Introducing BRANT (a.k.a. Tyler Schwende) a new Toronto-based Alt/Pop artist who released his debut EP, "All In Your Head", on Oct 18, 2016. Produced by Matthew Vlahovich of successful Canadian group Young Empires, the album features 5 melodic tracks with lush soundscapes and anthemic choruses. Recorded in Toronto, the album covers themes of self discovery, overcoming adversity and finding one's voice. I got a chance to learn more about him when I got to interview him which you can read more about below:
MHB: How long has music been a part of your life & how did it come to be a part of it?
Brant: Funny enough my parents are not musically inclined and most of my childhood was spent playing sports. I didn't even know I could sing until I was in my teens when I met two brothers who were obsessed with 60/70's rock. I connected with them instantly and we would spend hours in their basement hammering out the music of artists like Neil Young, Tom Petty and The Beatles. They taught me to play me guitar and develop an ear for melody.
MHB: How would you describe the music scene where you are from & what do you like about it?
Brant: Toronto is an unbelievably great city to be an artist in. Since it's the financial and cultural center of Canada you get a lot of high quality musicians flooding into the city trying to promote their art. The indie music scene is vibrant with a great base of music hungry 20-30 somethings that like to support local artists. The biggest Canadian music festivals are located in and around Toronto as well as most of the international major labels have placed their Canadian division in the city. Due to this the draw of talent is fierce but there is a great sense of camaraderie and mutual appreciation. On any given night of the week there's a great show to be seen much like New York or LA.
MHB: When was it that you decided that you wanted to make music as a career? Was there a particular moment that triggered this?
Brant: I think the moment was when I tried out an original song for a high school production and in my mind totally failed. The music committee loved it and ended up being the only non-cover song in the show. The reaction to the track was greater then I ever could have expected and that rush playing my own music on a stage made me want to make a career out of it.
MHB: Who are some of your biggest musical influences & who are some of the current bands you are listening to?
Brant: My Dad was a huge classic rock fan. I fell in the love with the melodies of John Lennon, the vocal abilities of Freddie Mercury and the swagger of Robert Plant. He had a ton of old vinyl (subsequently I'm a big vinyl fan now) and I always liked putting on random albums. In my late teens, I fell in love with the melancholy vibes of grunge and alt/rock...particularly Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and Oasis. From the start I've been drawn to great melody and talented, unique vocalists. Currently I'm into modern indie/pop and ambient alternative artists like Borns, Tame Impala, Bob Moses & Sohn.
MHB: How would you characterize YOUR sound & what would you say makes your music unique?
Brant: Brant is really a mash up a bunch of different genres but I like to define it as Alt/Pop. Like most pop music it's centered around strong melody & lyrics which I believe are the bones of what make up a memorable song. With Brant, I wanted the sound to have anthemic choruses, big percussion and dynamic melodies. I dig ambient electro as well so there are tinges of trap beats and lots of layered synths. Brant's uniqueness derives from the ability to be unpredictable but still catchy enough to draw you in. I really wanted to infuse a lot of different tonal elements and not be restricted to a specific sonic spectrum which in my mind makes the music stand out.
MHB: Can you tell me a little about your creative process?
Brant: It usually starts with messing around on an acoustic or electric guitar. I'm always trying to find a great hook so once I stumble upon a melody I like I use that as a launching pad get into lyrical ideas. Writing the music almost always comes first for me. I'm not the type of artist that comes up with lyrics at the start...usually the vibe of the song inspires what it will be about.
MHB: Let's talk about your debut EP "All In Your Head"... how did it come together? What was the inspiration behind it?
Brant: All In Your Head was written in March/April of this year in Toronto. The producer Matthew Vlahovich is actually the lead singer of a successful Canadian alternative rock band called Young Empires. I originally reached out to just do some song writing with him but as soon as we started the process I knew he was the person to bring my musical vision to life. This EP is really a transformative album for me. I used to mostly play rock music and this sound is much more eclectic and vocally expressive. This transition inspired a lot of light/dark imagery lyrics and messages of hope after despair.
MHB: What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
Brant: Definitely expect to see a few live stripped down video performances of a few tracks and a music video for the next single 'Where The Light Comes in'. We plan to do a tour throughout southern Canada in the spring.
MHB: At the end of the day, what do you hope listeners take away from your music?
Brant: That they feel inspired to be the greatest version of themselves and to never give up even though they might feel like they should.
MHB: What do you think the future of music will be like?
Brant: Streaming will be king and the need of a great live performance that much stronger.
MHB: If you had the chance to work with any artist who would you choose?
Brant: That's a really tough question as I feel this changes on a weekly basis. Let's go with Aaron Bruno from AWOLNATION.
MHB: Can you tell me one random fact about you?
Brant: The name Brant is actually my middle name. My full name is Tyler Brant Schwende.
MHB: What does music mean to you?
Brant: It's really the essence of our existence. Much like dance or visual art it evokes emotions, inspires us, it makes us move. Most of it all it's my passion and when I'm creating it I'm my best possible self.
MHB: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and/or your music?
Brant: I love spicy food and can't get enough of wine from the Napa Valley.
Brant's EP is definitely something you should check out as it flows like a trance-like dissection of the head and the heart. "All In Your Head" is currently available to purchase on iTunes and to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. Check out the first single from the EP, “Subterranean” below: