Jay Brannan Talks "Rob Me Blind"
Tue, 07 Aug 2012 07:04:30
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On his latest album Rob Me Blind [iTunes link], singer and songwriter Jay Brannan has got all kinds of stories to tell.
Brannan delivers those tales with a mixture of folk spirit and sly humor, making for a collection of utterly engrossing songs. Right now, he's bringing those tracks to life on stage across North America, and doing it quite well we might add!
Jay Brannan sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about Rob Me Blind, those stories, and more…
Did you have one vision for Rob Me Blind from beginning to end?
In terms of the sound, there was definitely something specific I wanted to do with this album in contrast to things I've done before, but I also wanted to carry along the same style. It's something that's very authentic and me. It's organic because all of the songs I write are pretty personal. I don't necessarily sit down to write songs for an album. I do what I do more as a coping mechanism for life [Laughs]. If there was a through line, that would be it. I wrote the songs over a couple of years. Once they were done, I put them in an order that seemed like it flowed to me. There wasn't a plan for a story from start to finish, but I feel like it's pretty sincere.
Is storytelling an important aspect of songwriting for you?
It's an aspect I really appreciate. Songwriting is a way of me for to get things out of my head that have been circling for years. Expression is the number one thing for me. A lot of songwriters I admire do have storytelling aspects to their music. That probably influences me a bit. It's important for music to be compelling and draw people in. Obviously, storytelling is one of the oldest ways of doing that.
Where did "A Love Story" come from?
That's a little unique as far as my songs go. It's one of the only songs where I wrote the lyrics and the melody first before I added a guitar part. I had this melody stuck in my head, and the lyrics came to me. I had an idea where I wanted to write an old folk song where there was no chorus. It evolved that way, and it became one of the few songs of real hope for a romantic future that I have [Laughs]. It's about me forging through cynicism, finding hope, and trying to believe in something as far as the future goes.
How did you come up with the title Rob Me Blind?
I decided to name the album after what ended up being my favorite song. I like to take clichés and turn them on their heads, using them in a new way. Normally, when somebody robs you blind, they take everything you have. Lyrically, in the song, that's what you want the other person to do. The image is funny too. Humor is an important part of my music, and it worked for me. It can mean a lot of different things.
If you were to compare your album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
The Blair Witch Project [Laughs]. I love horror movies, and it makes me laugh to think of that comparison. It's such a fun and compelling movie that's also terrifying. It's so real and very raw. That's what I was going for with the record.
Have you heard Jay Brannan yet?