Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 7:42AM by Samantha Shrader
Cory Branan's sound is best described as an amalgamation of different styles -- a bit of American indie folk rock, country, and alternative blues. Branan has carved out a special niche for himself, as a strong American songwriter and describes his unique songwriting style and sound as a musical grab bag of everything that he loves. Even though Branan was recovering from a bout of food poisoning at the time of the interview, he still found time to talk with Spinner regarding his upcoming plans and SXSW performance.
Describe your sound in your own words:
That's always kind of been the problem, it's kind of a grab bag. Just American music I guess. It's a grab bag of everything that I love, it just kind of gets mixed up, of course that shoots me in the foot sometimes. It's hard to describe in a few words, and it's hard to tell somebody about.
What are your musical influences?
Well, I guess gospel music growing up in church, and being from Memphis and Mississippi, a lot of blues music. Specifically for doing my stuff, if I were to name individuals, it was John Prine, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits, a lot of those guys. I came across them all about the same time.
How did you get your start with music?
My Dad. He was a drummer and always had instruments laying around the house, got me my first guitar, which I didn't do anything with at all. But later on I picked it back up and I've played guitar since I was probably about 13. I was usually just the guitar player for bands but didn't start writing songs until I was about 24.
I saw that you used to play death metal, and fronted a Black Sabbath cover band. How did go from metal to a singer-songerwriter style of music?
That's old publicity crap. That's just something that you say once, and it gets repeated 1000 times. I used to play in metal bands yeah, but it wasn't like I changed. I wasn't playing metal one night, then writing songs the next. I played in cover bands when I was in high school, then years and years and years later started playing a little bit more like what I play now. It wasn't overnight. It was a long process.
What inspires you to write your music?Honestly nothing, lately [Laughs] less and less everyday. I don't really sit around waiting for the magical elusive bird of inspiration to land on my shoulder. I just write. The writing itself inspires me, but the process of writing is my inspiration for the most part. I just start doing it when I"m struck by something. Then once I'm doing it, it changes. It's always interesting to see where it goes.
We're talking to labels and trying to decide where it's going to end up. No release date as of yet.
I see that you just finished your 3rd album. do you have a release date yet?
Does it have a title yet?
I believe it's going to be called Midtown.
Do you have a personal favorite song on it, one that stands out to you more than the rest?
I'm really proud of the record. Nothing stands out off hand, it just all kind of goes together. The songs were equally difficult to record, and I'm happy it's over. I'm really proud of it, but it was an ordeal.
I saw for SXSW you are doing a collaboration with Ben Nichols. Can you tell me anything about the collaboration?That's not happening. They're not going to be able to make it in time. Ben's a good buddy of mine. He actually just nursed me through my food poisoning. I crashed at his place last night. He's a good guy. Ben and I, being from Memphis, we started at the same time. We've played gigs here and there together. I've sang on a couple of their records, Ben has sang on a couple of mine. We're just old friends.
What is your biggest vice?
Oh God, you know what my biggest one is? It might seem kind of innocuous, but it's going to the movies. I'm a huge cinephile, I like great movies, but I'll go see anything. I'll see crap that's just abysmal and I know it is, but I just have to go and shut my brain off for an hour and a half. It seems harmless but you figure at $10 a pop -- and I do it all the time -- honestly it adds up -- it qualifies as a problem! [Laughs] I've seen too many crappy movies! And as you may imagine, I'm not exactly independently wealthy as a musician.
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
I'm a big hair metal guy. I like hair metal. I probably have a Ratt cassette somewhere out in the van. I genuinely enjoy it. Nothing I'd be embarrassed about saying.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
That's an interesting question. Um, yea the one that comes to mind is, I Ioved the girl that was the princess in The Never-ending story, the little whiny one that was like "Save Me" or whatever. I remember having a big crush on her, don't know why that popped into my head. Oh yeah, and Janet Jackson on Good Times, she was cute as hell.
What is the craziest thing you've ever experienced on tour?
Well it's not very happy but we had a sound guy die during a set. He was having chest pains and had somebody take over. He went into the back and had a massive heart attack. Some one died while I played music, that was the worst. He was a nice guy too. I hung out with him a bit. It was awful, absolutely the worst. I'm sure I could have come up with something a littler happier, I'm sorry, but that's what popped into my mind.
If you weren't playing music, what else would you do instead?
I have no idea. I'd probably have some sort of job that took the least amount of brain power, that I could leave at work and go home. Honestly, sometimes that's what I want. I've been putting off family for a long time. I'd have a job that would pay good enough just to raise kids. I'd invest and put all of the love of what I do now and keep it all at the house and do some menial task. I have no great other calling is what I'm saying. This is pretty much it, it's all I've ever wanted to do. But if I didn't, I could be happy with some crappy job, as long as i could put the love somewhere else.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
The new record, of course. Lots of touring, SXSW, then we have a big tour in May, the Country throwdown thing. I'll be out pretty much the bulk of the year, hopefully getting to Europe later on in the year for the first time. I've never been over there. It'll be a busy year.
What are you looking forward to at SXSW this year?
An escape route! [Laughs] I'm not one of those people that can stay for 3 days. I like to get in, do what I want to do, but make sure I have a way out.
Do you have anything in your festival survival kit?
Is there anything I haven't asked, that you'd like people to know?
Samantha Shrader is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.