Corey Durkin will become a household name in music. Corey Durkin is by far one of my most memorable interviews. In this interview, we talk about his music and much more.
Rob: What was your first guitar?
Corey: Oh man. My first guitar was a Takamine G-240 and it was a right-handed guitar! My Dad bought it for me when I was in 7th grade…and I tried to play it for a bit…but I was holding toy guitars left-handed in EVERY picture of me as a kid. So it just didn’t feel natural and after two years, I asked him if we could string the guitar lefty…the guys at the guitar shop said it was a bad idea but as soon as we did that, I started to play and write songs. I just had that guitar set up and it’s now hanging on the wall in my studio.
Rob: What inspired your song “Beautiful?”
Corey: My little cousin! She’s actually in the music video for that song…I was struck by the idea our culture has moved into this E-News version of values and it occurred to me that she was growing up in an age where what we’re bombarded with, especially through social media, is very much the topical/face value/here’s what my life looks like’/’isn’t it great even though it’s not great at all’ type of stuff. And I realized that I had a lot of say about the counter-argument to that. And to also let her know that if any guys mess with her, they’ll have me to answer to. And by ‘answer to’, I mean I’ll put them through a series of increasingly tough trivial pursuit questions until their brains get so confused that they tie themselves into a brain-pretzel and are useless to the world. At which point, I will cover that pretzel in Himalayan pink sea salt and caramel swirl and eat it and maybe even start a food truck. Brain Pretzels: We Mop The Flour With You.
Rob: I love your song “Holly.” How long did it take to write that song?
Corey: Thank you! That’s so nice of you! Honestly, I do not remember writing “Holly” which is pretty rare for me to say…I DO, however, remember playing an early version of the song in a friend’s kitchen on a farm in Pennsylvania while a very large pig named Wilbur slept next to the oven. So, that’s a thing. But yeah! As soon as I wrote it, I heard those harmonies and knew it’d be this big chorus…I was really excited to record that song for the album and knew it had to be the first song on the track listing!
Rob: Where does your soulful sound come from?
Corey: Well, that’s a very kind adjective, thank you. I’ve never considered the ‘soulful’ word to describe my music but that means a lot! I’ll translate that into a less-grandiose word to answer the question and, maybe, that’d be “authentic”…so…where does my “authentic” sound come from? I think it comes from having things to say, having stories to tell and pushing myself to be more open in my personal life as well as in my art. Especially because, even though it can feel raw and uncomfortable to BE that open at times, I’ve realized that once the art is out in the world, it’s less about ME and more about how others interpret it through their own filters and experiences and desires, in relation to their own lives. So, some version of that is an answer, I think. Wanting to authentically connect the dots for myself and then allowing others to do the same for themselves, if they so choose. Or, just having a tune with a fun chorus to sing along to with the top down. I don’t know a lot of friends who have convertibles in Connecticut but I guess it’s always a possibility. The Miami market (which, I can tell you, has a plethora of convertibles) has not yet cottoned onto my music in a way that would generate massive amounts of convertible-driving, Corey Durkin-listenings guys and gals and basically the whole “top down” metaphor has really gotten away from me at this point.
Rob: What is your songwriting process?
Corey: A lot of songs are written while driving…I’ll pop open my voice memos and start singing and when I finally sit down to listen, an entire song is just sitting there in that recording. It happens in different ways…I started a concert series in Connecticut that has allowed me to connect with musicians I wouldn’t have otherwise had the need to jam with and that whole experience is giving me new data and relationships and opportunities to have people over to my house to jam and record and write…exploring that new level of songwriting is really fun right now.
Rob: How do you stand out from other musicians?
Corey: Well, I’m 6’3” so I stand ABOVE a lot of musicians which makes me a great pick for power forward or even a center…I run a mean pick and roll. Kaiser roll. I DO think that I’m different in the way that I don’t take the presentation of my art too seriously anymore. I used to be very precious with the presentation and now, if I want to film a music video where the entire thing is about my friend running a ladybug farm, I can just do it. There’s a certain freedom in breaking the paradigm of the solemn, singer/songwriter that I think is fun and exciting for me. And, as I’ve never been accused of being particularly reverent, I think it works.
Rob: What is your goal as a musician?
Corey: To create! Perpetually! I do a bunch of fun businessy (not a word) stuff in my day-to-day and I’m very blessed to have the ability to record and write and create new music, always. I’ve determined that I’ll always be in a perpetual state of “working on new stuff” so instead of worrying about “when is the next album coming out?” I’m just going to focus on writing and recording and putting new music out there when it’s done – again, less worried about the presentation (once it’s ready to be released, that is) and more focused on getting it OUT into the world.
Rob: Describe music in 3 words.
Corey: Starfish and coffee.
You can purchase Beyond the Village here.