Let’s just call today “Tanner Tuesday” because nothing is going to top the words this guy laid down before us. He’s a true blue musician with a dim past, but even brighter future – if he continues to play his cards right. So let’s not waste anymore time because Tanner had a lot to say when it came time to dish about his interesting influence, a trip out west and Piper Chapman.
Kendra: What kind of influence has Nikola Tesla had on your music making?
Tanner: Nikola Tesla was a genius. He was the founder of modern electricity. Thomas Edison’s DC power system was extremely inefficient, and he actually hired Tesla to fix it. Tesla’s alternating current system changed the world. Tesla is also responsible for the radio, and countless other inventions. I look up to Tesla’s passion, and his obsession with 3, 6, and 9. I’m very much into those numbers. In fact, the single digits 0-9 on the length of my songs will always break down to a 3. For example, 2:52, 2+5+2 is 9, which breaks down to 6+3, which breaks down to 3+3+3. Weird, but I make an extraordinary effort to make that happen on every song. I find it interesting that the number of pyramids, base length and slant height of the pyramids of Giza also revolve around the number 3. He worked very hard, slept 2 hours a day, and always followed his passion. I very much admire his commitment. Music is my passion, and I love it as much as Tesla loved his science.
Kendra: You mentioned in a recent interview that there were several emotions flowing through you when you were recording your self-titled record, but which are fans going to hear the most?
Tanner: I’m not exactly sure. I think a lot of it is left to interpretation, which I like. I want people to find different emotions in the song, depending on what they are feeling in their own life. If I had to guess, I’d say heartbreak, or a sense of moving on. The entire EP was written about a past relationship. I am normally telling a few different stories at the same time. On the surface, it might be one thing, but underneath, it might be a completely different story. I leave it up to the listener to ultimately decide what the song is about.
Kendra: If your music was going to be the soundtrack to a character on Orange is the New Black, whose life would it fit best and why?
Tanner: I’d definitely say Piper. I really enjoy the show; her character shows a lot of resilience. Taylor Schilling is also hilarious, and her sarcasm is something I also relate to. Piper never gives up, and always continues to move forward. I think an Emmy should be in her future. On a side note, why are the categories for best lead actor and actress two separate categories? It seems to me like the best should be the best. I thought her performance was better than any of the men or woman nominated, but…
Kendra: Like some of the characters on OITNB, you’ve had your troubles with substance abuse. How has that history shaped your present?
Tanner: Substance abuse has shaped me in so many ways. It’s such a difficult thing to stop. I’m very fortunate that I was able to do that. Through those experiences, I definitely learned more about compassion. I view things in a totally different way. Opiates are hell on earth, truly. So, when one comes out of that, they tend to be a different person. My drug use had a negative impact on relationships, which I wish I could go back and change. However, one can’t appreciate the light, until they live in total darkness.
Kendra: One song and story I connected to was “Come Alive.” What kind of advice do you have for those who are in the state of moving on with someone?
Tanner: I don’t have much advice on that. I’m really just here to tell my stories, and hope that people can relate to them. For me, I just continued to follow my heart and tell my stories. It’s my way of clearing my head and moving on from the past. Getting the thoughts out is so important, writing, talking… it’s all the same. Thoughts will eat you alive. When you set them free, you are free. Music is my way of doing that.
Kendra: Speaking of moving on, you’re heading out west to LA from NYC. Are you ready and what is the first place you’re going to eat after you get there?
Tanner: Little Dom’s will definitely be my first meal in LA. I am very excited about my upcoming trip to LA, but NYC is my home and it’s where my heart is. My heart is in Manhattan. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, but I will definitely come back. I couldn’t imagine considering anywhere else my home. I feel connected to the frequency of New York. Fighting that would be going against the laws of the universe.
Kendra: What’s the rest of 2014 look like for you? Are you going to take advantage of the LA music scene and try and land as many showcases while in town?
Tanner: I am looking forward to playing shows in LA. I love Los Angeles. I recorded both music videos for this EP there. The weather over the winter time will be a definite improvement from New York. Sharing my songs with as many people as I can is my goal, so any opportunity to do that, I’d definitely consider. I have more stories to tell, so a new record is also a focus for me right now. The LA music scene is very interesting to me. In LA, people love music. To a certain extent, New York is stuck in the “glory” days of the Lower East Side, CBGB’s, and the Ramones. Times have changed, and I think LA is in sync with that.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape for your trip out west later this year, what five songs would have to be on it?
Tanner: Thank you for such great questions. It was very refreshing.
“Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” – Three Dog Night
“Let’s Dance” – David Bowie
“Higher and Higher” – Jackie Wilson
“She Said She Said” – The Beatles
“I’ve Just Seen A Face” – The Beatles