AN INTERVIEW WITH THE BRAZEN YOUTH
Releasing their newest single “Back of My Mind/Death: Posed,” the Brazen Youth expands on their indie-folk sound. Taking on an entirely new approach to their usual writing methods, Nicholas Lussier (vocals and guitar,) Charles Dahlke (keys and vocals,) and Micah Rubin (drums) escape their farm-raised Connecticut roots, transcending them into a genre all their own. Questioning chordal norms and daring to break loose of stereotypes is done well, and once again The Brazen Youth have promised nothing short of musical beauty in the future.
IN AN INTERVIEW I READ YOU STATED THAT FOR “BACK OF MY MIND/DEATH: POSED” YOU WERE FOCUSING MORE ON THE TENSION OF THE CHORDS YOU WERE PLAYING RATHER THAN THE CHORDS THEMSELVES. HOW HAS THIS ENHANCED OR CHANGED YOUR SOUND?
MICAH: It’s enhanced our sound by really focusing on the emotions we’re feeling and how to convey that through the tension of the chords.
NICK: By doing this, there was a strict focus on the internal value of the chords, rather than the external value. We were trying to put more thought into what was inside the chords, what the individual chord was carrying, how the chord might exist on its own, etc. And after all of that was considered, we then began to think about the chords in relation to each other.
In “enhancing” our sound, I don’t know if it really did that. I think there’s merit in both ideas. However, it was definitely an interesting mindset to have while recording. It gave us, well at least me, a very refreshing perspective on where some of the emotive content of the music was living.
WILL YOU KEEP THIS STYLE UP IN THE FUTURE OR CONTINUE TO EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR WRITING STYLE?
N: We’ll always experiment.
M: I believe we’ll always experiment. We’ll always be trying to do something different.
WHERE DOES YOUR LYRICAL INSPIRATION STEM FROM?
CHARLIE: I wouldn’t really know how to narrow it down, it stems from everything and everywhere. Although, I’d have to say I was really influenced by the word play of Adrianne Lenker and I was reading a lot of Alan Watts while we were recording.
N: My lyrical inspiration usually stems from real emotions - often emotions that I might find difficult to comprehend. Sometimes I’ll attempt to put them into abstract forms, other times I’ll feel the need to be candid.
IN YOUR FACEBOOK BIO YOU STATE ‘WORLDS OF YOURS THAT YOU HAVE YET TO SHOW.’ DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE UNCLOAKED SOME OF THESE WORLDS AT THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
C: I think Primitive Initiative is definitely its own little planet, although it certainly feels like it’s playing off our old record. Certain moments even feel like a response to The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man. I don’t really know, nothing I do is really as calculated as I pretend it is.
YOU STARTED OUT AS A TWO PIECE IN CONNECTICUT. HOW DID THAT DYNAMIC BEGIN AND HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM YOUR CURRENT THREE PIECE FEEL?
N: The moment we added Micah to the band, I began to see The Brazen Youth in an entirely different light. It didn’t feel like a hobby anymore. The idea of doing this full time didn’t appear to be an idyllic way of living anymore. Micah contributes massive amounts of individualism to most facets of the band - including the social dynamic, the creative dynamic, and most notably, the live sound. We used to be a two piece band, consisting of guitar, vocals, and piano. Sometimes I’d have a kick drum that I’d pound on. When Micah joined the group, we had to maneuver from the idea of ‘making ourselves sound as full and band-like as possible’ to ‘acknowledging that now with a drummer, we have a lot of dynamic power.’ It was important for us to understand that such dynamic power needs to be harnessed, and let-loose on occasion, but only if it contributes to the expressivity of the music. Micah understands this. Micah, actually, taught me this.
HOW DID THE BRAZEN YOUTH MEET? HOW DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD WORK OUT AND SHAPE INTO WHAT IT IS TODAY?
C: Nick and I met real young. We sorta had beef cause he was best friends with my cousin and I told him I could recite all the presidents one time when we were in a hot tub when we were 7 and he thought I was a self righteous dick...although he probably didn’t use that word at the time. We probably knew how consequential we’d be in each other’s lives as soon as we started making music together.
M: I love this story in terms of my addition to the band. I met Nick and Charlie at a summer program in 2015 and didn’t become friends with them until the last 2 weeks. As we were getting to know each other, we’d hang out and they’d show me their songs. The majority of the songs I heard ended up going on The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man. I loved the songs and at this point felt very connected to the two of them. I just naturally asked if I could be their drummer. And surprisingly they said, yes. A year after the program, while we all went through high school, I got a text from them asking if I wanted to come down to the farm and record drums for TEDBM. I felt really honored and made sure I had a way to come down. Being from Vermont made things a little difficult for us in terms of transporting myself to and from, but it worked out. Then a year after that, as I graduated high school, they asked if I wanted to come live on the farm for a year. For me, the moment I knew it was going to work out though was when I came to the farm for the first time to record on The Everdying Bristlecone Man. It was a very spiritual and incredible experience.
WHAT WAS THE MOMENT FOR EACH OF YOU WHEN YOU FELT THAT THIS PROJECT WAS BIGGER THAN YOU?
M: The moment we started recording. Once I started working in the studio with Nick and Charlie, I began to realize how large this project was. We’d be in the studio for hours just testing levels for drums, setting up the mics took about 1-2 hours, and then the recording process was quite emotionally draining.
C: I just feel like my life is leading up to the moment right before I die and I’m like alright, what does my portfolio look like? A part of me is like that’s super shitty I don’t want to feel my identity so intertwined with a piece of art, while another part of me is like what identity is there outside of the one which manifests in my art. Making art is so weird and solves very few of the problems you’d think it would but for some reason it’s sick anyway.
DO THESE TWO NEW SINGLES HINT AT A FULL RELEASE SOON?
N: Yes! Our next record, Primitive Initiative will be coming out in August.
BESIDES THE ALBUM, WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BRAZEN YOUTH?
See you on the East and West Coast this fall with our buddies Spendtime Palace!!