Chris Thile answers IPR listeners' questions

Aug 20, 2020

Chris Thile has won Grammy Awards, hosted his own radio program and received a MacArthur Fellowship (unofficially known as a "genius grant"). 

Since Chris has so many accomplishments under his belt already (and he's not even 40 yet), Classical IPR thought we'd ask our listeners to provide the interview questions for him.

He answered questions about balancing his work and home life, what kinds of strings and picks he uses and who he'd like to collaborate with on an album but hasn't had a chance yet.

Chris Thile will perform this weekend at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts. Click here for more information and tickets.

All questions were submitted via Facebook from IPR listeners.

IPR: How do you balance your life and work with kids and home and manage to stay creative?

CT: When you live as a musician, you don't necessarily have to have your hands on the instrument to be making progress. So much of being creative is being observant and listening to the world around you. If art is to imitate life, you'd better have a pretty good handle on what life is.

IPR: What was the writing and recording process like for the Goat Rodeo Sessions?

CT: It was a joy from start to finish. We picked up right where we left off [for Not Our First Goat Rodeo]. It's half music-making, half pure hijinks. Your face hurts from laughing at the end of the day. 

IPR: What kinds of strings and picks do you use?

CT: (laughing) This portion of the interview is brought to you by D'Addario. I forget what the model number of the strings is, but it's purple. They let me design my own pick, bless them. I think it's just called the Chris Thile model. You out there in radio-land should see me blushing right now.

The custom Chris Thile pick by D'Adderio

IPR: Will there ever be another Nickel Creek album?

CT: Yeah, maybe so. I suspect we'll make another one.

IPR: Who was your favorite guest on Live from Here?

CT: That's impossible. There are so many. Even when I start thinking of one, another 25 pop up.

IPR: What kind of pressure did you feel when you were asked to fill the shoes of A Prairie Home Companion and then Live from Here?

CT: I suppose I felt some pressure in certain regards because I grew up a huge fan of A Prairie Home Companion. It was a big deal to me, and it was a big deal to my mom and dad. But on the other hand, I had a job to do. I feel like if you think too much about things that aren't going to help you do the job at hand, then you're not going to do the job at hand well. I think it was an exercise in focus. 

Esperanza Spalding

IPR: Who would you like to make an album with but haven't had a chance yet?

CT: I have been artistically obsessed with Esperanza Spalding since she appeared on the radio show. 

Answers have been edited for clarity.