinton himself so he could express how much he dug our set.
If you could write one song for any brand, what brand would you choose?
American Roots. My not-by-blood brother and sister, Ben Waxman and Whitney Reynolds, are working nonstop to create a fully American-made, American-sourced, American-worked line of clothing. They have created programs and possibilities to give members of the Maine community a chance the thrive and support themselves, their families, and their communities. It’s a company built atop a foundation of love and desire for good, and I will support them and spread the word about them and their message to any and all. Our country’s business owners could learn so much from them.
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
Intelligence is Intuitive,
You needn’t learn to love,
Unless you’ve been taught
to fear and hate.
-Saul Williams, poet
In one word, describe yourself:
How many of you are googling 'What is Gallimaufry' right now? Answer is HERE ;)
All Photos © Kate Strait Photography
All photos © LaurynSophiaPhotography
What inspired you to become a writer?
I guess it’s always been in my blood since I was young. I’ve always had an appreciation for the power of the written word.
At what point did you discover your passion for music and writing would become a career path?
During college I was a DJ at my school’s radio station and also a writer at the school newspaper so it really started then. Mostly through the college radio years is my when I first started getting into interviewing musicians. I had the chance to interview Sarah McLachlan when we were both essentially a couple of kids and Indigo Girls way back when. Then when I moved to Portland in the mid 90s I started writing for a now defunct monthly paper pretty much all about music. I also wrote for a number of years for a national magazine, often about music.
I started writing my weekly Face the Music column 13 years ago and have been fulltime at Maine Today/The Press Herald for a little over six years.
What do you do outside of work that directly impacts your career as a writer?
I go to a lot of shows, from small local ones to huge concerts because that’s one of my absolute favorite things; the live music experience. I also listen to a ton of music all the time. For the past two years or so I’ve been host of the local music show Music from 207 on WCLZ which also keeps me learning about new music in Maine. I also recently launched a music blog called AimselontheRecord.com and am writing about some of my travel experiences including a trip in April to see Brandi Carlile at Ryman Auditorium and a recent trip to Gillette Stadium in MA to see U2. I also follow a lot of my favorite acts on various social media platforms which helps me stay up-to-date with what’s happening. All these things feed into each other. I don’t get enough sleep but most of the time it’s worth it.
What are one challenge and one lesson you've learned throughout your career?
A huge challenge is to cut myself some slack. I’m by far my own worst enemy and it’s an ongoing battle. I doubt myself and my ability to write pretty much daily. One lesson I’ve learned is that there’s no substitution for properly preparing for an interview. I pride myself on being an excellent interviewer and coming up with questions that will make for an interesting read for people.
What's your favorite story you've written?
I’ve been at this for a while so it’s hard to pick but I think one of the best interviews I’ve ever done was with M.I.A. because we really got into things. I had good questions and she was really open about things. Here’s the link:
Also, one of my favorite singers is Paula Cole. I’ve interviewed her a number of times through the years and she’s always so great to talk to; very kind and open. Here’s the most recent story:
If you could write about any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
I’m interpreting this as if I could interview any musician in the world. The answer is David Bowie. Of course that will never happen but he would have been the one. And if I could invent a time machine I would like to visit the 60s and have a chat with Judy Garland.
Can you suggest one "secret" app you love that helps with your writing?
In one word, describe yourself:
What is Atlantic Event Design?
Atlantic Event Design is Caitlin Flynn, Maine's premier lady Dj & my wife, Meredith Stack who assists me at all events. Whether it's a wedding, private party, anniversary, corporate event, birthday party, or divorce party, (yes it's a thing and I like to call them "freedom parties") we provide the music to get you and your guests dancing and face's smiling. Let us handle the entertaining and just enjoy yourselves, after all, isn't that what life is about?!
What inspired you to create Atlantic Event Design?
Between performing in the Southern Maine and Boston area for over 12 years and requests to DJ other types of events, I finally took the plunge to invest in the perfect and proper audio setup for mobile events. AED would have never happened if it hadn't been for my mother, Linda. I lost my best friend and my rock. It took a few years but slowly I put one foot in front of the other and I decided to follow what my heart was telling me instead of following my classic role as "Safety Cait." My friends sometimes pick on me for being the mother hen of the group, always being cautious and careful; but this time I needed to take a step into the unknown and live for me and follow my heart. The job doesn't come with healthcare or a 401k but it definitely beats working for "the man."
What are one challenge and one lesson you've learned from your experience as Atlantic Event Design's Founder?
It's not easy being a female DJ and I'm often not considered for jobs or taken seriously because of it. I have a Major in Media Production & Communication from the University of Southern Maine, I was an intern at a high end, local recording studio, I've worked for WMPG, WRED, and Portland Radio Group; I know how to work those buttons, I can blend and beat match records better than most guys. I've learned to be myself when I meet clients (people tell me I'm funny) and if you give me a chance you'll most likely find I'm the perfect fit for your event
What are your top two AED memories thus far?
When I got all of my equipment I set up all the speakers (2 QSC K12's & 2 Ksubs... all 1000 watts) and lights in my house and gave it a full blown go. It was so awesome and everything shook! :-D
My second favorite memory is when I DJ'd part of my own wedding :) Why not?!
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you." - A.A. Milne
In one word, describe yourself: