Brandtson is another fine band on Deep Elm Records, a label that I like very much. So all of you who know this label can stop reading and buy Brandtson’s new record “Trying to figure each other out”. Well, no, don’t stop reading, first check out this interview that was done with their guitarist Matt and their singer/guitarist Myk. I was pretty surprised when Myk sent me his answers a couple of days after Matt sent his, but I think that's great, so I included both.

Hi, who is this answering my questions and how are you at the moment? Any introduction to start this interview off with?

Matt: Hi, this is Matt, and I'm doing alright at the moment, I'm riding in the van on I-10east from Louisianna to Florida. Morning coffee, and krispy kreme donuts and 'Dear you' are making the morning ok. However, I was the test subject on the 'peaches and cream' donut, and my advice is--- stay away (Ok – Stefan).

Myk: My name's Myk, I play guitar and sing in the band. I'm responding to these questions via e-mail, so unfortunately the rest of the band isn't here at the moment.

When did you start making music and how were the early days of Brandtson?

Matt: Brandtson’s been together for about 3 -1/2  - 4 years, and early on let’s see, I was in another band with Myk, and he started doing this as a sort of side project, we were planning on releasing an EP on my record label, and it just sort of gradually grew from there.

Myk: We started making music together over 3 years ago, it'll be 4 in March. Most of us had come out of other bands, mostly situations that fell apart or weren't working out, so it felt really great for us to get together and work on music that was important to us. I think the four of us found our common ground in Brandtson.

Please tell me something about the new record. I was quite surprised to get a new release from Brandtson only one year after "Fallen star collection."

Matt: I dunno, we're all quite in love with doing this band, so we do our best to stay busy. writing, recording, touring... There are great aspects to all of these, we just keep it up, and try to keep a busy schedule.

Myk: One of the reasons we wanted to do an EP was to get it out quickly. We didn't want there to be 2 years before the next record. We kind of decided to write a rock EP and have fun with it. I think it ended up taking on a little more depth than we originally expected it to, but that's what's so great about making records and music...letting it become what it wants to rather than trying to shape it into a certain sound.

You put a remixed version of "As you wish" at the end of the record. Is that just an experiment or will this have a bigger influence on your songwriting in the future?

Matt: We actually didn't do the remix. Or good friends in the band Furnace St. did that for us, we discussed it with them, and were really excited about it. As far as future songwriting influences, I dunno, I suppose we'll just see what happens. We're excited to get to work on the next full length and have already got a few songs down (yeah! – Stefan).

Myk: That song was remixed by a close friend of ours, Adam Boose from the band Furnace St. It was something he did on his own just for fun. We thought it was amazing and just wanted to give people a chance to hear it, that's why we put it as an extra track on the record. I don't think it will affect our music much, but who knows...maybe we'll have Jared play keyboard and get a drum machine! Heh heh (I’m curious how that would sound like – Stefan).

Bands like Jimmy Eat World, (even though they got dropped by Capitol Records), The Promise Ring and The Get up Kids become bigger and bigger. Do you realize something like an emo-hype and does that have any effect on you?

Matt: Well I can definitely see that sort of thing going on, but it really doesn't effect us. It's kind of weird, that it's such a 'market' and that’s sure to fade away quickly, but that’s not why we do the band, we always have and will continue to make music that first and foremost we are happy with and sounds good to us, and from that point we hope others will like it as well.

Myk: It's pretty obvious that there are some bands getting more attention, I think it's great. It doesn't really affect our writing though, I think people are just more open to Indie bands these days.

How would you describe the relationship between emo bands and old school straight edge bands? Sometimes (!) it seems there's some kind of rivalry between both types of music (e.g."Fuck emo" by Halfmast). It reminds me of Manowar: "Wimps and posers, leave the hall."

Matt: Ehh, I don't know. Everyone has preferences in music and lifestyle etc. and it's not my place to say, lots of kids within the 'scene' go through fazes of liking what’s cool to like at any given time, a lot of kids are locked into liking one type or style of music, and then there are a lot of kids who are simply in love with music, and in love with everything involved. I think where you run into conflict is with fashion, everyone is worried about looking good, and has some sort of mentality that only the people who look exactly like them are the cool ones.

Myk: Rivalry between 'scenes' is inevitable. It's fun and silly really. Some of us have hardcore punk roots, but it's really just about the music now. We've played a fair amount of shows with hardcore bands and we find there's more respect out there than animosity.

Do you see your roots in hardcore or do you think that emo is something completely different?

Matt: I don't think I see my roots in either, I've been in love with music for as long as I can remember, as far as music now, I think I got into the whole 'indie' thing or whatever I think around 8th grade when I started skating and my friends had D.R.I. and Minor Threat tapes, and I got a Pixies tape from the library.

Myk: My roots are definitely in hardcore music. I don't see much of that, stylistically, in what I'm doing today, but the motivation is exactly the same... personal expression.

Should music be political or do you think that it's going too far to promote e.g. animal rights or organizations like Earth First or P.E.T.A. in the lyrics of a band?

Matt: No I think it's great when bands sing about what they believe, I think where it gets sketchy is when it's done distastefully and without any tact, which unfortunately is often the case. I think bands like Fugazi, Refused, Pedro the Lion pulls it off excellently.

Myk: I think music is one of the best soapboxes around. If someone has ideas and convictions, music is a great way to be heard and bring your ideas to the table.

On the album "Fallen star collection" there were samples from the movie "Stranger than paradise", right? Why did you choose this movie to take samples from?

Matt: I love that movie, it's one of my all time favorites, and we just thought the sample fit nicely.

Myk. It's a favourite of ours, if you haven't seen it, you should get your hands on it. The sample says "I've been losing all afternoon", it just seemed to fit with the feeling of the song.

On the "Let's call it a day" 7" you did a cover by Sinead O'Connor. Why that? Do you like her music or just that special song? What do you think about her attitude, to me she's pretty strange...

Matt: That song meant a lot to me, it was one of those important songs from high school years. We just really liked it, and thought it would be good to cover. Myk has been a huge Sinead fan for as long as I've known him. As far as liking her music or thinking she's strange, her attitude... I dunno, I don't know a lot about her personally, so I can't comment, and at the same time, I don't really care too much. I tend to separate artists from their work as much as possible.

Myk: I'm probably one of the biggest Sinead fans you'll ever meet, I was hooked the minute "The lion and the cobra" came out in 1987. I wake up every morning to a 4 foot by 6 foot poster of her on my wall (yeah! – Stefan). The funny thing is, covering that song wasn't even my idea, it was our guitar player Matt's, I wouldn't have suggested it and if I had they probably would have just rolled their eyes at me. I think that song was picked because of it's spiritual/social implications and the fact that it's just her voice and one acoustic guitar left it wide open to do anything musically. As far as her attitude, I like to think of her as spontaneous rather than strange. She seems to act without thinking of the consequence, but at least she acts on her convictions. She's a firecracker.

Your own lyrics are quite personal, right? How would you describe them, with which topics do they deal with?

Matt: They're definitely very personal, I didn't actually write any of the lyrics on the new EP, but I did for about 3 or 4 songs on 'Fallen star…', I don't know if we could possibly write lyrics that aren't personal, it seems natural to me to write about what’s going on in your head, or what you're working through, dealing with, etc. I couldn't comprehend writing something along the lines of 'My name is kid...' and considering them as serious lyrics.

Myk: My approach to lyrics has always been to write about whatever's going on in my life at the moment. Even if it's trite or trivial. One thing everyone has in common is everyday life. I like to try and end songs with some kind of solution if I present a question or conflict. Songs are usually about thinking through a situation and hopefully coming to a conclusion or at least a peace of mind.

Are you happy with Deep Elm Records? I could imagine that after the release of "Fallen star collection" there were other (Major) labels interested in signing Brandtson?

Matt: Deep Elm has done a lot for us, John Szuch works really hard, and cares about all the bands he works with, it's great to be able to have someone who takes serious interest in what you're doing, and is as excited about it as you. As far as major labels, we haven't had much contact with that sort of thing.

Myk: Yeah, Deep Elm is great. It's good to be part of a label with really great bands. We haven't really drawn any major label interest, which is okay with us right now. We're just going to do what we do. With the popularity of Indie labels growing everyday, we hope to see more and more kids hearing our music, and Deep Elm has done a great job of getting out there.

What are your future plans? Any European tour in sight?

Matt: We're on tour right now as I type this, we'll be home early October, and are planning on spending the majority of this fall at home writing for the next full length, after that, obviously getting it recorded, then more time on the road here, and hopefully we'll get over to Europe finally this spring, that’s what we're hoping for (I hope so, too – Stefan).

Myk: We just got home from a six week tour of the U.S. and we plan to write the next record this fall/early winter. We've been wanting to come to Europe for a while, hopefully it will be possible this next spring/summer.

Did you like this interview and do you have anything to add or say that I might forgot to ask you?

Matt: Umm, very good questions, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us.

Myk: This interview was great, I haven't been asked about that Sinead O'Conner song in ages! Thanks for taking the time to do it, and thanks to those that have read this far. Hopefully we'll see you at a show really soon. Take care. Myk.

(Tobi / Stefan)

All pictures by C.Szucs, D.Lay and T.Jonsson, thanks!