If you've ever swung by the shop on a tuesday morning, you'll see a handsome young gentleman jamming out, providing sweet yet profound tunes to work/study/drink coffee to. That's none other than our friend, Conner Cherland, one of our many talented friends in Santa Barbara. We caught up with him recently to find out a bit more about the man behind the music...
1. Who are you?
Hello! My name is Conner Cherland (when I'm at a show I always say, "'Cher' like the singer, 'land' like the ground"). I'm 26, 5'9", creamed coffee colored skin, and I've been living in Santa Barbara for 8 years now. Before that, I lived as a youth in Lancaster, CA playing volleyball, billiards, ping pong, and other hobby sports with my guy friends.
2. Describe your background and how you got into making music...
I grew up a serious fan of Boy Meets World, and found life's meaning in pursuit of my own Topanga Lawrence. In my 18th and 21st year, I hit some self-imposed love trials and needed an outlet for the emotions. At 18 I started journaling to practice the skill of tracing an emotion back to its root, which later transformed into the songwriting I practice today. The songs and journals have always been my way to process emotion, and access portions of my brain I couldn't through logic and journaling.
3. Who/what influences your music?
Most things! Life situations (see below), other musicians (Hozier, Shakey Graves, Noah Gundersen, Coheed and Cambria), books (Animal Farm, East of Eden, The Jesuits Guide to Almost Everything), movies, internal feelings. Here's an example of a recent life situation- The other day I was in a parking lot and accidentally cut someone off, and a passerby waited for me to get out of my car to say "Guess you never heard of common courtesy, huh?". I apologized and offered to move my car and received the response, "I don't need it, but I guess you've never heard of common courtesy, huh?" Moments like this make me feel afraid, confused, like I need to laugh really hard, and make me incredibly curious about that woman's life. What did she get out of the exchange? Why did she wait so long for me to get out of my car? Why did she ask me the same question twice? Does the human brain shut down the ability to pivot once it's convinced it's found the "righteous cause"? How often do I do this sort of thing instead of actually listening?
...this is how my brain works...which is why I needed a journal, and why I enjoy the song writing process.
4. What excites you about making music? What do you struggle with?
Live performance for an attentive audience is the most exciting part of the job. When I'm in a crowded room and everyone's listening, something takes over my mind and body and I become funnier, smarter, and better at music. It's a very focussed adrenaline, and it's when I feel my most powerful.
I struggle with making beautiful songs that go unnoticed. It's the bane of all undiscovered musicians. Since I play 3-5 gigs a week, playing to empty rooms or inattentive audiences gets taxing on my heart.
5. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself going?
I want to play music for thousands and millions of people (I've done over 400 gigs since 2015, so that goal will take some time). I want to write songs that stay in the hearts of kids/youths/adults, and I want those songs to nurture them while they grow up. Because I love the intimacy of playing music for people, I want to establish a series of houses throughout the United States and abroad that could host house shows for my fellow musicians and I. (For those who don't know, a house show is where you open up your house to friends/musicians and we have a concert! It requires you having friends...and those friends showing up to listen to the music and hang out.)Very practically I want to see myself touring the country with my wife for a decent portion of my 20s/30s.