Interview & Photos by Keira Zhou
When did you start playing music?
Cody: I started playing guitar when I was 7 years old. I did the whole standard guitar teacher every week thing, and my first teacher was awful. He was that kind of guy who would tell you to sit up straight, and put your fingers here or you are in the wrong position. There was no emotion for the music. So I got a new teacher, and he came over, his first question was “What kind of songs do you like?”, “Who do you listen to?”, “What do you wanna learn?”. I had a really great time with the guitar. I never took it super seriously, and then I started writing songs and singing, and that’s when I immediately felt that passion and that drive. When I wrote my first song, I was like “This is the coolest thing in the world.” I was like 12 or 13. And I knew right then, that this is what I’m doing for the rest of my life. So I immediately started performing at Open Mics and stuff, every week, twice a week, three times a week, as much as I could. And there was one night, that I was going to this place I went all the time in San Diego. And Jason Mraz was here. He played some songs and I played some songs. And he heard the stuff and he came up to me afterwards, and told that “I loved your songs, I want to mentor you, I want to introduce you to people.” And he did exactly that. We met up a week later and surfed, and went to his recording studio, and hung out, and little 13 year old me was just always listening to his music, so it was quite a moment for me. And he introduced me to a lot of people in industry and I began going up to LA three, four times a week every week, until I finally moved there, which is like a year and a half ago. I’m 21 now, always writing, producing records, touring and making music videos. We’ve been releasing music for a while, we have a lot of singles out, and my first EP dropped last summer, and my next EP comes out next month.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your EPs? What are the songs about?
Cody: My life was very different when I was writing my last EP. I was still going back and forth from San Diego to LA, and I had a girlfriend in San Diego that I fell in love with. And then you start to get the decision of moving to LA on the last EP, so the break up with my ex-girlfriend and all that. But the next EP is a 21-year-old dude who just moved to LA, and was trying to figure his shit out. It reflects on my day to day life in LA, and my relationship with my ex-girlfriend, and girls I’ve met in LA, and just life in general. This next EP is called Pull Out Couch, because I live on a pull out couch. So it’s very narrative EP for me. And I think it’s a good revolution from the last one as far as the conversation that continues. There’s a song on the last EP called “Love No More”, about the decision of breaking up with my ex-girlfriend. And there’s song on this new EP called “Be Here”, which is the aftermath of the same story, of me moving to LA, and finding out the reality that not having that girl around. The main lyrics is that “I thought you would be here, here with me.” So it’s an evolution of the story as life continues to unravel and the songs pour out of me. I’m really excited about this EP, cause it feels really fun. I think it’s a fun project to listen to. The first two tracks are very energetic and the rest kinda takes you through this wash of a story and I enjoyed creating it. Now we are getting to the mixing and I’m really proud of what we created.
Do you have some fun stories you want to share with us during the process of creating your EPs?
Cody: So there’s a song on this EP called “Oh No”. It’s about this girl who I’ve been seeing on and off for the last 4 years. It’s been this roller coaster type of relationship with this girl. In the writing session when I was starting to write this song. One of the writers was playing these chords on the keyboard, and I immediately saw this girl’s face in my head and couldn’t shake it. It was a crazy feeling. This girl, I hadn’t talked to her in months. And I immediately started thinking about her, and our relationship. I was like “that’s what we are writing today” with those chords. So I started explaining the concept of this relationship I had with this girl. And I explained for like 10 seconds, and I said “It’s about a girl named….”, and I gave the name. As soon as I said her name, my phone started ringing and she called me. And this is the girl I hadn’t talked to in months. So it was this really weird synergy, completely odd and crazy coincident that she called me. I turned to the co-producer on the track and ask him to start voice memo-ing. And he voice memo-ed our entire phone conversation. I think that’s illegal? But I told her that I was in the middle of writing this song. She’s like “Really, about what?” I was like “about you.” She’s like “Really? Right now?” I was like “Yeah.” So I had this kind of unmasking conversation with her where we talked about everything that we had never talked about within out relationship that we had, if you would even call it a relationship. And so it was this crazy conversation that I didn’t expect to have with her ever, and I had that night, for the sake of the song. Our conversation kind of wrote the song. We didn’t ever search for lyrics. We just listened back to the voice memo of our conversation and at one point on the phone call she said “If I were you, I’d hate me too.” And that’s the first line of the second verse. So it was a really cool way of writing a song that I’ve never experienced before.
Who are your influencers for your music?
Cody: Van Morrison, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Norah Jones. The very Americana folk type of music with a hint of blues, like Jimi Hendrix. John Mayer has been my biggest influence from beginning, but nowadays I also love people like Queen, Anderson .Paak, The 1975, Mac Miller. I’ll say John Mayer 8 times in a roll. It’s a diverse catalog. They all inspire me in different ways. I strive to take a little bit of what they have and put in my music. Not saying that I’ve accomplished that but I try to.
What’s your favorite food?
Cody: My favorite food? Sushi! I’m a big big big sushi fan. My favorite restaurant in the world is Sugar Fish, and this is not sponsored. It’s the best sushi that I’ve ever had. Every time I leave, I’m smiling.