Brian Edblad


Brian Edblad has mastered one of the most entertaining and nuanced styles of rock entertainment we've come across in recent years, and his new single ‘Let It Bleed’ shows why you'll be hearing a lot more of him.

With undeniable vocal talent and fine-tuned production served straight up, Brian Edblad is an artist that any rock music enthusiast will thoroughly enjoy. The success of his latest awarding-winning work has not gone unnoticed by the critics, with one recently writing: ‘The most striking aspect of Brian Edblad's new album is his command of multiple styles and rhythms, expertly packaged in their native state, to produce one of the most diverse collections of pop rock songs we've encountered.’ Yet there’s something special about Brian Edblad that sets him apart from other rock acts. In a musical generation characterized by manufactured pop acts, Brian Edblad's originality and sincerity do more than stand out. They reveal qualities that cannot be engineered in the studio. There’s also an unpretentious realness to this artist out of Minneapolis and judging by his growing fan base, he may be precisely what the new generation didn't know it was missing. Independent reporter Blake Wright recently caught up with Brian Edblad to get an inside look at this exciting new artist and to learn what he has in store for fans this year.

BLAKE: When did your recording career begin? What inspired you to first make music?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I was hooked the very first time I played a sax solo in the studio. I think I was about sixteen. Hearing that cool reverb totally blew me away, and it still does. In fact me and my buddy, Tommy Stevens, the other half of The Velvet Horns, and an incredible trumpet player, have an ongoing joke about our love of reverb. We call it the God Box! we were doing a sound check and Tommy says to the sound engineer, "I need more God Box on the trumpet". I wonder why that engineer was looking at him funny. As far as what inspired me to make music. Well my family all played music so it was a normal part of life for me. Add to that the fact that I grew up idolizing Elvis. Watching his movies now is is kinda funny but for us as kids it was like a special event when an Elvis Presley movie would come on. We all pretended to be him. The broom was our mike stand, the bed was our stage and we were all hound dogs.

BLAKE: Your new single is currently getting a great response on radio. How would you describe your new single? ’Let It Bleed’
BRIAN EDBLAD: Well it definitely has the singer/songwriter vibe to it. I wrote this song awhile ago and always had a full band playing it. When I was reworking it I changed keys and it made me approach the song from a whole new angle. I wanted a scaled down version so it started with just guitar and vocals. I added cello and thought that would be it. After listening for a couple of days I thought I'd try some sax on the song and it became almost like the main theme. Lyrically the song is about a bad break up and dealing with the pain. In my humble opinion some of the most powerful music, or art, is born out of pain.

BLAKE: How do you feel your music has changed this past year?
BRIAN EDBLAD: Well it's definitely gotten more raw or edgy. With Flypaper for Freaks and Bubblegum Cigarette I played most of the parts, and was getting into synth sounds and sequencers and drum loops. With my new project, Joe Germ, I've got the full band. we are going for kind of a psychedelic meets garage rock and we're having fun making new sounds and grooves. And of course I'm having a blast playing with my funk brothers in The UnderGroove. We are currently cutting a new album and playing all around the twin cities.

BLAKE: What is your creative process when it comes to songwriting?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I can't say I have a specific creative process. Sometimes a song idea starts with a guitar riff or a melody line or sometimes a lyrical phrase. There have been ideas that I have written down that didn't become a song until months sometimes years later and many ideas that remain just that. More often than not I'll be working on a song idea and a chord change or different lyric sends me in a whole new direction and an entirely different song will be born. My approach to writing lyrics is to keep it somewhat simple. Because, like that NFL quarterback, Joe Theisman (in)famously quoted, "I'm no Norman Einstein." But seriously the one thing I always work on is that the lyrics find their cadence, have some sort of hook and they tell a story. And are easy to sing or phrase. You would be amazed how changing one word can change the way you sing it.

BLAKE: During this creative process, do you feel you work better alone or in a team?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I usually do the writing on my own. I almost always write with just an acoustic guitar, although that changed during my last two records, where I did some composing on the synthesizer. I wrote Flypaper for Freaks on the synth and that gave quite a different sound. With my new project, Joe Germ, all of the players give input as how we are going to arrange the songs for live and recording and it's really exciting. It's a whole different ballgame recording with live drums and loud guitars but I'm really excited about it. So far we are working on songs that I had already written but we've talked about eventually writing some new stuff as a band.


BLAKE: How do you feel about the Internet in the music business?
BRIAN EDBLAD: Great band! Part of the NYC post-punk revival! I would have to say they have done an exemplary job in the music business with over twenty years of success and a new album ... oh! interNET?? nevermind. I think only old people will get that. But really, the internet is amazing.

BLAKE: What is the best compliment you've ever received?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I've had some funny ones in my day. It's usually when someone says you sound or look like someone. I once had a person tell me that I looked like Jesus, and when I looked at her funny she said, "don't get me wrong, it's a good look". We laughed about that one for awhile. For the longest time the compliment that stood out to me the most was when we had just finished a set and as I walked off a girl came up to me and said we reminded her of the Clash. Musicians don't want to be told they sound like someone else but I took that one to the bank. I think I was smiling the rest of the night. But just last month I received an email from one of my listeners on N1M telling me she's been listening to "Lying in the Rain" over and over for the last two hours. Obviously she's going through a painful breakup because that's what the song is about. But for her to write an email to me sharing how my lyrics touched her was special for me. I hope that young lady is doing better now. Maybe she should listen to Flypaper for Freaks. (I'm shameless)

BLAKE: If you had an extra two hours every day, how would you spend it?
BRIAN EDBLAD: Come on! Is this a trick question? Nap? can I say Nap?

BLAKE: If you could sit down with one of your favorite artists, who would it be and what would you ask them?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I'm assuming past or present. My first thoughts were Elvis or Johnny Cash but as I thought about it a different name kept popping into my head. Charlie Parker. Considered by many to be one of the greatest jazz saxophonists ever. I first heard some of his recordings in high school and a few of us would try to play some of his songs. Confirmation, Ornithology, Donna Lee... he had so many cool songs. So in a way he's a huge reason I became a musician. (You see I was a sax player before I became a singer/songwriter). I would love to pick his brain on where he got his motivation from, maybe some hints on playing some cool licks, ask him if the smack really helped him blow over the changes,I guess he thought it improved his playing, but like many of our creative geniouses he was taken too young at the age of 34. Nonetheless, he is one of the alltime greats and it would blow my mind to have that conversation.

BLAKE: In your opinion, which decade do you think produced some of the best music to date?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I would have to say the sixties. I mean you got The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Doors, Joplin, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys to name a few. Each decade has their musical icons but the sixties was loaded with them.

BLAKE: When you are working on a new song, who is the first person you share it with?
BRIAN EDBLAD: Well I usually share it with my bandmates since they are the ones who have to learn it. Or do you mean who do I play the song to once I record it? You mean like my mailman? Or the dude at the Taco Bell drive thru? my coworkers(whether they want to hear it

BLAKE: Is there new material in the works and when will fans get to hear it?
BRIAN EDBLAD: We're looking at early fall for some new stuff. Like I mentioned earlier Joe Germ is going to be coming out with some new songs. A little more edgy and trippy with a great energy, and of course The UnderGroove (ft The Velvet Horns) is cutting a new record also. Meanwhile me and Tommy (aka: The Velvet Horns) continue our quest in search of the perfect God Box.

BLAKE: Can't wait to hear everything! Thank you for sharing more about your life with me. I wish you continued success in the future.