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Interview by Ben Usie.


Over the course of 16 years, California native and multi-instrumentalist Chris Cohen has played in a collection of bands that seem united only by their invariable quality.

Deerhoof. Ariel Pink. Cass McCombs

But with 2012’s Overgrown Path and the recently released As If Apart, he’s proven capable of making 70s-tinged psych-pop on his own that’s just as moving.

Ben Usie (of Br’er) exchanged e-mails with Cohen over the weekend, prior to his appearance at Songbyrd Music House tonight.

Chris Cohen plays Songbyrd Music House tonight with Johnny Fantastic and Fellow Creatures. As If Apart is out now on Captured Tracks.


How’s the tour going? You’re about half-way through with it, eh?

Yeah, we’re in Charlotte, NC right now. Tour’s going great-  we’re having a lot of fun playing and meeting the people.

The record sounds great. Are the new songs already evolving in the hands of your bandmates?

My bandmates always change the music in little ways but also in the general way of bringing their personalities to the table. I play the songs differently too. There’s lots of ways to play the songs depending on the situation.

Speaking of, who are your bandmates? 

There’s Davin Givhan, Aaron Olson and Mose Wintner and myself.

I know the DC show was added later than your other dates, and I ran into several people who were trying to get a show confirmed for you.  Do you feel strong support from fans throughout the country?  Is any region especially supportive?

Every region has their own different response. Some seem more enthusiastic than others just visually speaking, but you never know what people are thinking.

In general, I’m happy with the responses we’ve gotten. I didn’t know multiple people were inviting us, that’s nice to hear.

Also, some people have no response or don’t know about my music.

When recording, do you demo songs, or does the demo kind of become the final product? 

I record voice memos on my phone where i run through the basic structure of a song on keyboard, then I start recording the other parts. Sometimes I make more fleshed out demos or make what I think will be final versions that I scrap. So there’s many versions along the way.

Can you describe your studio setup a little?  The record has a warm sound, but I can’t tell if tape was involved in the process.

No tape was used, just computer and cheapo mics. I rent out a space in some friends’ garage. It’s hot and there’s no windows but it’s within my means and I feel very lucky to have it.

I see that Zach Phillips wrote the lyrics to two songs on As if Apart.  Who else did you collaborate with on this record, and in what capacity?

That was the only collaboration other than working with Greg Saunier who mastered it and Anthony Atlas who made the cover.