Every day a mask is worn, a feeling is hidden, details are omitted as to not offend. It’s not our fault we do this it’s just what we’ve become accustomed to. That is why “Brighter Days” by Becoming Bristol was so welcoming. Instead of standing behind a wall of symbolism like a college freshman poetry class, it brought forth the topic of suicide and displayed it under a giant light. Some may feel uncomfortable with that and have turned away at this point, but that’s the point of everything that preceded this sentence. We’re scared of the truth but shouldn’t be. Talking about the darkness in life helps to get it out of the shadows and helps us deal with it so we can indeed have brighter days.
We talked with Becoming Bristol about being so forward with their latest single, and how they’re paying it forward themselves with their music. Also on the table for discussion was how the two brothers got started and wound up meeting their other halves in the band, and what’s to come as 2018 rolls to an end…
Kendra: Britt and Jack, being brothers – was the musical connection there from an early age? If so, when did you decide to team up with Tyler and Manny?
Becoming Bristol: Absolutely. We share a lot of the same experiences that influenced our careers. When we were around the ages of 12 and 14, my parents had the wild idea of emailing the booking agent for this band on a major label to see if we could bring them to our hometown of around 700 people to do a concert. The management team got back to us with a booking price and our parents sat Jack and I down and told us we needed to figure out how to sell 400 tickets to pay for the concert.
We ended up figuring it out, and we had the band out. Jack and I got to help do load in, set up, and tear down. We fell in love with it. The next week we were in our basement playing one of the band’s songs over and over. That whole ordeal was what I consider the “inception” of this band. About a year and a half later, we played our first “show” as a band. We toured the western US and met Tyler at a festival. He was actually a tech at the festival. Six months later, we ended up needing to a bass player and Ty got in touch. Jack and I met Manny at the university we attended.
Kendra: Onto your latest single that you’re releasing to help those in need on multiple levels, “Brighter Days.” Penned about a friend you almost lost to suicide, was the song something that came instantly when you heard the news or after you had some time to digest it?
Becoming Bristol: One of the most interesting things about writing songs is that they sort of take on a story and life of their own, and they end up meaning “more” things to me as time goes on. I wrote the chorus of “Brighter Days” in early 2015 as a reaction to conversations and experiences I had been having that year. The rest of the song didn’t really take form until 2017. By that time there had been so many more experiences that helped write the song.
Kendra: What I appreciate about “Brighter Days” is that it doesn’t hide behind symbolism. To the point like that of what we hear from the likes of Logic, do you feel like topics such as suicide need to be more transparent in music and pop culture as a whole?
Becoming Bristol: The best art comes from having a wrestling match with deep and unique personal experiences. This can only occur when there is no “agenda” or “goal” in the creation of the art aside from tackling the issue at hand with honesty. Pop culture is inherently dishonest because it seeks to give quick, or simple answers that everyone can relate to.
From my personal wrestling match with this topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that the solutions rests on having “meaning” in life. By “meaning” I don’t mean “dreams,” “goals,” “ambitions,” or even “family.” Those are all things that are temporary and can be taken away.
Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, Frankl details out how people in the camps who literally had everything taken from them, could still press on because they had some form of meaning and hope inside that transcended worldly circumstances. Obviously, it’s a lifelong topic to answer, and I am by no means the “answer guy” for this stuff. I wrestle with it and write it out for people to see. Sometimes there are conclusions and a nice bowtie on it, other times not. I think artists need to be okay with no “bowtie.”
Kendra: All of the proceeds from “Brighter Days” will go straight to Anthem of Hope. How did you guys decide upon this organization?
Becoming Bristol: Anthem of Hope recognizes the need for purpose and meaning in a person’s life. They have all of the infrastructures of a solid crisis line and support organization, what really drew me to them was how they recognize the importance of the human soul and its need for meaning. I think they are really focused on the root issue of depression and suicide.
Kendra: Back to the music as a whole, I love the anthemic pop-rock feel of your sound. Was that the direction you all initially headed towards?
Becoming Bristol: We are all pretty diverse in our musical interests! Jack and I grew up playing classical piano, Tyler did classical and some Jazz, Manny was a shredder in High School. Basically, we’re fans of everything from Rachmaninoff, and Coldplay, to Underoath and Anderson Paak. I’d like to think influences of all of that ended up in our music. Our strength is in solid pop-rockish tunes and it’s naturally what we gravitate towards when writing parts.
Kendra: Will we be getting an EP soon? Maybe?
Becoming Bristol: The music scene has moved to single releases instead of EP’s or albums. So right now the plan is to release some form of new music every month for the rest of 2018.
Kendra: Are you guys planning on playing shows as the year winds down? Any other plans to end 2018?
Becoming Bristol: We’ve got a few coming up! We’ll be listing those soon! And the plan right now is to keep releasing music. I’ve got like 20 songs in the works right now. I’d love to get into the studio and sort out of few of them before the end of the year!