The May artist playlist is here! Each month we’re asking one music-loving artist to create a custom playlist of their favorite songs. This month, photographer Chris Schoonover takes us back to the 60s and 70s with this cool, stripped back lineup. Happy listening!
Introduce yourself and your work!
My name is Chris Schoonover and I’m a photographer living and working in Brooklyn NY. My work revolves around fashion, commercial, and art photography.
My latest personal project is called “Hand Colored Photographs.” I’m working on the project with my mom. Basically, I take retro style portraits on black and white film, print them in the dark room and then my mom paints the color onto the print. We’ve completed about 30 portraits over the past year and we’re hoping to have a book and show at some point when things get running again.
Could you tell us about the playlist you put together?
Originally this playlist was about 45 songs, so I really narrowed it down to mainly 60’s and 70’s with a few outliers. It’s an assortment of songs that I’ve been listening to lately, and some that have stayed favorites since I was a kid. I was born in ’88, but I’ve always been fascinated with the late 60s/70s era. I like the attitude of the 60’s as a time of discovery and competition to see how complicated or strange you could make music. Then the 70’s rolled around and the culture / mood changed to a more stripped back approach. The common thread these songs is probably melody and hard hitting subtle lyrics. I think I’ve always appreciated a understated line and a strong melody.
What song or artist do you have on repeat recently?
Lately I’ve been listening to Phoebe Bridgers “Motion Sickness.” I know it’s an older song, but a friend of mine covered it and I haven’t been able to get the tune out of my head.
Honorable mention: Whitney, ELO, Roger Miller, The mamas and the papas.
If your art were a music genre, what would it be?
I’d hope that it would be late 60’s / 70s rock/pop, but I’m not sure that my work can really hold a candle to that.
How do you describe your musical taste?
I can’t figure out a word to describe it so here are two records that had a massive impact on my musical taste.
The Steve Miller Band Greatest Hits 1974-78
My dad was a huge fan of the Steve Miller Band and we always had his greatest hits in the family car CD player. I loved it. I still listen to that record all the time.
Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”
I started listening to beach boys “pet sounds” in my early 20’s and got pretty fascinated with Brian Wilson. That was my gateway into late 60’s/70’s music. That record blew my mind and I credit it with changing the way I view and consume music/art.
What part does music play in your creative process?
I think a lot of time’s I’m unaware of the impact music has on me and my work. I’m always listening and ingesting music, but I think it inspires me in ways I don’t realize. When the music is off while I’m working, I sometimes unintentionally repeat one line of a song over and over like a mantra. It’s usually not even an important line, I’ll just like the way it feels to sing it. Music to me is a third party that changes my mood and unknowingly pushes me in different directions.