Brad graciously took time to answer questions about the new album, and the importance of staying true to his music.
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For those who may not be familiar with your sound, what three words would you use to describe your music?
Timeless Americana with a twist.
What was the hardest part of making your full-length debut album, 1945?
With any project, there’s a huge learning curve. I produced it, wrote all the songs, and played almost all the instruments and that approach was new to me, so that was hard. There was a lot of self-induced pressure and as I look back now, and if I make another record in the future, I think it will be easier.
What is the most challenging part of the recording process?
I guess it’s getting the sound you hear in your head to translate into what everyone else hears. I also did it independently and was working on a limited budget, so that was a challenge but sometimes that creates innovation.
What did you learn about yourself as a songwriter while writing the songs for 1945?
I learned a lot. I had another album I was going to put out, I'd put the first single out to radio but knew it wasn’t the record I wanted to have introduce myself to a broader audience, so I pulled it. I knew I could make something with more commitment and effort put into it. I also learned I could do a lot more than I thought I could. I wrote 1945 for about a year and half and wrote everyday. It was three months before I had a song that I thought was a good song and that was the starting point for the rest.
How did the title 1945 originate?
It’s a family story. My dad’s family is from England, and his dad was in the air force. While he was in the air force, he was a navigator in a bomber during WWII and he met my grandmother in London when the war was over. I didn’t know much about the story but it was always fascinating to hear her talk about living through the war and I wrote that song as way of telling their story. Its set in that time and place, and it came about halfway through the album. As I finished it and was listening to it, I noticed this recurring theme of a romantic relationship throughout the album and I ordered the album so it plays like a romantic relationship goes and if you listen to the album from front to back with that in mind you’ll hear this story of two people.
Can you compare and contrast the music scenes in your native Portland with Nashville?
You have to realize that people going to Nashville are very driven especially if they are uprooting their lives to pursue their careers. There is also a real sense of community in Nashville and other artists enjoy collaborating and helping out their peers.
There’s a great music scene in Portland and I think there’s more raw talent there. But it lacks a real infrastructure for artists to succeed beyond their local realm. People are great in Portland and I love the music and while there may be more people playing music in Nashville, there’s just as much talent in Portland.
Of the songs on 1945, which was the most difficult to write?
The one I labored over the most was “1945.” I started with the organ riff and built off it. It was such a strange arrangement but linking the verses and choruses was difficult, it was always a strange idea but I was on the verge of not knowing where to go.
If you could back to when you were first recording 1945 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Trust your instincts and don’t stress out too much about everything.
Who are three lyricists or poets that have inspired/influenced you?
I think its hard to tell something simply in a poetic way and have it be a resounding truth and I really like how John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Langston Hughes can do that without sounding cliché.
What does being brave mean to you?
Allowing yourself to love things fully and to be vulnerable.
Where can my readers find you online?