THANKS to Brad Byrd...
for discussing his latest single, Lovesong, and why he decided to tackle The Cure’s classic. He talks about his love of the band and which artists are important; albums that mean the most and when he got into music.
Byrd highlights some rising acts to watch and tells me what is coming next; if he has favourite memories from his time in music and who he’d support on tour if he had the chance – he selects, no shocks, a Cure song to end things with.
Hi, Brad. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m well, thanks. I’ve been busy getting back into it after our Thanksgiving, but all is good.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I’m a singer/songwriter that grew up in New England and I currently live in Los Angeles, CA. My sound is mainly Indie-Rock/Alt-Country. I’ve released three full-length albums, plus a handful of singles and covers to date.
You have released a cover of Lovesong. What prompted you to tackle The Cure’s classic?
I’ve always loved The Cure since I was very young. A few months ago I heard Lovesong on the radio and it just hit me: creating a cover at a slower tempo might be interesting. I dug that concept so much that I decided to record it!
Are they a band you are a big fan of? What sort of sounds did you grow up around?
Yeah. The Cure’s music was like the theme to my high-school years. I basically grew up on Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Disintegration. I also was into so much of what was on the radio at that time and certainly had love affairs with certain records like Def Leppard’s High ‘n’ Dry and Pyromania; Van Halen’s Jump; U2’s Joshua Tree and even Kiss’ Double Platinum. My parents played a lot of The Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash and John Denver records…and my brother was super-into Punk-Rock like Bad Brains. So, I was kind of exposed to the full dose.
Can you remember when you knew music was the path for you? Did something trigger that?
I was always drawn to the drums and bought my first kit when I was a freshman in high-school. My brother played guitar and we would jam after school constantly. My mom would always flick the cellar lights on and off to signal dinner time or, as New Englanders say: “Suppah time”. Drums are my favorite instrument but it wasn’t until my college years, at Syracuse University, that I fell in love with writing songs on the guitar.
After college, I lived in Brooklyn and worked in N.Y.C. as a technical recruiter (because I never thought of music as a career choice). After work, twenty-three-year old me would light a bunch of candles and record myself on a tape recorder in my studio apartment. Man, I wish I knew where those tapes were! I vividly remember one day having this weird feeling come over me - my ‘A-ha!’ moment...’This is what I want to do...be a singer/songwriter for the rest of my life’. It came out of nowhere really and the passion for it has never subsided.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Yes. My team and I are releasing a full-length record called Phases in the spring and there will be live shows and videos surrounding the release. No specific tour dates set in stone just yet but we’re hoping to make it to the U.K./E.U. as well.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
That’s tough; so many things. Just this month, legendary Los Angeles radio D.J. Nic Harcourt has been spinning my cover of Lovesong during his morning show on 88.5 FM (KCSN). That’s a standout for me!
What does music mean to you? How important is it in your life?
Outside of friends, family and health, it’s basically everything to me. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write songs, record them and share them with as many people as possible. It’s a passion of mine that really runs deep.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Another tough one! Hmm…U2’s Joshua Tree really got me thinking about melody and song-craft. Later on, albums like Nada Surf’s Let Go and Lou Reed’s Transformer blew my mind in terms of simplicity, melody; groove and arrangement. Those three were all game changers for me.
As Christmas is coming up; if you had to ask for one present what would it be?
Peace, man. The world needs to come together and we’ve got to stop fighting everywhere.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d love to go out with The War on Drugs. I really love what they are doing right now. My rider would consist of mainly vegan/gluten-free options, plus a case of lime flavored LaCroix Sparkling Water for each gig.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
One: don’t take yourself too seriously. Two: know that making it and having a career in music is a long, slow burn. Three: don’t be an egomaniac.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Aside from a few quick Holiday appearances, we don’t have finalized tour dates to share just yet. But, we’re currently lining things up for 2019 and I’m looking forward to playing the tunes off Phases to lots of new crowds. If your readers are in Los Angeles, they can find me at the renowned Hotel Cafe in Hollywood or out in the desert, rocking the saloon at Pappy & Harriet’s.
How important is it getting onto the stage and delivering music to the people?
It’s so important…there’s nothing more fun and powerful than being on stage and affecting people with music.
IN THIS PHOTO: David Poe/PHOTO CREDIT: Marina Chavez
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I recently did a show with wordsmith, and N.Y.C. transplant, David Poe. He’s been at it a long time and his catalog is definitely worth deep-diving into. I also recently caught Misty Boyce with Grand Canyon here in L.A. It was a night of solid songs and great performances. Check ’em out!
IN THIS PHOTO: Misty Boyce/PHOTO CREDIT: Deborah Farnault
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
My wife and our two dogs love to get out of the city and go to Big Bear Lake and the desert in California a lot. I use our trips to gain perspective and enjoy down time.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Cool! Yeah, how about a song by, um…The Cure?! Let’s go with Lullaby?
Thanks for your time! Happy Holidays and all the best to you in 2019.
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