An Interview With The Burkharts

Sarah Stukalin

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Trevor of The Burkharts: a family band that has captivated me with their Californian Sixties sound. Read more about them in my article here!

Hearing about the group’s inspirations, past, and future, was a joy, as it is clear the same cheerful personality that exudes through their music translates on paper.

What inspired you to start making music? 

I’ve been a big music guy since I was real little. My dad would play Beatles records to me and we’d sing and dance, and sometimes I would pretend I was a Beatle, using a tennis racket as a guitar, playing along with the ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Help!’ movies. So when we formed our band, I was about 15 or so, and we didn’t want to be a cover band, so I figured I’d better start writing some songs, and they better be as good as Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s. I’m still working on the second part though.

What is your creative process like?

My creative process consists of noodling around on piano or guitar, and then finding a cool chord progression that I like. Then I sing a melody to that progression, and then I forget about it for a while. When I come back to it, I usually finish the instrumental and melodic facets of the tune, but I don’t write lyrics until the very last possible moment, because I’m very lazy and picky. By that point, I have a pretty good idea of what the song feels like it’s about melodically, so I try to write lyrics about the things that make me feel the same way that the song makes me feel.

Who are your biggest influences? 

My biggest influences are The Beach Boys – Brian Wilson is my hero – The Beatles, a lot of other 60s stuff with big harmonies, like The Mamas and Papas, The Four Seasons, and those Phil Spector girl groups like The Ronettes. Chris Montez’s music has also influenced the way I try to make our music sound really heavy, too. Some contemporary artists that I listen to a lot and have impacted my writing the most are FUR, Summer Salt, Mac Demarco, and Tyler, The Creator.

How do you go about writing a song? 

I just try really hard to evoke a certain feeling with each song, so if I listen to a song, and I really like the feeling it gives me, I’ll try to write a song that makes me feel the same way, and hopefully gives whoever listens to it the same feeling.

How would you describe your music? 

I describe it differently every time because it’s hard for me, but this time I’ll say it sounds like music that comes from New York boys who wish they were from California, and say cheesy “born in the wrong generation” shit (I promise I never say that though).

What about your music do you consider unconventional? 

Something that is (possibly) unconventional about our music is that we don’t worry about the live performance of the songs when we record them. Like, if there’s a crazy harmony that would be really hard to pull off live, or some obscure instrument that we’d never be able to play on stage in a recording, we don’t really worry about it, and just put whatever sounds cool to us in there, and worry about it sounding way shittier in a live setting later.

What are your ambitions as songwriters and musicians from here? 

An ambition of mine as a musician and songwriter is to be able to do this as my job, and make it a way of life, as opposed to a very involved hobby. And also to keep learning more and more to write cooler and cooler songs.

What are your plans for any future releases?

We’ve got a bunch of songs brewed up and ready to go; just have to see if we have the green light to put a single or two out. I’d love to release some songs this summer though.

What does your music say about your group?

Our music hopefully shows that while we may seem like goofy idiots, we definitely are goofy idiots. But hopefully, it shows that we’re goofy idiots that can make people dance and enjoy themselves.

Listen to The Burkharts here!