You also write your own music. What is the songwriting process like for you and where do you pull from?
It varies quite often. Sometimes songs come out of nowhere and write themselves. Other times it's a labor-intensive process. I've started songs that I didn't finish until years later. Sometimes I'll write a piece of music and it will sit around for ages until I find the lyric that's meant to go with it. As far as the subject matter goes I try to keep my eyes and ears attuned to any form of inspiration. I've pulled songs from newspaper articles, things that have happened to friends, fictional stories I've created but they more often tend to be about my own personal life and events I've experienced that left a mark on me.
What are some of your favorite songs you've written and why?
All of my songs are always jockeying for a position at the top of my own personal list but I can't pick favorites. They all have special meanings and special places in my heart.
John Gallagher Jr.
Would you like to do a collaboration? If so who?
Absolutely. Creating music with other individuals is a thrilling and totally unique experience. I don't have any major contenders but I'm always open to ideas.
You often put on concerts on the side while you are a part of a Broadway show. What does this allow you to do and say as a musician oppose to your stage career?
It keeps me balanced. If I go too long without playing my own music I start to feel a bit clouded. The pace and the experience is totally unlike being on stage as an actor for me. I get to tell all of my own stories using my own words and my own experiences and my own instrumental execution. There's nothing between me and the audience so it's a very personal enterprise and therefore extremely cathartic.
You've been a part of a few bands now. What was that experience like for you and do you see you’re self-wanting to do this again?
Playing in a band is amazing. The camaraderie that grows between bandmates is something I've never quite felt anywhere else. It becomes a second family. I'd love to play in a band again someday. The difficult task is balancing the unpredictable nature of an acting career, which becomes very much about one person, with that of a band, which becomes very much about a partnership with several people. If there's a way for them to coexist, be it just a side project band with a few friends, I hope to find it.
You've lead two hit rock musicals, Spring Awakening and American Idiot. Did working with musicians like Duncan Sheik and Green Day influence your music; did they give you any advice?
Working on projects by musicians I admire so much is a dream. I'd been inspired by Duncan Sheik and Green Day long before I even imagined I would be working with them. I just observe and soak as much in as I can. I don't think I was ever given any direct advice about music but I certainly learned a lot without even really trying just by getting to know these brilliant artists.
What’s next possible record or tour in the future?
I hope for both. It's hard to find the time lately but once I do I would love to put out my first record and head out on the road with it.