Artist: Christopher Hall
How did you get interested in music? What started me off was playing saxophone in elementary school band when I was about 8 years old. I didn't start playing guitar until I was 14. My dad was a drummer. My mom played piano and violin, and I just kind of fell into it and kept going with music throughout my life.
How long have you been playing music out at venues? I started in a punk-rock/ska band back in 1998. That was the first time I really wrote any music or played with anyone. I played guitar, did lead vocals and played saxophone once in a while. As far as the acoustic stuff goes . . . I started that about five years ago. Probably about two years ago, I decided to start writing my own album and have been doing that every since.
What are your musical influences? There are so many of them. My biggest influence would be Jason Mraz. I listen to his stuff a lot. He has a great voice and is really good at songwriting. Other than that, so many punk/ska bands, believe it or not, like Bad Religion, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger (and) New Found Glory. Pretty much all the stuff that I don't play myself is what I listen to.
Can you describe your own style? The first album was more trying to find out what I was good at and what people liked, so I switched styles a lot. There were songs on there that sounded like disco. Now, what I'm writing for the new album is much more of an acoustic feel. (The music is) more similar to something like Jack Johnson, solo Jason Mraz, John Mayer or Dave Matthews. (It's) more relaxed and definitely more focused than it was before.
Is there a local place you like to play? There are several. I play at 4-B's Tavern a lot in Manchester. They've always been good to me there. Also, Bube's Brewery in Mount Joy. There (are) so many good local bars that you can go to hear live music, but those are a few of my favorite.
What is your take on the music scene in York? I think the people are definitely more receptive not only to live music but original music as well. However, the biggest thing has been getting bar owners . . . to change around to being open to hearing more than just cover songs. That's been going better as of recently in York. I play a lot in Lancaster, and there is definitely a good live music scene for originals there and in Harrisburg as well. With York begin stuck between, it's going take a little longer, but it's definitely been on the up-swing.
Do you have a best memory from your music career so far? You have your good nights and your bad nights. The most fun I ever had was at Spaghettifest down in Virginia recently. There were so many good bands. It was just three days of nothing but music on three stages. The absolute best time I had was just hanging out with the different bands and people and listening to their music to see what you can pull from them.
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure? I'm sure there are tons of them that I've listened to here or there that I wouldn't want to mention. (I'm a) closet *NSYNC fan. I hate to admit it. I know they don't write their own stuff. I go back to their older catalog just to listen to the different harmonies that they have vocally. You can pull a lot from that, even though the substance of the music isn't there. That's the one that I'd be most ashamed of.
If you could run the music industry for a day, what would you do? I'd cut down recording costs so bands actually make money. These days, the album budgets and the advertising are so huge that in order for any band signed to a major label to make any money, they have to sell records into the millions.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF