Chicago Farmer Interview
Chicago Farmer Interview
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a good friend and one of my favorite local musicians Cody, the Chicago Farmer. It was a great honor to have my first interview with someone I admire so much. Cody was a pleasure to interview and had a lot to share with me. With the exception of a few technology errors the interview went very smoothly. Here it is for all of you to enjoy…
Reverb Soul: You strike me as a story teller in your music. Have you always been a story teller?
Cody: Yea, I would say I always have been. When I was young and in high school, during study hall there were these kids, dressed in all black clothes, that always sat in the back with their heads down and their pencils out. They didn’t look like the type of kids that would be working that hard on homework. So I went back there to figure out what they were doing and they were all drawing characters. You know, they’d draw all these characters that they had on their shirts and such. So I sat down with these black shirt kids and started making up stories for these characters. Like what they would do on the weekends, or just different stories about them. So yea, I guess it started there and I’ve kind of always told different stories.
Reverb Soul: During live shows you take time to tell about where you found inspiration for songs. To me it feels like those parts of the set are very intimate and a way to share with your audience. Would you agree that the stories that go along with the songs are an integral part of those songs?
Cody: Most definitely. Most of my stories are about myself and things that I’ve experienced or gone through or seen. I tell stories about the pain that I’ve felt or even pain that I’ve seen my friends go through. Most stories are usually about myself or my friends.
Reverb Soul: How did you get the name Chicago Farmer?
Cody: Well, coming from a small town in Illinois people still always said I had that sort of southern draw to the way I talked. When I was living on Flora Way I was about to move up to Chicago and a friend said I would move up their and be the Urban Cowboy, but that name was already taken by John Travolta. (Laughs) So I said I’d be the Chicago Farmer and that name just kind of stuck. The plan was to make a band named Chicago Farmer but that just never came about, and for whatever reason the name Chicago Farmer just stayed with me.
Reverb Soul: What prompted the move to Chicago?
Cody: The opportunity came to move up there with good friends from the local band Herbert Wiser. I wasn’t really sure about it at first until I went up there for a weekend and just had a blast. I saw the great opportunities that the city offered with music and inspiration, and decided to move up there.
Reverb Soul: Moving away from Chicago and looking back to you feel like you gained what you were looking for when you moved there?
Cody: Absolutely, I made a lot of good connections and gained some life long friends while I was living up there.
Reverb Soul: You’ve shared the stage with a lot of other mid western musicians doing combined sets with them. Do you have a favorite artists to work with or someone you draw a lot of inspiration and creativity from?
Cody: People like Joe Pug or Ed Anderson I really admire as songwriters. Ed Anderson is like a lyrical factory. Ed always inspires me to pick up my notebook and pen and start writing. Not like I don’t already do that a lot, but yea he definitely inspires me to do that more. And my good friend Ernie Henrickson is one of my favorite guitarists.
Reverb Soul: There’s a lot of talent in the mid western music scene. Anyone you would suggest keeping an eye on as an up and coming name?
Cody: As for the local scene, I really dig Ed Anderson & Backyard Tire Fire, Chris Corkery, Ghosttown Gramaphone, Eva Hunter, Mute Karma, James Montjoy, Von Frickle and really anybody that’s around here doing their thing. I think the local scene has had its ups and downs but it’s on its way up now especially with the help of venues like Six Strings and The Castle Theater.
Reverb Soul: You recently worked with The Henhouse Prowlers/Sexfist on your new album. How did you meet those guys and tell me about what it’s like to work with a string band?
Cody: My wife introduced me to bluegrass music and I opened up for those guys 5 or 6 times and we just really worked well together. It was just a real pleasure to perform these songs with them. They are The REAL DEAL Bluegrass outfit and their live performances on this CD really impressed me even more.
Reverb Soul: Looking back, if you had made a band named Chicago Farmer would it sound like what you had with the Henhouse Prowlers and yourself?
Cody: Not as much bluegrass all the time maybe, but something along the same lines. Probably more melodies than what we did together.
Reverb Soul: Do you plan to work with them more in the future?
Cody: Those guys are really busy and so am I. But I would definitely like to work with them again in the future.
Reverb Soul: CD release shows and Festival season is upon us. What shows are you looking forward to the most?
Cody: I always wait in anticipation all year for Summer Camp. It’s just a great opportunity with great artists. I also look forward to some of the smaller festivals I’ve done over the last couple of years. Widow’s Peak, Farm Fest. The smaller festivals just have a great turn out with people who are there for the music and art, and to promote music. Also I look forward to the CD release shows in Champaign on the April 12th, Bloomington on the 13th.
Reverb Soul: You have some songs that are unrecorded and some unreleased material. What’s next?
Cody: Right after I got done with the new EP I wrote about 5 new songs so I guess I’ll just keep moving along and will have to get those out there for people. So I’ll probably waste, well not waste but spend more money productively doing that.
You can find more information on Chicago Farmer at his website chicagofarmer.com or on his Facebook Page. The new CD ‘Somethin’ Else’ is available at all of the upcoming shows as well as through cdbaby.com, also in the works is a Chicago Farmer documentary, which will be out soon. Be sure to catch Chicago Farmer at one of his CD Release shows near you.
05/12/11 Urbana, IL at Canopy Club
05/13/11 Bloomington, IL 61701 at Six Strings
05/14/11 Pekin, IL 61554 at Bottom’s Up
05/19/11 Lexington, IL at Kemp’s Upper Tap
05/20/11 Earlville, IL at Widow’s Peak Music Festival
05/22/11 Springfield, IL at Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair
05/28/11 Chillicothe, IL at Summer Camp Music Festival
05/30/11 Chillicothe, IL at Summer Camp Music Festival
06/02/11 Fort Collins, CO at Hodi’s Half Note
06/03/11 Denver, CO at Pete’s Monkey Bar