Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Feb 17th 2010 11:10AM by Virginia Hernandez
Austin-based Brazos have only officially been a band for two years, but in that time they have released the full-length album 'Phosphorescent Blues,' garnered high-praise from music bloggers and appeared on the 'Austin City Limits' set for the web-series 'Stage Left.' On the precipice of their third appearance at SXSW (and with more buzz than ever), Spinner sat down with Martin Crane, the singer and songwriting engine of the band, to discuss all things Brazos.
How did the band form?
About two years ago I made a bunch of songs in my bedroom and got some friends to play them. That was pretty much the genesis of it. It took seven days, right? On the seventh day, I rested.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in South Carolina in a small town in the foothills of the mountains. And that's where I spent most of my time. There wasn't really a music scene there, except for bluegrass and Grateful Dead fans. That was what was in my town. I got most of my music off the Internet or through magazines. It's pretty much my own little thing that I did. I didn't really have friends that were into music.
How did you come up with the name Brazos?
It's a Spanish word that means "arms." It came to me in a dream one day. This woman was just yelling it at my face. Very, very loudly. I thought, "This must be a sign," you know? But I didn't know what it meant, so I had to look it up. And then I found out it meant "arms." I thought, "Man, that's cool. I'm going to go with that."
How would you describe the sound of 'Phosphorescent Blues'?
I like to think it's mystical. Mystical music -- spiritual, mystical music about small, mundane details of day-to-day living. I don't know what kind of sound you'd call it, or where you'd put it in the context of everything else, but that's not my job.
Do you think that sound is pretty representative of your style as a whole, or was it new territory?
No, I think that was just a phase of life that I was in, that I was feeling. It's funny -- now I'm writing songs and they don't sound anything like that. I didn't write any songs for a while when I was working on that album, and now I'm writing stuff and it's like, "Wow, I'm a different person. Look at what's coming out of my mouth."
What have been your musical influences?
I listened to bluegrass and blues and stuff. Like real heart-on-your-sleeve folk music, older stuff. But now I think I'm influenced by pictures as much as I am anything else. I like to look at pictures when I'm making music now, like black and white photos of motorcycles and mansions. Looking at pictures and imagining the world of the picture, and thinking about what kind of sound would suit the picture. You just go searching. It's a way to get outside of yourself.
You recently went on tour for the first time with White Denim. What, if anything, did you take with you on tour to keep yourself grounded?
I really like being ungrounded. It's not boring. I think I'd rather be ungrounded than bored. But, you know, you do miss your friends and people that you love. You can always talk to them on the Internet, but it's not quite the same. By the end of the tour, the only thing that remained constant throughout the whole process was getting onstage every night. That kind of became the comfort.
Do you think that touring has changed your perception of how you work?
Yeah. I think being in front of people every night makes you realize what people want in a show, whereas the music that I wrote for this album – I wasn't thinking about listening to it in a show. I was thinking about having an experience in your bedroom kinda thing. It's harder to translate that intimate feel to a crowd of drunk people. So, you know, you try to do what you do and hopefully there are some people in there who are open to it.
Everyone has a musical guilty pleasure. What's yours?
Oh, man. I have lots of guilty pleasures. I'm trying to think of which one I should say. I like the Fine Young Cannibals a lot. Yeah, FYC. They're great.
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