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.
who is this answering my questions and how are you at the moment? Any
introduction to start this interview off with?
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.
did you start making music and how were the early days of Brandtson?
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
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.
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."
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.
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?
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?
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.
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."
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
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.
you see your roots in hardcore or do you think that emo is something completely
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...
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?
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 album "Fallen star collection" there were samples from the movie
"Stranger than paradise", right? Why did you choose this movie to take
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.
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...
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.
own lyrics are quite personal, right? How would you describe them, with which
topics do they deal with?
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.
you happy with Deep Elm Records? I could imagine that after the release of
"Fallen star collection" there were other (Major) labels interested in
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.
are your future plans? Any European tour in sight?
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).
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.
you like this interview and do you have anything to add or say that I might
forgot to ask you?
very good questions, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us.
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.
All pictures by C.Szucs, D.Lay and T.Jonsson, thanks!