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Saves the Day’s Chris Conley on ‘Happy’ New Album + the Lectures He Plays When He’s Sad

Tom Stone

“This album sounds happy because I am happy,” says Saves the Day’s Chris Conley. “It’s that simple.” Diffuser.fm is chatting with the singer-songwriter about the group’s recently released eponymous album, a hyper-melodic 11-song collection which features some of Conley’s sharpest hooks yet.

Even the album’s cover image — a slice of grapefruit with a bright orange background behind it — reflects its sunny mood. “I’m glad you feel that way,” Conley says, responding to that observation. “We were trying to match the feel of the music with the cover art, and I just kept thinking of a bright neon grapefruit for some reason. The music sounded like that to me. I also think it’s fitting since a grapefruit could be a metaphor for life; it’s bittersweet.”

‘Saves the Day’ is certainly a Feel Good Record of the Year contender, but Diffuser.fm wondered what Conley throws on the turntable when he’s in the doldrums.

“When I’m in a funk, I might turn to something that has just has a lyric that hits me a certain way,” he says. “Tom Waits is really good for that kind of thing, since I relate to his point of view, particularly his more recent material. I also find that some of David Bowie’s records, lyrically speaking, touch on some of the bigger issues in a really interesting way.”

Conley then tells us about a non-musical inspiration that might throw some of Saves the Day’s fans for a loop. “It’s kind of random, but I love listening to lectures I find on iTunes from Joseph Campbell.”

Born in White Plains, N.Y., Campbell was an author and professor of comparative mythology and comparative religion who died in 1987 at the age of 83.

“Lots of his lectures were recorded and you can just download them,” Conley says. “I’ll go through periods where I’ll listen to them every single night, and that works for me every time. So when I’m feeling really low down, the most important thing for me to do is to accept how I feel and not fight it. That works for me and it’s more powerful than just trying to make it go away. So yeah, Campbell is my go to inspiration right now.”

Were Campbell still alive, Conley says, he’d be just like one of the fans that approaches him after Saves the Day shows to ask him about his lyrics and tell him how important the songs are in their lives.

“I would be at every single lecture and then stick around and just pester him about everything,” he says. “I’m such a huge fan. I go on his website and just spend tons of money there. It’s ridiculous, but I just love him.”

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