Eliot Bronson

7 Oct

“I don’t think I ever “decided” to be a musician, it just happened.”

Some artists are better solo and some work better with a band. Eliot Bronson has done both and in my personal opinion, his solo work is his key to success. From Atlanta, GA, Eliot has experienced things such as opening for well-known bands, traveling the country, and getting the chance to spread his music to people from all parts of the world. One of the things I really admire about Eliot Bronson is that he seems completely real. He is writing the kind of music he wants to write and in his own words, it’s the one thing that makes him feel less crazy. Eliot is a fantastic talent and if you’re reading this and have yet to know any of his songs, trust me when I say it will change the way you feel about folk music.

Q. Do you find it hard, style-wise, to separate yourself from your old band, The Brilliant Inventions?

A. I really try not to think about what style of music I’m making and how it compares to what I did in TBI. There’s no doubt that my writing has changed, but I think that’s just the nature of being an artist. I leave it up to the critics and fans to analyze the similarities and differences.

Q. Your songs are a very stripped down sort of folk. Who or what were your greatest influences when it came to writing your own solo music for your new album?

A. Well, I’ve always written pretty much alone, so the process wasn’t really any different from how I approached the songs that The Brilliant Inventions recorded. I’ve also always liked folk and roots music, and I suppose that’s just where my head went when I was dealing with the band’s breakup. I was listening to a lot of Dylan, Gram Parsons, and Paul Simon around that time, so I’m sure some of that showed up on the record.

Q. Do you find the creative process of writing a song to be a lot more different or difficult now that you’re writing them by yourself?

A. It’s pretty much the same, except I don’t have a partner to play the brand new songs for and get immediate  feedback. So, I’ve had to learn to trust myself a little more. I think that’s been a really good thing for me and something I’ve needed to work on.

Q. Do you prefer playing in front of larger crowds or smaller intimate ones?

A. More important than size is how tuned into the music they are. If it’s 30 people, but they’re right there with you in the moment, it can be a powerful experience. You can also play to thousands of people at a festival who are only half listening to you.

Q. It seems like a lot of artists are keeping blogs lately. Do you think this helps with the creative process and with keeping connected to your fans?

A. I don’t know. I guess it must, but I’m not sure how to gauge that. I like writing blogs, especially when songs aren’t coming, or I’m not playing much. I have this need to perform I suppose, and blogging gives me a little outlet for that. I’m not very disciplined about it though. I should probably write a new blog soon.

Q. Music has gone more and more digital as time goes on. I know that any way (legally) that a person gets your music is great, but do you prefer digital copies to hard copies?

A. There’s something great about holding an album in your hands. The tactile experience is worth something in my opinion. The way we all used to hold onto the CD case and read the liner notes while we listened to the music. Seems like that’s disappearing. But, I also love being able to get an album or a song instantly. I love how accessible everything has become. If I get excited about an artist, I’ll go online and buy a bunch or their records immediately. I think that’s pretty cool.

Q. What has been your biggest challenge since splitting from The Brilliant Inventions?

A. The biggest challenge is probably just dealing with the ups and downs of this kind of life alone. But again, I think it’s a good challenge to have, and one that is helping me to grow in many ways. I’m actually grateful for it, if that makes sense.

Q. How did you decide you wanted to be a musician?

A. I don’t know. My parents had all these old folk and blues records from the 60’s and before. I used to dig through them as a kid. I think that’s where I fell in love with songs. I started writing my own songs as a teenager. I don’t think I ever “decided” to be a musician, it just happened.

Q. If you weren’t a musician, what would you picture yourself doing today?

A. Hard to say. I really wanted to be a pro skateboarder growing up. That was my first love. I think that guy Anthony Bourdain has the world’s best job. I’d like to do that. But honestly, if I wasn’t a musician, I’d probably be doing something equally impractical like painting or writing stories. I can’t really conceive of having a “normal” life.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. That honestly sounds like some sort of hell to me. I can’t imagine listening to one song over and over again. Especially not my song! But maybe this is a way of asking me what I think my best song is. It’s usually the one I just wrote. But, “We Don’t Have The Words,” which was a last minute addition to the first and final TBI studio album, is a strong candidate for the best thing I’ve ever written. I still play that at every solo show.

Here’s a favorite of mine, “If You Need To Be Free” from his latest record Blackbirds.

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