Anybody with ears in the Des Moines/Ankeny area knows who Christopher the Conquered is. With fans reminiscent of Edward Sharpe’s cult-like following, they’re blowing up. And it helps that the just released a brand-spankin’-new music video within just a couple of weeks of the new album release (get it today!)
I snagged a few minutes with lead man (and Des Moines native) Chris Ford, 27. Which is quite a feat these days with all the publicity they’re getting. Good thing he knows how to stay local on a newly national scale. Here’s what he had to say.
Band Bombshell: Your band is huge. Was it meant to be that way from the beginning or did it slowly grow into one big, brass family?
Chris Ford: It was a slow process! Years in the making, not really intentional, just what nature intended, I suppose.
BB: How has your sound changed from when you first started making music?
CF: Well, it’s become much more musical! A lot more attention to the arrangement of the music as a vehicle of emotion, with or without lyrics. Sound has a lot of potential, if molded properly. I think we get it right every once in a while.
BB: You just came out with a music video for one of your new songs. Tell me how it was creating that? Any really awesome behind-the-scenes stories?
CF: It was a wonderful experience, at times stressful, with putting a lot of time into and not really being sure how it’d turn out. Patrick and Ashley Tape Fleming, though, are wonderful directors, and they really made it happen. Josh Becker’s ability to execute their vision with his shooting and editing was critical too. I was glad to see my original concept brought to life! Two good behind-the-scenes things: One is that Ashley (co-director) was a pretty good stand-in for me when we need two physical bodies of “me” to complete the illusion. The other is that in the scene where the band is walking on the street and also above in the skywalk at the same time, we were actually getting closed in by security guards on both sides in the skywalk, because it was Wells Fargo’s apparently. An employee let us in! Anyway, we walked like we were doing the scene and ignored their yells for us to stop, because we knew it was our last chance! I think we should start our own bank. Call it The Citizens of Iowa Can Take Care Of Themselves Thank You Very Much Bank Of Independence.
BB: What’s the secret, in your opinion, to making a living from music?
CF: I assume you mean money. Be popular, would be the short answer to that. As I do not make a financial living from music, I can’t answer as to how to achieve popularity. But I do make a living from music.
BB: Tell me about your new album. Any influences or new sounds you’re introducing?
CF: Absolutely. First album to be done with a full band. Previous efforts were me recording pretty much everything. This is recorded almost entirely live. Really bringing out the jazz, blues, and symphonic power of the horn section here.
BB: What’s your favorite part about being a local musician?
CF: Being friends with all the other local musicians! So many great songwriters are also my friends, and their art is made so much more powerful by being close to them. It makes me very happy.
BB: What’s your favorite song off of “The Fate of a Good Man?”
CF: My favorite tracks are “Let Us Not Confuse Our Thoughts With Our Beliefs” and “10,000 People”.
BB: Tell me a little about what goes into creating an album.
CF: The ego to think what you have to say should be heard. Hopefully your thinking is right and hopefully you have a balanced perspective. And hopefully you can bring the vision to fruition. I don’t know if I do or can, but I must have the ego part, though I’m not proud of that, I suppose.
BB: You just won a “Mixie” award. (Congrats!) Give me your acceptance speech.
CF: There are a dozen other local artists equally deserving of a Mixie, and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without their existence. Our band exists because of the community. It’s wonderful to be recognized and I hope it brings people to the music, and I hope the music opens parts of them they’ve never explored.