We caught up with New Englander Chris Garneau about all things music, while he was on tour in Europe for his album El Radio. “As a child I always would be writing songs and making things up on the piano,” wrote the singer-songwriter in an email. “By the time I was a teenager I began writing really epic (and terrible) songs. By the time I was fifteen I was listening to Nina Simone, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, and so on, and I realized at that point that I wanted to create music in this manner.”
Garneau began playing the piano at 5 years old when he and his family lived in Boston. He also played the harmonium and accordion. When he was 7, they moved to France for a few years before settling in New Jersey, where he grew up. Garneau went to school for music and later moved to Brooklyn as an adult where he struggled to start his career for a few years, despite his passion and talent. “The first couple years of playing shows was just me figuring out in what direction my music would take me. It was very challenging. But after a couple years of playing shows I started to play frequently at the Living Room on the Lower East Side. This is where I started to build a little following and that is when I really started to enjoy performing.”
After releasing Music for Tourists and his second album El Radio, Chris Garneau was signed by Absolutely Kosher Records in California. As for his plans, “In the future, on my next album,” said Garneau, “I plan to experiment further and allow myself to veer from formulas and experiment more with sound and instrumental pieces.”
Garneau’s thoughtful methods of recording and writing take shape from a variety of influences and inspirations. Sometimes it’s a thought, phrase or experience. For his song, “Hands on the Radio,” it was a trip to Mexico. “I wrote it after leaving Juarez, Mexico, after a very special trip there to visit a clinic that helps to protect the women and children of the city — which was a place of violent serial killings of young women throughout the nineties and early two thousands. The women and children that we met there are very special to me.”
We look forward to seeing what he comes up with next. Check out some of his tracks below.
“No More Pirates”
“Dirty Night Clowns”
"Chris is an avid lampshade collector. He enjoys treats and loves small and large animals as well as wind, trees, and fancy gems. He is an experienced and high scoring skee-ball player. He is happy-go-lucky and enjoys spending time at the town fairs. "
If you'd like to know more about Chris Garneau, follow him on Twitter or check out his tour dates on ChrisGarneau.com.
Music for Tourists LP (2006)
C-Sides EP 2007)
El Radio LP (2009)