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The Neverlutionaries - Denver Interview

Interview with The Neverlutionaires

I love how people can evolve and grow over time and try new things. Christopher Harold Wells is no stranger to being in and around bands, but his project The Neverlutionaries released their debut self-titled album in February of this year. A self-described “weird kid,” Christopher comes from many influences to blend the new and old in his music. I was able to get on Zoom with him this week and chat about his songs, his friends and life in general.


Interview With Christopher Harold Wells of The Neverlutionaires


Aimee:
So, tell me about yourself. I listened to the music. It sounds great. But I know you have a pretty long history, so go at it.

Christopher:
Okay. Thank you. Well, I guess my musical history started as a kid in Philadelphia. We had to do one performance concert a year for our curriculum, like a musical, like Dolly or Bye Bye Birdie or West Side Story. From an early age, I volunteered to do everyone they had. And I just really loved performing. And then my big sister, she always turns me on to really cool music. And then my mom was listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and soul. Then my cousin turned me on to Elton John’s Captain Fantastic album. And then I bought my first record that I chose, which was, Kiss Destroyer. And then David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane was my second one. I didn’t know what the hell I was listening to. I just loved the artwork. But it just turned out that I had great taste!

Aimee:
I always bought albums by the artwork. I love that.

Christopher:
Yeah. I think it’s an interesting part of it. It helps generate one’s imagination per se. And really take the album to more of a multi-dimensional sense instead of this one off, you’re hearing it, and that’s it. It’s like, you look at this art, you lay on your bed for the whole album, and you’re like, wow.

Aimee:
That’s cool.

Christopher:
It was so exciting. But then, to move forward, then we moved to North Carolina in my teens. And good friends of mine were in this band called Corrosion of Conformity, COC. And so I kind of did some roadying stuff for them and had a couple of bands of my own. And it’s been an interesting journey. I kind of grew up in a scene where it was okay to be kind of weird and kind of have an interesting concoction of sorts and call it your own. And so that’s been something that I’ve kind of kept with me. I’ve had a love for so many different genres and styles and players and moods. I grew up a big Prince fan too. He’s a fellow Gemini, and I was like, well, if he could do it, and I’m a weird little kid too, so why not?

Aimee:
Yeah, I mean, I can kind of tell in your music, where there’s a retro feel, but then it still feels new. And I wanted to ask, is it just you, or do you have a full band behind you, or how does that work?

Christopher:
It started out as it just being me. I’ve always written. I would say I’m a tad bit prolific. I write a lot of material. Then, I guess, around Christmas time in 2019, the stars aligned, and I got to record and track some demos I had sitting around and made up a couple of new things. And then after that got going, I had a good buddy of mine, Chris McGrew, down at a Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco, and that’s where we did the bulk of it. He would do the drums, and I would do most everything else. And then I have a good friend of mine, Jon Axtell, and he’s an amazing guitar player. And he’s actually going to be in the live band when we start the band-band. And then I had my friend Kenny Olson, who played with Kid Rock back in the day, and Bootsy, and all kinds of people, he contributed to a track. And then I kind of filled out the rest. So it was kind of like everyone I added to it had something unique in their vibe that I kind of needed to elevate the song to someplace possibly, not where I couldn’t, but it would be a different sense of elevation, just a different color on it. But I also like to do it all myself.

The Neverlutionaries Interview - Christopher Harold Wells - Denver Music Blog Greeblehaus

Aimee:
Right. That’s great. I was just going to ask, I mean, you kind of mentioned a bunch of retro influences, but who are you into now, like contemporary music?

Christopher:
I’m still trying to figure that one out, to be quite honest with you. And I guess the thing for me is there’s so much music out there now. And it’s a wonderful thing that there are so many ways to record music and get stuff out there. But for the consumer, it makes it a bit difficult to kind of sift through all of the offerings.

Aimee:
Discovery is hard.

Christopher:
And as you and I both know, the best stuff often gets left by the wayside because of the lack of marketing and things that inherently have nothing to do with it the actual song, but the business that surrounds music. It’s just so tricky.

Aimee:
I joked with a friend recently that I have my top favorites of my old favorites. They’re my comfort food. And then I have this list of new favorites. But I spend my day working on a computer, so I constantly have it up. I’m continually making playlists and all those types of things. And a lot of people don’t have that time to do that.

Christopher:
Exactly. So that being said, it’s so hard. Because a lot of us, I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m dating myself, or just the fact that making a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, over time, it all kind of becomes mush and nothing really steps out. I don’t know. There’s some great new stuff out. But it’s a really tricky question. It’s like a blessing and a curse. To have the access is great, but then there’s over-access. And sometimes, the ones that necessarily have the access don’t deserve the access.

Aimee:
That’s true.

Christopher:
So, a lot of great music, you could probably think of five bands off the top of your head that when you were getting into music and coming up into your scene, that should have been that band. Who just never had that thing.

Aimee:
Oh, there are hundreds of them. There’s also so much luck of meeting the right people, being the right sound at the right time, and all of those things.

Christopher:
But I’ve really been into electronica lately for the past few years, just because it’s refreshing new sounds and ways to produce sounds. And I never want to get to the point where that’s my lane right there and right there, and never over here, or never over there. I want to be able to have the freedom to kind of explore. Because I think, for me, that’s the fun part about it because it’s every day is not going to feel the same.

Aimee:
Has your songwriting changed over the years, or as you’ve gone along? Or what do you kind of consider your main themes in your songs?

Christopher:
I guess those things I can’t access, like love. Sometimes it’s easier to write outside of something than it is to write within it. I usually write happy songs when I’m sad and sad songs when I’m happy. It’s a way of kind of being connected to the song, but a slight emotional disconnection from the mood. Sometimes I’ve written things so personal, I’ve been like, shit, I can never let anyone hear that.

Aimee:
“That’s mine.”

Christopher:
Right? But it has to be. But then again, what’s the point of having the gift to create, and then not letting the creations get out into the world. So that’s been my thing. And especially with the past year, as I’m sure you’ve had your trials and tribulations, it’s been both beautiful and strange and hard. It’s been beautiful because I’ve gotten a lot of love from this record in a crazy time. And got vaccinated, then got to come back out. And I’m about eight songs deep into the next record already.

Aimee:
Oh, good. That’s great to hear.

Christopher:
And still during the promotional cycle of this one, just because there was that lag where you couldn’t do anything, and I was still writing. And so I’m going to try to put 20 on there, just to kind of push myself because I have a bunch of stuff. But I want to make people dance a little bit because I’ve always been a fan of dance music. And every town had their spot on a Sunday night with some cheap beer, and you can go out and it was some kind of 80s dance night, or some kind of dance night, or something. Electronica night, funk night, or something. And I used to love that. That was a big part of who I was for a long time.

Aimee:
Yeah. But it’s funny because your song “Everybody’s Losing Their Minds” feels like it’s like it was almost written for the pandemic.

Christopher:
Right. Interestingly enough, I wrote that song in late 2018.

Aimee:
Really? That’s so funny.

Christopher:
But I have to contend with, do I want to be someone that if I put this song out right now, everybody’s going to think that it was written about corona, and I’m putting it out to-

Aimee:
Take advantage?

Christopher:
Yes … take advantage of it. So there were talks with the label. Should we put it out first? And then we were all like, “Hmm, no.” And it sucks because it’s a really funky little thing. But I felt that would have been very socially irresponsible, you know?

Aimee:
Well, and then I really liked the video for the song, Ariana. Did you do that during quarantine?

Christopher:
Yes, we did!

Aimee:
Oh, how did you manage that?

Christopher:
It was interesting because, although there was an international catastrophe going on, we still had to keep music and keep people entertained. So I had to shoot my parts remotely, and then send them to the video editor. And then they worked on their parts and had some awesome people involved. And they worked on their parts. I love the vibe of it. It came out pretty good.

Aimee:
Yeah. I like how people, one thing that’s good from all this, is that people have been creative finding more ways to collaborate across the world.

Christopher:
When one has no choice, one has to do what one must do. So if nothing else, this whole thing has been a very sad blessing. That’s a good way to put it. Because I know people that have been touched by it. I’ve had people in my family that have caught it. Thank God, and knock on wood, that none of them, it didn’t get too bad. But it’s made people come closer. It’s made some people that shouldn’t be together in the first damn place go apart. So people get more focused on spending time correctly and wisely because you don’t get any more of it. Then there’s all this racial stuff. And then I was in Virginia at the time with rebel flags flying two blocks away, and all this stuff.

Aimee:
Yeah. It’s been a rough year. It’s been a really rough year.

Christopher:
Yeah. I got to a point where on my birthday of last year, I just said fuck it. And I just went for it. And I dug deep. I’m like, if there’s ever a time to really go for it. Everybody was all apocalyptic.

Aimee:
I’m glad that we’re kind of starting to crawl out of it a little bit. I’m ready to get back to shows. I mean, I went from shooting four shows a week to literally zero overnight. And I’m sure that’s the same, for musicians, it’s the same thing.

Christopher:
For us creative people, it messes with our being, our souls. It’s like, I went through a depression. And I know so many creative people that went through the in the bottle, out the bottle phase. And then after a while, you’re like, oh, you’re looking at a lot of empty bottles of over there. Let me kind of reel it back in here, and get to reality, and crawl out of the bottle. But it makes sense because, whether people want to admit it, we’re all sensitive creatures. And we respond to everything from the weather to the water to the atmosphere to the energy of the people around us, and so many other factors. So you take that going on regularly all the time, and then add in a freaking pandemic, and that’s a big bucket of crazy bad shit.

Aimee:
Right. Well, what is your plan? Are you going to start touring? Are you going to start playing shows?

Christopher:
Right now I’m getting things locked in with the band, and just kind of getting the set tight. And doing that and recording. And really focused on when it’s really safe and it makes sense financially to tour and do all that stuff. I don’t want to do the guinea pig tour where I go out and I have fun, but I lose my ass on the way to do it.

Aimee:
Or you have to shut back down again.

Christopher:
Exactly. So the thing is, is what I can control right now is getting together a really great live show. And I got some amazing guys I’m playing with. And they’re all my friends, which just worked out… One guy, Jonny Axtell, he used to play in a band back in the day called Psychefunkapus.

Aimee:
Oh, I know them!

Christopher:
So, you’ve heard them! He was in Psychefunkapus. He’s great. Back in the day, when they came through Raleigh, I was with my band at the time, the Peasants of the Apocalypse. Their band had some black guys and some white guys, and our band had me and a couple of white dudes. And it being the south, they were like, “Hey, of course they should play together!” Then they ended up backing into our van. They tore their RV up so bad they had to stay with us for a few days. And we’ve been friends ever since.

Aimee:
Oh wow, at least you got a friendship out of it.

Christopher:
Yeah. So Jonny, it’s funny, we were recording the other day. And it was actually the first time Jonny and Jamison, our producer, met. And Jamison was commenting on, “You guys are like brothers, you can tell.” We were kind of ribbing each other and stuff like that. The kind of stuff you can only do to someone you know. When we get in the studio, it’s almost like I’m a that 15-year-old kid that couldn’t skate that had a blue mohawk, and was always getting his ass kicked, comes out.

Aimee:
I bet you guys are having a blast.

Christopher:
Yes, but also, I think as artists, we have a responsibility to give the purest form and intention of this art. This is a gift. Out of all the things that one could do in the world, take a feeling and an emotion or an experience, and translate it and let it transcend and shift into something that is, I was going to say tangible, but aural. You can hear it. That’s a powerful thing. I take a serious responsibility in that.

Aimee:
That’s awesome. Well, hopefully when you get out on tour, you’ll hit Denver.

Christopher:
Oh, definitely. Definitely.

The Neverlutionaries Interview - Christopher Harold Wells - Denver Music Blog Greeblehaus

All photos by Michael Phillips


 

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