He graced our Happy Hour two weeks ago and liked it so much he’s returned. Yes, Brian Seymour is performing during the Shanghaiist Happy Hour at Cotton’s on Tuesday.
What we´re about to hear remains a mystery, since Brian chooses his songs according to the ambience in the room. In an interview with Shanghaiist he shares some of his thoughts around his music, his interest in art, and in what ways Shanghai is similar to LA and NY.
Where: Cotton’s on Xinhua Lu, 294 Xinhua Lu, near Fanyu Lu (新华路294号, 近番禺路) on Tuesday; House of Blues & Jazz on 60 Fuzhou Lu, near the Bund 福州路60号next Monday
Starts: Tuesday, June 23, 6PM to 10PM; Monday, June 29, 9PM
Much has been said to describe your music: “Coldplay with the rough American sensibility of Springsteen”, it´s been categorized as “emo” and suitable for an “intellectual mood”.
How would you, in your own words, describe it?
I think it is up to critics to make comparisons and situate my songs within the broad spectrum of popular music. I think this is a necessary complement to the creative process and fully respect the effort.
Do you stick to a specific sound on every album, or do we meet a new Brian Seymour on every new release?
I have been given one voice, but I do feel as if the best recordings are truly “records” of moments in time. Therefore one should fully expect each project to have a particular feel. Right? I love me on a Thousand Tarzans, but I can’t go back there, I have to look forward to the next project. Which is 75% completed and being produced by Gregg Safarty of Stewboss in L.A. Look for it in the late autumn.
What made you start making music?
My brother was taking guitar lessons and I followed. I wrote my first song in my early teens and was hooked.
Tell us something about Bamu Ventures. What made you start your own label?
I am fortunate to come of age in a time when there are increasing opportunities outside of the big music machine banks known as the record companies. Bamu Ventures was my attempt to shepherd my own career.
How´s your writing process – what inspires you? Do you get sudden impulses or do you plan your writing? Is it a struggle or do words come easy?
I think in general I am lucky to be as prolific as I need to be. I love pressure and writing on the spot. When I work with cowriters and producers I tend to plan writing. When I write for myself it tends to grow from my everyday experiences. My iphone has replaced little pieces of paper that used to fill up my pockets with ideas. Now I can more efficiently capture the torrent of inspiration, but truth be told, like the wayward scraps of paper, I rarely revisit my notes.
What other interests do you enjoy in life, where do we see Brian Seymour when not on stage or in the studio?
I am an art historian of the people. I teach at the Community College of Philadelphia and I run an art consulting business.
How do you like Shanghai?
Shanghai is New York and L.A. rolled together. It has the energy and the momentum of NY, but the people are all engaged in endless projects and happenings that very much reminds me of the great energy I find in L.A.
What songs will you be playing on Tuesday?
I try to keep set lists up in the air until I feel the room. Usually I perform a mixture of old and new songs, and am very open to suggestions and bolts of inspiration.
Where´s your next tour-stop?
I have shows planned for Suzhou and Beijing and then it’s back to the states in late July to finish the recording.
Facts: Brian Seymour:
Brian Seymour is 41 years old and lives in Philadelpia. So far he has released six albums on his own label Bamu Ventures: Perfectly Wrong, When I was Blonde, A Thousand Tarzans, Up Before the Sun, The Big House, Seymour and One Big Love