Cary Brothers Interview
What's up Ninajs, Let's mellow out for a minute and take a look at a very talented artist Cary Brothers.
But first let's be clear, Cary Brothers is one person, Brothers is his last name. Originally hailing from Nashville, Cary studied at Northwestern University in the early 90s. It was there he met Zach Braff (writer and director of Garden State) who would later play a helping hand in Cary's initial breakthrough into the mainstream market. Moving to LA after graduation, Cary partnered with a friend to open a small film production company. But by 2002 Cary's desire to pursue music took over and he became a regular at the Hotel California: a known haven for up and coming talent. Cary's track "Blue Eyes" was chosen by Zach to be in the Garden State soundtrack which eventually became a full blown chart topper. Cary's career was brought to the limelight and he has continued to produce amazing tracks ever since. Relying heavily on his fanbase, Cary has remained unsigned in order to have complete control over his musical direction. His fans have provided helpful feedback along the way which has further advanced his sound.
Cary Brother's is currently touring with his band promoting his newest album 'Under Control.'
Interview with Cary Brothers:
NN: When you first moved out to LA you started a production company with your friend, how was that experience and what made you decide to pursue music instead?
Cary: I am and always have been a movie geek, and I started pretty fast in the film industry because I thought that my passion for film would easily lead into a happy life. I ultimately learned that the creative process in film is so much harder because there are so many people involved that, more often than not, the end result is miles away from the initial script. Meanwhile, I was writing and recording songs every night with total creative control. I ultimately realized that film was a hobby but music was my life. I shut down my film company and started my life over as a broke musician.
NN: You mentioned how much you appreciate Hotel Cafe in LA. Can you talk a little bit about how that venue has helped shape your career?
Cary: Los Angeles is a tough place to do anything creatively, and The Hotel Cafe was a safe place to experiment with a generation of musicians who were all away from home and looking for a second home. We found it. There's a sense of community there unlike anything I've ever experienced. And the whiskey is free for regulars, so that helps.
NN: 'Blue Eyes' is one of your most well known singles, can you tell our audience how that song ended up on the Garden State soundtrack?
Cary: I had been playing at The Hotel Cafe for a couple of years and starting to do well in LA. My college buddy Zach Braff, who was waiting tables at the time while trying to start up an acting career, would hang there a lot and always liked that song. He had been working on a very personal script for years that I actually helped him with a bit in my film days. After he shot the film and asked me for the song to use, a bunch of us sat around after throwing out ideas for tunes, and Zach ended up using a lot of our favorite indie bands at the time. It was like a friendly mix tape that somehow won a Grammy. Absolutely crazy.
NN: It must be a rewarding feeling to know your music is appreciated by so many. Out of all your achievements what has been the highlight of your music career?
Cary: I was given such a lucky break with the Garden State success, so I felt I needed to work twice as hard to earn back that luck and share it with a lot of great musicians that weren't getting as much attention at the time. I started The Hotel Cafe Tour both to share the stage with friends and also give a break to young acts. Being able to give back whatever success I've had is definitely the highlight. This can be a lonely job off-stage, so it's amazing to have a family of artists with whom to share it all. Other than that, the Garden State Soundtrack was something that can't really be topped - not necessarily because of what it did for my career but because it was such a beautiful, organic word-of-mouth thing that found its way without really being sold and marketed like most success stories these days.
NN: I'm sure you've had plenty of offers from music labels to sign you, what motivates you to remain unsigned?
Cary: I was lucky to have had the experience running a business as a film producer, and that side of my brain is very much still alive, so I've been able to run my indie label pretty well. Also, I think I just saw too many friends sign big deals only to be disappointed through no fault of their own based on old-fashioned record company decisions. I'm a little stubborn - I like being able to take risks without anyone telling me no, and most of those risks are the reason I'm still doing this for a living today.
NN: You were an early adapter of the 'Free Song' donwload on your site which has become somewhat of a norm for many musicians these days. How helpful has that feature been for you?
Cary: I loved putting up early demos for free to allow fans to see how a song grows from initial idea to the final record. More than just giving away free stuff, it created a cool connection with people who listened to my music when I was just starting. Now, the reality is that over 50% (or more) of my audience is stealing the music. The day my record was released, there were about 100 sites with links to illegal downloads of it. Those floodgates were opened and can never be closed. I give away free tunes now because if they're gonna listen for free, I'd like to be the one giving it to them with the hope that it will lead to attendance at shows and spreading the word about the music. I just have to hope that a younger generation still sees that music has value and that some of us still have to pay our bills, ya know?
NN: Can you tell us a little bit about Subway Sessions? It looks like a really cool concept.
Cary: That experience was amazing. It's a group of film students in New York who just ask you to show up at a subway stop in Manhattan with your guitar, and you scramble around the station recording and trying not to get busted by cops. One of the cooler things I've done in the last year.
NN: You've said that you believe tv and movies are the new radio in the sense that it allows music to reach thousands of people the way that radio used to. Aside from Garden State what has your music been featured on how was the response to it?
Cary: Well, I've really taken advantage of the film and TV worlds and had about 65 songs used in the last few years. It's great because those shows air and then get played over and over around the world, so while a single at radio has a shelf life, I continue to get new fans everyday around the world who hear the songs in Grey's Anatomy or movies like Easy A. Also, it allows songs on my record that would never be played on the radio to get a little extra love.
NN: What do you have in store for fans in this coming year?
Cary: I've been touring non-stop. Next up is a May/June North American tour with an wonderful New Zealand singer named Brooke Fraser. I'm abandoning the band for the first half of that tour to do stripped down acoustic shows for a change of pace, and then the June dates will be as rock n roll as my show can get. After that, I'm hitting the studio to start working on some of my new tunes and trying to start a little side project with some friends to get a different side of my musical personality out there.
N: Where is the last place you'd expect to find a Ninja?
Cary: Well, my personal experience with Ninjas is that they are always where you least expect it, so you gotta stay on your toes at all times. I do have to say that I have never seen one in a grocery store.
NN: Very good sir, very good.
Check Cary's website for tour dates, merch and contact!
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