Cody Chesnutt :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Cody Chesnutt indirectly made himself into a bit of enigma this past decade. After his band was dropped from a record deal right before the release of their finished debut, Chesnutt holed up in his bedroom and created The Headphone Masterpiece, a sprawling, 36 track lo-fi soul, rock and r&b mess released in 2002 that won over critics and grabbed the attention of The Roots, leading to their re-recorded version of Chesnutt's "The Seed" and some serious attention. But then he fell off the map, finally resurfacing in 2010 with an EP and then in 2012 with his debut's proper follow-up, Landing on a Hundred. Prior to his show at the Troubadour in L.A., Chesnutt spoke with Aquarium Drunkard over the phone about the success of that debut, where he went for eight years, how Sam Cooke's songwriting influenced his own and whether or not he really was ever addicted to crack (spoiler alert: he wasn't).

Aquarium Drunkard: If we go all the way back to 2002 and The Headphone Masterpiece, you started off with this debut album - 36 tracks, a double album - was the attention that the record received overwhelming, or did you expect it at all?

Cody Chesnutt: It was cool. To be honest with you, I didn't know what to expect. After I'd been dropped from the record company, I didn't really have a lot of expectations. I just focused on getting music out that I felt best represented myself as an artist at the time. I really tried to move forward without becoming too bitter or too jaded. So I stayed in my room and made music that spoke to me and moved me and the people we shared it with who came over to the house. So I put it out like that. I just played and expressed it loud and had fun with it. It was amazing to see how it took off. I was pleased with the response.

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