For songwriter Connor Thuotte, inspiration is a conversation away
Connor Thuotte sings “High for Hollywood.”
In this issue’s Spotlight, junior cinema and screen studies major Connor Thuotte of Liverpool talks of his love for singing and songwriting. Despite his two CDs on Amazon and iTunes, the audio production minor thinks his real calling may be on the recording side of the music business.
Q. You clearly love music. Why major in cinema and screen studies?
A. It’s just another creative outlet, to keep writing. A lot of classes fall between creative writing and learning to be better versed in the English language. The video is also something I’m interested in.
Q. Why did you add the audio production minor?
A. So I don’t have to go to a studio and I can record my own stuff. Studio time is expensive. I basically opened up a studio on the side that was running out of my garage in the summer, and I brought it up here with me. I have two clients so far, a student who transferred from Fredonia and a local musician. I hope to steadily build a client base so I can do this after I leave Oswego.
Q. Why did you choose SUNY Oswego?
A. I was actually only interested in the audio at first. I came across (recording engineer) Dan Wood and he showed me around here. Hearing his accomplishments, it was sort of a hidden gem of Oswego, and that was a big pull factor. Then I met some of the cinema people and heard they have an up-and-coming program here. It seemed like it was a good fit.
Q. What do you think of other faculty besides Dan?
A. I don’t think I’ve had a bad experience with a teacher. Every class, the teacher has been available if you need extra time after class or anything. Everything has been good all around.
Q. What kinds of friends have you made at Oswego?
A. Music makes you friends with everybody. I have friends who do photography, film, friends from dorm life and the Village. I haven’t really found a clique or a niche. It’s good, it’s a nice change from high school. It’s good when everyone just gets along.
Q. When did you get the urge to play and write music?
A. I remember seeing kids in my neighborhood who were a little older than me playing guitar—they were phenomenal—and seeing movies where the kids were my age. And I said, “I can do that. I should learn to do that.” I never really like playing other people’s songs. I would just take what I knew and write. It was about ninth grade when I had songs that I’ve kept around and still like to play.
Q. Where do you find inspiration?
A. Stuff will pop into my head. Movies, real-life experiences. When it comes to songs, it’s usually some little incident. I remember hearing somebody on the phone and she said, “Alyssa, listen.” And I said, “Hmm, that’s an interesting little name for a song.” I eventually made a song, not with those actual words, but off of that. People will be talking and I’ll just hear naturally rhythmic words that flow together. I’ll say, “Wow, I’m going to steal that without you knowing” (laughs.) People can be somewhat poetic in normal conversation—it’s surprising.
Q. Was any song inspired by an incident at SUNY Oswego?
A. I’ve written many songs here. I wrote one about my girlfriend at the time who was getting Twitter messages from some celebrity, so I wrote the song “High for Hollywood”—not seriously mad but it sort of stemmed from that—(sings) “I hope he’s got money to buy you a car …” : What if a girl left you for a famous person just because they’re famous? (Connor Thuotte sings “High for Hollywood” in video, above, in Tyler Hall’s audio production studio.)
Q. What’s the favorite song you’ve written?
A. Every songwriter’s latest song is his favorite. I usually write three songs at a time so if I’m bored with one I can put it aside and work on another. I just put one out on iTunes, the video for it is “Just a Shadow.” I love government conspiracy stuff. It has the idea behind it that you’re always being watched. I got the idea from watching a YouTube video. But it’s usually girls and surfing and beach song kind of stuff.
Q. So what’s your career goal?
A. For now, I’m planning on going out to L.A. for six months after graduation. My uncle lives in Hermosa Beach, a sort of resort town. I want to hook up with some friends there and sort of humble myself more—like maybe I should have taken up marketing (laughs). Hopefully I can do something (professionally) when I go out there.
Q. Do you have any other interests?
A. During the summer up at camp I go wakeboarding—it’s like waterskiing on a snowboard. I do soccer, intramural stuff. Those are my off-time things. I usually don’t get a chance to write things like screenplays or stories outside class—it’s usually all music for recording.
(Posted: Sep 06, 2012)