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Interview: Carter Brady
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I am technically not pursuing music as a full-time career path to set the record straight. I am currently getting my masters in marketing in Nashville. I am seeking jobs in the music and digital media marketing field, but I am also open to other related fields. I like to tell people that I have one foot in one door and one foot in the other, mainly to display that I will always keep music a big part of my life no matter what I end up doing. I say it’s a serious hobby, but it is really more than that since a lot of how I promote myself and release music could be considered professional.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Since I mentioned I am seeking jobs in music marketing and digital media, I am already doing what I would be doing if I wasn’t a full-time musician. I am very fortunate to have a second passion in marketing. I believe that nothing in the career world is completely irreversible, and paths can change over time depending on where someone is in their life. I will take it one step at a time and see where it goes. But as I’ve said, I will keep recording, releasing, promoting, and performing no matter what happens in the next few months regarding a job in marketing.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am from Pelham, NY, a small suburban town outside New York City. I was fortunate to have gotten exposure to many different bands and genres through my parents, guitar teachers, and certain friends who I was either in a band with or would just enjoy talking to about music or jamming with. Rock has always been my favorite genre, particularly because that’s what I was first exposed to by my Dad, and it transitioned from classic rock to more alternative stuff. I think my rock roots paired with all of the cross-genre influences like jazz, lofi, and even some R&B have really impacted the music I have recorded and released.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
One of my favorite shows I've ever been a part of was when my college rock band, Duck Pond, performed at our school's homecoming. We played on a sorority's stage float on Friday night under the lights, where all of the different organizations and Greek life were building their floats for the next day's homecoming, judging for who made the best one. We played a full set of songs, mostly covers, but at the very end, we played The Beatles "Don't Let Me Down," and played what I think might be my best guitar solo in a live performance. I stretched it out for a good bit, even though the original Beatles version doesn't even have a guitar solo. Our band rocked so hard that the campus police pulled the plug while we were still playing, shutting us down around 10pm. The previous shows had always gone past midnight, but they ended it pretty early that year. Nevertheless, a super fun show, and I'm glad to have gone out in a memorable fashion my senior year for our last homecoming gig.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I haven’t played enough solo gigs within the last few years to have a favorite venue, but I hope to play a place in New York City like Bowery Electric in the near future.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Most people don't realize the amount of time it can take for bands to develop the right chemistry to sound "right," and I've been in enough bands to know that it is one of the most critical parts of being successful in a band. Make sure to get the practice in before going out to play gigs so that you and your bandmates know that you are ready to crush it and give the audience a quality performance. For my younger self, I would probably tell them to start working on their voice sooner, as I have really worked on it the last couple of years and have already seen significant improvements to my overall tone, max range, and consistency. I'd also tell them to make sure that the work you put out is as good as you can make it before releasing, as in the past, I've had a tendency to release stuff that doesn't fully represent my full potential or how I sound live. The album I just released in November, 'Blue Reverb,' really shows who I am and can be as a solo artist, and while nothing can ever be 100% perfect, I think I did the best I could to get it to that level.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
If I had to choose, I would probably pick 'Chasing Vampires' since it is one of the few songs I've written with a deeper meaning and purpose. Most of the time, I'm a music-first songwriter, writing lyrics that I think sound good and fit well with the melody and progression, but this one, I consciously thought more about forming a story that, even on the surface, somewhat makes sense to listeners. I coin this song as the definitive start to a new outlook and idea-generating method to songwriting and arranging progressions. The name of it has no real meaning. I just thought it sounded cool, and a friend of mine gave it to use if I wanted to. The song is structured in a way that I believe highlights different aspects and themes of my persona and artist identity. Everyone goes through ups and downs, and I think the verse would resemble the upbeat and uplifting times. The bridge might be slightly more melancholic and an uncertain feeling. The chorus is a way to channel my emotions and make for a headbanging rock song with harmony, warmth, attitude, and motivation to do great things in life.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I don't get that many song requests when I'm playing a live solo gig, but when I do live streams on TikTok, I get many requests to play either a Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, or Harry Styles song. While I am not a huge fan of any of those artists, I need to remember that for specific platforms like TikTok, it is better to cater to your audience rather than only play songs that you enjoy and are more connected to. That being said, I still like to sing and play covers that I think I execute well and have my own take and sound to them. I like playing most of my original tunes and am almost always excited to play every one of them, so I don't really have a favorite of those. At smaller venues I've played at recently, my close friends and family like to request 'Chasing Vampires' and 'Bring Me Back to You,' since those are probably the most upbeat and accessible songs from my new album.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
So I haven't been actively working with a band since a couple years ago when my college rock band Duck Pond went into the studio to record a few songs I had written for a potential full-length album later on. I am usually the one in the band that directs the others regarding parts and learning arrangements, but there are times when my bandmates have chimed in to either suggest changing lyrics, changing around a bass or guitar part, or coming up with their own drum groove. I am usually very open to most stuff like that even if I had written the song, as it makes the process more collaborative and rewarding for everyone, and sometimes what they had suggested sounds better than what I had initially thought of. Since Covid started, aside from a few reunion gigs with Duck Pond and other one-off stuff, I haven't gotten a chance to play in a band and live with anyone and be a frontman for my solo work. I was determined during the quarantine period to record while I had ample time to do so, and so I got a lot of different friends and session musicians to play drums and bass for a bunch of the songs. The problem is finding three or four people interested in my music that would learn the album front to back and then go play it live alongside other covers. That's my next step, and I sure hope I make it happen because I have yet to hear 'Blue Reverb' played back live with a band, and I know that I've not given it justice yet other than what you can listen to on the album.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
In rare instances, I have an idea for something to write about going into it, like 'Chasing Vampires,' but most of the time, it's music, then the lyrics. As I mentioned before, a lot of my lyrics are random phrases I think of, and then I'll simultaneously try to piece each of them together in a way that tells a story. It definitely helps keep things less cheesy since they tend to be less straightforward and transparent, making my songs unique.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I just released an acoustic version of my song 'Chasing Vampires' a few weeks ago and just this week I dropped a music video on my Vevo YouTube channel. Also, this past fall, when I started grad school, I somehow found time to record 12-15 new songs for another record to follow Blue Reverb. I already have an album name and cover art for it, and I've said what it is in a couple recent interviews, but for the sake of suspense, I'll just wait to advertise it until I get closer to being ready to release it! Also, my friend Alex is currently working on editing music videos for 'Running Out Of Time' and 'Other Way' that we shot on a green screen in my basement at my house in NY in early January. So I'm definitely excited to see those when he finishes editing them.