Interview with Bryan Deister


How did you first get into making music? Were there any artists that inspired you first?

I started taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and shortly after that I started to record music like crazy.  My parents always had music on at the house and music was always an important aspect of life, so I just did what came naturally.  My musical influences over the years have been Radiohead, Nirvana, and Pink Floyd just to name a few.  My music is very influenced by non-western music, music from the Middle East and the Far East especially.  But I was surrounded by great music from everywhere all of my life.

What kind of projects have you been involved with in the past?

The Spines of the Heart album is basically a new album but some of the songs go back nearly 3 years.  I had over 100 songs when I started to design this album and scaled it down to 22 tracks to make it a total package that flows together from one song to another.  

Listening to your work, I get a very strong Radiohead vibe. It’s admittedly very cool to hear an artist draw from the same kind of artistic well that inspired albums like Kid A. Would you describe yourself using the same comparisons? If not, then how might you describe yourself?

Well I don’t know what inspired Kid A, but I can tell you that I’m trying to play all types of music and not be restricted to one style.  I get inspired mostly from various forms of meditation.  Often I seek out new music from around the world, but I always try to take the music to a new level.  I don’t think I sound much like Radiohead, and I wouldn’t want to.  Although I’m being compared to favourite band, so that is at least a good sign.  

Spines of the Heart is a very evocative title for this album. What inspired the name?

The name alludes to the hedgehog’s dilemma, and more specifically how this album in particular is in a way my struggle with human connection when what holds me together pushes people away.  

The songs on Spines from the Heart  sound like they’ve been inspired from a range of personal experiences. Can you tell of a personal experience that directly inspired one of the tracks here?

Many of the songs were written with my beginning experience at Berklee involving a certain level of disappointment with the teachings and a formula based method for all one’s musical needs.  I could tell you all about my crazy experiences of the last years, but I like to think that I pull from a deeper well than just my personal experience.  

Do you have any favourites from the new album? I think “Into the Sky” is a favourite for me. Definitely get a bold Bryan Wilson vibe from that one.

Your not alone, many people like that song the best.  For me, I like all the songs, but I think Apart of Me contains some of my best work to date.  It’s the finale for a reason.

Are there any plans on performing this material live?

Don’t know for sure, still hoping to graduate from Berklee in August of this year.  Looking forward to putting a band together and playing the songs for an audience.

How did you go about recording the album?

I make all the synths by hand, and I record all of the audio myself.  Spend a lot of time near the end adding subtle background noises.  I always get really obsessed with random things and have been know to tweak automation for hours.  Did everything besides the mastering.  Had the album mastered by Bernie.

Do you have any particular favourite albums? Was there a best album of 2015 in your opinion?

Lots of favourite albums over the years, but The Wall is probably my favourite.

What advice would you give to other musicians, whether from a creative or business-centric perspective?

Play the music that you feel, not what someone else wants you to play.  From a creative standpoint, the craziest ideas are the only ones worth trying.  

Anything I might have missed?

Listen to Apart of Me and tell me what you think.

Thanks for responding!

Thank you.

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