Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cary Brothers Interview

So man, you just finished up touring in Holland. Have you played there before?
We just wrapped up the Holland tour a couple days ago, and it was pretty amazing. I had been there before on the Hotel Cafe Tour in Europe, and this time I was playing shows with Laura Jansen, an LA girl who grew up in Holland and is having quite a bit of success over there. I've been a bit spoiled playing to my audiences in the states, so it was a great and humbling challenge to start over in another country. Good news is that response was great, and I signed a record deal there with Sony by the time I left, so I get to go back this year for the record release and more shows.
Is this your first time touring overseas?
I've done a couple tours in Europe before. A few shows on my own as well as two runs with the Hotel Cafe group. It's amazing how, even though few of us had record deals over there, the presence of our songs on the internet was strong enough to bring out some good crowds who actually knew a few of the tunes. The web really does make the music audience a global community - when I send a tweet, I get responses from Kansas City all the way to Singapore. It's changed my goals as far as touring goes. I wanna play everywhere now.
Your new album "Under Control" was recently released. Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind this album?
Well, I had just gotten off the road from four years of touring and needed to rest up a bit. I didn't want to make a record just because it was time to do that. I took my time and just lived life in LA with friends, and with the election and a lot of change in the country and in my own life, slowly I realized I had a lot to write about. I also realized that I wanted to take charge of my career a little more and bought my way out of my record deal. That took about a year, so in that time I was able to make a record without anyone over my shoulder demanding singles or a certain sound. It was very liberating.
Two of my favorite songs of yours are "Ride" and "Something About You". Can you briefly explain the meaning/inspiration behind these songs?
As with many of the tunes, Ride was about a girl. It was really about having been in a relationship where everything was fine when we were alone together but that had problems when the world around you got involved. A part of me just wanted to run away with her and leave everything behind. That's obviously not realistic and therefore it was doomed to failure, but the romantic element of it fit well with the music I was writing at the time. Something About You is an old Level 42 song that I loved when I was a kid. The original version had very 80's production to it, but I always wanted to record a version that really brought out the lyrics - there's a great love song in there lyrically that was just waiting to come out. Once I found a way to make it mine musically, I was able to fit it on the new record.
Can you tell me a little about your collaboration "Here on Earth" on the new Tiƫsto record Kaleidoscope.
Working with Tiesto is so much fun because the dance/trance world it's an entirely different beast musically. He sent me a few different musical ideas and let me have free reign over melody and lyrics. I spent a brief period of my youth in club culture, so I just thought about what I would want to hear on a dance floor at 3am - a song that's just insanely emotionally uplifting - and the rest was easy. I was very focused on making sure that the melody was strong enough to live with or without the dance beats and programming.
How do you normally write a song?
I'm not the kind of guy who walks around with a notebook writing lyrics. For me, melody and song structure come first and foremost. Unless the melody gets stuck in my head, I'll move on. Once I have the musical idea pretty firm, I just try to write words that are incredibly honest and relate to my life on that given night. I'll sit with the music on my headphones and pen and paper all night long until it's done.
I have always wondered how you got hooked up with Zac Braff? By the way, loved your performance on Scrubs.Classic.
I have never been more terrified in my life than shooting that episode of Scrubs. I got a call from the producer of the show who was a fan of "Blue Eyes" and wanted me to come sing it at the close of that episode... the next morning. I'm just glad I didn't look like too much of an idiot.
As for Braff, he and I were buddies in college and then became good friends when we were both struggling artists in LA - he was waiting tables and I was playing open mics and working odd jobs. We always had a great deal of respect for each other creatively. I helped him with ideas for the Garden State script, and he was always the first person to hear my new tunes. Garden State was such a blast because we got to work on this little movie together that became such a huge success with both the film and music.
Who are some of your bigger influences?
I was a child of the 80's growing up in Nashville, TN, but instead of just accepting the music around me - country, mostly - I actively sought out bands in the UK and Europe - The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Jesus and Mary Chain, etc. Peter Gabriel was a huge influence, vocally and musically, though he is and will always be leaps and bounds above anything I could do. With both him and U2, I was drawn to the passion and massive dramatic sweep of the music. In the US, the indie scene was really growing, and early IRS Records-era R.E.M. records were unlike anything else. They were a Southern band, but they weren't afraid to call out social injustices and musically found a way to be both Southern and wildly adventurous. It made me feel like music was something I could do as a kid in the South.
Any musicians you recommend?
I just got hip to Yeasayer. I like their older stuff but the new, New Wave-influenced Odd Blood record is really badas. I still think My Morning Jacket can't be beat as a live act. William Fitzsimmons is a friend, yet beyond that he's making some beautiful timeless stuff for those who are into Bon Iver and the like. Temper Trap is getting played a lot on my iPod. Best singer/songwriter I've seen in a while is Matthew Mayfield, and that guy is putting out an EP a month, so you're bound to find something you like among all that material.
What's the funniest thing that you can think of that occurred on tour over the years?
Well, being told to shut up while playing a really mellow song on stage back east by a bunch of guys watching the World Series was pretty funny in retrospect. There are a lot of things I can't really put in print, but I had quite a laugh shaving off my guitarist's beard live on stage, mid-song, in front of a sold out crowd in London. It was a dare, and I'm usually up for that sort of challenge. Best part was that, because of power issues, the electric razor was cutting at twice the speed as it should have, so if he so much as flinched, we would have lost him - and the audience knew it. They could tell by the look on his face that things were not right. I get points for added difficulty by having a few Jack & Cokes in me. The bewilderment on the audience's face was worth the whole thing - definitely not what they expected to see at a singer/songwriter show.
So what's next for you, after the Holland tour? A U.S. tour?
I'm going to announce US tour dates this week, I hope. There are a couple more shows I want to add to the schedule before the announcement. I'll be all across the US in July and August. Then I think more Europe and Canada. Then come back and hit all the US cities I'll miss on this tour.

No comments:

Post a Comment