Tai Verdes connected with AltPress for issue #400. During the 10 Topics conversation, the artist talks about the foremost necessities for his mental health, his favorite EP and the moment he overcame his fear onstage.

The power of TikTok

TikTok is the news, but it’s curated by people. They are small stories that are sometimes 15 seconds, sometimes one minute, that capture really intimate versions of the human experience and allow them to be shared through an algorithm that promotes organic content. The opportunities that it provides are endless, for both the creators and the audiences. Basically, the shit’s fucking dope.

The best breakfast you’ve ever had

I was never a breakfast eater, so my opinion probably doesn’t matter on this. I think that if I have anything sugary in the morning, it has to be an acai bowl. Hey, that might make me a little boujee, [but] I don’t care. Especially if you put peanut butter on top, the thing is always going to hit.

An EP you love

Dominic Fike’s EP, Don’t Forget About Me, Demos. That shit is crazy. You know what? I’m going to put it on right now. “3 Nights” was the song I listened to every time I opened up my phone to listen to music. I think there are some groups of songs that just have a hold [on] you, you know? They catch you at just the right time and place in your life. FYI, I actually do have the EP playing right now.

What the world needs right now

I don’t know what the world needs right now. I’m not the person who is in charge of change. I’m responsible for how I go through my life. I try to stay positive about every situation and have a short memory, collaborate with people who are fun to collaborate with, don’t take anything too seriously and try to be as honest as possible all the time.

Necessities for your mental health

I probably need to be writing. It’s the way I make myself feel better. I’m not really writing these songs for people to sing them. I just write them because I think it’s better for those words to live out in real life instead of in my head. I can sing these songs over and over again because they sound how I feel.

What to do when you feel stuck 

Talk to someone, someone that actually cares about your situation. That can be a great starting point. They have all the energy to help but none of the fucked-up perspective that you’re carrying around with you in the decision-making process. It’s impossible to do everything yourself, and that’s OK. Things get less impossible when you share your problems with your friends.

The perfect night

I don’t have an answer. I don’t even know if I want that because then I’ll have to think about all the other nights that won’t be as perfect. Now I’m trying to make every night perfect, and then I’m just trying too hard. Maybe I’m thinking too much about this. Maybe just give me Sour Patch Kids and let me watch The Office and I’ll shut the fuck up.

A book you want to read

Honestly, I don’t really want to read any books, but I read a lot on the internet and learn a lot on YouTube. Watch YouTube.

A fear you overcame

Lollapalooza. Singing in front of all those people with a live band. [It was] my first major festival/show. That was the first time I had ever done something like that. I told myself, “If you can do this, you can do anything.” It doesn’t matter what other stages you go to. Thirty-five thousand people on your first show knocks the training wheels off. I just said to myself that if I really want to do this, you should go out and do it — and do it like you mean it. 

Your inspiration today 

Inspiration is such a big fucking word. It makes it seem like you need to have a huge bright spotlight on your head when you’re doing the activity that is “inspiring” you. I just do shit that I enjoy, over and over again. I try to make things very simple. If I hate something or how it makes me feel, I’m probably going to stay away from it.

This interview appeared in issue 400, available here.