An Interview With The Husband and Wife Duo, CITY SILOS!
Posted On 08 Aug 2019
On August 30th, the Nashville-based husband-wife alternative rock duo CITY SILOS will be releasing their album, “Happy Thoughts.” The lead single from this forthcoming collection is called “Give It To Me Straight.” This track possesses a ceiling-climbing swing with gritty instruments and a crushing vocal performance. Glide Magazine raved, “CITY SILOS rock out with arena-ready synth pop on ‘Give It To Me Straight.’”
“’Give It To Me Straight’ is a song about wanting to move on from a situation but you’re stuck in limbo because you can’t get an answer or the resolution that you need,” says CITY SILOS. “Sometimes it’s better to just get the answer straight up instead of being dragged around.”
Listen to “Give It To Me Straight” here.
Musicians make unimaginable sacrifices for their art, and Nashville’s alternative rock duo, CITY SILOS, is no stranger to it. Chris and Kristen Butler worked tirelessly for the last four years, wandering through day jobs and late-night songwriting sessions, sleeping in a van and living on the road, to emerge with a statement-making debut record. Happy Thoughts—recorded at Nashville’s The Hilson Studio and produced by Sean Power (Michelle Wright, and Josh Hampson) —is a mighty demonstration of pain and resilience. Their words are laced with vulnerable, yet dangerously evocative, confessions about many of life’s darkest and most brutal cycles.
Throughout the new album, firework moments like the venom-spitting “Just Like Her”, “Let You Go,” and title track “Happy Thoughts,” combine melodic rock guitars and synth bass, with a dance groove akin to 80’s pop. They wind their way savagely through blues pop-inflected guitar riffs that stick on the brain and jolt the system alive, guitars crashing into one another and the drum kit setting the whole show on fire.
Over 10 songs, CITY SILOS—a name sparked from long nights, high mileage and a caffeine drip —addresses human emotions with terrifying clarity. “Each song is about an internal struggle, or conflict of ideas and feelings, that we all go through or have to deal with at some point in our lives,” states Kristen. Chris adds, “We draw influences from a lot of places and that molds us into who we are and makes our music unique.”
CITY SILOS’ combined influences run from Paramore, Aretha Franklin, and Sara Bareilles to Jimi Hendrix and ZZ Top. Each mine the work of such greats to further enrich their own songcraft, delicately walking the balance between the past and the present, and pushing the envelope further.
Connect With CITY SILOS Here:
Learn more about CITY SILOS in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day for you both?
Kristen: Thanks for having us! We’re actually headed out to catch a friends show tonight here in Nashville!
Now that we are into the 8th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How close are you to reaching them?
Chris: 2019 has been great so far! We’re in swing of releasing our debut album and that’s really exciting for us. We’ve been working on this for awhile now, and really stoked to get it out there for everyone to hear. Our main goal for this year is to just get our music out there and let people hear it. I think we’re doing everything we can to make that happen.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this band together? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far? How did you come up with your name?
Kristen: Honestly, I don’t know if there was a “moment”. I feel like when you start writing and creating music together it only makes sense to perform it together, and that’s what we started doing.
Chris: I don’t think we’ve really had any surprises. We both had separate careers in music before joining and creating the band together, so we both knew what we were getting into. The name CITY SILOS was something that just kind of hit us one night while driving. I think it was a 4 am drive back from our first west coast tour when we came up with it. We both grew up in small towns but really prefer being in the city. So the name is combination really of where we’re from and where we’re at.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you both carry yourselves in this band?
Kristen: I think the biggest thing about the town I grew up in was that it didn’t really have much of a music scene, so I had to search for music, and I thirsted for it. I think that reflects in our sound as we’ve created something that is our own and something we searched for, found and created together.
Chris: Yeah I would agree with Kristen on this. The small town I grew up in KY didn’t have much of a music scene either, so I was constantly searching for music. It really pushed me towards Nashville, being the closest music city. Now Nashville being our home for quite some years now is always inspiring us. It’s great to be in the music community here.
Why would you say that you two work so well together? Where is one of you weak where the other is strong and vice-versa? Why does this duo work?
Kristen: We’re married, so that’s really the basis of how we work so well together. Chris is definitely stronger on musical arrangement and composition, and I’m stronger with the lyrical side, so we compliment each other that way.
What do you think is the best and most challenging part about being in a duo with your husband and wife?
Chris: The best part is that we get to spend so much time together. We get to spend each day together whereas a lot of married couples have to spend their work days apart. The most challenging piece about working together with your spouse in any business is not letting business, in this sense our music, effect anything in our personal lives. We really know how to keep things separate and not let it effect us in that way.
What can you tease about your forthcoming album, “Happy Thoughts”? What was it like making this collection? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
Kristen: We do have a music video coming out for one of the singles on the album. We won’t say which one yet, so everyone will just have to stay tuned on our socials to find out the details. I think a surprise for me with this album and creating it in the studio, is that its like I get reintroduced to the song again. Chris is great at creating the musical composition and really hearing all the pieces and how they fit when we’re writing, so when we go into the studio to record he already has that vision of how the full production of the songs sound with each piece of the band involved. It’s like I’m hearing the songs for the first time again after everything is completed and it’s really exciting.
Chris: Yeah creating this album was great! We had a list of songs that we knew we wanted to go with, and some of them didn’t make the cut for the album. We chose the best ones that we thought fit this album and what we wanted to it to be. Like Kristen mentioned, I always have in my mind when we’re writing how everything fits together so getting into the studio and finalizing that with Sean Power was great.
What was the inspiration for the album’s already released single “Give It To Me Straight”?
Kristen: That song was about a bad business relationship that I had when I first moved to Nashville. It had kind of come to a point where I needed to either be moved up or let go, and I just wasn’t getting an answer. So, I kind of took that feeling of not having any control over that situation and just wanting a resolution, whether it being the choice I wanted or didn’t want, to just move on. So I gathered all of that and put it together, and that’s what inspired Give It To Me Straight.
Where do you think you are both happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Chris: I’m definitely the happiest on stage. That’s where I started playing music and what has always made it fun. It’s about expressing yourself on stage and connecting with the people there to see and hear the music you created. It’s really a special feeling and performing on stage will always be where I’m the happiest. Don’t get me wrong, I love recording in the studio, but the stage is where it’s at for me.
Kristen: Yeah, I like being on stage the most. It’s where we get to connect with people with our music. It’s about creating the music, and sharing it with people, and even though we can do that by releasing it online, and on CD’s and Vinyl, a live performance is what it’s all about.
What has been a favorite show of yours to date? What do you think makes an ideal performance for this band? Where are you excited to play at next?
Kristen: I think our favorite show to date has been when we played the Beaver Island Music Festival in Michigan. It was a festival on an island in the middle of lake Michigan. What made it great was that it was in the middle of nature, and the audience there was really interested in music. Not just our genre, but music in general and really receptive to it all. It was a really great experience for us.
Chris: That festival Kristen mentioned probably wins for me as well. It was so cool to be there in the middle of the island for a few days and get to play for everyone there. I think an ideal performance for us is one where everyone in the audience is just having a good time and enjoying the music. If they’re enjoying it, then so are we. Our next show we’re most excited about is at one of our favorite Nashville venues and will be our Album Release show. It’s a special show for people here in Nashville and anyone that wants to come in for it as we’ll have copies of the album for sale prior to it’s public release date. The show is at The Basement on August 26th.
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
Chris: Music has always been an outlet and escape for me. Being in this band is everything I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid that picked up my first guitar. I’m creating my own music, playing it for people, and it just so happens to be with my wife. I’m not sure I could ask for much more.
Kristen: When I moved to Nashville, I came here to be a songwriter for other people and then realized that’s not where my passion lies. CITY SILOS is exactly the sound and content of what I want to bring back to the world with music, and I get to do it with this band.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
Chris: Kristen and I are both creative people, and the music we write and create will always be reflective of what’s going on around us, be it political, personal, or otherwise. Inspiration comes from multiple avenues and I would say that there are certain aspects of what’s going on currently that can be seen or heard within our music, for however you want to take it. We certainly believe that there are other musicians and artists making music today that is influenced and fueled by what is going on in our country. It’s pretty easy to spot those artists, while others are a little more subtle about it. I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to tell a story or some type of message with our music.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this duo?
Kristen: I would love to work with Walk The Moon! 1, because they seem like a lot of fun, and 2, I respect them a lot as a band and songwriters. What’s on my rotation right now is K. Flay, and Black Pistol Fire. They’re definitely in my go to work out mix.
Where would you love to hear your music being played? A TV show, a movie, in your favorite store, etc…?
Kristen: We’re both really into supernatural and sci-fi TV shows and movies, so really anything like that would be awesome. Something like Preacher, even though it’s coming to an end soon, would be really cool.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Chris: I think we just hope that people connect with it in a way that helps with them with a situation or through something. Music and lyrical content is all subjective, and the listener can a lot of times interpret the song and message to be something that may not be what the song is about, but something that they feel it’s about for them in that moment. I think we just want people to know that whatever it is they’re going through, there’s always someone else out there that gets it. We hope our music speaks to them in a way that makes them feel something.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music?
Kristen: I would like for people to know that this album is a very confessional album. It’s about owning up to a lot of unhappy thoughts that I’ve had over the last few years, and I hope that when people listen to it that it can be the same therapeutic experience for them as well.