Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Cory Nelson

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Cory Nelson

Cory Nelson followed me on Twitter a few weeks ago. I did some digging, saw he was a musician, listened to a few of his songs, and asked for an interview. This dude is impressive, and has a storied past for as young as he is. He plays a laundry list of instruments, too, and I was excited to learn more about him and all of his side projects. One of his side projects is a fake band. I know, right?! I will let him tell you all about that in this interview. Guys, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Cory Nelson.

You recently followed me on Twitter. Thanks for the follow! I’m curious, how did you find me? Happy you did, though!
And you recently followed me back! I believe I found you through #blogger? Your Twitter timeline reads like a master class in hashtagging.

That’s funny! Moving on, where are you originally from and where are you based now? As far as I know, it might be the same place!
I’m currently based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but I grew up and went to college around central Arkansas.

You are a producer. What do you produce?
I produce mainly pop and hip-hop tracks but have worked with indie/alternative bands and even got a call yesterday about producing a country tune or two!

What is a mix engineer?
A mix engineer takes all the recorded tracks and processes them individually and collectively so that the song (hopefully) sounds pleasing to the ear.

You are a member of Canopy Climbers and Tiny Houses. I’m guessing those are bands. I am not familiar with either of them… Can you elaborate?
Yes, one is a real band and one is a fake band. Canopy Climbers is my main project. We’re a “real” band, meaning we release music to be purchased/streamed by the public, play shows, promote the band, etc. Whereas Tiny Houses is a project that’s purely for licensing purposes, meaning folks can license the music for their film/TV/web projects but we don’t promote or sell the music as a “band.”

Tell me more about Fever EP.
The Fever EP is the latest release from Canopy Climbers. It was our attempt at crafting full-on pop songs. I produced and mixed the EP but it was pretty challenging. It’s always interesting to mix your own music because on the one hand, you know exactly how the artist wants it to sound because you’re the artist. But you also lose the objective “first-listen” that can really impact your mixing decisions. I finally landed on final mixes and we released the EP this time last year.

Your list of gear is pretty impressive. I won’t even begin to explain what is on there. So, help me out. What is all that, and do you really play all of those instruments?
Thanks, so a lot of it is recording equipment. As far as the instruments go, the list is a fancy way of saying I play guitar, bass, and keys.

Your music is available on Apple Music. What about Spotify?
Canopy Climbers is available all over the place. It’s on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon, etc. You can find projects I’ve been a part of on iTunes, Spotify, etc. as well (Jasper Logan, Alan Thomas, Brothers and Company, etc.)

Over the years, how many songs have you written that have been produced? On the other hand, how many have you written that have been tossed to the side and ignored?
I have gigs on gigs of awful songs and ideas! There’s probably some rule by Malcolm Gladwell or whoever that says only 10% of your ideas are actually good… And that’s definitely the case with me. That’s part of being creative though, you’ve just got to put the work in and every now and then hopefully something amazing will arise.

If you are a songwriter, that means you’re a storyteller. So… Tell me a story.
I wrote a Haiku
For this interview, because
They make great stories

Who are some of your biggest influences?
Artists: Radiohead/Thom Yorke, Coldplay, Jimmy Eat World, Nada Surf, D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens, The Roots

Producers: Max Martin, Timbaland, Pharrell, J-Dilla, 40, Jake-One, Greg Kurstin, Warren Huart

You’ve worked with a lot of artists over the years spanning multiple genres. Do you prefer writing/producing for a certain genre over the other, or does it even matter for you?
I really like producing beats for rap/hip-hop. Those are the most fun to just sit with headphones and jam out to. But it doesn’t really matter, I wouldn’t be doing this if there was something about it I didn’t enjoy.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Now you know I can’t answer this. So many things affect a show for me: performance, sound, nostalgia, who I’m with, venue size, etc. I guess my favorite show I’ve been to was Nada Surf at Juanita’s in Little Rock a year or two ago. That show had all the elements in place for me: performance was incredible, sound was great, some songs took me way back and the current songs were fantastic too. I was with my wife and most of my closest friends too so that’s an incredible thing to experience together. And the venue was small enough that Matthew Caws could watch me successfully complete an air guitar solo during every song.

I’ve not seen you live… Yet. What can fans expect from a live performance?
Canopy Climbers is a blend between a “normal” rock band and an electronic outfit. We have 3 vocals, drums, guitar and bass, but we also have 3 synthesizers on stage along with drum triggers and loops.

Have you ever made a mistake during a live performance?
Have I ever not made a mistake during a live performance?

What’s next for Cory Nelson?
More writing for Canopy Climbers, more producing tracks (beat store going live soon at, more mixing, etc. I’m always learning new techniques and trying to implement them into what I’m doing.

Thank you for doing this. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Thanks so much for this! I guess my last word would be to find that thing that makes you happy and try to do it every day. Some days I just have time to make some quick edits to a song for thirty minutes or so, but that’s still a successful day for me.

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