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A Dirty Dozen with SCOTTIE JAMES and BRADFORD SHAW of BURDEN OF THE SKY – November 2018

| 27 November 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Alternative Hard Rock/Metal band BURDEN OF THE SKY has released the official music video for their newest single, “The Puppeteer.” Directed by Scottie James and Jason Williams (with assistance from Savannah Bowles), “The Puppeteer” is the second single off of their upcoming sophomore release (due out 2019).” We get Scottie and Brad 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?

Scottie: Our latest release “The Puppeteer” is about taking control of your life and living the life you want to live while pushing through the many emotions that can stop us from following our dreams. There is one part of the song that some people might not catch on the first listen through. After the lyric “Come a little closer. I want to smell your fear”, I tracked a small sniff before it breaks down into the main riff of the song. I thought it was a cool little addition that some people might catch, and I thought it added a little bit more feeling and emotion to the song.

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

Brad: It’s certainly not easy to, like, point out one specific life-defining moment where I said “I want to be THAT guy” and then set out to do so.  In many ways, that is exactly what happened, but it was a definite slow-burn on my behalf.  It was a culmination of seeing my favorite bands live, and literally being under the crazy impression that those guys possessed real-world superpowers.  For so many years, I was convinced that what they were capable of was so far beyond me, and that trying it myself was a complete waste of time. The funny thing about that was, I initially just wanted to impress my own friends.  I had a cheap Wal-Mart guitar that came with this abysmal 10 Watt amp, and funny enough, few things made me happier than eventually coming close to mimicking my favorite songs.  The high that came along with replicating my favorite material still kind of exists for me to this day, and, with enough time, I upgraded my Wal-Mart gear.  And then…  I upgraded again.  And finally, I took a crack at writing my own material instead.  And then, I met with people who wanted to do the same thing.  In some bizarre twist of fate, I found myself right where I wanted to be before I’d even realized what happened.

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

Brad: I remember seeing Linkin Park when I was younger.  Meteora had just come out, and they were doing this ‘Projekt Revolution’ tour that had Korn and Snoop Dogg as co-headliners.  Was really a completely unforgettable show.  While that was maybe the starting block, the one that made me go ahead and bite the proverbial bullet was seeing Sevendust live.  Was at a much more intimate venue, but it felt like it was the same scale of performance.  When those guys all jumped into something like ‘Denial’, the crowd literally was like a human tsunami and it was absolutely unreal.  I saw Clint and John playing guitar up there, and basically said to myself that day “I want to do what those guys do.”  Twelve or thirteen years later…  I got to open for them.  Life is funny that way, for sure.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Scottie: In no particular order – Korn, Deftones, Breaking Benjamin, Sevendust, and Killswitch Engage

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

Scottie: I think collaborating with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails would be an incredible experience. We really like experimenting with different sounds that we can blend with rock, and not many people do that better than NIN.

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?

Brad: I think what I’ve found over time is that people say, “Oh my God, you sound JUST like *Favorite band here*!” when they want to drive home the point that they like your stuff.  The comparisons that I’ve heard, while I certainly won’t name any, have been somewhat outrageous before, until that fact occurred to me.  Point being, you can tell by their delivery if it’s meant as an insult or a compliment.  Typically, I’m just thankful that they like what they heard, even if the compliment comes in the form of “sounding just like Chumbawumba.”

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

Brad:  I don’t know that I possess the time or the character length that would allow me to summarize this question, so I will just say this and hope that it covers it all. Being a musician is 96% similar to any job.  It can be stressful.  You can feel under appreciated.  You can feel every element that you could find out there in the rest of the corporate/retail/food service/blue collar world.  The behind the scenes of playing at a show-near-you may not ever be a thing that anyone cares about or wants to know about. But that 4% of difference is what makes everything worth it.  You get to stand approximately 5-6’ higher than everyone else, and you get to be the single loudest thing in the room for as long as you are allowed to do so.  An entire room is making eye contact with you, sometimes even singing along.  And what’s craziest is, you don’t know how they know those songs.  The fact is, you put something out into the world, and you don’t have a clue if it matters or not.  And then, in that moment, you learn that it does.  There are few things that can compare to recording and releasing a song in the dead middle of Illinois, and a few months down the line, a kid who lives in TURKEY posts an Instagram video of himself playing drums to one of your songs.  A kid on Youtube took the time not only to learn your songs, but to practice them, and post a video of it online for the rest of the world to see. I can name no other job on the planet that comes with benefits like that.

8. When you’re hanging out with your bandmates, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Scottie: I’m always making sure food is within reach. Josh is always the first to buy a 30 rack of Busch Light, and we still can’t get Brad to stop playing every 80s rock song on guitar before practice. We cover all the necessities.

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

Scottie: We recently played with Stone Sour in Peoria, IL at the WIXO Spring Fling we got to have a few words with Corey Taylor as he was getting off stage. We were all pretty star struck in that moment. We all grew up listening to Slipknot and Stone Sour and we idolized Corey Taylor when we were starting out as musicians. Even though it was only a short time, it was an amazing experience to meet and share a stage with someone so influential to our musical careers.

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

Brad: I would actually love to be an animator, even if that’s a skill set I definitely do not possess.  Haha.

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?

Brad: If it were up to me, I’d have just not wasted time and collapsed my old band faster.  And don’t get me wrong, it certainly isn’t a dig at them, all good people and good times.  But I had apprehension initially at starting a new band with Josh, mostly due to ‘feeling invested’ and never really breaking even on all of that time and effort.  A handful of years, and about 14 drummers later, I wish I had just learned that some things simply aren’t meant to be, and just to move forward.  I got the hint eventually though.  You live and learn.

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

Scottie: I think I would like to go back and see Nirvana putting together the Nevermind album. To see their writing process and how it came together in the studio would be amazing. Growing up in the 90’s,  that record really helped shape all of our musical interests and to be able to be a part of creating that album would be a dream come true.

BURDEN OF THE SKY LINKS:

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

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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