July 9, 2009
Brian Severn & Those Victorious Interview
Heya, Mobilers. We locked Brian Severn of Brian Severn & Those Victorious in a closet and forced him to give us the dirt on the indie powerhouse, and boy did he deliver. In the interview, Brian shares what it was like to open for Fools and Horses, explains his “trigger finger itch” and describes the euphoria that comes with using the same toilet as Prince.
Yowsa. We can only imagine.
Who are some of your greatest music influences? Who do you love?
While I am a fan of a broad spectrum of music, my major influences over the past 12 years have been Green Day, Alkaline Trio, Everclear, Glassjaw, Jimmies Chicken Shack, Kevin Devine and The Smashing Pumpkins (in all fairness, just to name a few). I’ve always been inspired by bands/artists that can make great lyrics work with great chord changes…. It’s all about “the song” for me.
How would you describe your sound?
I would describe it as “pop rock with integrity”. I see it as catchy enough to be user-friendly, but not watered or dumbed down enough to be annoying rubbish (as some people think when they hear the term “pop music”).
How did you get started in music?
I first became interested in music when I was about 9 years old and joined the school band playing tenor sax. That whole year, band class was more of a one-on-one lesson with the teacher than a group experience. At the end of the year, we did a “full band” concert and that was the first time I remember being blown away by how my part sat in the mix of an overall huge sound. I was hooked from then on. I started my first band when I was 12, playing guitar and singing and never stopped going down that road.
What gets you on stage? What inspires you?
What gets me up on stage is the rush….the thrill of performing in front of people and being a part of something positive and therapeutic. I love watching faces in the audience and I love the challenge of trying to win over a crowd and unite everyone under the same common interest. Music is one of the few things in life that has the power to bring strangers together and make them happy as a whole. I love packing up the gear and loading in and playing and packing up again and being exhausted after the show, knowing we have hours to drive until we do it all over again….sleeping on a van floor and knowing I spent the day doing what I love to do. That inspires me every day and I look forward to every show.
What do you want to accomplish with your music?
I would like to be able to make a living playing music and to continue writing and performing for as long as I possibly can. But I would also love my music to be of assistance to someone in the way that other people’s music always helped me in my life. If I can make someone’s day just a little bit better then I think I have done my job well.
What’s the one performance or professional moment that stands out for you?
I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of highlights. I was able to go on tour with H.R. from The Bad Brains for a bit and that was just amazing. Being on the road with a legend and having access to them as a human and not just a face on a TV screen really changed my perspective on a lot of things. But ultimately, I would have to say playing at Recher Theater opening for Fools and Horses in March of this year. I’m not sure if it was the most people I’ve ever played for, but it was a situation where the audience was just in the palms of our hands and we felt like real life rock stars. Plus, the backstage experience was incredible. We were walking around the green room like “Wow…… Prince took a piss in this toilet…”
What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Have these evolved over time?
The songs usually tend to have an autobiographical basis, which I don’t think has changed much since I started writing. From time to time they are full of inside jokes I have with myself that I deem worthy of being relatable or interesting. I guess the central theme is “myself” in a way that people can relate to themselves. The main difference I have noticed with newer material is that I’m a little bit more careful with the way I word things. I used to think of the song topic as a photograph that I needed to describe in intimate detail from my perspective…..whereas now I’d rather just show you the picture and let you draw your own conclusions. I find it strikes a deeper chord with the listener that way….. I don’t spoil anything with my bullshit.
What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?
The hardest thing for me as an artist right now is continuing to be a professional artist. I know I will always write music for myself and for anyone who will listen, but the struggle to keep your head above water financially (especially these days) is daunting. I also struggle with being away from home and being away from my son. It’s hard to balance being a dad and acting like a rock star on the road. I miss him all the time when I’m away.
What’s your music making process like?
It usually starts with kind of a “trigger finger itch” where I just feel the need to make something. I usually don’t know what kind of song I want to write or how I want it to sound or what I want it to be about….. I just get restless and I know the only thing that will make me feel at peace is to write. From there, it’s usually a combination of plucking at my guitar and humming what I call “fake lyrics” to help me get a sense of what kind of melodies I want to use. After that, it’s a lot of cigarette smoking and just picking through my head until I feel like I’ve discovered what I’m thinking about and have something I would like to listen to. Then, I make myself listen to it as objectively as I can and make adjustments from there. It’s very much like throwing you’re shit at the wall like a beast and just seeing what sticks.
What is “success” for you?
I think of myself as successful right now….. I’ve had the opportunity to do things I used to dream about and every day has remained a realistic opportunity to go further. But yea….. I guess I’d like to make some more money!
How can fans gain access to your music? Do you have a Web site or demo out?
The best way to personally contact us is through Brian Severn and Those Victorious on MySpace because we really do make an effort to have contact with our friends and fans. We also have ThoseVictorious.com, which has links to our entire Internet related contact, management, news etc. We are currently still touring on our last record “The Wonderboy E.P.” which is available on iTunes and Napster and pretty much everywhere else you can download music. We actually just got Best Buy to pick it up, as well as FYE Record stores.
We are currently in the studio wrapping up a new radio singe called “Nothing Gold” which will be released sometime in the summer of 09 along with an acoustic b-side.
What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Shake everyone’s hand, write down every phone number and email address you get, play anywhere anytime, make sure the people in your band are your best friend…stay inspired by your life, keep your chin up and don’t ever forget why you do what you do.
When’s your next show and why should people be there?
We are currently touring regionally around the Mid Atlantic Region. Our tour schedule can be found at our website: www.myspace.com/briansevernandthosevictorious
Awesome. Make sure to check out the Web site for Brian Severn & Those Victorious, and head to MySpace for a sampling of their music. Thanks, Brian. You rock!
Posted by A. Sogal at 12:22 pm