The new video for “Punk Rock Cowboy” features Gangsta Boo of Three 6 Mafia fame as well as YouTube star Nicole Arbour. Check it out below before you can see it anywhere else.
By Sean Stroh
David Christopher came to an important crossroads in his life when he walked away from “Against All Odds”, the punk-metal band he founded in 2004.
While the desire to go solo was a prospect Christopher always had in mind, nearly a decade’s worth of enduring the ups and downs of an aspiring band had taken its toll. It was time for a much needed break.
Now after a three year hiatus from music, he’s back in the studio and finally having fun with music again. In fact, it wasn’t long before he found himself experimenting with different sounds and styles in the studio. For Christopher, no longer having to balance creative control with multiple band mates had its benefits.
In what could best be described as a hard-hitting fusion of crunchy guitars, head-bobbing beats and catchy melodies, Christopher’s upcoming EP Rise of the Underdog finds itself intertwining two different genres — hip hop and rock.
Coming Up Magazine talked to David Christopher about his very first music video as a solo act, the importance of positivity and his songwriting process.
Your first EP as a solo artist, Rise of the Underdog, will be released next month. Is there a particular track on it you feel is your strongest piece of work?
I’m pretty stoked with all five of the tracks on the EP. I think each one has its own unique sound to them. I’m not sure which one would probably be considered my strongest work but I am particularly happy with “PunkRock Cowboy.” The song kind of came about accidentally. I started writing it on a guitar with a different direction in mind and by the time it was done it had evolved into something really rad and different. It has got a silly vibe to it but a serious message at the same time. It’s sarcastic, blunt and honest…I feel overall it the best representation of who I am.
You also have a music video on the way featuring YouTube celebrity Nicole Arbour as well as hip hop legend “Gangsta Boo” of Three 6 Mafia. How did your relationship with each of them come about and why did you decide to feature them in your very first music video?
I’m super excited and humbled to have been fortunate to work with two awesome and talented women right out of the gate. Their belief in me and support for what I’m doing truly means a lot.
I actually got linked up with Gangsta Boo through her boyfriend when we were shooting a commercial together. He’s also a musician and rapper so we were talking music and I was telling him how I was working on my new solo project. I mentioned that I was looking for a badass female rapper in particular that could really hold her own on a track. He mentioned to me that his girlfriend is a rapper and that I should use her. Little did I know that his girlfriend was Gangsta Boo of Three 6 Mafia…so long story short he linked us up and it all worked out great.
As for Nicole, I remember watching a video she did where she was making fun of “Instagram Models” and told myself “this girl gets it.” She was blunt, raw and a shit talker but made valid points. She wasn’t afraid to say how she felt and pissed a lot of people off so I knew I needed to work with her. This was around the time I was finishing up my track “PunkRock Cowboy.” Considering the message and attitude of the track, I realized pretty quickly that this would be a perfect fit.
So, I reached out to her not knowing what to expect and she ended up really digging the song. I was stoked! We got on a Skype call and just clicked right away. We have a similar mindset and a lot in common. Despite what some people may think, she is actually a really awesome, humble and caring person. We had a lot of fun working together.
How involved were you with the creative process of the music video? Did you come up with the concept or did you work with a writer/director?
I was very involved with the creative process! I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do for the video when I was finishing up the song in the studio. I did work with a director who is a good friend of mine by the name of Matthew Talamantes. He and his team are very talented and fun to work with. I explained to him the concept I had for the video and I felt like he really understood what I was going for. We went over storyboard, set design, shots, costumes and he brought my vision to life.
On your Instagram you describe yourself as a “punk rock athlete.” Have music and fitness always been something you’ve been passionate about? Did one come before the other in terms of what your interest was as a young kid growing up?
Definitely! I have always had a love for music and fitness pretty early on. I was in a lot of sports growing up as a kid. I think that was my parents way of trying to keep me out of trouble. So being an athlete was just something I was without even realizing it yet.
I picked up a guitar around the age of 12 but I didn’t get serious about it until two years later which was also around the time I started getting into the gym. I think I was going through a lot in life at the time and trying to understand puberty but music and the gym were both a big way for me to escape…they were a release for me in different ways.
A big theme I noticed on your Instagram page is positivity and hard work. Do you think a lot of people fall in the trap of coming up with reasons why they aren’t where they want to be in life? In your opinion, does it really all come down to hard work?
I am completely all about positivity. I believe your attitude and mindset can determine a lot. If you project positivity, you will get positive results. I’ve never been one to make or except excuses. Unfortunately, I really do believe a lot of people get sucked into doing this. Something is too hard, or things didn’t work out the way they planned or just fear of failure and taking a risk in general. I am more of a take action kind of guy. I have always believed that life is truly what you make it. I have never understood people that say that other people’s dreams or goals are impossible…says who?
Why can’t you be the next movie star, NBA athlete, champion or even manager at your job? Why can’t you start your own company and be successful at it? You decide how far you go in life… you decide how hard you work and the life that you will live.
It definitely comes down to hard work but it also comes down to dedication and perseverance. You will be tested, it will be hard and you will get knocked on your ass. You have to believe. Get back up, dust yourself off, adapt, overcome and achieve! We all face obstacles in life… I have had so many try to stop me but I keep fighting, I keep moving forward. Fear and weakness is a choice. Life is short so go out and live.
When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music and what was the reaction from your friends and family? Was there support? A bit of skepticism?
I believe I was around the age of 14 when I really started taking music seriously. My family was actually pretty cool and supportive about everything. I don’t think they realized how serious I was at first and that it would end up consuming my life. Throughout the years though I obviously had naysayers or haters as we call them today. This still exists and I don’t think it will ever go away. Certain people just don’t like to see others succeed for jealous reasons or whatever reason… but that’s just life. Not everyone is going to like or understand you. I just use it more as fuel to keep me motivated.
Take me through the process of getting an idea in your head to playing it for a crowd of people.
The song writing process is obviously a little different now from when I was writing with the band. I don’t have other members to bounce ideas off of or co-write. The initial writing of a song itself I guess is still pretty much the same in the sense that whenever or wherever I have an idea for a song I write it down or record it on my phone. It can come at random times and I draw inspiration from events in my life.
For example, just the other day I was riding in a car when I got this idea for some lyrics and chorus melody for a new song so I pulled out my phone, recoded me singing the melody and texted myself the lyrics. So from there I then take the idea and work it out on guitar to try to build the skeleton of the song. Then I take it to the studio and bring it to life, adding and perfecting all of the different layers. Not all songs are written the same though… it just really depends.
Have you ever written a song, performed it live and told yourself “that song is awful I’m never playing that again.” Or for the most part are you happy with the way your songs come out?
I’m sure some of my earlier songs I wrote and performed with the band were pretty bad. I was writing since I was 12 years old but there are some songs that don’t necessarily turn out as originally intended.
It’s definitely a learning and growing process. You just got to keep writing and make people forget the bad stuff. As of now, I am happy with the music I have currently been working on but who knows, maybe I’ll eventually look back on those too and ask myself what the hell I was thinking? (laughs)
Are there any upcoming or relatively unknown bands you are currently listening to that you would like to give a little shout out to?
Definitely! Check out a good friend of mine and very talented singer and performer Emily Patterson. She recently started a new rock-metal band named “Into The Further”. She’s super talented and the band sounds awesome! I would also, like to shout out a band by the name of Porcelain Hill. They are the real deal…soulful, rock and blues band that makes you want to get up and shake your ass every time you see them perform. They have such great energy and raw talent! A very hardworking and humble group. Definitely check them out!