The Brevet, comprised of the talents of Aric Chase Damm, Michael Jones and? David Aguiar, are from the sunny socal suburbs. The young American band is comprised of: a filmmaker, an actor, a computer nerd, and a shoeless organic dog toy maker. They have a mutual love for making powerful music in their mobile home park studio that hugs the 405 freeway. They are passionate about spilling their hearts through cinematic sounds in order to motivate yours. By combining Americana rock, sweeping orchestral tracks, gang vocals, unforgettable choruses, and connective emotional lyrics, The Brevet have put together a unique one of a kind sound that serves to be the soundtrack of your life. The Brevet released their album ”Battle of the Heart’ on April 30th and have already been met with great success. The track “Let Go” was featured on an episode of The CW’s ‘90210’ and “Start To Begin” spent a week as the feature song on ‘Baseball Tonight.’ The hard work and dedication to their craft has begun to turn the heads of critics and fans alike, cementing them as a band to watch in 2014! Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with the band for a quick Q&A about their musical past, present and future!
Take us back to your earlier years. What are your first memories of music in your life?
For me (Aric), the earliest memory I have of music really impacting me was the first time I heard Elvis. I was probably 5. I just remember how powerful infectious his voice was when I first heard it. After that, was wanted to be Elvis.
For me (Michael), I remember my first recital when I was 5. I played some simple tune on the violin to a huge crowd. That’s when I found out that I love performing.
How were your biggest influences as a musician and performer?
Definitely Elvis, The Doors, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, NEEDTOBREATHE, The Fray and Mumford & Sons.
What made you take the plunge and pursue a career in the music industry?
Aric and I started writing together in middle school. Our musical influences came from different angles, but the music started melting together in organic ways. After college we found ourselves struggling to find comfort in day jobs and decided to just go for it. We ultimately decided that we didn’t want look back at our lives and have any remorse for not going for what we truly loved doing. It’s a passion we’ve all had since a young age, so it was really a no brainer when we got an opportunity to start creating together.
How did the band initially form?
It really started in 7th grade when we (Aric & Michael) got our first guitar/piano lessons, but our style didn’t get solidified until late college. Every summer since high school, we would write/record together and would bring in friends who wanted to play. Through college, we scored a couple films that Aric was acting in while he was in theatre, I spent a ton of time in various DAW programs producing different styles – eventually our sound developed into something we could recognize as our own. We developed a vision to create music that was inspired by film scores and cinematic themes.
Who are the players involved and what does each bring to the table for a project like this?
Aric, Michael & David make up The Brevet. Aric does main vocals, guitars, and anything we experiment with. Michael is on the piano and mainly does the production work. David is on drums and percussion. A lot of our roles are blended, at times we’ve each played other instruments as needed. We each come in at a different angles, which helps bring a ton different influences to the table. Most of the time we over-produce and draw things back to tailor the song, it’s a luxury for us to be running our own studio as we can really take the time to experiment with the recordings. David comes from a very jazz influenced background as a session drummer, this brings in that live energy into our tracks. While Michael has some of a jazz background too, he was trained classically on the piano which has been key for the cinematic imagery. Aric’s theater influences have shaped the way he creates our lyrical content and our sonic imagery.
In terms of production, Michael and Aric have spent years developing and learning what works best for the styles we’ve made. All the time we’ve spent in the studio has really shaped our sound. We started recording/producing in middle school when we wanted to put out our first album and the experimentation/learning hasn’t stopped since. We’ve aspired to achieve sounds that are just as big, full, rich, moving and beautiful as any of our influences, while keeping true to our original sound.
For those who may not know, what is the band name all about and why did you chose it?
The “Brevet” rank was a position given to soldiers (mostly in the civil war) out of honor and merit. They usually didn’t receive any extra pay or compensation when given the rank. The word represents what we are all about. We don’t want to do this to gain any kind of acclaim. We just love making music that has a purpose and moves people.
For those who may not be familiar with your work quite yet, what can they expect sonically?
People have been labeling our sound as “EPIC AMERICANA” which we find awesome! haha. We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from listeners who also love our influences. We definitely admire the musicality behind Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, etc., but we do aspire to create original music with cinematic intentions.
You have released your album “Battle of the Heart” earlier this year. What were you expectations going into the process of creating the album?
We really didn’t have any expectations. I guess we all just wanted to make music that we all could be very proud of. The fact that people have been receptive to our music is extremely humbling. The goals we set once this happened pushed us to rise to the occasion. We really wanted to get one of our songs placed on tv.
How did the title come about and what does it mean to you personally?
The title came about during a time when we were still very new to the idea of, “just going for the music career”. I felt that we were going through much of what most people go through a some point in life which, is making a decision of the type of life they would like to live. Many of us have come or will come to a crossroad where they face a question; “do I take a more wearisome and unsteady road that is what makes me truly happy OR do I take the road that may be more stable?” I think everyone has felt or will feel that at some point in their life. It’s truly a battle of the heart.
What can you tell us about your songwriting process and how you bring a tune to life?
There has been a constant theme throughout the album. Much of the writing is organic, depending on the mood we want to write for. Sometimes Aric gets locks himself in his room and writes out the big ideas and we tweak them at the studio, sometimes I throw together an idea on the piano and record it on my iphone. Much of the collaborative songs is Aric and myself on our instruments brainstorming emotional sounds, then the melodies follow, and lyrics after that. Bottom line, a good idea is a good idea. We push ourselves to make the best.
Looking back on the entire process of bringing it to life, what stands out at as the biggest challenge in creating this album?
Time management. We all had our own separate lives we were trying to start, and getting into the groove of making music week in and week out was tough. Now we have the routine down, and we’re much more comfortable with what it takes.
What is the biggest thing you learned about yourself during this intense process?
We learned that if we push ourselves, focus and work hard every week, we are able to achieve the goals we’ve set out to accomplish.
Any plans for a return to the studio in the near future? If so, where are you in the process of creating new material?
We have the luxury of spending a lot of time with our music and haven’t taken any breaks since we released Battle of the Heart other than a few trips to the mountains.
What are your tour plans at the moment?
None yet! We’re excited to be adding the new material to our live set. We’re getting ready to go full force in 2014!
What are your favorite songs to play live these days?
“Start to Begin” and “Let Go.”
Is there something you hope people come away with after they catch one of your live performances?
Just that we aren’t trying to put on any personas or trying to be something we aren’t. We just want the music to speak for itself and hope people come away feeling moved and inspired in one way or another.
Are there any video plans in the making?
We will be filming our first music video next month, which we are extremely excited about!
What do you consider your biggest milestone so far?
I think it would have to be getting our song, “Let Go” on The CW’s 90210. That was a pretty defining moment for us as a band because prior to that we had no idea what people thought of our music.
How do you feel you have evolved as a musician since first starting out?
Our musicianship has evolved independently, but more importantly we’ve learned how to collaborate so well because of how long we’ve played together. Aric and I are able to anticipate the direction of a song we’re working on, and our vision is almost always the same.
What are some of your musical bucket list items?
Doing a global tour, winning Grammies, going platinum, taking over the world – just simple stuff like that.
What bands are out there right now that have made you stand up and take notice?
Churchill, Lord Huron, Ben Rector. There’s so much talent out there its unbelievable.
What is the best piece of advice that you can pass along to someone who wants to pursue a career in music in the industry’s current climate?
Go for it. There’s no right or wrong way to attack it these days and the world is at your fingertips.
What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2014 and what are you most excited about when you think about the year to come?
We really want to play SXSW, do a great music video and play more shows. We’re most excited about gaining more traction for our music.
Anything you want to tell your fans before I let you go?
We’re overwhelmed by the love you guys have given us, we hope to see you all in 2014. Please keep spreading the word about us and thank you all for being such great fans so early in the game!
The Brevet Official Sites