TORONTO – Christofer Drew Ingle’s life has changed a lot since he signed up for a MySpace Music account at the tender age of sixteen. Now the musician, once known for the electro-tinged acoustic pop he created under the name Never Shout Never, is currently headlining the Alternative Press Tour and playing to sold-out crowds across North America. idobi recently caught up with Ingle for a chat about his new classic-rock-inspired tunes, the demons of his past and how he he gets through each day of his new life.
idobi: When you’re not on tour, what does a typical day in the life of Christofer Drew look like?
Ingle: Being nineteen, I usually wake up at about noon and I start off the day with a cup of tea and a cigarette, and just kind of evaluate what I want to get done that day. I try to have a new goal every day, whether it be to do a good deed or something like that. Just little things to keep me reminded of the bigger picture in life, like happiness and caring for others. Back when I was about sixteen, I probably would have been talking to my ex-girlfriend and trying to write songs to appease her since I was a boy. [laughs]
idobi: What would you say are the top five most played artists on your iPod?
Ingle: I listen to a lot of classic folk like Woodie Guthrie and a lot of Bob Dylan, of course. And also I like a lot of 50’s pop. I like Buddy Holly and The Beatles of course. As for more recent stuff, I like Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst. When I was sixteen, I still listened to a lot of Bob Dylan. But I wasn’t really mature enough to kind of capture the genius behind it, you know? But I listened to like, Jack Johnson, stuff like that, you know, just chill music. Mostly just acoustic tunes.
idobi: Those influences definitely came through in your music. Apart from what you listen to, which artists most influence you when you sit down to write your own songs?
Ingle: I think at this point I’m trying to develop my own kind of style. I’m taking influences here and there but I’m really trying to develop a very distinct sound that nobody’s ever done before. I still take a lot from Bob and a lot from Woodie, just the way that they worded things. I try to take a lot of Beatles-type chords, lots of chromatics, lots of sevenths. When I was sixteen, I just kind of did what people wanted. I kind of had this intuition for what people wanted to hear, so I just gave it to them. But now at this point I’m trying to really just discover myself musically and have fun with it. Now I’m not just trying to appease everyone else with my music. I’m trying to just express myself.
idobi: You sing a lot about your friends and your family. How do those around you influence your music and your personal life?
Ingle: Well, my family influences me so much. We’ve gone through a lot of troubles, a lot of setbacks, in our love and our community. And I try to write songs that I believe will bring my family together and show them how I feel about all the changes that they’ve gone through. My friends also influence me a lot. They’re just great people, very positive people. I’ve gone through a lot of inner struggle in the past year, and since I’m not home, my friends are really the only ones that can just help me out and keep me thinking positively. Musically I don’t really know how they affect me too much, but my guitar player Caleb has taught me a lot about chords and stuff, and a lot of new music that I had never really thought of even listening to.
idobi: Your relationship with your family wasn’t always quite so good. How did the struggles you went through when you were sixteen affect you?
Ingle: I didn’t really have the support back then I have now. And I felt very distant from my father for a long time. It affected me in a really strange way because I got really close with my mom and I started losing touch with the things that my dad raised me on. I lost a lot of that and I started becoming this crazy, weird kid. But as of now I talk to my parents as much as I can and we have a really close relationship. When they separated, it drew me closer to both of them because I felt like I was a little bit of an anchor for both of them.
idobi: You’re a very spiritual person. How do you feel like your faith has affected you musically and personally?
Ingle: Ever since I was about seventeen I haven’t really claimed Christianity because I feel like Christianity is very flawed. It’s so based on subjective morals, and it’s so judgmental. And I really don’t want to claim something that’s so almost hateful. So I’m not a religious person, but I’m a very spiritual person and I still follow the teachings of Jesus that I was raised on. At the same time, I was also taught a lot of bullshit growing up and I definitely feel like it affects my work because music is probably the closest thing to God that I have. It’s my connection with the spiritual world. Music just connects me with something that I feel like is so much higher than me. So, music is religion to me. It’s my spirituality. It’s where I can truly express myself.
idobi: Do you feel like that’s something you’ve realized recently or did you start to develop that feeling when you were younger?
Ingle: I was always spiritual. I was always searching for something more. At one point I started tapping into stupid shit. I did a lot of drugs and stuff because I was so confused and I felt like my whole world was just falling apart. I went from being this hometown kid with everything figured out to this crazy lifestyle of being on the road and forgetting who I was, forgetting my roots. When I was about seventeen I started to realize that music was my faith. It was my connection with whatever that power is, whether it’s God or whatever people say it is. I believe that it’s all one and the same.
idobi: What is your overall outlook on life and how does it differ from the one you held when you were sixteen?
Ingle: When I was sixteen, my life was about proving people wrong. I felt like everyone in the entire world was against me and everyone doubted me. I wanted to show them that dreams could come true if you really put your mind to it. Now, life is more of just an adventure for me. And it’s a fun adventure, a beautiful adventure. Every day I wake up appreciating life. I feel like I was almost egotistical when I was sixteen. It was all about me. Now it’s more of me trying to bring people together, trying to love people. That’s what I’ve been living by — love and selflessness. I don’t even make my music about myself. I’m just trying to help whoever I can out with it.
idobi: If you weren’t doing music right now, what do you think you’d be pursuing a career in?
Ingle: Sounds silly, but I would probably be pursuing a ping pong career. I love ping pong. One of my favorite things to do is just lose myself and just play for hours, have a couple beers with my buddies and just play ping pong all night. It’s great.