Eric, IVM: Alright. You guys can start out by introducing yourselves to our readers. Names and positions in the band.
Adam, BC: My name is Adam Bialik, and I play lead guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals.
Andrew, BC: Andrew Capra: vocals, rhythm guitar.
Adam, BC: Are these answers informal, or should I use complete sentences?
Eric, IVM: Ummm… no, it’s cool. Informal works best.
Adam, BC: OK.
Andrew, BC: Don’t want the kids thinking we have bad grammar, haha.
Eric, IVM: How long have you been playing as Brave Citizens, and what’s the general background story?
Andrew, BC: Brave Citizens has been a “music project” since spring of 07, but became a band actually after the EP was recorded. Adam and I were in a band together in high school which toured and did a couple albums, but we’ve been great friends and stayed in contact through our various projects. We had a bunch of song demos that I wanted to record, but didn’t quite fit for my current band at the time (Hopefield) and I figured, who better to have a casual summer recording project with than Adam? We narrowed it down to 4 songs, spent some time working out the tunes, and in mid July 07 we spent 2 weeks recording this EP together.
Eric, IVM: Oh okay, cool. So it was never planned to really go anywhere. Just some dudes having fun recording?
Andrew, BC: Right, we are both Pro Tools experts and producers in our own right, so it was a speedy process. After the finished product was done and we were excited, it was natural to go from there and work together on making this a band.
Eric, IVM: Then what was the thought process behind transitioning into a more serious thing? And what did that mean for you? What did it look like?
Adam, BC: Well, I think a lot of our seriousness initially stirred from excitement.
Andrew, BC: After not playing together for 4 years it was such a great release to be on the same page for a musical project again. I was dead serious about doing a digital release and starting to look into becoming a real live band, and beyond, so I started saying “we,” instead of “I.” Bam….a band!
Eric, IVM: Cool, cool. So why call yourselves Brave Citizens?
Andrew, BC: The name itself was just something that just spurred from brainstorming. I really really hate naming bands, so when I thought of it it was a strong, non-genre-affiliated name. It doesn’t have a really deep meaning besides that.
Eric, IVM: For people who haven’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Adam, BC: The two most important parts of producing a “rock” band for me, is a strong melody and knowing how to sound “big.” I’d say there’s a strong focus on having full-sounding energetic choruses that fit well into an “alternative/arena-rock” category.
Andrew, BC: Dark anthemic pop that most “pop” groups in the scene promise you but never deliver.
Adam, BC: Haha, there’s a Capra answer!
Andrew, BC: Haha.
Adam, BC: we want people to be able to move around, but we’re very attentive to dynamics, I think a lot of music is just too loud, and that’s not something we want to do.
Eric, IVM: Tell us a little about your debut, Revolutions EP. What do you think will make it stand out, and where will music fans be able to find it?
Adam, BC: Well, Revolutions is an online release, so we really hope it becomes available in every corner of the internet. Andrew and I burned a few thousand CD-R’s over the winter break and we’re handing out CD’s at concerts and they’ll be available for free at future shows.
Andrew, BC: I think its honesty and authenticity stand out. It’s brutally personal, and better than I heard in my head. We wrote it for ourselves and fulfilling our musical pleasures but it turns out a wide audience can enjoy the EP, which is fantastic, the mall pop kid and the hipster both can find parts of the EP they enjoy.
Eric, IVM: That’s a tough thing to pull off, attracting both mainstream radio crowds and underground indie kids, but I feel like more bands are doing it lately.
Andrew, BC: I think bands do it for the right and wrong reasons these days, clamoring for market share. But for Adam and I it was great to work at our own speed and write for ourselves, then share.
Eric, IVM: Alright, well how did that really work out for you? Writing a record and then trying to release it nationally and then trying to play shows. Most bands tend to play live before they ever record anything, let alone release it nationally. How could you afford to flip the process like that?
Andrew, BC: Financially? Or just logistically?
Eric, IVM: well, as far as promotion and building your name and stuff.
Andrew, BC: Gotcha.
Adam, BC: Well, for starters, MySpace is free : )
Eric, IVM: Haha, good point.
Andrew, BC: And digital distribution is cheap. The CD is dead as a platform, and we don’t make anything off it anymore. We get that we have to evolve or get out of the way. But mainly since we have the equipment to record our own albums, our recording cost was $100, for the room to record drums. So after $15 to get it on iTunes, and a couple hundred dollars worth of CD-Rs, we became our own distro.
Adam, BC: Not having to book a studio saved a lot of money, and although we worked at our own pace, we worked very efficiently. I think Andrew and I can get stuff done and put things together very quickly.
Eric, IVM: Cool. But like, all my friends that have been in bands had to play a ton of shows before they could imagine anyone buying their music. It’s just that normal process of gaining a fan base. I understand that online distro is easier, but how do you get people interested without touring?
Andrew, BC: I think we were really proud of our final product, and since we had both had prior bands we knew at least a few people would pick up the music.
Eric, IVM: Oh, makes sense… I didn’t think about the prior bands aspect.
Andrew, BC: Yeah, but also we realized music blogs/podcasts/online was a huge part of it. That wasn’t necessarily as big when we were in our last band together… so MySpace, blogs, etc, became our friends, and since we believed in our songs others did too.
Adam, BC: We also have amazing fans, and a lot of them are sharing/spreading the EP on their own, just to friends.
Eric, IVM: Thanks, good explanation. So the internet is a pretty big thing for you guys? What other roles has it played?
Andrew, BC: We decided early on that getting our music out there was a much larger priority over making money on it, so I was able to team up with Absolute Punk to offer it FREE for their users. And The Daily Chorus was a new friend we’ve made. Tim and the staff have been amazing to us, very encouraging especially which is really great. We plan to work with TDC a lot more. They want to help us develop and get a larger presence. So the internet’s been huge. We’ve even hit up music forums and more, just getting our name out.
Eric, IVM: Who’s gonna win the Oscar’s this year?
Adam, BC: Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise Tom Cruise
Andrew, BC: Daniel Day Lewis- and here’s why. Best scene/lines ever.
Eric, IVM: Haha, cool.
Andrew, BC: Adam you don’t really like Tom Cruise do you? (Eric, you may be witnessing the breakup of Brave Citizens as we speak.)
Adam, BC: Haha. I guess you’ll just never know… I mean I did say his name 50 times.
Andrew, BC: (end band)
Eric, IVM: hahaha
Eric, IVM: What’s been getting the most rotation in your music players lately?
Andrew, BC: Band of Horses’ Everything All the Time, and Sunny Day Real Estate’s How It Feels to Be Something On.
Adam, BC: Right now I’m enjoying a lot of music local to the Bay area, but also bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Emery, Muse, Copeland, and Dredg.
Eric, IVM: And what releases are you most looking forward to in the upcoming year?
Andrew, BC: I’m not sure what to look for yet….I’m hoping for some rad new Bloc Party tunes.
Adam, BC: I’m looking forward to the new Dredg, Street to Nowhere, and Jack’s Mannequin releases.
Andrew, BC: end?
Eric, IVM: Alright… also looking to the future, what are your plans/goals for Brave Citizens (both short and long term)?
Andrew, BC: We’re heading out on The Daily Chorus Tour in March which is a Southwest regional stint, after that this summer and beyond we are going to do lots more tours. In addition we’re busy crafting a great bank of songs for a follow-up! Exciting times this year for us.
Adam, BC: I think Andrew summed it up well, we’re excited for tour, and come summer we’ll be hitting the scene head on.
Eric, IVM: Cool. That’s it from me, anything else you’d like to add?
Andrew, BC: thanks to all our fans and everyone on Indie Vision- keep supporting your scene, and check out our EP!
PS. Special thanks to Nora for working this out and enduring a confusing email process, and also to the band for taking the time to answer these questions despite some technical difficulties on AIM.