I always get a little nervous talking to someone I’ve never met before. It is not a fearful nervousness but rather exciting. I had the privilege to interview Chris Duggan, the vocals and guitarist of the band, Plaid Brixx. He’s living the dream and focusing all his efforts on music fulltime. Before any interview I binge on their songs to be able to formulate the best questions. I care about the way each question is started. This interview wasn’t like that. I think somewhere between Type-A interviewer me and beach bum conversationalist me is where this fell into. The interview was half conversation with a sprinkle of questions leading to the satisfaction of knowing that there is no line where Chris ends and music begins.
After the usual awkward introductions these are the hard hitting questions.
Punchland: What’s up?
Chris: Nothing much just making some beats.
Yea like producing tracks.
Oh, I was like, ‘you’re cooking beets?’
Yea you know I was like making some borscht.
I don’t know what you guys do up north
He’s based up north and I’m obviously in the south. From here we discussed the usual weather conversations of snow vs the uncertain “is it winter?” of the south. We talked about his college years. Chris graduated from NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Somehow it lead to talking about grad school applications and his advice is.
You gotta write every day. That’s the key, four hours.
I probably spend as much time writing as you do with music.
I make sure I spend at least four hours a day writing. That’s when I have a busy day, I make sure I at least spend four hours when I get home.
Do you walk around with a digital recorder or a Moleskine?
You mean a phone (he laughs).
Well I’m trying to be old (now I laugh).
I have a notebook that I write lyrics in. I haven’t fully converted to writing lyrics on the computer yet. I have a box full of Moleskines that I’ve filled over the years.
It’s funny that you say “Mole-skin” and I say “Mole-skeen.” I was corrected by someone the other day. So how are you supposed to pronounce it?
Oh my I can’t imagine the type of person that corrects Moleskine. (Fake yuppie voice) Actually it’s “Mole-skeen,” yes. You must put your pinky out when you say it.
I actually really like them. I’m currently in the process of moving to a new one but I still have a bunch of work in the old one. So I have two that I’m writing now and I have a third that’s my daily planner.
I wish I could make beats in my Moleskine.
They have that one that you can write in it and it’ll transfer stuff to your computer. That’s why you should carry a digital recorder.
I sing and beatbox into my phone to record stuff in the car or wherever I am. I’ll be a social gathering and say something like “hold on guys, guys, stop! Shhhh! I have too much background noise, I need to record.”
We had a band’s New Year’s Eve party at Cole the bass player’s house and he has a piano. So I just made piano songs all night. I was like “Guys can you keep it down.”
So do you play a lot of instruments or are you one of those people that can pick up anything and just play it?
I like to say that if it has strings I can figure out how to play it.
If I bring a lyre to SXSW, can you play it?
I’ll figure something out. I actually just bought a dulcimer for a video shoot that we did last week. And I learned how to play that pretty freakin’ fast.
Somehow the conversation ventures into the territory of Taylor Swift and Reddit. Narwhal bacons at midnight, anyone? And it ends with talking about Anna Kendrick and the new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Have you been to Austin before?
I’ve never been out of the Dallas International Airport.
What!? Have you seen the movie Chef? It has like a small snippet of Austin.
I hear it’s really good. Food trucks.
Food trucks and then there is this pizza place called Homeslice, it’s on South Congress.
I am extremely into pizza.
Have you played for huge-normous crowds before?
I have but I’m not sure if the other guys have. So they’re gonna be really excited.
And you guys have a full week right?
Yea, I’m gonna be lucky if I sleep.
You don’t need to sleep, it’s just one week.
No, I need a full nights rest in order to perform. I’ll just be too grumpy. (grumpy voice) I don’t wanna be here, I just wanna go to sleep.
Then you can sing a song called “I just wanna go to sleep.”
Yea, yea I should probably write a song about sleep.
So are you working on an album now?
Are you working on songs to consider for an album or are you working on a specific song list?
Yes and no. It’s like have a list and then it’ll get cut by the producer and from that I’ll have to pick a smaller amount. It gets pretty impersonal.
Is there a song you’ll champion and defend for this upcoming album?
Yea. It’s got a working title but as usual it’ll probably change or get rewritten. It’s got this funk guitar. I’ve always been (grumpy voice) “It’s gotta be punk guitar! Rawr!!”
And it’s completely new to me. I just love it.
Was it the original band members that you had in high school?
Well the members Cole and Mark and I played in a crappy band called Appian Way. It was recorded on Windows 95 it was a completely different band. It’s not like Plaid Brixx existed then. That was 10 years ago?
Do you think it’s because you matured? Or have more practice?
Oh definitely. A decade of playing instruments and doing solo stuff gets you a lot better. So we came back together and it became magic. I love playing with those dudes. For the first time we’ll be bringing in a keyboard player with us, Jared.
Check them out on in Austin and visit their website to see if they’re coming to a city near you!
3/17– 11pm – Texas RockFest @ Blue Moon | 2200 S. Interstate 35
3/18 – 2:15pm – The Austin Jump-Off @ Maggie Mae’s | 323 6th Street
3/19 – 12pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ The Blind Pig Roof | 317 E 6th St
3/21 – 5:30pm – Texas RockFest (Outdoor Stage) | Corner of 7th and Neches