Cody Belford

INTP - GEMINI - human

Multi-Instrumentalist | Songwriter | Singer | Lyricist | Producer

Atlanta, GA ,USA

Q: How did you start writing music?

C: I would say I didn't formally start writing the chords, the lyrics and everything until I started learning guitar when I was 18. I would follow along with books and learn songs but get extremely bored. It somehow started hitting me that it was so much easier and more enjoyable to make my own music based on the concepts I was learning then to spend countless hours trying to copy someone else. Really though I feel like I've been making vocal melodies since I could sing, whether that be at work, or in the shower or what-have-you.

Q: What is your favorite place in the world?

C: Okay that's tough... I want to say a lot of places that I've never been but in pictures look so pricelessly perfect, but that wouldn't be fair since I have no real perspective on those places. I'd have to say Cartagena, Columbia. The old city's Spanish beauty is reminiscent of the age of exploration and innovation. I found myself walking around in awe of the common spaces that its vibrant citizens take refuge and call home. The sense of community and brotherhood warmed my heart and left me looking for real estate.

Q: What artist do you pull inspiration from?

C: Major influences for me would be Paul McCartney/The Beatles in general, Elton John, Pink Floyd, & Robert Plant. Vocals being my first instrument I pulled heavily from The Beatles for their prowess in vocal harmonies and I especially was so attracted to their studio isolation as it seems everyone else was especially during that time period. Elton John was a newer influence once I took up piano. I knew the hits but the more I dug into his catalog I would probably say he is personally my favorite artist of all time. Really though the thought of limiting my inspiration to just musicians is rather bland. I pull so much inspiration from the real people I meet who have such beautiful stories to tell and my own personal journey, whether that be in nature, traveling abroad or elsewhere.

Q: What is your favorite album, and why?

C: It's hard to limit it to one... if I had to choose one to listen to day after day, desert island soundtrack: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by. Elton John. It, to me, is one of the most diverse sets of music to be gathered together for a single record. Among Elton John's collection of work it is hands down his greatest masterpiece and among all the other albums I would consider contenders very close to being one of the greatest albums of all-time.

Q: How did you begin taking an interest in carpentry?

C: When I was in my first apartment with my then girlfriend and now my wife, we had a makeshift tv stand that was a dining room table with the legs cut in half so that it was at couch level for the tv. I wanted something that was a little nicer so I started shopping around and every single one that was halfway decent was way over our budget. So I started thinking about how they were built can came up with a makeshift cut-sheet and started pricing the material. To my surprise, even with buying a cheap saw to cut, it was 1/3 the cost to build what we wanted myself. I couldn't afford a drill at the time so I hand drove each screw till my forearms felt as if they were about to fall off.

q: What is your creative process?

It varies depending on what I'm trying to accomplish but I generally try to follow a few rules to keep the ideas flowing. First, I try not to put too much pressure on myself. Music creation for me is about free expression and fluidity in your ideas and their execution. Putting any added pressure socially, or monetarily, ect. only blocks me from that freedom to create. Secondly, I prioritize that I have to be silly while I'm recording. It keeps me having fun in the studio, roaring to go with so many ideas because I am actually enjoying what I'm doing because I've given myself permission to be wrong, to be stupid, to make silly voices. Finally, I must keep organized. I have an extremely cluttered mind and having recognized that I've created solutions to keep all my ideas sorted, my progress tracked and my goals ready for me at the click of a button. Oh, and I also usually start something and work it straight to the end. It's way too easy for me to get distracted and by forcing myself to get to an established point of a song before moving on always keeps me focused.

Q: outside of music, what do you tend to do with your time?

C: Let's see... I am an avid carpenter, I really love designing and building furniture. Graphic design has been a long-time hobby of mine since high school, as well as CAD designing houses and other projects. I really enjoy programming with python for its challenge of solving problems. When I can I really enjoy snowboarding and playing soccer. For exercise I try to do yoga regularly. I also have a fascination with fungi and growing my own mycelium for their mushrooms. I really love to draw and have been taking a recent liking to painting especially with water colors. I am a huge fan of strategy games like Civilization as well when I have 5 consecutive days to waste. So basically I am just into a lot of things.

q: How would you describe your music to someone who was interested?

It's like if Soul and Rock got together and had a baby. But meanwhile Folk and Jazz got together, and they had a baby. Then by some miracle those two babies met and... well you know... this would be the product that they birthed.

Q: Who would you most like to collaborate with?

C: That's tough... It would most definitely be between either Paul McCartney or Elton John I think. Being such idols to me musically and understanding more and more how deep their genius goes, I would just wish to be in a room with them for a few hours just to learn all that I can about how they work creatively and eventually form a dedicated partnership of course where we became best friends.

Q: How do you feel about the internet's impact on the music business?

C: It's a love hate situation as I'm sure most artists feel. Obviously first off, musicians are underpaid and under appreciated these days because anyone with a MacBook is a producer nowadays which has saturated the market with artists of all skill levels, essentially condensing any true artists working to play numbers, followers, and engagement, which is all essentially marketing, thus costs time/money to accomplish and there's no money to be had. It's a lottery that requires you to invest money at this point to build your brand, gain a following just for the off chance that your music hits an A&R rep's desk so that he can say your low-budget in bedroom production isn't of the same quality as a multi-million dollar studio. But what I love, is that this is a lottery. Now more than ever every musician has more opportunities than could ever be dreamed of. You can publish your music for so cheap and mass email a ton of contacts to try and break the barrier of stardom. Socially you can see the tides turning back to the attractiveness of purity and authenticity, especially with the rise of new media like long form podcasts and idependent film-makers. I hope for the future that leads more people to look for musical artwork and not just the same ol' 4-chord bass bumpers that have become standard.

Q: What is Heading West: An American Oddity About?

C: The Heading West anthology is about a modern day pioneer, much like everyone else, uncomfortable in the world and place he was given. So he sets out alone in search of his utopia that exists only in his head to find that things don't always work out as expected but they do end up working toward that ultimate destined goal.. usually unseen in the everyday life. Part 1 chronicles the rise of this main character and continues onwards through Part 2 and 3 which will sound almost nothing like the first album. It's a story I have had in mind for a while and I'm pleased people are starting to get excited about the concept

Q: What's the best advice you've been given?

C: "Always go into something expecting the worse."

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This was something a Master Carpenter said all the time while I was working underneath him and I feel as if the mentality really benefited me both inside and outside of work. Some may look at the face value and say, "Well that's a very pessimistic way of looking at anything." I'll be honest I felt the same when I first heard him say it. But the more I would practice inside of that mentality the more level-headed and calm I was when things took a turn for the worse. Always assuming everything is going to work out great makes it very difficult to cope with the fact that not everything will go to plan. It makes adaptation a chore and missteps a whole lot more than they are. That type of viewpoint just brings disappointment along with it. By living in that mindset I feel I am able to approach my problems in any jobs with ease and a level-head by constantly expecting the worse before I get wrapped up with the better. It forces me to be professional, serious, mature and protect my sensibility from anger. At the end of any project, I'm able to step back, smile on my work and appreciate after it's all said and done rather than try to enjoy the every moment that may end in disappointment.

Q: What's Next for you?

C: Lots I am sure. More music of course, I'll be finishing the rest of the Heading West Saga and producing the three albums in their entirety. Hopefully after that be able to collaborate with some artists and keep recording. Buying a house is on the horizon. I have a lot of furniture I would like to make. I'm learning python which has been enjoyable, probably keep going with that. Lately I have taken an interest in homesteading and making a sustainable home using automation and different techniques, I hope to come up with a plan on that. I've been meaning to write more, I'd like to find the time to get back into that. I'm one of those people who has too many hobbies for the amount of time I actually have.

Q: When and why did you start playing?

C: I had been singing since I was little. Usually to myself at first to the radio, taping and replaying songs a million times to try to sound like the songs. Eventually that evolved and when I was 18 I started teaching myself to play guitar. That blossomed into a lot more and I plan to learn more than I do now.

Q: What are some of your fondest musical memories?

C: Most of them are songwriting. If you're looking for my passion, just watch me while I write a song and you'll see that I am so comfortably in my element. It brings in so many things that I enjoy: music, organization, structure, creativity, originality, philosophy and concepts, writing, singing. It's such a pure feeling when you can give yourself chills from the sound you are creating, step back and go.. "Damn.. I think I've got something here.." The studio is where I plan to live and die.

Q: Did you ever get nervous before performing?

C: Oh most definitely yes. Horrible stomach pains, no food, only water. Shakes, anxiety. You name it and I've gone through it. "But Cody," you say, "you eventually got over it right?" Pshhh.. No. I love that I get nervous though, it makes it feel real, like it's all on the line, I just try to use that and remember my yoga breathing.

q: What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate?

C: Writing songs and recording. You can just wall yourself up, isolate and create. It's a unique opportunity to explore the self and travel to the edges of madness and all the other extremes in emotion and thought in order to create something unique. I hate people asking me to play at some random get together. I'll be honest, love the enthusiasm, love when other musicians just want to jam and play together while people watch. When I'm solo, 3 beers deep and you hand me a guitar and tell me to play a cover song I've never heard, it most definitely kills the vibe for me and my no usually kills the enthusiasm.

Q: iS your family musical?

C: Very much so. I'm pretty sure everyone sings, karaoke at Christmas is pretty average for us. My uncles have been in many bands and still are. My cousin records his own music as well. We're one of those families that just appreciates great music and the greatness of it. Growing up music was never pushed on anyone, you just kind of fell into it because it felt right

q: Do you perform In public?

C: I have played in public in the bands I have been in the past. Always loved it, always had a blast. With Coyote Grooves though I'm wishy-washy. One day I'm thinking about how to make a one man show using the album and thinking about all the cool venues and even pop-up shows I could put on. But the next I'm like do I really want to waste my time in some bar where nobody really showed up to listen to me, allocate 15 hours out of my week to practice and go do the gig, then get 2-3 people to follow me on Instagram and call that progress in 5 years? I'm just so happy writing and recording, I don't know if I would ever come out of my den. I'm not trying to make millions of dollars as a stage act, just a living.

Q: How do you balance your music with all of your other hobbies and work?

C: Ohhhhh! Balance! I never thought of that! Usually its just organized chaos. I have lists of things that I need to get done in all different sub-categories (music, carpentry, round the house, ect.) and I heavily use my calendar to try and hash out what I'm doing every day. If I take a lazy day it all dominoes down the line, so I try to stay motivated by accomplishing as much as I can in day. As long as I'm producing results I keep on grinding.

Q: why "Coyote Grooves"?

C: My wife's lil cousin was over at a cookout at her parents and she kept calling me "Coyote" (trying to remember Cody). She knew it wasn't correct but I kept going by Coyote just messing with her and I kind of walked up to Tiff and was like, "Oh yeah, I think there is something to this Coyote thing." Read Coyote America by Dan Flores and was just fascinated by the Coyote's place in myth and their ability to either run solo or in a pack. I simply loved the concept and started brainstorming and was toying with, "Coyote Cody" and "Cody Coyote" but eventually fell on "Coyote Grooves" and have never turned back.

Collaboration:

I want to do a lot of stuff... but I work a 9-5, I have house projects to do, a wife that needs some love every now and then! Needless to say, I stretch myself thin and my cloning attempts keep failing! If you or someone you know is an artist, film-maker, podcaster, director, graphic designer, writer, ect. (especially in the Atlanta, GA area) get in contact. I can't afford to pay anyone, I can't even afford to pay myself at this point, but what I do have is a direction. If you're looking to build a portfolio, or explore an idea, or ultimately build an artistic brand from the ground up, I want to get behind you and build this thing WITH your help. Get in touch. Worst case is we are back where we started having met each other.

Email us at:

coyotegrooves@gmail.com

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