Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Cary Brothers

presspass“I don’t think ‘pop’ is a dirty word,” Cary Brothers says plainly.

That’s probably the first thing you need to know about the Los Angeles based bard. When it comes to the pop label, the same one that is often affixed derisively to such bubble-gum boppers as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, Cary Brothers is unapologetic.

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Cary Brothers (Photo: Heidi Ross)

 

“I don’t think ‘pop’ is a dirty word,” Cary Brothers says plainly.

That’s probably the first thing you need to know about the Los Angeles based bard. When it comes to the pop label, the same one that is often affixed derisively to such bubble-gum boppers as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, Cary Brothers is unapologetic.

It probably helps that Brothers has already left a rather enduring mark in the pop world and that his penchant for pop continues to make him a dark horse star in the national music scene. That much has stayed consistent throughout Brothers’ career, but plenty has changed since he first burst onto the scene.

In 2004 his entrancing and highly accessible song “Blue Eyes” was featured on the “Garden State” soundtrack. That success prompted a record deal, and a bit of a runaway train that led to his debut album, Who You Are.

“I feel when I started playing a few years ago, I was really thrown into the deep end with ‘Garden State,’” Brothers says. “Everything was on a bigger scale after that and I always felt like I was catching up to this great lucky break with the soundtrack.”

And that leads us to the second thing you need to know about Brothers: The record-company process so common in the pop genre? Doesn’t particularly care for it.

“I like melody and pop, so that’s going to be part of what I’m doing anyway,” he says. “But to have someone hammering that into my head while I’m making the record, I was not really into that idea at all.”

Now, after buying his way out of his deal with Bluhammock Music, he’s one of an ever-expanding group of do-it-yourselfers, putting his music out under his own Procrastination Music label and taking a more deliberate pace with his creative process.

“I was always coming off the road and getting two or three weeks between stints on the road to record as many songs as I could and then I was back on tour. This was the first time I said I’m going to stop and take my time. And finally make a record I was really proud of. This was the first time I felt I made a record, beginning to end, that really works as opposed to a handful of songs cobbled together.”

The result — the aptly named Under Control — enjoyed similar success, charting after its April 6 release on the Billboard Heat Seekers chart, just as Who You Are did. A mix of subtle, melancholy ballads (“Something About You”) and grand, sweeping soundscapes (“Ghost Town”), the seamless album keeps your attention from start to finish and should provide a very solid foundation for Brothers’ current tour, which hits Baltimore’s 8×10 July 12.

With the music portion of the equation squarely under control, Brothers is still adjusting to the business side of the independent avenue. He won’t lack for advice should he need it, not as part of the acclaimed Indy music scene found at the Hotel Café in West Hollywood. Included in that pack are artists like Greg Bianco, Gary Jules, Joe Purdy, Greg Laswell and Joshua Radin, just to name a few.

“When there are big decisions to make, you definitely call your friends and talk about their experiences and what they’ve done. So I definitely share ideas,” Brothers says. “There’s a lot of advice since we’re all in the same boat, but mostly it’s the last thing we talk about. Mostly we just sit around and drink.”

 

 

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