What it sounds like is. No, what it sounds like to me is. No, I was right first time: what it really actually objectively sounds like is that Bryan sat down with a guitar and no idea what he was going to do next, then recorded himself doing it. Ramshackle and off-the-cuff and messy and memorable and instant. I like it a lot.
Dusted magazine had this to say about the first 7 single, Drop the Needle: As anonymous and inconsequential a release as Ive ever encountered ... 100 sleeveless copies of a single on green vinyl, with no song titles ... from a goofy and excitable non-talent ... Thanks for putting more garbage that no one wanted into the world, Bryan. (dustedmagazine.com/features/467)
I liked it a lot. But there were no contact details and nothing I could
find the on the web. Smashin' Transistors weren't particularly complimentary
about the next one, Skeltons, either: This guy sounds like he's
really into Daniel Johnston and Beck and trying too hard to be as heartfelt,
weird or clever as them. Doesn't sound like it's working too well.
Needless to say, I liked it a lot and there were no contact details. I played it all on the radio and eventually Bryan emailed. We talked. I liked it a lot.
Tell us about yourself
I currently live in Toronto. Actually, I've always lived here. To be
completely honest, I'd have to say that this city does very little to
inspire me musically. There was a time when I would hang-out with other
local artists but, I had to change that... I've found that I prefer to
keep to myself. I actually built a little demo studio comprised of vintage
reel to reel recorders. That's where I spend the majority of my time.
Nicely tucked away from humans... So yeah, I cut a lot of demos, and audio
What's Toronto like?
Toronto's a whirlwind of artistic activity... There's some really cool performance related stuff going on... I saw a dance gig a few years ago that completely rearranged my perception of art... It was that good... People were crying in the audience... It was basically a play without words... like telling a story with their bodies kind of thing... I'd never seen something like that before, or since. It was really well done. So, there's stuff like that... I'm not exactly sure about the music scene. I'm way out of the loop in that regard. From what I can recall, there's the usual mix of DJs, teenager bands and coffeehouse artists... A few hippies... A plethora of rappers... Nothing I can relate to...
So what sort of music do you relate to?
I like some of the music that my friends are making, which does include
hip-hop, punk, etc... And, generally, I do listen to, and enjoy, all types
of music... basically, whatever is on the car radio. I really like that
song I Want To Be Alone by Vashti Bunyan... Psycho Killer by Talking Heads
is another song that speaks to me... Soft Machine has this really cool
instrumental record that I've been spinning... Basically, I'll listen
to whatever comes out of speakers...
Is anyone else doing anything similar to you?
Not too sure, actually... Most people seem to be going their own route.
I've considered the idea of seeking out like-minded artists to join forces
with, but, in actuality, I don't know where to pursue these types of individuals.
Besides, behaving myself with other artists is way more work than I'm
prepared to do.
How much effort goes into those tracks that
just chucked down?
I'm not exactly sure how to measure my own creative effort... I work
really quickly. I don't spend a lot of time on a song. It's either there,
or it isn't... I like songs that sound loose and improvised, yet, are
well recorded... I like a balance between the good and the ragged... Those
sloppy songs set the tone. They tend to sound like I have a wobbly crew
of skeletons as a back-up band, which I love.
How do you get those odd-sounding chords? Deliberately
untuned guitar or odd fingering, or something else?
I usually keep everything in tune... If we're talking about the new album,
then yeah, it should all be in tune... I just play awkwardly... It's impossible
to describe, really... All memories from those recording sessions have
been wiped-out... I honestly can't remember what I did with the guitar.
It happened so fast... It felt normal to me... I guess it came off sounding
Has it taken a long time to get the kind of
sound that you have now?
It's taken me over a decade. I've made hundreds of demos... I'm actually
really tired of the gig... I can envision a whole new life for myself...
Perhaps I'll buy a farm in the country, and just live with the animals...
I've been considering selling my recording gear... I haven't picked-up
my guitar in months... But yeah, it's been a long process of trial and
error, with no real destination... Actually, the sound of the new album
came out of nowhere... it was a spontaneous process... So really, it only
took about a month... Sounds and visions are always in a state of revaluation,
and change... so, ultimately, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about...
Do you do everything yourself?
At this point, yes... I've worked with other individuals in the past...
drummers, engineers, friends, whatever... But not anymore... I've become
a bit of a creative loner...
How would you describe your own music to other
I couldn't, and can't... and probably won't... I don't see the purpose...
I don't care about selling records, and I'm not really interested in the
game. I'd just give them a copy and move on with my life. To me, that's
the only way that makes any sense. I've done two vinyl 7" records
and the 'Songs From The Summer of God' album. Just those three things.
Basically, the first two records sound like something a child might make
on a ghetto-blaster... My new album, 'Songs From The Summer of God', is
different... I'm not exactly sure how to describe it... I think it speaks
for itself... It's eight new songs, to say the least. It was recorded
on an old 8-track reel to reel, in a very short period of time... It took
me about a month to make it.
Is the sound of the old equipment important
Yeah, it is. It's also a quicker way of working... I can get ideas down
a lot faster when using tape machines. Basically, I'll just set up a mic
and hit record... Also, tape machines kinda act like a compressor, which
allows me to just concentrate on the idea, or performance. So, basically,
it's just a really great way to work. It's easy, for me... I don't have
to watch the levels... I can be as creative as I like without having to
put a major effort into being a recording engineer. Computers tend to
put my mind in the wrong places.
There are some guys out there who swear by tape and vintage equipment...
They feel it's the end-all and be-all to great sound... I disagree with
that viewpoint... For me, as I've mentioned, it's all about the ease of
getting an idea out of my head, and captured, as fast as possible... In
my case, working with tape does the trick.
Are there any left and can people order them?
The new album is available... Copies can be ordered through Amazon.com
... I still have some vinyl left over, but, I haven't decided how to release
Why don't you include contact details on them?
I should... When I started mailing out records I felt it wasn't necessary.
However, I'm now starting to see the logic behind it. It just makes good
I really like the fact that there are only
8 tracks on the album - most albums these days are just too long. Do you
feel the same?
Yeah, I do. Maybe it's because we're children of the "album era",
and we've mutated into this new "digital era" with a formed
mindset, and that mindset is being attacked by the volume of modern-day
information, and time constraints... I grew up listening to albums, especially
when I was a teenager. There's something about spinning an album from
beginning to end, absorbing the music as an entire work of art, that's
undeniably mysterious, and interesting. There's the possibility that we're
becoming more and more of the "new age", and less of the old
mentality, and we're prepared for something less massive, yet whole. I
have to admit that I download music from Itunes, and strangely enough,
it's usually the entire album that I purchase. There's so much available
these days, and not just music, and time is a factor, and there's so much
to do. That said, people still like the process of listening to an album,
I think. Personally, I don't mind long albums, it just depends on the
type of listening I'm up for doing. If I'm painting, or dousing myself
with liquor, a long album is preferred. But, I agree.
Could you tell us a little something about
each track on- the album?
And that question mark is about right. We know more than we did about Bryan now and we don't know a lot more than we didn't. And I like that a lot. bryanjoseph.wordpress.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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