Hi Brian, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me! I’ve been busy and doing well.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Play God”?
Absolutely. The lyrics came together very quickly, but as part of another writing session. Early on in the recording process for the album, I built the beat and laid down a basic version of the chorus hook, but the treatment on the verses really only lent itself to rapped lyrics, as it was too harmonically haphazard for a melody to sit well on it. When I revisited the track 6 months later, I tried a different progression and the lyrics a few pages away jumped out as the right fit. It went from “do we use this?” to “we have to use this on the record” in an afternoon.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
The political and economic climate in the United States and elsewhere in the world was the primary motivator. The music video features footage from the 1968 riots at the DNC in Chicago. The album features quite a bit of audio from those riots (the beginning and end of “Play God” uses “the whole world is watching”) as well as other archival clips from the same vintage. These clips worked so well because, sadly, human history is cyclical. It’s my hope that music in this vein can wake people up. For me as a 13-year old who had already been questioning everything for years, Rage Against The Machine played that role.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes, we released the video last week on June 15. I’m very happy with the execution, and it was a lot of fun to edit. I made sure to give it a visual treatment that was slightly jarring.
How was the recording and writing process?
Making Hard Times For Dreamers was, to date, one of the most enjoyable studio projects I’ve worked on. It was the first time that I handed over control and shared the production and engineering duties. Joe Nicolo brought so much out of me, and was so crucial in putting the last brick in my “knowing when to say when” wall. The lyrical subject matter of the record was, for the most part, a major departure for me from the upbeat, positive, poppy lyrics I’d written thus far. I look at the album as both a journey of growth and an apprenticeship.
How has Jamiroquai influence your writing?
Lyrically, I can certainly cite his positive energy as in influence on past projects. When “Virtual Insanity” came out, it was a bit of an oddball track on the charts, and on the album as well. It was unusual to hear something socially conscious that wasn’t sonically abrasive. Musicially, Toby Smith’s contributions in Jamiroquai have made a significant impact on me, as have the artists that influenced both of us equally.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I definitely plan to release more singles from the new album, Hard Times For Dreamers which came out on May 19. I’ll be touring behind the record for quite a while, but it doesn’t mean I won’t continue to write for whatever comes next. New ideas never come on a schedule!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Yes, Hard Times For Dreamers released as an LP on May 19.
Any plans to hit the road?
Perpetually! I’m currently on tour in Mexico with residencies at 7 theaters, and I’ll be headed to the midwest to teach studio production, live looping, and songwriting Tiffin University at their Pro Music Camp for a week. Following that I have mostly regional tour dates on the east coast until September when I head to Denver for the Dissoniq Music Loop festival.
What else is happening next in Brian Fitzy’s world?