The Brazen Youth
Interview + Tour Dates
interview by victoria taglione
Established back in 2014, The Brazen Youth is a project consisting of two diverse artists, Nicholas Lussier and Charles Dahlke, putting their visions together to formulate an indie beauty. The Brazen Youth drives much of their influences and sound from where they reside: a small town in Connecticut. Their debut album The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man was released in 2016, and since then, the guys have been in the road and in the studio producing their sophomore album. I got to virtually chat with the band about some of their influences, their creative process, and future plans (and The Brazen Youth Amusement Park? Stay tuned.)
First of all, what is the meaning, if any, behind your band name, The Brazen Youth?
Micah: I joined the band only a few months ago, but have known Charlie and Nick for about two years and my interpretation of the name is honestly just how I see us and our friends and what we believe our youth is all about. Brazen means bold.. and we need the youth to be bold in times like these.
Charlie: Not too sure.. We’ll reinterpret it for every project we work on.
Nicholas: It sounded nice to us, and it sort of just stuck.
Describe the band's sound and genre using three words/phrases:
Micah: Provocative emotions intertwined with the pastels of a sunset.
Charlie: spotify indie chill
Nicholas: After seeing the other two responses, I’d equate it to pretension and satire.
Upon first listening to you guys, I immediately got similar vibes such as Whitney and Slow Hollows. What have been some artists and in particular, albums, that have impacted Brazen Youth's music and overall sound?
Charlie: Whitney recently became one of my favorite groups but i don’t think I knew them until this last summer. We all knew Slow Hollows because Nick’s friend and roommate at Berklee was in the group in their earlier stages. We never really drew too much from their music, but we certainly saw what they were doing as inspiring since we were the same age and all that. Whitney certainly influenced some of my writing on the new record and I think some others such as Big Thief, Andy Shauf, Frankie Cosmos, Bon Iver, and The Microphones also did their toll.
Nicholas: Well, thank you! I believe that I speak for all members of the band (and perhaps the entirety of the indie music community) when I say that we carry immense respect for both of the groups that you’ve mentioned. As Charlie said, we take a lot of influence from groups like Big Thief and artists such as Andy Shauf. I, personally, took a lot of writing influence from both Leonard Cohen and Phil Elvrum for my contributions on the upcoming record -- as well as some classical and modern composers, such as Ben Lukas Boysen, Joep Beving, and Bach.
Micah: For me... it has been Big Thief’s album, Capacity and The Districts album, A Flourish and a Spoil. Being the drummer, I have taken a lot of inspiration and ideas from these two albums so I could incorporate my own style and version of both into The Brazen Youth. I am very keen on holding back, like James Krvchenia of Big Thief. I like to let the music breath, but when the time is right, I can feel the emotion rising in the music to go crazy on the drums very much like Braden Lawrence of The Districts. However, with these two extremes, I have to be tight and listen intently to the other members of the band and so when I play/record I like having the mentality that I am reacting with the music and the people around me. I believe that both these records have helped me and inspired me to dive into the artistry of the extremes as well as finding a middle ground to compliment our music in the best way possible. There is a time and place for everything.
How has living and being from a small town in Connecticut impacted and influenced the band?
N: We all have a very interesting sense of urbanism which manifests into our rustic lifestyle here in Lyme. There are a lot of clashing perspectives and ideologies on our farm, and we all find a lot of value in debate and in discourse — which is good, because, due to these varieties of perspective, we don’t feel detached from modernity, or any sense of narrow-mindedness.
M: I am actually from Middlebury, Vermont, but it isn’t actually very different in terms of size from Lyme, Connecticut. I think the tight-knit community of where I am from and Lyme influences not only the band, but most types of art. It is just a different way of being exposed to the art and can help create an incredibly reliable support, sense of family, and belonging.
C: A lot of our songs are kind of just like long aesthetic depictions of rural landscapes so honestly yeah.
For your songwriting and creative process, where do you find to be the most influential setting to write and create music?
C: There’s this one field on the farm that really does it for me.
M: I don’t write the songs, but I write on my own and compose film scores. Nature really influences my writing/compositions. However, I like observing it from a window. As odd as that may seem, I have realized I am most inspired in that way. It’s like looking at film.. I am only seeing from one perspective, but because it’s real life.. new things — when observing for a while — come and go, giving me new ideas that feed my wonderment of the world.
N: I find a lot of influence when I feel a connection between my internal world and the external world. There’s this one spot on the farm that I tend to find the most creative energy. It’s deep in the furthest field, under a tree which projects over you, like a natural rooftop. I feel so safe there — and so simultaneously connected and detached from everything.
So your debut album, The Ever Dying Bristlecone Man, has recently hit its one-year anniversary of being released. What has it been like touring with this album and seeing fan's reactions from it?
C: Very cool. It means so much more to actually play a song and have that connection with someone than just increase your spotify stats because your song came up in someone’s playlist.
M: Touring has just been incredible. The reactions, especially being a pretty new member of the band, has been expected. I still view us from an much more objective standpoint than Nick and Charlie see us as and the first time I heard the two of them play, I was blown away: we seem to be having a lot of good feedback and reactions. It’s incredibly gratifying and rewarding to see that our music can put a smile on someone’s face, make them dance, or have them come up to us and reveal a personal moment in their life regarding how our music helped them get through it. It is incredibly inspiring for me and is what keeps me going.
N: I feel like I view that album now as an observer of a past version of myself, and not as someone who created the album. It’s really interesting to me, I think I can see it somewhat objectively at this point. I see it for what it is, I see myself for who I was. And, to add to this, there’s nothing which makes me feel more human than when someone tells me that they feel attached to the music, and to the words that Charlie and I wrote, it’s the most surreal feeling.
You guys also just recently finished up your Fall 2017 tour! What is the first thing that pops in your mind when thinking back to that tour?
M: Portland, ME. I want to live there. It was one of the most beautiful cities on tour, in my opinion. The moon happened to HUGE there as well… and frankly… I love a huge moon.
N: We saw so much of America. We all saw so much beauty — in the landmarks, in the natural sights, in the wonderful humans that we met, in the feelings that sparked inside of us. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disturbance, though, at the recurring theme of over-corporatism in small, communal towns.
Lastly, with 2018 being right around the corner, what goals and plans do you guys have set for Brazen Youth? What can fans expect in the upcoming future?
M: We are releasing an album. I will let Nick and Charlie explain more if they want. But thats all I am going to say. I also know that we are going to be touring a lot. We love it even though we fight sometimes and do silly things. Like today, (well this wasn’t on tour, but it was in a car and we would probably do it on tour) Nick and I were driving from Vermont and decided to try and speak in British accents the rest of the drive with like an hour left. We are really bad at them.
N: We are writing a manifesto! Stay tuned :)
C: Brazen Youth Amusement Park. Also a tour announcement!