Contributor’s Note: Breether is one of the Midwest’s most exciting up and coming bands. We talked about their recent move to Chicago, how their music and the band is changing, and how they approach songwriting. Fans can find Breether at the following locations:
How do you feel moving to Chicago has changed your music? Do you feel the city influencing you in unexpected ways?
Being in the city has definitely changed my approach to music, mostly lyric wise. I have begun to write more about the city life and how chaotic and hectic things can be here. As far as the music itself, I would say I have started writing more “poppy” and groovy songs, which may have happened naturally whether I lived in the city or not, but I do believe moving to Chicago has had an influence. I came from a small town in Michigan with mostly farm land and nature surrounding me, so now being in a more urban city area definitely is a different vibe. While in Michigan, I was writing more organic guitar based songs with very little effects or production going on, and the lyrics were typically cheesy love songs or about nature, and now I am doing more electronic dancey music, but still throwing in guitar and other organic elements occasionally to preserve that original sound and keep a good blend of both electronics and acoustics.
I understand now you’re performing with a band while in the past you’ve played solo. How has this changed your creative process?
Yes. I have a full 5 piece band I play live with now, which is a blast. It feels much better having a cool group of talented musicians to back me up rather than just being alone on stage, not that there is anything wrong with playing solo, just in my opinion it helps me to feel more comfortable and not be as stressed, and brings more life to the set!
As far as my creative process, my songwriting has been more based around the idea of a live band, so when I’m writing and recording I’ve been trying to keep songs limited to 5 or so layers, and making the songs “jammier” in a sense. I feel it makes it easier for the band to learn the songs and not have to worry about all these extra layers that were in the studio tracks if I just record with all the possible sounds and layers we could do live, and the jammier aspect of it helps us to have more fun on stage and improvise.
You seem to be a person in a period of transition, how do you feel yourself growing and changing a musician? Do you see a specific direction for your future music?
Yeah I would say that there are a lot of transitions going on in my life at the moment. I think coming to a new area has been great because it gets me a little out of my comfort zone and also allows me to meet lots of new artists and make new connections. I also, for the first time in my music career, have joined other bands, which are actually projects of the musicians that play in my live band, so it’s cool to learn each others music and for all of us to experiment and play different material. I play in my bass players project called “Daydream Review”, as well as my guitar/synth players project “Jackson Davis”. For me, it has definitely expanded my musical abilities and given me inspiration for my own music, as well as given me a chance to play other songs besides my own. Keeps me from getting bored haha!
I can’t tell if you’re making pop music that is full of crazy, insance electronica, or you are making weird glitch music that weaves in catchy melodies and vocals. How do you write your music, what typically comes first?
You know, it’s tough trying to describe my music because I feel it changes pretty often and takes inspiration from a lot of different genres. I think for my most recent material, like the songs from my latest album “Take A Breether”, there was a lot more production that went into it and is full of ear worms and studio trickery. I had been listening to a lot of funk from the 70’s during the time of creating that album, as well as newer r&b/soul, so I think there is a good blend of those genres in there. Although that album was heavily driven by electronics, I still play guitars and bass in a few songs. So going back to where I mentioned blending both electronics and acoustics, I think this album displays that very well. As you stated, I do agree that my music has gone in a more poppy direction lately, but I don’t know if I would go as far as to classify it as full on radio ready pop music or anything, although that’s just my personal opinion!
My writing process is kind of random actually. Usually when I’m writing music, a melody will sort of randomly come into my mind, sometimes when I’m not even trying to come up with a song, just humming a melody while going about my day or something, and I will try to write around that idea. Other times I could just be jamming on a keyboard or guitar and after a while I have a whole song idea, so it really depends!
What do you have coming up this year? How will 2019 be different from 2018?
Well, I am taking a little break from releasing music for a short amount of time to focus on playing shows for Breether, as well as the other projects I play in, but hopefully this summer I will be releasing a new audio/visual project. It will feature new music by myself, paired with visuals created by myself and many others. It will be a full album set to visuals, similar to a previous audio/visual project I released last year titled “KNOW”, but the sounds and visuals will be a lot more organic and nature-y on this upcoming project. I have most of the audio done so now we just need to finish up the visuals and it will be ready to be released around the summer time. I think 2019 will be pretty different for me, mostly concert wise, due to having a new band and being in a new area. I wasn’t very active with playing shows last year so it’s a big change to be playing more shows for my project as well as with other projects. Aside from playing shows, my bandmates and I have been talking about starting a label/collective for our music, which would include my Breether project, as well as all of the members solo projects as well, and maybe even adding other artists to the collective eventually too. So that is something we are all very excited about! Stay tuned.
And there you have it! Breether has a couple gigs coming up. Check out the dates below.
Wed. 1/30- Burlington Bar in Chicago, Illinois (w/Voolted, Jackson Davis, and Daydream Review)
Thu. 4/18- The House Cafe in Dekalb, Illinois (w/When Particles Collide)
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.