The first music I ever got into was the '80s alternative bands that my brother listened to, like The Cure and The Smiths and R.E.M. and Fugazi. I can remember specifically saying The Cure was my favorite band back in second grade.
When I try to explain to people the big influences in my life, or at least when I first started, the most important ones were my friends who were also writing songs and were typically four or five years older than me.
In theory, I always think I should totally go back to school, because I don't want to start sinking slowly... I want to learn, blah blah blah. Then I think about actually going and sitting in classes and, man, it sounds terrible.
I don't really premeditate what I write my songs about; you know, they just kind of happen, and I can't start writing songs to please a certain group of people or propagate a certain message all the time. That's just not how my songwriting works - it just sort of comes out, and the songs are what they are.