Every once in a while, a new artist comes out of nowhere, immediately grabbing the attention of your mind and ears. In the case of new Atlanta band, Big Brutus, it’s more akin to a warm spring breeze that scoops you up like a paper airplane, guiding you along a joyride of reflection, hitting streams of the leftover cold winter wind along the way.
Big Brutus is the solo project of Sean Bryant, graduate of Atlanta Institute of Music and lead guitarist for Atlanta post punk band Slang. His debut album, (Tiny Box), due out March 5, 2016, is an experience that pushes the boundaries of your traditional singer-songwriter, combining a challenging, but comforting, soundscape with deeply personal subject matter. This isn’t your standard singer songwriter found at any OpenMic night singing straight forward songs of love and love lost. Instead, on Big Brutus’s debut, Bryant chronicles an age in which disposable relations are common, and pleasantries take a turn towards the unknown. Connections are lost, and Bryant explores both sides where we are all capable of hurting and being hurt. We all have dreams, while also able to destroy others’ dreams.
On the first single “Thoughts At So Ba”, Big Brutus explores those missed connections, those times when someone crosses your path who you want to get to know, but the timing is not right, at least in your head. So you didn’t take the leap to meet that person. “I cross the road/The age I’m in ain’t the age she wants” Bryant softly croons as he doesn’t take the leap and moves along. “Oh my God, I’ve fallen through her cracks again/Holy hell, the coldest hell I’ve ever been in” Bryant sings after again missing an opportunity to make that connection, tearing into his inner angst.
It’s a lonely feeling being that person crossing paths with others you’d like to know whether for love or friendship, but unable to have the confidence to make it happen. “Thoughts At So Ba” has an airy sound to it, that’s light and comforting to the ear, and doesn’t quite hold the somber mood of the person missing the connection in the song, yet there’s still a power behind it. Bryant’s voice is soothing and soulful with a youthful exuberance able to convey the demons within while keeping a playful take. There’s an air of hope within the sound that Bryant crafted, even if you missed it this time, stare into the ashes, reflect on this missed opportunity, and maybe tomorrow is your day. “Keep going.”
Listen to the premiere of Big Brutus “Thoughts At So Ba” and pick up the stunning debut album (Tiny Box) on March 5, 2016:
We caught up with Sean Bryant of Big Brutus to ask a few additional questions about his new project and new single:
What inspired you to write “Thoughts at So Ba”?
BB: I was inspired to write “Thoughts At So Ba” after sitting with my manager and friend Ari at the restaurant So Ba, where she used to work, and where we would go and talk to each other and vent all of our problems. I liked the idea of not naming names, but using peoples horoscope signs as a way to discuss their characteristics. (Gemini with two minds, Libra with scales, etc.)
It seems you could gather different meanings from the song, but at the core it feels like a love song from afar, a reflection on two paths that cross, but they are in two different places, not in the right place in life to meet at that time. The airy feel of the song gives it a peaceful feeling, that it’s okay the two didn’t meet this time. Almost as if not to give up. Though still the somberness of a missed opportunity. Is this how you intended it?
BB: The meaning of the song is less relevant, I find than the tone, which as you said, is lighter and airy. Sonically, the whole album is a reflection on a relationship, and I wanted the sounds of the album to follow the path of the relationship, from happiness through sadness and anger, and finally to acceptance. Like a dream unraveling.
How has being the lead guitarist in Slang helped shape what Big Brutus is?
BB: Being the guitarist for Slang has been immensely helpful, by simple virtue of just being around so much talent. Hayes Hoey is an amazing songwriter, and Grant Taylor and Ryan York are the most amazing combo of rhythm section I have ever played with. They all helped out with the album, and with the encouragement needed to finish it at a time that I didn’t feel it was good enough or maybe even appropriate. I love those guys deeply.
How is the Big Brutus project different to you from Slang?
Catch Big Brutus at 529 this Saturday, 3/5/16 for the (Tiny Box) Release Show with Chelsea Shag and Band & the Beat.
Additional Scheduled Dates:
3/23/16: The Mammal Gallery: Atlanta, GA
5/4/16: The Mammal Gallery: Atlanta, GA
Social media links:
(Tiny Box) album art cover: