Wednesday, February 11

Center Stage - Todd Herfindal

Our newest Center Stage artist, Todd Herfindal has been wrangling the jangle out of rootsy power pop for years now as singer, guitarist, bandleader, producer and all around good guy. Most are completely unaware that he is also a platinum-certified songwriter and guitar player. 

Whether he’s turning up a guitar or sitting in a co-write, he always brings laughs, plenty of heart and an unstoppable faucet of melodies.

Todd’s latest twelve-song solo record, RIGHT HERE NOW, gives about as pure a statement of the people and sounds in Todd’s life that he could possibly offer. It’s a sonic guidebook for an Americana-style ramble around the deep indie music backstreets of Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a side tour of sonic shimmer territory that only a former staff writer/producer for Peer Music (the largest independent music publisher) could show you right.

The album is equal parts rock, roots, pop, Americana and alt country with chiming guitars, soaring melodies, heartfelt lyrics and a warm, harmony-laden sound that will give your home a new coat of paint and your lady an idea. California power pop fans will recognize old friend Rich McCulley in many songs, both as co-writer and guitarist.

The album also features other old friends and new kindred spirits such as co-writer and Nashville wunderkind Will Kimbrough (The Jayhawks, Gomez, Emmylou Harris); drummers Paul Griffith (Sheryl Crow, Todd Snider), DJ Bonebrake (X, The Knitters) and Tommy Rickard (Linda Perry, Scott Weiland); bassists Taras Prodaniuk (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Richard Thompson) and Greg Boaz (Dave Alvin); keyboardist Carl Byron (Anne McCue, Michelle Shocked).

Todd’s songwriting and guitar have landed on co-written songs like Alesha Dixon’s “Let’s Get Excited” on her certified-platinum UK Warner/Asylum album “The Alesha Show” (with over 3.4 million YouTube, and Myspace combined plays). His label Single Recordings is a happy home to many underground bands and writers. Todd’s mellower side-project The Meadows, though currently undergoing renovations, is still a pop fan favorite with placements all over television and film and positive reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone. And there are those who still raise lighters at the mention of his early bands like Single and Blue Sky Roadster, which led the indie rock soundtrack in the Bay Area for many years.

Todd is currently writing songs for a “darker, more blues-influenced rock vibe” and looks forward to rolling out some singles and then his 3rd solo album.

Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
California classic, anthemic "can't get it outta my effing head"-pure-heartland-rock- for now people

What inspires you to make music?
All the amazing layers to people, life. My wife, and lovely 4 month baby girl. The songs and melodic ideas that seem to invade my head.

What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
Change. Assuming different personalities in music and lyric etc. Trying new emotional vibes in songs and seeing what happens creatively. I record and produce my own music so I have a natural love of the studio recording process.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a musician?
Being able to make a consistent living as a music artist. I admit I'm luckier than some. I also do music production work as a mix or mastering engineer as well as guitar session gigs. This alongside film/tv song placements here in LA, but I gotta be honest, it's very challenging to tour, given how expensive it is to live on Los Angeles, and how hard it is to get any wide exposure as an indie artist. It also stinks that in general, digital downloads have shrunken due to low-royalty-paying streaming becoming so popular. You know, same ol' same

What's one of your all-time favorite recordings?
"Baker Street" - Gerry Rafferty

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why- Living or dead.
-John Lennon - because there is and never will be. . another artist like him. From "She's So Heavy" (yes I know that's Beatles) to "Imagine" take your pick.
-Tom Petty - just listen to the greatest hits. One amazing hit after the next, and watch the 3 DVD retrospect for proper mind-blowing.
-Neil Young - are you kidding me? get outta here

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us?
I co-wrote an album with a new artist named Bevin Hamilton. She's got an amazing voice and has got this American-Gothic-Rock thing going on that is really epic and dramatic. Producer James Michael is currently recording her upcoming release. Can't wait.

I recorded, mixed and mastered the album "The Slow Down" by Martin Kaplan who also co-fronts a band called Lost Pilgrims. His stuff has got a real Ryan Adams vibe, but maybe with a voice that's closer to baritone. Some cool, more country-ish tracks on this one.

I just landed two songs in the UPTV movie Paper Angels. One of those songs "Christmas Star"  appears in Radio Airplay's 2014 Holiday channel.

What is your ideal or target audience?
I suspect that it's new rock, Americana, classic rock and singer-songwriter fans.

Do you write your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.
Melody/music first. Then lyrics. I co-write a lot. I often save little song snippet ideas on my phone, but they usually always end up turned into songs, either on my own or with one of my trusted co-writers.

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
That it's real exposure for the music. And that you can make legitimate fans. This can only be a good thing.

Do you have an Interesting story about you you’d like to tell us about?
My van was stolen from out in front of my old practice space. The cops found it later that night, broken down in the road nearby. The battery was dying and the thieves stalled it out and it wouldn't re-start. My drummer told the cops that all the dents were from the car thieves (actually, they were from my girlfriend at the time). I salvaged the car with insurance. They paid me it's value. I bought back the car from them for $400 and bought a shit-load of recording gear with their $, which was my first recording rig that eventually morphed into the studio I use now. Who says you can't take a drummer anywhere?