A busy and versatile figure on the indie rock scene, multi-instrumentalist Chris Cohen led cult indie group the Curtains before a stint as a guitarist with Deerhoof. He played with these and many other bands before striking out solo, bringing his sophisticated and gently psychedelic songwriting into focus on stellar albums like his 2012 solo debut Overgrown Path.
Cohen was born in 1975 and raised in Southern California, where his father worked in the music business and his mother was an actress. At the age of three, he began bashing out rhythms on a toy drum kit, and in time he learned to play guitar, bass, and keyboards in addition to percussion, learning how to overdub himself into a full band on a four-track cassette machine by the age of 12. In 2000, Cohen formed the group the Curtains; initially working with Jamie Peterson and Trevor Shimizu, the group released their debut album, Fast Talks, in 2001. The Curtains revamped their lineup in 2002, with Peterson and Shimizu replaced by Andrew Maxwell and Greg Saunier, and that same year, Cohen joined the celebrated indie rock act Deerhoof (co-founded by Saunier), making his recorded debut with the band on the 2003 album Apple O'. (Cohen also lent his skills as guitarist to the Deerhoof side project Natural Dreamers, whose self-titled album was released the same year.) 2003 saw the release of another Curtains album, Flybys, and Vehicles of Travel followed in 2004; while most musicians would be busy enough writing, recording, and supporting two albums in as many years, Cohen also continued to work with Deerhoof, and served as an accompanist with Cass McCombs, Danielson, Haunted Graffiti, and White Magic, both in the studio and on the road. After the Curtains took an extended break, Cohen revived the name in 2007 as a solo studio project on the album Calamity. In 2008, he launched another new project, Cryptacize, with Nedelle Torrisi (who had contributed to the Calamity album), and the new combo released Dig That Treasure the same year; the follow-up, Mythomania, appeared in 2009. In 2012, Cohen put his many projects on hold long enough to complete and release his first solo album, Overgrown Path, which was issued by the Captured Tracks label. Four years later, he returned with second full-length As If Apart, which featured two songs co-written by Zach Phillips of Blanche Blanche Blanche. In between work on his own music, Cohen began doing more production work on other artists' albums. He produced Weyes Blood's acclaimed 2016 album Front Row Seat to Earth, as well as records from EZTV and Marietta. In 2019 he released his third, self-titled solo album. Again released by Captured Tracks, it featured guest appearances from Dear Nora's Katy Davidson, Zach Phillips, and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen. ~ Mark Deming