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A Dirty Dozen with JUSTIN BENLOLO from BRKN LOVE – September 2019

| 6 September 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “As they near half-a-million streams — an unbelievable feat for a brand new rock band on the rise — BRKN LOVE return with the new single “Papercuts.” The track is propelled by a wild beat, robotically precise riffing and the howling hook of “Another papercut.” Singer and guitarist Justin Benlolo slips from primal verses into a vulnerable bridge before pouncing back on the arena-ready track. BRKN LOVE cut as deep as all timeless rock should. Watch out as they have all the makings of the rock band you have been waiting for.” We get Justin to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Most of the music is upfront and in your face. There’s not of ton of things we kept hidden in the background. Although, there definitely are some minor textural things done vocally/instrumentally that we added on the chorus that may not pop out to the listener the first time you hear it. I’d say that when you think the arrangements are pretty basic, listen a little closer. There’s always something going on atmospherically that you may have missed. As far as hidden messages, or backwards lines that you have to flip forward to understand, we stayed cleared of those haha.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I couldn’t pin it down to a specific moment, I’d say it was a collection of moments that made me realize my love for music. Specifically my Uncle Sy was a great musician himself. A truly fantastic guitar player. Growing up, he was at my families house every day and always showed me rock and roll music from day 1. He would play guitar for me when I’d go to his place and it would blow my mind. Not only was he a great player but he totally looked like a rockstar. Long hair, grungy clothes, etc. I was inspired by him to follow in his footsteps which led me to the electric guitar. I never cared about school and never performed well academically. There was no doubt in my mind that when I had started playing that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

It all started with KISS. Watching videos of their concerts when I was young really did it for me. The whole spectacle of it all. They were like rock and roll super heroes to me. I thought that was the coolest thing and I was hooked immediately. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gone in a lot of directions taste wise but it really all started with KISS and I attribute a lot of my beginnings to that band.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

This is almost an impossible question to answer. It changes from time to time. I’d say for right now it would be Soundgarden, Black Sabbath, Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters, and Jeff Buckley.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Probably Jack White. I feel like that guy has got it all down packed. He just makes cool shit time and time again. I feel like we could make something really interesting together and I could steal a lot of his tricks! Haha

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d say that were a young alternative rock band. No tricks. No gimmicks. No games. We balance the heaviness with some sweetness. It’s not heavy enough to offend people and it’s not too sweet to make anybody cry but we try to ride the fine line between great melody and absolute mayhem. I had one dude tell me after a show that we sounded just like Papa Roach. That was pretty laughable. Not that Papa Roach is bad or anything, it’s just that we clearly don’t sound like that! Haha. I don’t rap and we don’t have a nu-metal thing but regardless if someone has took the time to analyze you and listen, then give what they think is a reasonable comparison, then all it means is that they care. So really, there’s never been something someone has said that has truly gotten to me.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Not having a real job! Haha. Not having to be a slave to the 9-5 grind. Working at a desk or having a boss that you hate. We get to play what we love to do and it rarely feels like work.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’ll say now that we’ve never busted out the acoustic guitars for anything. I really don’t like acoustics. Something about it doesn’t speak to me. As far as drinking, its usually me or Russell our drummer. The cooking gets split up, if we can find time to do it on the road. I wouldn’t say anybody specifically.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

The last time I was truly star struck was when I was performing at the ASCAP awards about 2 years ago. I met Paul Stanley that day and got to give him a hug! As well as sing his own s0ng in front of him. That was a crazy day. I may or may not have cried later in my hotel room about it.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I’d probably be a teacher. I think a great teacher can do so much for a young person. We really don’t give them enough credit. It’s not even about the academia, it’s more so about the social facilitating and the motivational qualities you can bring to young people, who may or may not need it, but regardless would still benefit from having a fearless, cool as hell teacher.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not at all. This is an age old question. Maybe a true universal question. You can’t live life worrying about what you did in the past. Sure, we’ve all made mistakes. But you need to make mistakes, you need to suffer, you need to win, and you need to lose. It all shapes who you are at the current moment. If we all lived life afraid of what could happen then nothing would get done. It’s a bad way of thinking. My career has had it’s ups and downs, but where am I now is the best place I’ve ever been and without the winding road that I’ve been on I wouldn’t be here.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Dark Side Of The Moon. I’ve thought about this a million times. The record is so sonically deep and the overall mood of the music is very heavy. It greatly impacted my life when I was a teenager. Lyrically and thematically it’s such an amazing record, and as a young man, I had connected (and still do) with a lot of the messages in the songs. The album almost prepares you for life and the things that come with it. I always wonder what the conversations were like. How they got the clocks to line up at the beginning of Time? What was it like hearing David Gilmour play the Money solo for the first time? So many questions!




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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