Skip to around 2:30 in if you want to get straight to the pertinent bit.
A young Kurt Cobain, Dale Crover, and Greg Hokanson
Vyger is singing. Here’s what’s on that record on Voyager.
Hello! Today we are joined by Brandon Schott, who has been featured on SKOM before and Andrew Curry of Curry Cuts fame. They are collaborating on the release of Brandon’s new album Crayons & Angels and were kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules to share their thoughts on the process with us here at Some Kind Of Muffin. The Kickstarter ends July 28th so hop on over there when you’re all done here. Thanks! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/444321026/brandon-schotts-crayons-and-angels
OK, first thing’s first. How did you two get together for the first Curry’s Cuts?
Brandon: Andrew and I first connected when he was putting together his compilation Drink A Toast To Innocence. I contributed an Andrew Gold song called Thank You For Being A Friend.
When did you start thinking about collaborating on Crayons & Angels?
Brandon: When Andrew started working on the Kickstarter for that record (Drink A Toast To Innocence) we kept in contact and I worked with him on the music video for my cut, offered some promotional energy toward the project, etc. But at the core of it, he and I just hit it off – shared similar interests / music tastes and just became friends in the years since..
Andrew, what made you want to work on an all original album?
Andrew:I loved doing the two multi-artist compilations that I did. Not only did I get to work with several dozen great artists, but I got a real crash course in putting projects like those together. But I always knew that working on an album by a single musician and comprised of original material was what I wanted to do next. It doesn’t mean I won’t return to the multi-artist format. (I’m kicking around ideas for my next compilation as we speak.) But I want Curry Cuts to do more than just that.
Why go with Kickstarter?
Andrew: My previous records were both funded in part by Kickstarter, so I was familiar with the ins and outs of how to put a campaign together. It’s a fun way to get your fans involved in the process. And while there’s lots of cool stuff available to people who pledge, I’ve mostly used it as an easy way to pre-order a record.
What do you each get from this partnership?
Andrew: As for what I get from our partnership, I feel like this more of a real collaboration than my compilations were. When I was working with 27 musicians at a time, I couldn’t really afford to bounce ideas off of all of them. I had to be more unilateral in my decision making. But on Crayons & Angels, it’s been a real opportunity to bounce ideas of a single person. And my ideas are all in service of Brandon’s vision of the record. That’s been great for me and for Curry Cuts.
Brandon: This is the first time I’ve had label support on a record, and it’s been a true blessing working with Andrew. I told everyone on the team from day one that this was a no stress project – and I gotta say, working with Curry Cuts in that regard has been perfect. We’re very much in sync with the energy we want to put out there, our taste in music and references – I can bounce ideas off him, choices for singles, how to build momentum. It’s been really rewarding. Plus, like I said – we just like each other, and have a friendship rolls on through it all
Where does the title “Crayons & Angels” come from?
Brandon: Crayons & Angels comes from a line in Every Little Song, which was written about the amazing artist Judee Sill. She has a song called Crayon Angel which I reference in mine, and it seemed to fit the tone of the record – a little playful, a little spiritual.
Who did the album art? Is the alien an angel? Is Brandon the alien?
The album art was compiled by my wife Michelle, who’s done almost all of my visuals since the first record but the illustration on the front cover – that’s from a print I’ve had hanging in my house for almost 10 years by an artist name Alexander Scott Hughes. One day, as I was deep into the making record I walked by the framed picture and it just seemed to hit. Here’s a guy, a little out of place – not quite fitting into his surroundings but doing his best to make it work. There’s a humor to the way he’s drawn, with his candy offering and rumpled suit – but there’s also a melancholy to him – like he doesn’t quite believe that he belongs.
There’s a lot of that on this record, the balance between light and dark – the longing and the celebration – this image just seemed to tie it all together. I was speaking with my buddy Ben Eisen not too long ago about how many of the songs from the 60s have this pop varnish to them, yet there’s a sadness that lurks underneath. There’s an innocent quality on the surface, but a real struggle underneath. Brian Wilson was a master of that, Warmth Of The Sun-Please Let Me Wonder… I feel like this record plays into that spirit a lot.
What were the challenges that arose for both of you during this project?
Brandon: The biggest challenge for me is a product of our time – getting our voice heard within a choir of talented projects. There are so many amazing records coming out constantly, the trick is always to find a way to differentiate yours from the rest. That’s the trick – marketing and navigation, but then I’m at my best when I’m making music in my basement or on stage…but being a songwriter these days is so much more than that, and that’s my struggle. Still, I try to have fun with it and I hope that the energy I put out there in this part of the process reflects that.
Andrew: I find that the challenges for me are to expand the audience for my projects beyond the circle of very loyal and supportive friends I’ve made here on social media. It’s undeniably rewarding to have been able to make connections with people on Facebook. But how, then, do I build on that? It’s not necessarily a question I have the answer for just yet.
What was the recording process like?
Brandon: The recording process was truly an international affair, maybe one of my most collaborative efforts. Most of the record was recorded and arranged at my home in California, but we had various tracks flown in from Nashville, Bay City (MI), and even the UK where Nick Heyward threw down his background vocals on BETTER VERSION OF ME. But the bulk of the sculpting, arranging and tightening was finished off here in California. At the end of the record, my buddy Andy Reed mixed whatever I hadn’t and mastered the record to tape at Reed Recording in Michigan.
Any chance of Brandon appearing on future Curry Cuts compilations?
Andrew: As for working again with Brandon, I’d be delighted. As I said earlier, I have ideas for future projects, and Brandon is welcome to participate in whatever capacity he’d like!