Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview with James from Bramble

[Hello CC&S readers, today we have something new for you. James, the singer and charango player from Bramble is going to answer a few questions and talk a little bit about the being a musician, street-performer, and a free spirit. Enjoy!]

CC&S: How would you describe Bramble's sound?
James: I would describe Bramble's sound as sort of gypsy-folk, mixed with R&B with a spice of boy band.

CC&S: What instruments do you guys use--I've never seen some of them before?
James: Chaz Prymek play guitar and banjo, Ian Accord plays accordion, Steve Schmit plays bucket percussion with other trinkets (including a cymbal supported by an empty wine bottle), and I play banjo and the charango (a 10-stringed Bolivian lute). However, we don't pretend to be tied to playing these instruments specifically. We'll switch around a lot and we are all multi-instrumentalists, with plans to use those talents in the future.

CC&S: Explain busking. What's it like? Why on the street rather than small venues?
James: Busking is a whole mess of emotion and effort. Sometimes, people can be crowded all around you with smiles on their faces and dancing and they cheer after a song is over, and encourage the hell out of you. Sometimes nobody cares. Nobody. Folks pass by without even looking over, and we are all there pouring our hearts into these songs. And you just have to deal with that, the reality that it's not always fun. And that people aren't there to be your audience, and to pay attention to what you have to say (unless of course they choose to).
We don't want to give the impression that we don't play small venues. We most certainly do, and will. But playing on the street can be so much more rewarding. Playing in a small, crowded bar can be draining, because even though you are scheduled entertainment, people still won't care or listen. It can be a discouraging scene, but obviously not always. Small all ages places are pretty rad, but on the street, you know that people are stopping to see you. They are out and about doing their own damn thing, make no mistake, and here they are, disregarding their errands or schedules and what have you, and listening to our silly butts make some happy noise. It's thrilling. We love to give a surprising show for people who are not in the least expecting it.

CC&S: How many famous people did you see while playing on the streets during Sundance?
James: We saw like, 8 famous people at Sundance. 4 of them became fans of ours, and hopefully will come see us in LA at the end of the month (including John Hawkes, woohoo!)

CC&S: How's the tour planning going?
James: Tour planning is much easier when you decide to do it like 3 months in advance or more. Everyone is nice and says yes. We have a show in Madison just about lined up with our friend Shane Shane.

CC&S: So we can order your album online, but pay what we want? What's up with that?
James: Our album, H.A.G.S. (standing for Have A Great Summer) is available on a Pay What You Can basis. This isn't an original idea or anything, but it is one that we feel great about using. We made all of our albums cases by hand, and we have a simple collective idea: We are playing music because we love it and we want other people to hear it, love it too, and spread it. Therefore we have no wish to deny someone access to our music simply because they may not have the cash at the time, or whatever the reason. You want it, you can have it. Set prices only create conflict, either in an individual's mind, or between seller and buyer. And we're into a gift economy, not capitalism. Plus, sometimes people are super generous and are into paying more than the usual amount for a cd just because they feel we are deserving of it. (we gotta love that).

[This video is from the True/False film festival in Missouri and features a snippet of Bramble. I have to say, this little film is so EXCELLENT. I just love the time-lapsed sunrise over the "Mr. Roger's neighborhood" view of the city, and then when the day starts, the people come, have a parade and watch movies all day. It makes me want to go to there. It looks like people are having so much fun!]

True/False 2010 Closing Night Video from Boxcar Films on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. Let's hope they are hanging around the streets of Milwaukee in July!



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