With a recent nomination for Best Male Folk Artist for the Indie Music Channel Awards and a catchy EP, A Humble Beginning, under his belt, Chris Fairbank is a local artist to watch–and he’s only 19! We caught up with him to discuss his blossoming career and his debut album set to release this spring
Band Bombshell: You started playing guitar your freshman year in high school. How did you get started? Did you know you wanted to pursue music right away?
Chris Fairbank: I started playing guitar freshman year because I was enrolled in a guitar class. The class wasn’t too hard but I didn’t fall in love with the instrument, mainly because my first guitar had a warped neck and a cracked body. So no, I had no idea I wanted to pursue music.
BB: You’re originally from Colorado. How is the Iowa music scene different from Colorado’s?
CF: Simply put, Colorado’s music scene is alive and well. There are four or five local venues that have music, often times big name acts, almost every night. Then you have the iconic venue Red Rocks, which is the largest natural venue in the world. So, in comparison, Des Moines’ is lacking. But in retrospect, it makes it a great place for emerging musicians. It’s a lot easier to book a gig at the Vaudeville Mews that it would be to play the Ogden or Blue Bird back home. Out in Denver, I’m kinda stuck in dive bars or shared stage events.
BB: You hooked up with bassist and guitarist Matt Andrews and drummer Ben Poppen at Drake. How did you guys meet each other and has that influenced your music at all?
CF: Matt and I met while we were brothers in Sigma Phi Epsilon. First we began playing talent shows and the likes, which later lead to us playing some of my originals. He told me about Ben and one day while Matt and I were practicing, I saw Ben out on the set practicing, as well. So, I went up to him and introduced myself and asked if he’d be interested. Luckily, he said yes. The influence not only has made the music fuller, but their musical expertise allows me to explore the boundaries of the songs I’ve already written and keep them in mind for the ones on the way.
BB: You’re currently recording your debut album. What kind of sound can we expect from it?
CF: The new album is going to be a full band version of my singer/songwriter sound. You can expect to hear some Folk Rock mixed with just a little bit of Country.
BB: What is your favorite song off of your new album?
CF: This is a hard one. But I think my favorite song is titled “Her Heart.” You’ll have to keep your eyes out for that one!
BB: If you could have one wish for your career as a musician, what would it be?
CF: As a musician, I would love to be able to live off of my music. Experiencing the life of the touring musician is something that I hope to see in the near future!
BB: What advice do you have for younger musicians trying to make a start?
CF: I would say the biggest thing for people starting out would be don’t give up. Learning a new instrument is something that takes a lot of time. You will fail and–when it comes to guitar–you will feel pain. Just remember that all of the greats had to start from scratch, too.
BB: What are some of your favorite local bands/musicians?
CF: I gotta say, I love going to The Lift on a Tuesday night to listen to The Uplift Quintet.