An Interview With CARY BROTHERS About His Newest Single ‘Crush’ And It’s Forthcoming Album, ‘Bruises’!
Posted On 18 Apr 2018
The LA-based Cary Brothers recently released his newest single called “Crush.” It will be on his forthcoming 80s-infused album called Bruises set to be released on April 27th.
When asked about the track, Brothers shares: “Being an 80’s Britpop-obsessed kid, I always wanted to write a song that Molly Ringwald would’ve danced to in ‘The Breakfast Club.’” Using the propulsive beats and synths and delay guitars of that era, I tried to capture the rush of emotion that comes when you’re single and anything is possible and that person with whom you just found a deep connection might just be the love of your life.”
Cary Brothers his debut in ’04 with an EP that featured the song “Blue Eyes” which was also featured on the Grammy award winning soundtrack for Garden State. Additionally, he is one of the most-licensed artists in film and television (his songs can be heard on Grey’s Anatomy, ER, Pretty Little Liars, Scrubs, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, Easy A and dozens more).
Learn more about Cary Brothers in the following All Access interview:
So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I’m home in Los Angeles. As things get closer to the release of the new record, there’s more and more to do everyday, and after this, today is all about meeting with a drummer pal and getting my head around putting the best live show together for touring this year.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was creative. Pure creativity. Writing and re-writing and being in the studio and pulling my car over to the side of the road to sing ideas into my voicemail and staying up all night long getting down new guitar parts and melodies and beats. That’s my favorite part about all this – pulling new songs out of thin air. It’s a lot of work, but I love that work. This year is a whole different kind of work. It’s time to throw new music out into the world, which can be very scary. The good news is that the single “Crush” came out last week and immediately went top ten on a radio station called KCRW where I found so much of the music I love, so I’m pretty overjoyed. To be honest, a week ago I would have said that was one of my goals, so I have no idea what comes next.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
As a kid, I had a pretty big imagination, but I never could have expected this. Music was something I did for myself, for therapeutic reasons. My two obsessions were music and film, and I originally came to Los Angeles to make movies. I spent my days in an office working on film projects and came home at night to write songs. I recorded dozens of songs and put them on a shelf. Eventually, I built up the nerve to get on stage and play them for an audience. When I was around 5 years old, I would get up on a table with a fake microphone made of aluminum foil and sing Elvis songs, so I guess this was always inevitable.
How do you think growing up in your hometown has influenced your sound and who you are as a musician?
The funny thing about growing up in Nashville for me was that I reacted against the music in the air. Though I love country music now, at the time I didn’t feel a complete connection to it, so my ears turned to the songs coming from British bands and what was just then being called “alternative.” I was attracted to the mystery and romanticism of groups like The Cure and The Smiths as well as the rising indie movement in the US led by R.E.M., who were my heroes because they were also Southern guys who were trying to do the opposite of what was expected of them. It was only years later that I was able to be thankful for growing up in a town with such a rich musical legacy.
I read that you are one of the most-licensed artists in film and television! Do you find that hard to believe? Do you recall the first time you heard one of your songs on TV? Which show or movie have been the most excited to be featured on?
I found a lot of the music I loved on movie soundtracks when I was a kid, so it’s crazy to me that I get to be on the other side of it now. I think the first time I heard one of my songs on TV was the show “Scrubs” in which an entire scene was cut to an early song of mine, and it was like a little music video. I was blown away. As far as movies go, I got to sit in a movie theater and watch the Emma Stone movie “Easy A” where my cover of a song from a John Hughes movie was used as she talked over a montage of John Hughes movie scenes. That was maybe the most meta experience of my career since those films were so important to me as a teenager.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Crush.” Where did the inspiration for this track come from? Where did this homage to 80s Britpop come from? Have you been wanting to work with this kind of sound for awhile? How do you think that this song prepares listeners for the rest of your forthcoming album, “Bruises”?
My first crushes were all happening when I was listening to 80’s Britpop in high school, so I guess it makes sense that I would use that sound to express the feeling of falling for someone. I’ve always had a hint of that musical era in my tunes, but for whatever reason my singer/songwriter ballads always had the most popular success. I definitely leaned into to a synth-driven 80’s sound on this record, but I also don’t like to repeat myself, so the record touches on a lot of different genres.
How did you approach going into the studio to record “Bruises”? How was the overall process for you?
In the past, I would bring sketches of chords and lyrics into the studio and find the final songs there with my producer and other musicians. This time, I spent a lot more time by myself at home, getting very specific about parts and textures and recording pretty complete demos. Then I would take those sessions into the big studio with my co-producer Bill Lefler, and he would help me find new ideas to take them to the next level. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had making a record.
It’s been about 8 years since you have released new music so I am curious to know besides writing new music, what you have been up to?
Well, I’ve released some singles and EPs over the last 8 years, but it’s the first time I had a collection of songs that felt like they belonged together. I’ve done some touring and a whole lot of writing, but the truth is that I got hit by a lot a personal loss, and it took me a long time to figure out how to deal with that, hence the record title “Bruises.” I picked myself up, and I feel stronger than ever.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
I’m pretty outspoken on social media as to my beliefs, so people have been asking me if this is a political record to respond to what’s happening in the world. I find that it’s best to let people decide that for themselves – the more I say about a song, the less people can allow it become whatever they need it to be for their own life. Once I put a song out in the world, it’s not mine anymore. It’s the listener’s song to interpret as they see fit. This is a record about getting beaten up and fighting to get back on your feet. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there for the state of the US and the world, but that’s for other people to decide.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I don’t think I would be doing this today if it wasn’t for U2 and R.E.M.. As for U2, I came of age during the early era of “The Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby,” and I can’t imagine two more completely different records that are as majestic and inspiring and shockingly come from the same band. And R.E.M. was the band of my childhood – they felt like Southern brothers preaching my beliefs. Both bands also rose up from the shadows organically against the grain of what was deemed popular at the time. Otherwise, I’d say Elvis Costello and The Clash were my other big heroes – there was a snarling discontent to that music that I felt in my bones as a teenager. My number one dream collaboration would be Peter Gabriel. Always has been, always will. Not unlike Radiohead, he was always making real art that also succeeded as pop music, and I forever admire him for that.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
My favorite music is attached to important experiences and periods of my life, so my dream is that this music can do the same thing for someone else. I feel like the honest connection between one human being and another is all that really matters in the world right now.