Hi Bryan, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m doing ok thanks for asking. Better than I deserve.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Redbull and Gasoline (Living For A Change)”?
It was not intended to be the first track. I had thought of releasing a more uptempo song but Redbull is the one people gravitated toward during the demo process. So, I decided to throw it on first.
Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?
Musically I was looking to create a more chord-based song structure rather than a riff-based song. Lyrically it was originally a message to my daughter. I was thinking about all the change that’s happening in the US. There’s a little good and bad in everything that we experience and we can decide which part we focus on. Some of the best things in my life have been a result of changes that I didn’t want to make. So, it’s a reminder to myself and anyone else to take it easy. It’s gonna work out.
The single comes off your new album We Live Through It – what’s the story behind the title?
It’s a line from the song Redbull and Gasoline. The idea is that we’ll get through the rough times and we’ll also get through the good times. You need to see the darkness in order to recognize the light and it’s gonna keep changing. So, don’t get too worked up.
How was the recording and writing process?
I did most of the vocals and instrumentation in my daughter’s bedroom. The city of Boston was essentially shut down and so I brought my computer and microphones home. In a way, it was inspirational because it limited my options and forced me to commit to certain ideas. All of the songs went through a variety of changes but the underlying foundation was always acoustic guitar and vocals.
What was it like to work with Jean-Paul Gaster and how did that relationship develop?
I met him when I was playing guitar in the band Tree. We had a day off in San Francisco and I saw Clutch was playing that night at a club called The Bottom of the Hill. This was just before their Self Titled record came out. I remember seeing them play Space Grass and thinking holy shit this is awesome! It’s a memory that’s still pretty vivid in my mind. Tree ended up doing quite a few tours with Clutch and after Tree stopped, I was hired by Clutch as a guitar tech and kind of auxiliary guitarist on tour. I was also able to help write and record a few songs on the Beale St record. JP was always a hospitable guy and a great
cook. I think when you tour with people after a while you become like a family. Some families get along better than others. I really enjoyed touring and playing with JP as well as everyone else in the band and crew.
How much did he get to influence the album?
His drumming influenced the songs quite a bit. Not the actual parts but the way they were performed. I had sent him the songs and then he sent me his drums. Once I heard his drums I redid my parts and we went back and forth like that until it was done. I originally had some programmed drums in there which gave it a much more mechanical/synthetic vibe.
Would you call this album a complete departure or rather a follow-up of what you’ve been doing?
I’d call it a departure. There’s no electric guitar on the EP other than the solo in Redbull and Gasoline. It was written with the intention of toning down the intensity while still trying to maintain energy. I think it sounds quite different than anything I’ve released in the past but I may be hearing it differently than other people.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Lyrically the songs are all based on the idea of staying in the moment and accepting change. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for quite a few years and have been sober since 2011. Part of the process of recovery is to adopt a different mindset. I was reading a lot of spiritual self-help books from the 1920s and 1930s and started seeing a lot of common threads between different religions and spiritual practices. One of them is living in the moment and another is having an appreciation for the simple things. So the lyrics are sort of an abstract reflection on those ideas.
What else is happening next in Bryan Porter Hinkley’s world?
I’ve been staying really busy creating music for advertising with my company Gratitude Sound. In addition to that, I’m working on some new music with my older brother and have a steaming shoe lined up, featuring some special guests on Friday, November 13th. Check the website bryanporterhinkley.com for updates.