Christian Lopez Band

on .
Christian Lopez Band

The story on Christian Lopez won’t change anytime soon. At least until he’s a bit older.

The 19-year-old songwriter sings with an older musical soul, one that fits in well with his producer Dave Cobb. Cobb, who recorded both Lopez’s debut EP and his brand new LP, Onward, is a hot hand these days given his work with Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson, and it’s a testament to Lopez’s ability and spirit that he fits in such company.

In addition to our conversation with Christian, we’re also proud to feature an exclusive premiere of one of the songs from Onward, “Leaving It Out.” You can hear the new song below and pre-order Onward on iTunes here.

Stereo Subversion: You’ve had an EP release before, but this being your full-length, how’s your anticipation level?

Christian Lopez: Yes, I’m amped up! I’m losing my mind over here. I’ve been doing behind-the-scenes stuff since before we recorded it at Christmas. We recorded it December 1st through the 20th, so I’ve been amped up for awhile.

Now that we are getting so close, it is getting crazy. I’ve had four to five month periods, until now, that I’ve been playing them at shows and introducing them to fans and putting them out there, so I know the people who follow us are ready for the songs. I’m super ready, emotionally. I am like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s go hard. Let’s hit the road and get this out there.’ It’s pretty intense, the excitement that I’m feeling, but I love it.

SSv: Can you take me behind that? You said every day I am working on content behind the scenes…

Christian: A couple different things. We have some social media things. There are things we have already made that we are getting ready to put out. The videos for the single that we’ll be putting out,that we will record probably in June. We did a ton of insanely high quality studio video in Nashville at B-sides, and we are getting ready to put those out. These are the big things that I am thinking about content-wise, back here.

SSv: Do you like that side of things? Getting your hands dirty on the business end?

Christian: I would just love to find a business manager to take over for me. I like the content side of things, doing this stuff with social media and getting it to the people. But nowadays, the artist can be so intimate with their fans through social media all the time. As far as business goes, I am not a huge fan of anything related to finances, taxes, contracts, you know? Luckily we have a good team that helps me with those things. Being with the fans and giving them music, playing them music is my favorite.

SSv: You’re still young now at 19-years-old, so obviously youth is on your side, but how long have you been at this? Do you remember your first impulse to write a song?

Christian: I do. My mom started me on music, and I was doing it my whole life, but when I was 14 or 15-years-old, I wanted to write a song. I grew up listening to classic rock, hard rock, basically everything my dad turned me onto, which is like ’85 and before. The first song I wrote that I played out, when I was 15, was just a real happy song about friends.

I remember I was the guy who loved riffs, and I never wanted to be a singer. I just found this riff, and I caught it real hard, and I put words to it. I tried to find a singer for it, and for a long time, I was searching for a singer for it, but I ended up singing it. When I started playing out, it was called “Let Go”, and I would always start with the riff and go from there.

SSv: So it didn’t occur to you to be your own singer?

Christian: No. Until I was around 15 and bought an acoustic guitar, I just wanted to be a guitar player. I started listening to music that was more… I was just discovering bands. I listened to a lot of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, and I discovered the new roots revival thing that is happening today, with bands like Trampled By Turtles and The Avetts and bands like that. I decided that if I couldn’t find a singer, I could also hit these notes. I sort of buckled myself into doing it, and I went out and started doing open mics. I just thought I’d stick with it. That was the beginning.

SSv: When did you decide you were going to go for it in terms of being a professional musician?

Christian: Well, to be clear real quick, I started guitar when I was 9, but I picked up the acoustic when I was 15. But back to the moment that I knew it was what I was going to do with my life was… I was playing small gigs, and I wasn’t even sure what direction I was going in or what I was doing. I think it was the day that I walked in my uncle’s house. I was 15, and I was watching the Avett Brothers live on TV and it blew me away. They were just young guys. I saw that, and I thought I can do this. I was raised on AC/DC and Van Halen, so I walked into his house, and that changed my life. I think that was the moment when I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’

SSv: Was there a moment that confirmed that people were into what you were doing?

Christian: Yeah, you know it just sort of happened over the last six, seven months, when the EP came out. Luckily when the EP came out, I think I needed to be around my hometown. I really was pumped up about getting the record out, and we did a good job getting it out. But the turning point was going to shows and playing, seeing people’s lips moving to the music and singing along. People I’d never seen before were singing the words, and that is the greatest feeling when they’re singing along with you. That’s an indescribable feeling, so it’s been nice to have that experience.

SSv: What a great chance to work with Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson). Is there a definite before and after for the music there? And how’d you hook up with him?

Christian: My manager made the suggestion. We went down and met him, and I was a big fan. I’d never worked with a producer like him before, but it was great to learn how he works. We sat down before we’d record, and he’s not afraid to take it apart and re-mold it. He has a lot of great taste and a great style to come into recording a record. He just gives a great organic feel to the songs with great taste and style. He cares about every song in depth, and he makes sure that he brings that out, especially with the vocals. I really appreciated that about him. He’s a genuine producer and musician. It was just awesome.

SSv: Since we have the premiere of “Leaving It Out,” can you tell us more about the genesis of the song?

Christian: That was one of those songs where I found the riff first. I was playing piano and found the riff, and the immediate feeling that came to me was the celebration of a song. I needed some celebratory story. So when I went into doing it, I thought about where I am in my life. Was I doing everything I wanted to do? Not wanting to pass up opportunity at all, you know? Making the most of every single moment because, before you know it, the moment could be gone. If it is, are you going to be okay with that, because you did everything you could? Because you didn’t back down from anything and took advantage. It’s about that, living before you die. That’s the meaning of that song.

SSv: You have a break right now, but the release is coming up. I’m assuming you’re a road warrior after that?

Christian: Yeah, we have a tour in the works but we haven’t announced it yet. We are preparing to be on the road for a long time.


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