Rising Country star Filmore has been picking up steam here in the UK over the past couple of years.
In 2020 he released his album ‘State I’m In’ and he’s wasted no time rolling out new music since then. Earlier this year he released ‘Good Thing’ and this month he released new track ‘Used to Be’.
I caught up with Filmore recently to talk about staying creative during the pandemic, discuss the challenges of touring while the world is in various states of lockdown, and to find out what his plans are for the rest of 2021…
How have you been coping the past 12 months during the pandemic?
It’s weird. It’s state by state here so everything’s either still 2019 in some states, or it’s completely shut down like 2020. It’s hard to book shows of any kind, because you can’t really route anything and you lose money doing it. It’s definitely a weird time. I’ve written a lot of music. I’m always writing, even when I was on the road like crazy back before the pandemic, but now it’s just been more of a focus, which has been awesome. There’s been a lot of good things that have come out of quarantine but at the same time I’m over it (laughs), I’m ready for the world to get back. That’s where I’m at.
Was there any point where you felt the pandemic hit you creatively and made it harder to write songs?
Definitely, but I also feel like I’ve had enough life experiences at this point that I can pull from a lot of those. Things that I hadn’t written about and reflecting on different scenarios in my life that I never really got to touch on. The reflection was very helpful in coming up with a lot of cool things for the next batch of songs that are coming out consistently. I put the album out and just keep putting music. Putting music out is my favourite thing in the world.
I was surprised that ‘Good Thing’ came so quickly after the record. What’s the story behind that track?
In Nashville, especially when we’re writing songs, I write with a group of people so we’re all writing an idea. For this one, it was ‘Good Thing’. The other writer in the room also had that experience around the age of 23, trying to live in the city with a mattress on the floor. We all lived it a little bit, especially being artists and musicians, and trying to just get by. You dream of stuff with this ex or this girl, and for us, we all had that ex. We all have that relationship. We pulled from different scenarios of all of our old relationships and put it into one song to explain that you always bet on what’s going to happen in the future, and when you go to date someone, why are you dating them unless you think you’re gonna be with them forever? (It’s all about how) some relationships are supposed to end but it was still fun while it lasted. That’s really what we were trying to get across. It’s actually one of my favourite songs that I’ve put out.
There’s such an uplifting summer vibe to this track. I feel like it was written to be performed live…
Thank you, man. I always try to picture the live crowd and that experience and I cannot wait wait to get back over y’alls way. That’s where I ended everything when the pandemic. I end up having to fly back here in the middle of the night so it was the last place I really toured.
Of course, you were here to play C2C in 2020 weren’t you before it got cancelled?
Yeah, that was my third time (in the UK). The first time I went to Manchester to play a festival. That was my first time ever leaving the US in my life actually and then I went to London for like 12 hours, which is what I wrote my song ‘London’ on the album about. I came back to shoot the video for that song and then I went back for the C2C festival. I was in Germany and I was on my way to The O2 Arena when we had to redirect.
You mentioned before that you have a lot of new music ready to go. What’s your plan for that over the course of this year?
You’ll get a song every four weeks ish. Those are what’s slotted and as you put them out you let them live on their own for a second and see which ones rise up in the streaming world. I have so many more songs ready to go so it’s just a matter of time. The plan is just keep putting songs out. You can always package them later into album two or you can always leave them as singles and then put out another album. I’ve so much music at this point that it’s kind of the wild west. If it feels good, let’s go.
Having all this music must take the pressure off as touring looks likely to open up again…
Yeah, I just write all the time. It helps curb my anxiety and it’s a happy place for me. Even when touring was in its heyday in 2019, I wouldn’t come home for months. On the tour bus I had a full recording rig in the back of the bus and I would bring writers out. In between the show and in between travel we would write songs in the back lounge so I would still be writing three songs a weekend while touring and then writing during the week when I got home. It’s a non-stop thing. The way I look at it is if I write enough songs, which i write too many at this point, but hopefully I’m picking the best ones. The more I write, hopefully the better it gets and the you can know which ones are the best to choose from so it gives you more options I guess.
Do you think you’re going to be able to get back out on tour this year?
I’m hopeful. I think it’s still gonna be scattered. I don’t think it’ll be like it was in 2019, where I take the tour bus out and I’m out every weekend. I think shows will be sometimes during the week and it’ll be just very random. I say that based on what I’m seeing, every state has a different mandate and different rules so it makes it very hard to route a tour and make everything make money and not just be a complete loss on the front of touring. I think it’s just going to be piecemeal together. I’m hopeful that there is a lot of touring happening but even if everything opens all the way back up, people have to book it right now with the unknown of what’s happening. You’re taking a huge risk on your business as a musician so I think most people will shift to the top of 2022 just to protect their business, and then do all these one-offs the rest of the year, but we’ll see.
I’d never really though about it in that way. You do run a big risk if you keep having to reschedule or cancel shows…
Yeah, there’s so many people behind the scenes that route it and the drivers and then the band. If there’s a day off in between the band has to get paid for their day off, when they’re just hanging out. There’s all these different expenses that get lined up and if you don’t have it perfectly routed, or if the world isn’t completely open right now, for you to make that judgment, it’s kind of tough. Let’s say you’re an arena act, that makes it a little harder too because you got to think the the sports teams that are in those arenas, they get first dibs. It’s just going to be crazy. I think it’s going to be very random. People that are rescheduling older tours, I think that’s going to be even harder to do. People that are just starting a brand new tour, that they don’t have to honour old tickets for 2020. I think that’ll be easier to do. I have no idea what’s happening. I’m just head down, trusting my team and doing everything I possibly can.
Is there anything else you want to achieve by the time Christmas rolls around?
I really hope to tour as much as possible, just because of my team and my band family, and everyone that works for me, that really is a huge part of the business and it’s been really tough. I want to do that first and foremost, obviously. Outside of that I want to continue to put out a bunch of original music for myself and just let it live and let people be able to consume that in this time. I think the other part would probably be get a big cut as a writer with another big artist. That’s a big goal of mine as well. Having another big artists cut one of my songs and put it out with them singing it, I think would be huge. It also ups my stock as a writer and I think for a very long time I’ve kept my songs to myself and put them out for my artistry. I signed a publishing deal with Sony in March of 2020 and there’s been a lot of cool things happening with that. It’s almost allowing my music to get in front of some bigger people that want to put it out. That’d be a very helpful thing. Those are probably my top three, things I want to accomplish to keep me sane.
Is it hard to decide if a song is for you or another artist?
I’ll be honest, I used to think that way. Now I go into the room and I want to write the best song. I don’t really picture who it’s going to be because I think especially in this day and age, it all comes down to how you record it. What your voice sounds like and the people you use when you go to finish it. When I’m writing it and demoing it out, my voice is gonna be on it usually because I’m the one in the room singing. I don’t have the thickest country accent, I’m from the Midwest. If it’s an amazing song, anyone can put their own spin on it to make it fit them so really it comes down to writing the best song possible. If I don’t get to putting it out before someone else takes it away from me, I’m cool with that.
With all this new music you’ve been writing, please tell me you have a Christmas song in the can for this year…
I’ve never put a Christmas song out man (laughs).
Is it something you want to do or do you find it too cheesy?
You know, I think that for a long time I felt like it was cheesy. All the Christmas songs I love are just people covering the most iconic ones. My whole thing was I was gonna get to a bigger level in my career, and then be like, ‘alright, I have enough of an audience now that if I put a Christmas song out, people will raise this up’. I feel like I’m almost there but I’m not 100% there. It doesn’t feel cheesy once you’re at a certain level in your artist career. But who knows, man? The pandemic’s changed a lot of mindsets for a lot of people, including myself, and maybe I’ll put a Christmas song out, man. I don’t know (laughs). For the first time ever during December of last year, I went and played a Christmas show. I did ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham and covered that on stage. I love Christmas music man I really do. Maybe I’m convincing myself right now to do it (laughs).
Filmore’s songs ‘Good Thing’ and ‘Used To Be’ are available to download and stream now. Watch the visualizer for ‘Used To Be’ below: