An Interview with Liam Bryant

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Although traits more so than talent are inherited through genetics, it’s fascinating how similar family member’s generations apart express themselves.  Like his Grandfather, Liam Bryant began writing poetry when he was 12 years old in the school playground. Little did he know that 17 years later he would discover a collection of his Grandfather’s poems, put one to a piece of his music and name an album after it.

Your lyrics are very thought-provoking. Do you tend to write the poetry first, then create the melody?

This changes for each song, but most of my songwriting happens from building a melody on top of a written chord or note progression, with the lyrics then being written to the melody.

You’ve been writing poetry since you were 12 years old. Is this something that came to you naturally, or has it been a working progress?

Poetry became a necessary means for me to communicate what I was feeling during High School – especially to girls! I was extremely introverted growing up, possibly as a result of being the middle child of 7 children.  Being a deep thinker also goes hand in hand with poetry writing so I think writing poetry came to me naturally.

What was the recording process like for your recent release Conflict, alongside The Handsome Devils? 

Although not an overly complicated song, Conflict was the only song on the album that we had to re-record due to deciding the original tempo we tracked to was too fast!  Very happy we did that as it grooves along just right now.  I have a very vivid memory of jamming Conflict with The Handsome Devils‘ guitarist, Tyron White at his house a few weeks before we went in to record the album and this song.  As soon as I heard him play those distinct harmonics over the strummed chords, I knew we had found the resolution to our conflict.

Do you prefer performing acoustically or full band at live shows?

There is nothing better than playing music with people you love. There is a certain invisible energy you feel when playing or writing music with others and once you have experienced that it is hard to recreate that on your own. Saying that, depending on the song, sometimes one voice and a guitar can tell the purest story possible.

You’ve expressed that Conflict was written at a time of melancholy and delves into themes of loneliness, not fitting and feeling uncertain about one’s life and direction. What advice would you give to fans who are in a similar stage of life?

Try not to bottle anything up and communicate to your friends and family as much as you can.  Along with that, try and find something that helps you express what you are feeling, whether that is music, interpretive dance or taking a sweet selfie.

Do you have a pre-show ritual before you go on stage?

I like to get the Handsome Devils in a huddle and start to quack (Mighty Ducks style) – they don’t always join in though!

Who would you love to support on tour and who would you love to support you on tour and why?

Nationally, we would love to support the likes of Bernard Fanning, Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko, Paul Dempsey, and internationally we would love to support bands such as City and Colour and Half Moon Run. In regards to who we would love to support us, there are just so many incredible bands in Brisbane, we just want to play with everyone and make as many frollies (friends that are also colleagues) as possible!

What is your most memorable moment performing live at a show?

My most memorable moment performing live would have to be performing The Pessimist & The Optimist for my grandfather (two poems he wrote decades ago that I put to some music) for the first time at Liam Bryant & The Handsome Devils first ever gig.  It was also his birthday so it was very special.  Let’s just say there were a few tears.  A beautiful moment.

What excites you the most, touring or recording and why?

Ooh, that is a tough one! Short term, touring excites me more, but long term, recording does.  Touring is exciting as it is somewhat unpredictable and such a great bonding activity for the band.  Recording to me is like someone who goes to the gym to get a sweet six pack, it’s a lot of hard work and can be a little painful, but the reward is so great and like the six pack you feel very proud showing people afterwards.

If you could pick any dead or alive artist to feature on one of your tracks, who would it be and why?

I think everyone probably has this man on their list – Mr Jeff Buckley.  His vocal delivery and expression have more feels than the opening scene of Disney Pixar’s UP!

For more information, please visit: Liam Bryant and the Handsome Devils

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