BEFORE WE WERE BRAVE
I met Trevor when I was like 11 years old, and my family had just moved to Dale City, VA. Trevor lived up the street, so we used to hang out, skateboard, play D&D, etc. I was already playing guitar at this time, but Trevor didn't pick up drums until he was like 16 or so - basically, a friend in our neighborhood gave me a drum kit, and I believe I handed them off to him so we could jam. From there, we started a band in high school called Fell On Within; admittedly it was a play on Fell On Black Days by Soundgarden, which was popular at the time. Our high school band was 90s rock I suppose, but had some pretty heavy elements. We actually cut an EP called "As Fate Would Have It" in like 1996. After this project disbanded, Trevor and I started jamming more acoustic-style music and Arise From Thorns was born.
I should mention too, that my sister sang a part on the Fell On Within EP, which is when we realized she could sing. It took some convincing at first, but we utlimately pulled her into the AFT project. All of this took place in 1996 I believe.
All of it generally starts with a riff and some level of arrangement. There are times where I'll have full songs put together, but I really prefer to jam things out in order to finalize arrangements. Trevor has been instrumental in a lot of that writing process, and more recently, Matt as well.
FAVORITE BRAVE SONG TO PERFORM
I like playing the song 'Stronger' from the Monuments album, in part because the end is set up for improvisation. The last time we played it live, I improvised a solo over the beginning as well.... I guess the pattern here is being in the moment, it's a little more fun than just playing predetermined parts. Plus I think that song has a cool vibe. Recently, I like playing the song "Electric Ravens" from our latest release, 'The Calm | The Storm' - it just has a lot of space and I like the changes on that one.
The first live BRAVE show? I don't actually recall the first show we did as Brave. I remember the first AFT show was in some dude's basement. This must have been in 1996/1997. I really love that period of time, because again there was such a creative energy happening. It felt like we were really defining our sound and experimenting with a lot of new ideas. At the time, I don't think we really sounded like anyone. Some people we knew back then said what we were playing was art rock, or progressive rock - I had never even heard of these genres before.
I have so many song writing influences, but if I had to choose maybe five or so they would be The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Dead Can Dance, Pink Floyd, Metallica. However, I think this list would be pretty extensive if I really thought about it. I just like good, unique songs when it comes down to it. Songs that you know will be classics, or that are already. I don't think anyone really tops The Beatles on that front, and I think it's important to remember they wrote their music as well, and their catalog is super diverse and at times very experimental. But they really captured a sound that continues to resonate with people even today. The same can be said about my favorite guitars ... this list is always envolving but some guitarists that have definitely impacted my playing are Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Steve Vai, and Mark Knopfler. They are all great for different reasons, and have certainly influenced my own sound and playing.