INTERVIEW: Cary Brothers Returns With a New Sound and High Hopes on His New Album, "Bruises"
Cary Brothers has grown immensely over the last eight years. The last time fans heard from the critically acclaimed musician, it was in 2010 when he dropped his last full-length, Under Control. Now, with his newest release, Bruises, Brothers is exploring new musical terrain and covering eight years worth of love, life and loss, but most importantly, change. By channeling the delay guitars, synthesizers and the sounds of the 80's, Brothers has emerged with a release that will not only withstand the test of time, but stand out from his previous work.
In this day and age, it's not uncommon to expect a new album from an artist every two to three years, but Brothers has not only broken the "rules" when it comes to a release schedule, he has also pushed the boundaries of his own music on Bruises. We recently caught up with Cary Brothers to talk about the last eight years and his journey to create the new album - read more and listen to Bruises (out now) below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
I want to start off by talking about your new album, Bruises. What are you the most excited for fans to hear on this release?
I’m excited for them to hear the diverse sounds of the record, especially the new single “Crush.” That song getting nice love at radio, and I think it’s because it’s the summer song that I’ve been waiting my whole life to write. I like songs that make you step down on the gas a little harder on an open road, and I finally made one.
Bruises is your first full-length release in eight years! How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist in that time? What changes can fans expect, if any?
I’m not sure if I’ve grown as an artist as much as I’ve grown as a person. I’ve had as many ups and downs personally in the last eight years as I’ve had in my whole lifetime, and I think that informs the record more than anything. The struggle to let go of loss and pain and find peace has been the journey, and the songs are little moments of therapy to help me deal with all the change. With that, I wanted the music to change as well. I leaned on the sounds of the music of my youth - delay guitars and synthesizers and electronic beats of the 80’s - much more than the acoustic guitar and piano-driven songs that is typically associated with what I do. It may be different, but it feels very natural to me to deal with all these varying emotions by emulating the first music to which I’ve always connected emotionally.
Did you have any major goals in mind for the songs on Bruises? What did you want to accomplish with this release?
First and foremost, I wanted write great songs. I’ve been to so many shows and listened to so many records in the last couple years that sounded fantastic, but I frequently left the experiences without the ability to hum a single melody I heard. A lot of music these days is heavy style without something memorable at its core, so I really tried to create choruses that would get stuck in your head. After that, it was about making sure this batch of songs worked from beginning to end as one complete experience.
How were you able to challenge yourself when writing and recording the album?
I pushed every song to its limit and kept digging deeper to find ways to make the music more truthful and powerful. Sometimes it meant that a song that started as a quiet ballad ended up being a massive synth track. Sometimes it went the other way, and after weeks of work, I realized that an epic song was much more effective with fewer bells and whistles. Instead of writing a song and bringing in great players to play great parts in the studio, I did a lot of the work all by myself at home, playing over and over again until the part was exactly what the song needed. It was a lot of effort, but I loved every minute of it.
What was the most rewarding part about creating Bruises?
Although I know that this is the best music I’ve ever made, I do realize that it’s an unexpected sound from me, so I wondered if my fans might not want to hear me make this kind of music. I don’t make music to please other people, but neither do I want to alienate those amazing folks that got me this far and come to shows and spread the word. Thankfully, based on the reaction to record release this weekend, they can hear that it’s just as honest as anything I’ve done before, and they have been incredibly supportive. I took a chance, and it’s paying off, Nothing could feel more rewarding than that.
You recently released your single, “Crush” which you mentioned. What inspired this track? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I grew up in Nashville in the 80’s without a lot of access to alternative music, so my path to New Wave and Synthpop bands was frequently through movie soundtracks. From famous soundtracks like Pretty In Pink with The Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen to less popular but no less amazing compilations like the music from Real Genius featuring The Payolas and The Comsat Angels, I found what felt like my own sound, especially as a kid surrounded by country music. “Crush” is my sonic love letter to all of those soundtracks, though I didn’t realize that until it was done. Lyrically, it’s a completely true story of heartbreak to hope that happened a few years ago.
You also have a few tour dates lined up throughout May! What can fans look forward to at these upcoming shows?
Well, I’m headed to China and Australia with an acoustic guitar, so those will be pretty stripped down versions of the new songs and my old material. When I get back home in June, I’m getting together with a new band to figure out how to create an epic live show with these new tracks. I want to put together a set big enough that could be played in a stadium. It’s a huge change from the more intimate experiences of my live shows from the past, but these new tunes demand it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited to get up on stage in my life.
With Bruises out soon, can fans expect to see any more show or tour announcements? What else do you have planned for 2018?
We’re working on the schedule now, and I’m planning on hitting the road in the US by the end of the Summer. I hope to go everywhere else after that. As far as more music, I’m finishing up an EP of tunes from my synthpop side project SD3 for release at the end of the year, and then I’ll probably get to work on the next solo record. I can’t seem to stop making music these days.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks so much for helping to spread the word, and I hope to see everyone out on the road soon. Until then, Bruises is in stores now and off to a great start. I couldn’t be happier.