11 Questions: Teo Crider

I was first introduced to Teo Crider when he was a teen, playing in The Cherubs. Right from the get go, it was obvious Teo was a unique kid – smart, interesting and a great songwriter. As I’ve gotten to know him over the years, Teo has always wowed me with his songwriting, while being a good friend in the music scene. Along with his band, Candysound, Teo releases his solo material under the moniker Porch Party as well as releasing his compilation series Your Song Here. It was my pleasure to talk to Teo for this month’s 11 questions.

BC (Brent Cole): Who are you and where did you come from?

TC (Teo Crider): Hey. I was born in Tokyo, Japan and ended up in the Pacific Northwest in 1992. In short, I grew up in the Skagit Valley, but Bellingham’s been my home for about three years now. Since 2008 or so, I’ve been recording albums in my bedroom, playing music up and down the coast, taking too many photos, and generally just trying to be as involved in the arts as I can while still being able to pay rent on time.


BC: How old were you when you first picked up a guitar and what drew you to it?

TC: There’s always been a lot of music in my parent’s house growing up, be it Bob Dylan, The Beatles, or Mozart. But I was 15 or 16 when I first got interested in guitar, when my dad’s copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind ended up in my Walkman. I’m pretty sure most teenagers still pick up guitars when they first hear that album.

My first instrument was a pawnshop Hondo guitar gifted to me by a family friend, plastic pick-ups and all. It was awesome. This inevitably led to covering it in anti-Bush stickers and playing in a high school punk-rock band called The Cherubs. We played most of our shows in our friend’s chicken shed.


BC: If you could have a happy hour cocktail with anyone in Bellingham, who would it be? 

I think it would be pretty silly if Ben Gibbard bought me a drink. At The Royal. I like some Death Cab, but I’d probably ask him for tour tips, what the music scene was like 10 years ago and how the hell he stuck with Western.


BC: When was the last time you stayed up all night and what brought on the all-nighter?

TC: My last all-nighter was… last night, actually. Candysound played at Make.Shift with our buddies Specters, SEACATS, and Young Splendor. It was our first show in a while, and our second since our friend Nikko (from Cat From Hue) joined our line-up, so there was definitely some post-show staying-up-all-night-happenings happening.


BC: Walk us through your perfect winter day in Bellingham?

TC: For me, a perfect day wouldn’t begin before noon. I’d probably start with a cup of coffee, in bed. Then, any variation of going to Clayton or hiking somewhere in the North Cascades with friends sounds pretty nice. After that we’d head over to a house show where ideally, we’d make it in time to see The Palisades totally rock. Topping off the night with dinner at Indian Flavors and drinks downtown would be alright, with me too.


BC: If you could play music with anyone in America, who would it be and why? 

TC: If dreams came true, I’d love to play music with Cat Power. I wouldn’t even mind being the awkward guy in the back with just a tambourine and no microphone. I really like loud guitars and noise, but I think there’s something pretty awesome about an artist who uses her voice as her main instrument. Especially one that ethereal.


BC: You and your siblings were all born in Japan. Have you ever been back? If you have, what was it like returning to your birthplace? If not… do you hope to go?  

I’ve been back a few times, but not for a while, almost entirely because of the cost of the plane ticket. The last time I was there I was in high school, and I remember trying to buy every Smashing Pumpkins bootleg I could find and eat at every ramen shop I passed. I’m hoping to go sometime in 2013 to visit my grandmother and my aunt’s watermelon farm. It’s been too long, and next time I’d like to visit more castles and shrines.


BC: What is the most unexpected Your Song Here contribution?

TC: For those that don’t know, Your Song Here’s been an on-going songwriting collective that some friends and I have been working on over the last year and a half. Local musicians write songs in response to a theme, and we release a compilation of those songs about every other month.

It’s really hard to choose a favorite since there are a lot of talented people sending in songs for every album, but the Periodicals’ cover of Bjork’s “Unravel”, Dad’s Work Stuff’s “Don’t Kiss Me Goodbye” and the Hooves and Beak song “White Teeth” really stand out to me.

Shameless YSH plug: we’re working on our tenth album, and the theme is “End of the World.” I totally encourage anyone and everyone to be a part of it before Dec. 21 comes around! You can send your tunes to yrsonghere@gmail.com.


BC: Tell me something about yourself that would surprise people.

TC: I write and record songs pretty compulsively. I haven’t counted recently, but I’m pretty sure I have over 400 something songs recorded and stored away on my external, on CD’s, and on defunct Myspace pages.

Also, I might have an unhealthy preoccupation with my fish tank.


BC: Top five desert island classics? 

Ah, that’s a tough one dude. If I’m gonna be stranded there for a while, I’d probably snag a little bit of everything. Probably Paul Simon’s Graceland, The Replacement’s Let It Be, Radiohead’s OK Computer, Mazzy Star’s She Hangs Brightly, and maybe a Bob Dylan greatest hits CD or something.


BC: What is your dream non-musical career?

TC: An astronaut would be an amazing job.


BC: Your dad is kind of a big wig in the organic food industry. What is your favorite memory of him growing up?

TC: A lot of my favorite childhood memories take place in the outdoors. I remember taking trips up valley to the Cascadian Farm home farm as a kid for blueberry ice cream. Timeberline Lodge on Mount Hood was a great trip too. Going to the Outer Banks to swim in the Atlantic, sledding on Mount Baker, jumping into Cascade Lake on Orcas Island. I can’t say I had / have an unhappy childhood.


BC: And what is one trait of your father’s do you admire the most?

TC: My dad’s is the most generous, hardworking, talented, and honest guy I know. If I could have a fraction of any of those qualities, I’d be content with myself.


BC: What’s next for Teo?

TC: There’ll be a new Porch Party album out in a few weeks. And my housemates and I have been working on some serious covers, and some seriously ridiculous ones, too.

Also, Candysound’s been doing a lot of writing and demo-ing this winter, so I’m hoping for a new EP early next year. At least something to go along with our brief tour in January with our Portland buddies The Hague. Not totally sure yet, because plans are tentative and things always change, but I’m really excited about music in the next few months.

Thanks for indulging me Brent, talk to you soon.