Interview: Marc Broussard
Mon, 06 Oct 2008 12:36:59
Marc Broussard Videos
Somewhere on the road right now, there's a good chance that Marc Broussard is golfing. "Every day that we have off, we play golf, so that's always a good time. No, I'm a terrible golfer, but I do enjoy the game. It's a good time," he laughs. In between perfecting his swing, the New Orleans native has been touring relentlessly behind his latest album, the folk, funk and rock-infused Keep Coming Back. With a wide palette to paint with, the songs swing from somber to saccharine, while Broussard's distinct croon carries the melodies. It's a catchy and heartfelt record that blurs genre boundaries and highlights Broussard's immense talent. In this exclusive interview, he sat down with ARTISTdirect to discuss why fans will want to Keep Coming Back.
You recorded the album in only eleven days. How did that work?
Yeah, it was something like that [Laughs]. With good musicians and good tunes, everything seems to work out just fine. It's real easy to overthink records, and I think that's most of the problem. Artists spend too much time in the studio and they start to overthink and second-guess things. They add things where they shouldn't be added. Really, it all turns out sounding like everything else on the radio these days.
Well, it seems like you've channeled something very personal and natural. Would you say that's the case?
Absolutely, my fans have been asking for a record of mine that channels the energy we bring to the live show. We haven't been able to do that until this, and I think that's because of overthinking it and working with some of the producers that I did in the past. They wanted to go through the tracks with a fine-tooth comb. That's fine and dandy for somebody that's maybe not talented vocally or somebody whose songs and performances aren't there. It's important to go through that stuff with a fine-tooth comb, but at the end of the day, when you've got talented cats in the studio, there's no need to edit the drums, loop the tracks, replace sounds and all that stuff that goes on today with recording.
Do you feel like recording at Ocean Way in Nashville helped encourage a little bit of that old school vibe?
It definitely had everything that we needed to get things done—like functioning analog machines and plenty of space to setup everybody and make them feel real comfortable. The vibe was easy to create there. However, overall, we could've done this anywhere as long as we had a couple basic necessities.
“With good musicians and good tunes, everything seems to work out just fine.”
Where does your writing process start?
Typically, it'll begin with some chords to either a chorus or a verse. Then I sit in a room with a couple friends of mine, and we start humming out melodies. We get phrasing down syllabically, and we get the timing of the words down. We try to find the words that will fit that melody and fit an idea. With a song like "Power's In the People," we obviously had a very strong theme that we wanted to keep in mind. For a song like "Another Night Alone," the theme involved being lonely and without your girl, but lyrically it didn't really matter how we said what we were trying to say. As long as we got back to the hook, we were fine.
Your lyrics seem extremely intertwined with the music.
Yeah, I feel like I've grown up quite a bit since my last original recording. I've had two kids since then, and I definitely like that the lyrics have matured in certain ways. That's just the natural progress though. I try to stay on top of my game and try to stay in touch with my fans' and my own feelings at all times to really hone my craft and be a better musician, writer and lyricist.
What's the story behind "Evil Things?"
I was in Los Angeles, and I was doing a writing session with a couple different guys. We were having trouble getting things done naturally. We were having some difficulty making it all happen lyrically for that song. The melody was great, and the music was great, but we just couldn't make the lyrics happen. So I called a great writer friend of mine, Marshall Altman. I called him up and said, "Hey buddy, come over to the studio." So he came and helped us move things along quite rapidly. It's a beautiful song. I love it.
How did the collaborations with Sara Bareilles and LeAnn Rimes come about?
I'm friends with both of those girls. Sara and I had done some touring together in the past, and LeAnn and I had done some writing together for her previous record. So whenever these songs came up, and the opportunity was there, somebody mentioned, "Why don't you get LeAnn on this track?" I called her up, and she jumped at the chance. It was the same way with Sara. I enjoy writing and singing with women. I think female singers have a way of saying things that guys would never think of. I do enjoy working with women, especially singers as great as these girls are.
"Going Home" is a great closer.
"Going Home" is a song that I wrote about seven years ago with a guy named Jake Joyce from Nashville. It's a song I'd tried to record on several records over the years, and it just never worked out. We couldn't get the sonics altogether. Finally on the project, we just went back to basics and didn't try to do anything extra on the tracks. We looked through the demo and just made it happen. It came out great. It's a song we've always, as a band, listened to on the way back home from a tour. It meant a lot to every guy in this group, and it's very rewarding to have it finally on one of my records. "Evangeline Rose" is a song about my youngest daughter, and she's just a precious little thing. It's always special when you can play on somebody's heartstrings when it comes to being a parent. I have a lot of fans that do have kids and they can appreciate songs like that and "Gavin's Song." The album covers everything from fun, funky jams to heartfelt numbers.
It's been a point of contention at times with critics who say there's no continuity in the project. Or they say, "These songs don't sound like they belong on the same record." I've never been a real firm believer in taking critic's advice, no offense. My fans have always seemed to really dig that kind of schizophrenic approach to the music. I'm going to write songs and have a body of work that I can get behind. If people like it, then that's great. If they don't, they can turn it off.