Interview: Brian McKenzie Talks Music, Tour, and More

Brian McKenzie

Concert Crap: You released your album Bruising From The Fall in January. Now that you’ve had some time to reflect on it, what are you most proud of on the album?

Brian McKenzie: I think overall it’s the most “me” of any album that I’ve released so far. It’s definitely the most emotional. I’m very proud of the songs, the players, and my engineer. We put a lot of hours into this to get it to be exactly what we want.

CC: What is the most important aspect of your album? The lyrics, the instrumentation, the band, etc?

BM: I’d have to say a combination of each. I play all the guitars and do all the vocals, but, man, the rhythm section is fantastic. Bill Southerland  and Chris Piccirillo are unbelievable drummers. On bass, I can’t say enough about Brad O’Brien and Marty O’Brien (unrelated). Great rhythm, great feel and emotion. All-pro line up. As a whole, I think the band, the songs themselves, and the lyrical content do the right things to make you feel. That, to me, is the most important aspect of music. If a part can twist your stomach or remind you of a strong memory, then we did the right thing here.

CC: How did New England have an effect on your music?

BM: That’s a great question. To be completely honest, one of my songs “The In-between” touches on a lot of content, particularly seasonal depression. I get it every year in New England. It’s not something I like to admit, but it does a number on me. Warm weather and sunshine make me a completely different person… to the point that I’m ready to make a move this year. Seven months a year of feeling like this is too much. 

CC: What 3 pieces of advice would you give a young band who wants to release their own album?

BM: Ahhhh… I’d say make sure you and your band are well rehearsed, in order to save time and money in the studio. Find a good mastering engineer. That’s key. As far as the release itself, do a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to try to pre-sell the record. That way, you can cover your studio and manufacturing expenses. Even if you break even, you just made a record and got it out there without having to lose much, so that’s a pretty good marketing success.

CC: Between March and April, you have some tour dates, but you also are getting ready for more extensive touring this summer. How are you preparing for that musically?

BM: I’m touring solo in June, which is fun, but not “full band” fun, haha. I try to make up for the stripped down sound by using a kick drum pedal with trigger pad that’s connected to a V-Drum brain. I don’t use it on every tune, but it helps add something interesting and makes everything feel a little less naked. I just played 7 shows in 6 days in Austin for SXSW, and a show in NYC, so I’ve worked out the set and am super excited to get back down to the Southeast and Nashville. 

CC: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

BM: Just a thank you for your time!

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Post and interview by Karen Shalev

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