Rejection Letters

Interview with Andrew Bryant

If you’re not listening to Andrew Bryant, get your shit together and start. I’ve known AB for a really long time (we think) from our youth group days. His new album, Sentimental Noises, came out earlier this year and it’s fucking amazing. The music video for his first single, Lucky Cigarette, was released last week and it’s also fucking amazing.

I interviewed AB over Twitter DMs because that’s how I roll. Check it out:

DT: you there, AB?

AB: I think I am. Yeah I checked. I definitely am here.

DT: hell yes! congrats on the video! I’ve watched it, like, three times already

AB: Thanks man! I’m really excited about it. Just shot it a few weeks ago here in my new studio space at our new house.

DT: the studio looks great – kinda airbnb-esque with the pointed windows and all.

AB: Yeah it definitely has that vibe. It’s basically a detached apartment that was added onto the house some years ago. It’s only accessible through an outside stairway, so it’s perfect for an at-home workspace that’s not actually in the home.

DT: that’s rad. I’ve gotta be honest…I’m super jealous of that Harmony Bobkat dude. I want it. Is that the guitar you used on Lucky Cigarette?

AB:I believe I used it on a couple of the parts. But the main riff was played on my Danelectro. The Bobkat’s a cool guitar but it’s a Frankenstein — meaning it has some add-ons that are not original. It doesn’t stay in tune all that great but it’s a really good guitar for certain tones. Danny’s are real workhorses

DT: god, I love Danelectros! my U-2 is the only electric left that I own. I saw you put a new p90 on the Bobkat.

AB: I use mine on almost every song for at least one part. The Bobkat came to me with the P90 added. It’s an older Water Liars guitar. Justin played for a couple years on the road, then sold it to me as he was upgrading. I’m sentimental like that about gear. I hated to see it leave the family.

DT: you have another bobkat, though, right? I feel like I’ve seen one before hung up in your old studio.

AB: Nah it’s the same one. I bought it years ago.

DT: how stoked are you on the music video right now?

AB: I’m really stoked. I really like the way it turned out. In the past, I was always fairly take-it-or-leave-it when it comes to music videos. I think coming up in the MTV 90’s kinda made me squeamish about them. But now I feel more comfortable with it. I like music videos. My friend Dan who’s helping put out the vinyl has known me for about 15 years, and he says that he’s noticed me being more comfortable having my face out there with my music. I never realized I was that weird about it or why until he said something about it, but he was right. I do feel more comfortable with myself in general.

DT: what do you think has made you more comfortable?

AB: I’m not sure I’ve gotten that psychologically deep into it in my own brain. But as far as how I feel, I just feel more comfortable in my own skin, and my place in the world in general the last few years.

DT: you looked fit as fuck! lol! you staying in shape or what?

AB: Haha. I’m trying. You know, of course, that I gave up drinking a few months back. That has been huge. And along with that my running has increased. I’d say that’s where the fitness come in.

DT: that’ll do it! congrats on the sobriety, btw! that’s a huge deal.

AB: Thanks man. Many failed attempts over the years, but it seems to be sticking this time for whatever reason.

DT: do you remember the first music video you watched as a kid? or just any that stand out?

AB: Maybe not the actual first, but I can definitely say that it was some sort of Christian music video. Probably Carman or Petra or something like that. We used to have these weird made-for-church kids and teen videos that we watched in youth group that were meant to be the safe alternative to MTV culture. That would have been my first. Those changed me. A lot of DC talk before that. But then that led to seeing MxPx videos on the late night Christian music stations.

DT: oh god I’m googling Carman music videos now. And I remember the punk kids I hung out with in high school hating MxPx.

AB: Of course they did.

DT: DC Talk – Jesus Freak. good christ.

AB: Jesus Freak video is dope in my book. That’s the cultiest shit ever.

DT: looking it up now. oh god the intro is so American.

AB: Later, videos like the Smells Like Teen Spirit video, and Radiohead videos were really dope. But if you really want to scare yourself shitless, look up Carman’s “Satan Bite The Dust” video. I was shown that as a kid like it’s totally normal. And people wonder why my. music is so dark.

DT: Carman always scared the shit out of me a little.

AB: I mean…yeah

DT: like, did you ever get the feeling that aside from whatever you saw on stage, something was really really wrong with that dude?

AB: of course. He’s like Mike Pence right? He looks and sounds quiet and normal, but underneath those eyes, a darkness beyond all darkness

DT: that is an accurate analogy. holy shit! this music video’s set in the wild west!? I mean, god bless the 2nd amendment! and did he just call satan a “molester of souls”?

AB: I believe he did. I particularly like when he cast out the “demon of alcoholism”. Really hits home, ya know?

DT: did the satan in this music video also wrestle in the WCW?

AB: I couldn’t tell you, but wouldn’t put it past em. Maybe he was on the Power Team?

DT: oh god those guys!

AB: Anyway, this is the video that pulled me out of that

DT: I remember this video! so, when you saw this, what happened?

AB: I think videos like this, on late night Christian TV, the only TV I was allowed to watch, really helped me a lot. One of the main things they did was give me a visual on how to play each instrument. They also showed me how to dress cool of course. But mostly I would really focused on what each member played.

DT: what instruments were you learning at the time?

AB: I was playing drums already and in the process of learning bass and guitar at the same time. I played piano first so knew theory, but had to learn to actually play. So that was what I liked about doing the “Lucky Cigarette” video in this way, in hopes that others, maybe even younger kids if they care, might see it and it will help them visualize which instrument does what, etc. And also just portray myself in my space as I exist at this time.

DT: the similarities are there. I also really like the simplicity of videos like Lucky Cigarette where it’s just the artist/band playing instruments.

AB: Me too

DT: reminds me a little of “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer.

AB: Oh yeah! That video is great. Totally forgot about that

DT: how long did it take to film the video?

AB: About 3 hours. It was really quick. I had a story board made and my friend Tyler is super talented at getting shots. He edited it beautifully too.

DT: it looks great. and you’ve got vinyl out today, too?

AB: Sure do. Just a limited run but they are slick blue vinyl. The lacquers were cut by a real pro of the industry too and they were pressed in Memphis so it’s a really special release kinda thing

DT: how many did you make?

AB: 300. so very limited. But I’m small time, so will probably take me a year to sell them all

DT: you’ll be surprised, dude. how much?

AB: $25 for the vinyl. $40 with our cool 90s country inspired t-shirt with my huge face on the front. Dan wanted to make a Garth Brooks style shirt and it turned out something like that I guess.

DT: hell yes! I actually have an old 90s Garth shirt and it’s one of the best things I own.

AB: Of course you do.

DT: how do you feel about having your face on the shirt?

AB: It’s kinda weird, but if people like it and it makes some money what do I care? I’m gonna order one for my wife for xmas for when she’s traveling for work.

DT: yes!

AB: Get her like a XX and let it be night gown.

DT: I should do that, too, but I don’t have a reason aside from just being weird.

AB: please do

DT: I think I just figured out my wife’s xmas gift. and, btw, again, the album is so stupidly good! I keep telling people about it.

AB: That’s so nice of you. And thanks for saying that.

DT: alright, here’s the deal. this is the part of the interview where I ask you rapid-fire, batshit crazy questions. none of these are pre-written, but it will tell everyone everything about you. (this has not been proven) you ready?

AB: ready

DT: are birds real?

AB: definitely

DT: you’ve got two pencils, three pens, and a paintbrush. whose fault is it?

AB: My own

DT: where should you hide the body?

AB: Deep in the woods

DT: you get a call in the middle of the night. the person on the other line is a dog called “Escrow”. is he a good boy or do you let it go to voicemail?

AB: Voicemail. Every time.

DT: which Ghostbuster is a hologram?

AB: The one with the light colored hair. Can’t remember his name

DT: good enough

AB: wait. Egon is who I meant. the action figure had light hair in the 80s.

DT: where do 90s bands go when they die?

AB: Portland, duh

DT: Seattle or Portland

AB: are we still going? oh shit. Seattle.

DT: ok, last question, it’s a doozy.

AB: Lay it on me.

DT: the earth is void of coffee, and the angels are all car salesmen. on a hill in New Mexico, there’s an elk wearing blue lipstick. it tells you, “where we go, there exists only magic in elevators.” was Doc Brown a liar?

AB: Not a liar, but misinformed much like the majority of his generation. Had we been told the truth, we could have handled it. And I dare say even prepared for it. But we didn’t. And now we’re emotional wrecks.

DT: 100% correct. any last words?

AB: Aced it, Mom. Please tell Dad to leave me alone now. Does that work?

DT: interview over

***

Andrew Bryant is a songwriter and musician from Oxford, Mississippi. He makes his own albums and plays drums and other things in Water Liars.

You can follow AB on Twitter @magnoliastate and get more of his music on Bandcamp.

Make sure you buy his new album and t-shirt because his shit basically rules. Don’t believe me? I don’t care. I’m right. Deal with it. Check out the Lucky Cigarette video below:

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