An Interview with The Brazen Youth

Sienna recently conducted a phone interview with a band called “The Brazen Youth” who had reached out to us via email eager to share their message, that coexists with ours here at ROSEBLOOD. She asked them about up and coming things they have in the works, their musical influences, and more.

Can you each tell me a little bit about yourselves?

Charlie: I’m Charlie, I play piano. I also write, and produce, and sing in The Brazen Youth.

Micah: My name is Micah Reuben, I’m from Middlebury, Vermont, I’m 18 years old, and um- I oh yeah- I’m the drummer of The Brazen Youth, I almost forgot that. What else? I have like, curly hair and like, brown eyes.

Nick: Hi, I’m Nick. I write and sing, and play guitar and banjo sometimes for The Brazen Youth.

It’s nice to meet all you guys. The name for your band, “The Brazen Youth,” it’s a very interesting band name. Can you tell me why you chose that name?

Nick: We were originally called “The Company,” like, 5 years ago. We were young and putting out these projects and we found a lot of immaturity with them, so we decided just to change our name to something more original, something that could be distinguished on the internet. I’m sure you could imagine typing “The Company” into Google and see everything that comes up, you know? It was more just so we could distinguish ourselves.

Your album title, “The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man,” can you tell me a little bit about why you chose the name for your album?

Charlie: We drew a lot from just like, we were listening to a lot of abstract music in our junior year of high school- that’s when me and Nick wrote the album. A lot of our favorite bands had like these crazy titles, and we were really influenced by Neutral Milk Hotel album titles, and Modest Mouse, The Antlers, stuff along those lines. Like Sufjan Stevens. And Nick proposed that we call the album “the ever living” something, because we wanted to give like a timeless feel. I started learning out this one tree, it was called the bristlecone tree. It was just this one desert tree that lives for a really long time, and I thought that calling the album “The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man” was appropriate. And we kind of based the concept around that.

What song are you most proud of on the album and why?

Nick: We don’t really- at least me- this is Nick, by the way. Our voices are kind of similar so we’ll probably say our names with every answer. Nick speaking. At least me, I look at the album from more of like an observer of the past versions of me and Charlie. Not to say that I’m not proud of it, I like it-

Charlie: But, you’re not afraid to hate it.

Nick: I’m not afraid to hate it, I’m not afraid to look at it for what it is, and like see its flaws and see its negativities and everything. And especially now, because we’re so immersed in our current project. We’re trying to take the vulnerability at its core of who we were at the time. I don’t really think of the songs on “The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man” as individual songs anymore, I just think about it as a collective project.

I understand you guys just wrapped up a fall tour. And you’re going on tour again soon; can you tell me more about that and how you’re preparing for it?

Micah: We’ve been practicing a lot- I actually joined the band, like 2 months ago, so I’m a new member. So, about the tour; we just finished off and it was really fun, we have another coming up in January. We practice quite a bit; at least for the fall tour, we just practiced like nonstop for the most part.

Charlie: We have to figure out like, tour routes and where we’re staying for each place. We have to like, hit up our friend’s friend friend’s cousin’s friend, and be ask, “Yo, can we crash on your floor?” And we crash on some floor and it sucks, but it’s fine. I slept on some dog beds last tour.

Nick: Honestly, like when we have a place to stay and we’re not sleeping on a hardwood floor, even if the floor has a carpet on it, I’m like “hell yeah,” you know? I slept on a carpet tonight. And those sleeping combinations, they don’t ruin the tour, they make it more memorable. Just the idea of instability and maybe how one day, it won’t be so unstable anymore. Hopefully that’s the goal. Maybe one day we’ll have like a low-key Marriot, and be able to afford like, Comfort Inns.

Micah: In terms of preparing, Nick taught me how to contact bands and stuff to hop on the bill with us, and Nick would contact venues. So we would just practice and email a bunch.

Charlie: When we’re hyping up shows before tour, I always make flyers for every show, just to give every show like a unique feeling. And we always reach out to press in every city and we try to get a magazine to come and do a show review or take photos to hype up the show before it happens.

So, Micah, you’re the newest addition to the band. How have you been adjusting to being in a band?

Charlie: Sorry to interrupt, I’ll let Micah give you the base answer. Basically, this year, we were all going to different schools. Micah just graduated high school, Nick was at Berkley, and I was going to school in Burlington, Vermont. We all dropped out and we all live together now on my family farm, so we’ve had to learn how to live together and basically just like be one person.

Micah: I’ve been in one band before this, in my town from Vermont, but anyways, maybe don’t write about that. Adjusting in terms of being in a band and playing music hasn’t been different or alien for me, it’s been pretty natural, I would say. I would comment on what Charlie said; We would sometimes fight here and there and I would never fight with my friends, but I would fight with my family back at home. I guess this is a family too now, so that’s cool. I guess adjusting to the way Nick and Charlie work together was interesting, too, because I drummed on “Ever Dying,” but I wasn’t there for the writing process. When I recorded drums, I just recorded drums for a week, but how I’m diving into this very creative, and almost spiritual project with these 2 guys. And now it’s interesting, seeing how we all work together.

So, all of you reside on a farm, so that has to be a big change of scenery versus someone being in a big city and being in a studio all day. How do you feel changes your creative process?

Nick: I was at Berkeley last year, so I was in a city. I grew up in a small town, so going to the city really made me realize how much I value solitude and quietness. So, coming here, it’s so refreshing, because I have all that. There’s a cabin deep in the woods of our farm, and sometimes one of us will go there for a few hours even just to get away from everybody.

Charlie: I went there today to play frisbee golf.

Nick: Charlie went there today- I didn’t even know that. We kind of all do our own thing.

Micah: I was at work.

Nick: Micah was at work. I think we all have a large sense of urbanism here, just because we constantly have friends coming over here, we have random people that just kind of hang out here sometimes.

Charlie: And we all have MacBooks.

Nick: We all have MacBooks and everything.

Charlie: I have photoshop.

Nick: Charlie has photoshop. We have a large sense of collectivity and diversity here, but we also have what I see as being a necessary quietness. Which is something that, in my experience is unattainable in an urban setting.

Who was that that just spoke for a majority of the time?

Nick: That was the one who’s been telling everyone to say their names, it was Nick. I guess I’m a hypocrite.

Charlie: Charlie’s the one with photoshop.

Micah: And Micah’s the one with work.

Nick: Sorry for our dysfunctionality.

So you have some videos coming. Can you tell be about those and what to expect?

Charlie: Yeah, this is Charlie talking, this is the one who has photoshop. We have some new videos, coming out, they’re live sessions of some new songs and “Cry For The Aliens,” which is a track off of “The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man.” It was filmed by “Full Set Productions.” And yeah, it’s super groovy and we’re very excited to release it.

(The new videos can be found here )

You’re also working on new music, I understand. Will you be working on that on tour as well?

Nick: We’ll be thinking about it. We’ve been practicing the songs. It’s really interesting, because in the past, with “The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man,” it was recorded over the span of 2 years, and it was just me and Charlie in our studio every weekend— we were still in high school, essentially just like, getting together, putting our brains together and just trying to make music, without even honestly giving any form of perspective to the music in a live setting. Whereas, with this album, having added Micah to the band, just like living together as band, we’re constantly thinking about arrangement and execution, which for the first time is manifesting itself into the recording process. So, we’ve been recording some of the songs since the fall tour, and it’s just really interesting, because now I just feel like our music has much more of a live feel than it used to.

Charlie: If Charlie can chime in, Charlie is saying, that adding Micah to the band certainly gave us like a very— it made our music feel very like, I don’t want to say live, but there’s more of a live energy with it. It doesn’t feel like a canvas that’s been manipulated, it just feels like a song that exists on its own.

I understand that Nick and Charlie, you left college to pursue music. What was the initial moment that made you decide that you wanted to leave school?

Nick: I have a story for you, if that’s okay.

Yes, that’s fine.

Nick: Our friend just arrived, I just have to make sure he doesn’t come in. (To Will) Hey, Will, we’re in the middle of an interview right now, but you can come in.

Charlie: Will is our bass player for tour.

Nick: This story actually includes Will, so it makes sense that he’s arrived. So, Will and I, we went to Berkeley last year together, and literally 3 weeks into the first semester, like September, 16, Charlie comes and visits, and Charlie took the first semester of last year off from school, just to kind of hang out at the farm and work and everything. And he came and visited us, and me ad Will were quietly going crazy with a lot of unconfirmed insecurities about Berkeley, and how we didn’t really feel like we were progressing as individuals within the curriculum. Charlie came and visited and essentially drove us crazy and confirmed all our insecurities. I remember sitting in my dorm room, and we were like, “Oh my God! We’ve got to leave, we’ve got to move to the farm! We’ve got to drop out!” And then Will just kind of happened to be there, and he was like , “Yeah, let’s do it!” And then we were like, “Yeah, alright. Will, you should come, too!” And then Charlie called his dad that night and was like, “Dad, can we come live at the farm?” And he was like, “I’ll have to think about it.” And the Charlie was like, “Come on, dad!” And it just happened, so we spent the entire year at Berkley just romanticizing about the future, and now it’s here and it feels just as good as it did.

Charlie: This is Charlie with photoshop. And then after that semester when we had all decided that, I decided to go to school for one semester, and I just took 6 art classes at college, and then I dropped out. So, it’s a very unconventional path, I guess.

In your email to Roseblood, you mentioned the magazine having a mission in our hyper masculine world. I know, it’s such a broad topic, and so much is tied into it, but what does combatting hyper masculinity mean to you?

Charlie: In high school a lot of our friends were very much just like hyper masculine dicks, and were kind of just these hipsters, and they would always label us as “feminine,” and we were like, “Alright, what the fuck?” So, I would say the way to combat hyper masculinity, is when people pull a power move on you, just like submit, and then just stop recognizing gender, and then you’re good.

Micah: Interestingly enough, hyper masculinity wasn’t a huge thing, at least in my high school, and it hasn’t been throughout my life. It hasn’t been this thing that I’ve been super aware of until, honestly-

Nick: Micah grew up in Middlebury, Vermont, which is a very progressive town.

Micah: It is pretty progressive, so like that’s another thing, my high school was very small and it’s a great community and whatnot. I guess there were cliques in high school, it was very cliche, how like the “jocks” would be making fun of the band kinds or something. I feel like it happens all the time. But honestly, I don’t know I really have nothing else to say about that.

Nick: I’ve always thought about it, but I didn’t know the term “hyper masculinity” until like maybe a year ago, and at that moment, everything just kind of clicked. Like I think most things that exist are constructed and arbitrary. And I think also, hyper masculinity, intertwines with just like conventional order. Like, following one passageway, and finding success in that passageway , and submitting to a role that society pushes onto you, you know? And I think it’s important for every human to just challenge that, you know? And to reject it, and that’s all it really is to me, is challenging conventional order. I think hyper masculinity also, is kind like this weird, like animalistic thing that exists where people feel the need to just like rub their dominance into your face, and it’s disturbing, you know?

Charlie: If I could interject and say something pretentious. Reject the phallus of the tyrant.

Nick: Was that from something, Charlie?

Charlie: No, I just wanted to think of the most pretentious answer I could come up with.

Nick: I mean honestly, our social order is super tyrannical. People are oppressed. I think every artist that exists, faces some sort of social oppression, and i think it’s just important to have awareness of that and challenge that.

That was very insightful, thank you guys.

Nick: Thanks for asking the question, because it’s as important thing to talk about. And thank you for tolerating out obnoxiousness.

You’re fine! So Roseblood is a magazine that appreciates femininity, and female energy and such, and of course you don’t have to be a woman to submit art. But what does feminism mean to you?
Nick: For me, I think feminism, as cliche as it sounds, is just equality, again it’s just challenging what exists in the social world. No one should ever submit to any form of dominance that is not warranted, and I don’t think any form of dominance is ever really warranted. I think it’s bizarre that there’s a lack of awareness, a lack of equality, you know? And I think it’s just existence in a capitalistic world, that people are oppressed, that other people can be greedy.

Charlie: I think feminism to be is just like the balance of genders, and it’s kind of serving a role that like, we need to stop seeing all individuals with gender attached to them, within their identity. Gender is like a bizarre social construct, we just need to see people as the purest form that they are. And the world we live in has also been just like dominated by male forces for such a long time. Nick, Micah, and I are all white men, who come from like, very stable positions and we very much feel that being in that position, it’s very much our role to like, seek out other people who share the same beliefs as us, and just like exercise all that.

I see you’re pretty tightly knit with your fanbase, which is amazing, A lot of the time, younger people look up to an artist and feel safe with them, especially with everything happening, currently; our current political climate in America is pretty dark and rough. What’s your opinion on that, and how do you keep your headspace clear in an increasingly negative world?

Charlie: I just think that art has really been the best thing for that. All the frustrations we have with America, and the people living in it right now; we have that headspace where we’re just focused on our art.

What does creating mean to you?

Micah: For me in this project at least, creating, because I have a very specific role in this band as of right now, considering me being a new member, I feel like I want to preserve the sound that Nick and Charlie have made. I means preserving a certain, I guess like legacy in a way, but at the same time it’s like it’s also as I move forward, it’s very much me trying to channel through just like all the emotions I have in my life essentially; that’s just like really what it is for me, because I feel things very deeply.

Nick: For me, it’s just a balance of absorption and exertion, you know? Taking things in, processing them, and then putting them out in an individualistic way, so that’s all it really is for me.

So for some “get to know you” questions. Do you have any other hobbies?

Charlie: Yes. Yes. We all all have quite a few hobbies. One of my hobbies is just like mushrooms and mycology, which is just like the study of mushrooms. I’m a “mycophile,” which is a lover of mushrooms. I just have some friends who are equally, if not more enthusiastic about mushrooms. I love reading about them (mushrooms), it’s such a rabbit hole; the way they reproduce and the way the grow, and what they do for the world, and how they can save the world, how mycelium communicates. It’s so interesting and I just love mushrooms so much.

Micah: I agree, I think it’s so interesting that Micah is into mushrooms, I think that’s a great thing. Mine’s still music, but specifically film scoring. I finished up a short film for a student at University of Michigan. It’s unreleased as of right now, but I just finished writing the score, and I’ve never done anything like that, this was literally my first score. So, that was a great experience and it kind of solidified my dream eventually. I love doing film scores. I’ve always just loved watching films, as well. Like, I watch movies as a hobby.

In the background: And chocolate milk!

Micah: Oh, and chocolate milk! Monument Farms chocolate. Not product placement, that’s just a good local brand from Middlebury.

Nick: I guess my hobbies other than music would include, making films, I like to read, and just taking strolls through the fields of the farm.

Can you describe your band’s sound in 3 words?

Nick: Naturalistic, atmospheric, and urban I’d say.

Charlie: My 3 words would be, smooth toned jazz. Or Simon and Garfunkel appropriation.

Favorite album of 2017?

Charlie: For me personally, I really like “DAMN” by Kendrick Lamar. I think that was a masterpiece.

Micah: I really liked “Big Fish Theory” by Vince Staples.

Nick: “who told you to think?” by Milo.

Charlie: As a band, our favorite album that came out in 2017 is probably “Capacity” by Big Thief.

Who’s you biggest musical influence?

Charlie: My favorite musicians slash producers are probably Jonathan Rado and Andy Shauf.

Nick: Mine is probably Phil Elverum from Mount Eerie.

Micah: Mine would be Big Thief again, because the theme for this year, for me, in terms of drums has just been like holding back and shit. The drummer from Big Theif does it really well, just like holding back, and I really like that style.

What was the first album I’ve ever purchased?

Nick: I’m kind of embarrassed about mine. can I start by saying that I was 5 years old? It was Rebun Studdard album. He was like this R&B singer that came in second, I think, on American Idol in like 2003.

Micah: The first album that I purchased was “Who’s Next” by The Who.

Charlie: The first album I remember self identifying with was like an old cassette with Elvis on it from like early Elvis times, when he played really upbeat, dance stuff. I used to roll around on my rug and listen to. The first one I remember buying was like the Jonas Brothers Deluxe Vision, that had like “SOS.” It was the black one, it had gold letters and like “Look Me In the Eyes.” That was the Jonas Brothers’ peak right there.

What was the first album you listened to that made you want to create music?

Nick: I remember being in second grade, and was really into the Greenday album “American Idiot.” I remember my dad had this little live recorder thing, and you could just record yourself over other tracks. My brother recorded me singing over “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” I still have the recording and it’s really funny to listen to.

Micah: It wasn’t really an album it was actually a movie, but it was the music from the movie. The movie was “Titanic” and the song was “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. The soundtrack was just so beautiful. I was kind of already doing music like a little at the time, but it wasn’t as serious as it is now. I just remember listening to the soundtrack like alone without the film, and I like started crying. I was like, “Wow, this is so pretty and beautiful.” And I realized in that moment that I wanted to do music.

Charlie: The first album that made me realize I want to make music was John Mayer’s “Continuum,” but the first album that made me want to make art was Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In Airplane Over The Sea.”

This will probably be the last question. What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Charlie: In my house we just didn’t really have a TV, so I didn’t really see too many movies besides “Land Before Time” and “Good Will Hunting,” but like “Good Will Hunting.”

Micah: Me and Nick are kind of in the same boat, just because we attach a lot of movies, we actually watch movies together.

Charlie: Nick and Micah watch movies together, and cuddle up, like every night.

Micah: We keep each other warm. I would say for right now, my favorite movie is “Youth.” It was about these professional artists in a very like isolated area in the mountains.

Nick: My favorite movie that I watched this year, was this movie from like, 1927 called “Love of a Poet.” It’s just such a cool film, because all of the manipulations in that film, if one were to watch today, they’d probably be like, “Wow, the special effects are awful,” but for the people who watched that movie at that time, it must’ve been just like surreal.

The interview wrapped up shortly after the boys answered this question. We would like to thank Charlie, Micah, and Nick for their time and honest answers.

All of The Brazen Youth’s social media and contact information will be listed below.

Spotify:
Facebook:
Bandcamp:
Photo by Sophie Minello

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