How Christian French Channelled Spiraling Thoughts and New Independence Into 'avalanche'
The new single comes after a breakup that's changed Christian's life in many ways, and also had a powerful impact on the way he looks at songwriting, and the moods he looks to capture with his music. But we think Christian tells the story better himself. Keep reading for our full interview with Christian on "avalanche," what the song means to him and what we can expect from him next.
Sweety High: What was the songwriting process behind "avalanche"?
Christian French. I had a session with JKash, Jake Torrey and Andy Seltzer. I hadn't worked with them before, so we were just talking and getting to know each other for the first 30 minutes or so. I had brought up the fact that I had just ended the relationship I was in, and so we knew we wanted to write a song in that lane. For the previous few days, I was thinking about the concept of "avalanche"—a small thought growing and growing into something bigger over time, and when I explained it to them, they immediately ran with it. I swear as soon as I said "avalanche," JKash came up with a lot of what would become the chorus. It was kind of insane to see. Over the next few hours we chipped away at the writing, while Andy was working on the production, and within a few hours we had the whole song written. It was one of those where we knew exactly what we wanted to say in each section, so it was really easy to puzzle-piece together. Jake and JKash are such talented writers and working with them made this song a breeze. I got out everything I wanted to.
SH: What does the song mean to you? How did you channel your real-life experience into the track?
CF: I've found that in every relationship I've been in, there always comes this initial thought of me wondering what life would be like without this person, where I start to fantasize about a better life on my own.
This thought starts out so innocent, but over time, the more I give that thought attention, the more and more it snowballs into what I actually want. I had just ended my relationship before writing this song, so all of the emotions were really fresh and present. I had been giving so much energy into my relationship that I didn't feel like I had been giving enough to my music career, and when I would focus on music, I felt like I wasn't giving my relationship enough energy. I felt really stuck in between both and knew something had to be done.
SH: Do you often find yourself having thoughts that spin out into bigger "avalanches"?
CF: Oh yeah—I do it pretty much every day! I've learned about myself more and am sometimes able to catch myself before I go down the rabbit hole, but if I don't catch them, my thoughts can run off on tangents so quick and I come to 10 minutes later wondering, "Wow, how did I even get here?"
SH: How is "avalanche" different from the music you've released in the past?
CF: I feel like it's different in a lot of ways—from me wanting to write about relationships again to me singing way higher than I've ever sang on a song before, to just the overall sound of the song being way more leveled up than anything I've released. I was just focused on different things with this older music—for three years my relationship was so comfortable that there wasn't much excitement or new energy to write about, so I found myself writing more introspective music, but now that things aren't comfortable anymore, I'm focusing on that energy a lot more.
SH: Where did the idea for the music video come about? Do you have a favorite memory from the shoot?
CF: We really just wanted to take you in the exact opposite direction of what you would think a song called "avalanche" would be—you'd think it would be a snow-related video with a girl, so we went to the desert and used a gambling problem as the catalyst of the "avalanche" in the song. For this project, I feel like I've been really into older, western-themed music (which has been reflected in the other songs), and have definitely been wearing more western-styled clothing, so to us it really fit the overall theme of the project to bring the video out to the desert on a Hunter S. Thompson-styled adventure.
I definitely loved smashing a bunch of stuff for the video. The guitar smash was the highlight for me. I'd say other than that, I really loved hanging out with Mark (the other character in the video). He was so interesting to talk to and I got to hear about his life growing up, which was crazy. Overall just a really interesting guy, kind of like the Dos Equis "most interesting man in the world."
SH: What's your favorite lyric from the track?
CF: I think one of the most personal lines to me is "it was only one night, I felt the wind in my hair but I wasn't prepared for what it'd feel like without you."
The story behind this line was that last September, my roommates and I went to live in London for a month. It was the first time I had been across the pond, and was also the first time I had really felt so separated from my relationship, not seeing her for a month and barely even talking because of the time difference. I really got a taste of what it would be like to be independent again, and also was kind of smacked in the face with how much traveling and culture I had left to experience. I would say this trip was really the start of the "avalanche."
SH: Is there anything you'd like to add?
CF: I just hope everyone likes the song! We haven't released anything in nine months, trying to get this music exactly right before we started putting stuff out again. It's been a really tough time not releasing music for so long, but I'm really proud of the growth that I've had in these nine months. I can't wait for the other music to start coming out. Every single song is incredible and has grown into one big story.
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