Live 365- IJ Studios: William Steffey Q&A

1. In your own words how do you describe your music?

Post Modern Rock: electronica, honest hard rock, and 70s FM songwriting. I tend to make the music that I’m not hearing on the radio yet. There hasn’t really been a sensible culmination of prior decades. It’s all so sporadic, don’t you think?

2. What bands/artists if any influenced your work?

Thomas Dolby, The Smiths, Steely Dan, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Bjork.

3. What bands/artists are your favorite?

see #2. Also storytellers like Harry Chapin, Suzanne Vega, and Jim Croce. 80’s masters like New Order, Duran Duran, and Def Leppard. And naturally guitar heroes like Eddie, Joe, and Steve.

4. How long have you’ve been playing?

I started recording when I was 12. At that time, my dad was a rep for several audio gear companies (e.g. Tascam, Shure, JBL) so I got a factory sample 4-track recorder when I was just a pup. Started on trombone in 4th grade. Guitar in 7th, keyboards, bass and drums quickly followed.

5. What is your musical history? Instruments you learned on, schools you played in, other bands you were in.

Basically self-taught. Played brass in concert band in junior high, then jazz-band on guitar at Deerfield High School for several years. These jazz band members would later spawn ‘Captured by Robots’, ‘BlueMeanies’, and, well, me. Must have been something in the water.

6. Of all your work, what if any was your favorite?

I could play the “well, they’re all like my kids and I love them equally” game, but in all seriousness, they’re all like my kids and I love them equally. (stage whisper: ‘Waterside’ from the Silver Nitrate cd.)

7. From conception to finished version, how long on average does it take complete a song?

Shortest song about 3 hours, longest 4 years. I’m trying not to fuck around so much though… I should be focused enough to complete things within a week or so. I did a cover tune for a friend’s birthday recently and it took me only 3 days. I thought to myself- okay… you can do your own tunes in 3 weeks tops if you apply yourself. I just have to assign my priorities as such.

8. How did your band come together?/ How did you decide on your career?

Oh man, I wanted to be in a band since 3rd grade. I made up little pretend bands around that age. I wanted to be famous since forever. Then I was deathly afraid of fame. Now I don’t know what the hell is going on! My center says… ‘William… you must make music…’ so I just follow that.

9. Where do you find your inspiration?

On the surface, the love I have for friends I’m close to. They tend to be my proverbial muses. But I think that even if I’m writing a love song that social commentary tends to come through all over the place. So much in fact that sometimes I feel that “the love song” is actually my medium.

10. Of all the elements in the periodical table, which one most symbolizes you and why?

LOL. My friend Lis equates everybody to some element on the periodic table. The elements on the left are unstable… need to bond. Everybody is evolving, drifting to the right… toward the independent noble gases which occupy the far right column. What am I really? I’d have to say Helium because it’s a noble gas but it’s still a little tricky.