Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Dearest Friend: Unique Band

My Dearest Friend is a close-knit band of guys based in Florida that loves to have fun and play music. They are constantly playing gigs and looking to expand their fan base. I chose this particular song because I feel it shows the variety of their style. They interviewed with me, and here is what they had to say:

1) Where did your band originate, and how many members does it currently have?

My Dearest Friend began as a solo acoustic act and later transformed into a five piece. After several changes in line up we ended up as a three piece. James Brinkle on guitar, Brian Young on bass and Andrew Wiggins on drums.

2) You say you have a hard time defining yourself as a band. What have other people said about you?

I suppose a lot of bands have a hard time describing themselves be it out of modesty or true confusion but we have been compared to a wide verity of genres. Vocally some say we have a Muse like sound, I think due to the melodies and falsetto. But we have been said to sound like Mars Volta, Sonic Youth, Cursive, and even sometimes Pixies. All great bands but surprisingly not any of our main influences.

3) As a musician, what are your goals for your band or your future in music?

I think if we could tour the world and not have day jobs anymore we would all be in heaven. Basically our goal is to make enough money to keep doing what we love to do.

4) Who inspires you, and who inspired your band's music?

Growing up I was very inspired by oldies, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Connie Francis, Robert Johnson. But in our teens and the really inspired times for us Andrew was listening to Ska and Hip Hop (he has actually shown me a lot of hip hop I never knew I would be able to like so much) and Brian and I both came from a more hardcore and heavier style when we got into music. We all three constantly show each other new bands and music and I think have grown as a band and maybe even musicians.

5) What advice do you have for those looking to start their own bands?

It's never easy and if it is you may get bored with it. If music is what you love and want to do then don't ever stop. It's a beautiful thing to create.

6) Random thoughts:

Our band does a lot of silly videos and a weekly podcast so if you like what you hear, see if you enjoy what else we have to offer at mydearestfriendmusic.com.

My thoughts on the interview:

That is interesting indeed. Going from solo to a more "standard" size then back to a three piece reminds me of the path I've taken through different bands.

As far as your style, I find that you aren't so undefinable, but rather blend different sounds and ideas to create what is My Dearest Friend. I couldn't really hear the Muse thing, simply because the production is so different and the vocals are back in the mix a bit. I heard a bit of ska, punk, harder interpretations of jazzy rhythms, and, of course, hardcore in your music.

The goal of touring and playing professional music full time is the dream of many, but getting there can often be a quite painful journey. That means nights and nights of practicing, writing, rewriting, getting better, being taught by those better than you, advertising, and all kinds of unexpected encounters. There are some days off where I literally wake up, eat, begin to practice or record, maybe eat again and use the bathroom during short breaks, then look at a clock that tells me it's midnight. However, when you love it, a 12-14 hr day seems like it's not even long enough.

I too have found that studying a wide variety of music helps you to grow as a musician and define your musical goals. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else, but I actually study or have studied the majority of styles of music out there from rock to jazz to hardcore to reggaeton to soca to r&b to country to march to classical to experimental to gospel to solo instruments to video games/film scores and more, regardless of whether or not I like the particular style. Because I started my musical journey alone, on piano and guitar, and, when I got serious as a studio musician/producer, I had to quickly take up bass and drums as well. Again, I wouldn't recommend learning so many instruments at an advanced level, but I am constantly surprised at how much even basic knowledge or playability of one other instrument helps musicians both understand their own instruments better and communicate better with other musicians.

True, music is very difficult for a very long time, but that is when it is the most fun. I didn't push myself as a kid in music, and for like 5 years, I did not get any better at the guitar and bored myself and others playing the exact same things. I didn't really make mistakes on what I played, because I didn't leave my comfort zone, and, as I just discussed with one of my drum students today, mistakes are beautiful. The majority of my best songs come from screwing around with another song until I begin to wander in a new direction or make a mistake that would be an "on purpose" in a completely new song.

Good luck to you all.