Artist/Band: Tory Silver
Hometown: Cleveland, OH/Boston, MA
Latest Album: Observere (2017), Live at Pete’s (2017)
TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Silver: I usually tell people it’s a rocky, blues sound. Someone once described it as great highway driving music.
TrunkSpace: You’re from Cleveland but based out of Boston. From the city that is home to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to one known for having a Hall of Fame-level music scene. Beyond your musical influences, did these two cities have a distinct say in your musical journey?
Silver: I’ve always felt some pride in the fact coming from a city that’s known to be the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, so growing up I had a genuine interest in rock. My parents were fans themselves, so I was surrounded by it at an early age. Later on I’ve discovered a love for jazz and bossa nova and blues, and Boston has been great for facilitating that love. I wouldn’t say it’s because of the two cities that I love these kinds of music, but they’ve supported my interest.
TrunkSpace: When you first began performing in and around Boston, what was your first impression of the scene there and has that POV changed in terms of how you see and experience it today?
Silver: I played my first show in October of 2016, and, at the time, had no idea how expansive the scene is. It wasn’t until I played my first house show in December of that year that I realized how supportive and great the community is. My perspective has changed mostly in terms of music not being a competition so much as it is supporting each other. In my experience, playing around here means that you’re going to meet wonderful musicians and kind people that want to help you out.
TrunkSpace: When we first heard your music, we were instantly drawn to your guitar play. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey with the instrument and how you discovered your “voice” with it?
Silver: It was never my intention to play guitar. I wanted to learn drums. Luckily, some smarter, cool music teacher handed me a guitar instead of drums sticks. My little reluctant heart was upset, but it turned into a sort of romance with the instrument. I learned the basics by taking lessons for a few years, and then really discovered my own sound when I started listening to Sondre Lerche. He’s all over the place with his playing. I saw him in concert for the first time when I was 16, and I was so inspired by his musicality. All these strange chords and weird time changes – I loved it. He’s had a lot of influence to the way I play.
TrunkSpace: We also fell in love with your actual voice, which seems to marry so perfectly with your unique style of guitar play. Is singing an area that you’re comfortable with and is it something that comes natural to you?
Silver: I’ve been singing since I was little, and I think singing along to The Beatles in the car is how I really fell in love with it. I was an incredibly shy kid, but, somehow despite that, I could always sing in front of people. It was natural to me, and I knew it was something I wasn’t bad at, so I liked sharing.
TrunkSpace: How long did it take you to discover your songwriter’s voice? Is it a piece of the process that you have always felt comfortable with?
Silver: That took awhile to grapple with. In my awkward teen phase, I tried writing songs, but nothing came from it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I just figured I wasn’t good at it. Toward the end of my freshman year of college, one of my friends gave me a piece of paper with a quote… something along the lines of, “My song is sung for you.” I was so inspired by the quote, that I went back to my room and wrote a full length song it 10 minutes. That song is the last track off my album “Observere,” and still one of my favorite ones I’ve written. It’s called “I Feel Like.”
TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? How do most of your songs go from inception to completion?
Silver: It starts with the guitar. I’ll start practicing scales or playing chords and if something rings in my ear that I like, I’ll grow the song from that. I like to put songs together like puzzles almost, trying to get parts to fit together. Once I have a verse or two down, I’ll start writing lyrics. I sort of let the music tell me what the song is going to be about. Sometimes the lyrics come right away, other times I’ll be on a walk or eating pancakes and then the perfect line will run into my head.
TrunkSpace: You released two albums in 2017, the studio-born “Observere” and then “Live at Pete’s,” both of which have a very different and distinct feel entirely their own. Do you prefer one area over the other – the studio or the stage?
Silver: It was a new experience for me working in a studio with a professional sound engineer. It was a fun process, and something I look forward to doing again. “Live at Pete’s” was fun, but in a different way. I’m known for being joyful and enthusiastic on stage, and “Live at Pete’s” captures that. Both of the albums were fun to do, and I don’t think I prefer one over the other. Both have their unique quirks.
TrunkSpace: Playing off of the title of your album “Observere,” are you someone, especially from a songwriter’s perspective, who likes to sit back and observe those around you? Are you a voyeur of human nature, and in turn, does that fuel your creativity?
Silver: I think so. I take walks frequently to get my mind working, and I love to make myself just sit. Not necessarily meditate, but just think about what’s going on around me. Like I said before, sometimes song lyrics fly into my head, and it’s when I’m walking or just thinking when they come.
TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Silver: After performances, which I think happens to a lot of artists. You know your music better than anyone else, and if you miss something or something comes out wrong, it can be a downer. On the flip side, I have had some accidentals during a performance that turned into something better than how I played it originally, so sometimes messing up is in my favor.
TrunkSpace: What is your favorite aspect of creating music? Is it writing? Recording? Performing? Something else entirely?
Silver: The feeling after a song is written and it’s good – ahhh. I love that. Songwriting can take a lot out of you sometimes, so when something finally comes from the grueling effort, it’s just a gentle reminder that I do have a talent worthwhile and to keep going at it.
TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Tory Silver in 2018?
Silver: Toward the end of the year I want to start the process of recording my next album. Expecting it to be out spring of next year!
Featured image by: Carter Howe