INTERVIEW: The Brevet!
Southern California “Epic Americana” (we’ll get to that later) band The Brevet recently released their EP “Embers: Ch. 2” and we haven’t been able to stop listening to it! Check out the interview we did with vocalist Aric Chase Damm:
Stage Right Secrets: How did The Brevet get started and how was the name chosen?
Aric Chase Damm: Michael (Jones, piano) and I grew up together. We’ve been best friends since second grade and started writing music when we first started taking instrument lessons. Since then, we’ve just kept writing and doing things together. After we both graduated college, we started writing a few songs and got a little more serious. I went to school for acting and that heavily influenced how The Brevet got started. I was doing student films and Michael and I would compose the scores. That shaped how we write music and compose music and adds this epic feel to our sound.
The name itself, The Brevet, is a rank. I’m a huge Civil War buff and brevet was a rank that was given mostly in the Civil War out of honor and merit and when you receive that rank you can usually receive any extra pay for what you get. We thought it was kind of fitting because we’re doing this because we love doing it, not for any money or pay or anything like that.
SRS: Is there a part of you that would still like to pursue acting?
ACD: Absolutely! It’s one of my passions but right now The Brevet is doing great and I’d like to focus all my energy on them right now. If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll definitely consider them!
SRS: The band has a genre title of “Epic Americana”. Who decided that?
ACD: One of our fans at a show came up with that and we were like, “That’s great, we’re taking that!” We stole it [laughs].
SRS: The new EP “Embers: Ch. 2” was just released. What was the difference between recording your first EP, “Battle of the Heart”, and “Embers”?
ACD: Oh man, so much! Battle of the Heart goes back to when Michael and I started writing music together outside of college. After college, we had no idea what our sound was going to be and no idea what we were writing. The Brevet was unknown; we didn’t even have a name for the band originally. We just wrote songs and that was it. We just compiled them all together and that was “Battle of the Heart”. It was much more of us testing waters and seeing what our sound is and once we were done with that we took a step back and go, “Oh wow this is our sound” and realized what we were drawn to. With “Embers”, we’re just continuing to grow and push the boundaries and make a more cohesive project. The actual song “Embers” specifically really pushed us – it was the first song we had without any acoustic guitar, it was all electric guitars. We’ve really been trying to expand and stretch our muscles a bit as a band.
SRS: “Embers” is chapter 2 in your releases. How did you decided to release EPs that way?
ACD: We originally released “American Novel: Ch. 1” and we just thought to continue the saga. We don’t really know where our story is going yet, and we’re going to create the story as we keep going. We’re going to keep these chapters within ourselves and progress as a band.
SRS: What is your take on recording a full length LP versus an EP?
ACD: I personally love LPs and would love to do that but I feel like with our society now and streaming services, they’re not tangible. Everything is instant gratification now so I think shorter pieces of art and shorter pieces of music can be appreciated more comfortably and actually hears the songs you wanted them to hear. I still want to do a long album, but right now EPS and this chapter of us is working for us so we’ll stick with it for now.
SRS: A lot of insanely great companies have picked up your music such as CBS, Fox, The CW, etc. How did this come about?
ACD: That was how we went into a band originally. We had three songs when Michael and I first started and we pitched them to licensing companies and we got fortunate enough to get signed by an awesome licensing company. I think it all stems back from doing those scores together and having that cinematic quality and mindset when writing songs. We’ve been lucky enough to get all these awesome placements. It’s pretty unreal. I think our first one ever was on The CW on the last season of 90210. Usually when you get a placement you don’t know where it’s going to be but they used it at the very end of the show and used a pretty big chunk of it in a really great way. That was one of the coolest things for us. We all sat down and watched it together and it was just plain awesome. Super rewarding!
SRS: Is there a show on TV currently that you would love to have your songs on?
ACD: That’s a great question… I don’t know! Sometimes we get a placement and the song is used in a different way that you never expected and it’s the coolest thing ever. That’s a really tough one… I don’t think our music would anywhere near fit but I love the show Narcos. Maybe someone can do a Colombian version of our song and it will get placed in Narcos. I’ll learn Spanish really quick [laughs].
SRS: Who is someone that you would love to tour with?
ACD: You just opened a can of worms. We would love to tour with Kings of Leon. We love NeedToBreathe and get compared to them a lot; they would be incredible too. We played a festival with them and they’re awesome guys. There’s so many great bands out there right now and being able to tour with any of these bands that are really special like Alabama Shakes – I don’t think I could get sick of hearing them every single night. I can’t speak for the entire band but I don’t think they’d be complaining at all.
SRS: What’s coming up next for The Brevet?
ACD: We’re actually back in the studio right now and when we’re not playing shows we’re recording as many songs as humanly possible right now. Just continuing to stretch ourselves as artists and then just doing awesome shows. We’re playing [Rockwood Music Hall, New York] October 21st and then we’re back in California for a bit. I think in early 2017 we’re going to plan a West Coast tour.
Be sure to give “Embers: Ch. 2” a listen and check out their video for “Be Your Man” below!