I had a chance this week to sit down with the extremely talented upcoming musician Topher Mohr. His new album Phlotilla just hit stores & iTunes lsast week. Topher gave me the inside scoop on what inspired his album and the number one quality he looks for in a girl.
Your album Marches to the Beat of it's own drum. Who influenced your style?
Man, I love all kinds of music. This can make it tricky when trying to define my style. I love Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Prince, MJ and Steely Dan. I think all of these influences can be heard on my new album 'Phlotilla'. But There's also some Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson in there and maybe even some Thin Lizzy.
Are your songs inspired by events & relationships in your personal life?
Very few of my songs are completely autobiographical, but they are all at least a little inspired by episodes in my life. I also draw on situations I see others going through. I like inventing fictional characters, such as Cindy or Jesse and Rita in Sidewalk, and creating a backstory based on an amalgam of things I've experienced and things I've witnessed or just dreamed up.
Do you have any goofy rituals when writing your lyrics?
Some songs, such as "Ruthless" and "Forever Yours", come very quickly. It's almost like they write themselves or they were already in existence. Others, such as Sidewalk, I chip away at for months or even years. As far as rituals, I like to write lyrics while running or walking outside or while going for a long drive. Sometimes if I'm stuck, I imagine myself singing the song live in hopes that the right lyrics will present themselves. Chords, melodies and grooves come pretty easily for me, but lyrics can take a lot of work.
What's the number one quality you look for in a girl?
Confidence and grace is always beautiful.
Any specific concerts coming up surrounding the launch of your new album?
I'm not doing any live shows in the immediate future. I spent the past 15 years touring as guitarist and backing vocalist with numerous bands including Mayer Hawethorne, Alice Smith, Black Market Radio, Brooklyn Zu, and Custom to name a few. I'm happy to spend some time on dry land. I am putting a live band together to support this record. We'll definitely start getting out there over the course of the next year.