From friends to tour mates, Chris Blair, otherwise known as Lostboycrow, and the guys of flor have quite a history— from jamming and living together, to now touring this fall on their Ones To Watch tour. You can catch Lostboycrow, flor, and their new friends joan, debuting songs from their latest albums as they play across the U.S.
Breaking over 150 million streams on Spotify last year, the soulful pop-artist has proven to be ‘one to watch.’ We had the pleasure of sitting down with Lostboycrow after his Atlanta show to talk about the tour, his start in music, his latest album, his fans and everything in-between.
Michelle: What has the tour been like for you so far? What have been the highlights for you?
Lostboycrow: It’s so crazy– you go from not being in motion to constantly in motion. [Tours] can be a little jolting at first. We always get in the groove pretty quickly. Day one—the first show in Pheonix —it felt like we had been on the tour already for a week. And I think that’s just a testament to the flor guys, and myself, being very close already. We go back years and years; I grew up with the drummer, so meeting up with everybody in Pheonix, it felt like all was right in the world again. It didn’t feel like something we had to get acclimated to. It felt like just the natural state of things—just hanging with friends and playing music, you know? So, just day one, it was obviously a blast, but it just felt very natural and effortless, in the sense of not having to get used to people and just feeling at ease.
Our first show [was] our first time meeting joan and they are the nicest people in the entire world. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of meeting them, but they are absolutely the sweetest human beings and, again, easy to feel comfortable around. This is like the fifth or sixth show and it feels like we’ve been at it for like a month and it feels like we could do it for another three months and that’d be totally fine with me.
I think the highlight for me has been Houston. I mean there’s a lot of cool—a lot of great fans there. It was like the fourth show and it was when we hit our stride musically and we were starting to feel like, ok, we don’t have to think when we’re up there, we can just go have fun. Texas was a good turning point for us.
Michelle: When did you get started with music and what pushed you to move to LA to jumpstart your career there?
Lostboycrow: I always appreciated music. One of the first memories I have is walking around the house with an old cassette player [listening to] the Beatles A Hard Day’s Night and just walking around the house listening to that non-stop—just absolutely wearing that out. I always remember really appreciating music and singing around and dancing around to it.
But I never really thought of it as something to pursue until I was about 16 or 17, when I saw other friends in bands, playing instruments and, at that point, music just became not just this thing to enjoy, but this thing I could participate in. You know, bands are so cool, right? There’s something so indescribably special about loving a band, and discovering them, and growing with them, and going to all their shows. And I got really attracted to that when I was 17, or so. I remember going to see the Honda Civic Tour in Portland, which is where I’m from, with Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is…, +44, Cobra Starship, Paul Wall. That was one of the first concerts I had been to and a big turning point to me. I’d really fallen in love with The Academy Is… and started listening to those newer bands at the time and it made me realize that was something I wanted to do.
And I had grown up around music. There was a piano in the house [that] I would mess around on. In high school, especially towards my junior year, I started trying to write music and learn how to swing a microphone and straighten my hair and really give it a shot in that sense.
That kind of led me to start different bands. Being in a band is tough. There are always stylistic [and] artistic differences and different levels of commitment. I think that’s the hardest part of being in a band. A lot of them don’t last. I just remember starting a lot of different bands and just trying to find my place in the world of music and I got asked to play keys for another band in Portland that wanted to move to LA. And it was kind of an impulse decision to just move and figure it out from there. And that was the push that I needed. I needed some people that were very impulsive to be like ‘Hey, we’re gonna move in two weeks, are you in?’ Cause you can always talk yourself out of it. So that was a good turning point for me to just say, ‘You know what, yeah. What the hell—let’s do this. We’ll figure it out later.’ So they got me down to LA, and that’s where I reconnected with Kyle, who’s the drummer from flor, and he introduced me to Dylan, who plays bass in flor. And [Dylan] was the first person that started producing with me and recording me down there. So those were the first Lostboycrow songs—the songs I made with Dylan after we met. That’s how it kind of started.
Michelle: And now you all are touring.
Lostboycrow: And now we’re touring together, which is so special because there’s just so much history. I mean, I’ve lived with every member of flor at one point or another, and like I said, grew up with Kyle. There’s no better feeling than doing what we love to do and being able to do it together. Especially for Kyle and I, cause we can look back to so many afternoons of just sitting up in his room trying to jam on something and knowing you want to do music but not knowing how or how it could possibly work out. So it’s cool to see where we’ve both gone and where it’s taken us. It’s brought us back together so that’s really special.
Michelle: On your latest album [Sante Fe], you seem to draw a lot of inspiration from your youth and growing up. What are some of those moments from your youth that you drew the most inspiration from when you were writing?
Lostboycrow: Sante Fe to me is just– a lot of the songs and the imagery is just me half remembering and trying to remember and cherishing those moments from my childhood that I consider being very peaceful. The song ‘Since the Day I Was Born’ — to me — is the anthem of the whole album. There’s a lyric that says, ‘Singing Moon River, driving west on the 84.’ Hwy 84 goes along the Columbia River and, especially at sunset, it’s the prettiest, most peaceful thing in my mind that I can think of. I think if I were to die right now, that’s what would flash before my eyes. And I just remember family road trips, everywhere we’d go, going and coming, we’d drive on the 84 by the river. It’s a time for me that I remember being very carefree and at peace. I still try and drive it at least once a year and it kind of brings me back to that place. So a lot of the album comes from trying to climb inside those moments from my childhood when I felt so at peace and so safe, and realize just how loved I’ve been and letting that gratitude I have for how I grew up and who I am kind of wash over any fear that I have in my life. That’s what it means to me and that’s what I hope it could do for other people too. It’s just written from a place of peace and gratitude and washing over fear.
Michelle: What other things do you draw inspiration from? Do you write mainly from a feeling or a memory?
Lostboycrow: It’s always such a good question—I think so much of art, at least for me, whether it’s drawing or songwriting, it’s a skill you hone and focus in on. But really, to me, inspiration would be like plucking a feather out of the air that’s just floating by. It’s this very delicate thing. It’s not like, ‘I have to write about this. I’m gonna sit down and make myself finish a song about this.’ For me, it’s always been very unforced. And I think the discipline of songwriting and creativity is in the finishing of things. But for me, starting the songs and getting inspired— I don’t have an answer. It could be anything. It could be talking to you, it could be checking out at the store, it could be a line from a Gilmore Girls episode– honestly. I think that’s part of the beauty of it. I don’t know if there is a rhyme or reason. It’s just something that sticks in your head and ‘Oh that is something I’ve felt but maybe never heard before. That’s something I’ve felt but never seen it like that before. This paints something in my mind, I want to paint what I see in my mind for everyone else to experience.’ For me, it’s anything and everything.
Whether it’s a line from a movie or a conversation I had, when enough of those things build up inside, art, to me, what I make is the stuff inside that can no longer stay inside. It has to come out. And I think that’s what makes good art. The stuff that can’t stay inside anymore.
Michelle: You have such a supportive and such good interactions with your fanbase, what’s it been like to have so much support from them?
Lostboycrow: I’m at a loss—all the time. I’ve been doing it for so long and I know most people that are touring have been at it for a while. You grow up in your neighborhood and you’re making music with people in your area and it’s basically you force-feeding your music to family and friends and whoever will listen in a coffee shop. And you do that for so many years and no matter how supportive your family may be, it’s still not the same to have that be your main audience. The minute I got anyone outside of my bubble to say anything about what I was making just absolutely blew my mind. And I’m continually amazed that I get to do what I love and what I would want to do anyways and have people now feel something and feel something to point of wanting to share it or wanting to come see a show. I maybe don’t do a good enough job of expressing [it] — like during the show we played, all I wanted to say between each song was ‘I cannot believe that we get to do this. I am so grateful.’
I wish there was a more profound way to let people know that feeling that I have of complete gratitude. It baffles me. It helps keep me going. The industry—it’s a weird place. It’s weird to combine art and industry. It’s kind of an oxymoron in my mind. I’m continually energized and inspired by people that are affected by the music that I’ve put out.
Michelle: You seem so humble and so grounded. As your career grows, what are the things that are going to help keep you grounded?
Lostboycrow: Well, thank you—I’m glad it comes off that way. I don’t think I’m alone in this experience, but I spent enough time trying to figure out a way to be able to do music and working the jobs I didn’t want to work and trying to save up for studio time—as most people have. I’m not saying that makes me special, but I just have a strong memory of those times and how it made me feel and the hope that I had and the weight that was lifted when I didn’t have to do that anymore. I think that keeps me humble and just staying with it long enough. The older you get, I think you realize the important things in life which are family, whether it be by blood or by choice. Hopefully, you do a good enough job surrounding yourself with those people. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by people that I love and admire. That’s the most important thing. All of this can go so quickly. Humans– people are what matter.
Michelle: Thank you, again. I really appreciate you for sitting down with me. Your set was awesome tonight and I wish you the best on the rest of your tour and in your career.
Lostboycrow: Thank you so much—I appreciate the really thoughtful questions!
Interview & Photography by Michelle Tabrizi