Bryan Donahue took some time to answer a few questions from staff writer Jacob Testa about the state of the music industry, his plans for the near future, and the differences between Early Morning Blues and Boys Like Girls.
Mind Equals Blown: How has 2011 treated the band so far?
Bryan Donahue: Not bad I guess, we’re just starting off and probably have only practiced a dozen times so far. Played only two shows with our third coming up this weekend. It’s still early for us. We want to do a lot of things with this band.
Where does the band’s name come from?
I guess it came from when I was doing the demos for the EP at home. I would stay up all night until the sun started to rise and everyone would start to go to work. It’s a tribute to burning the midnight oil.
For those who might not have heard any of your music yet, what song would you recommend for them to get a taste of what Early Morning Blues is all about?
We have the most plays for “War And Wisdom” online so far, but I’ve heard a lot of kids say they like “Chapter One” a lot. Each song is a little different, so I’d have to say listen to the whole EP. It won’t take you that long.
Which bands would you say have had the greatest impact on your songwriting?
I’ve always been a fan of Saves The Day, The Get Up Kids, Rival Schools, a lot of the music I grew up listening to. I think you can hear it in us. People have told me that our stuff reminds them of a genre that’s come and gone. I don’t take it in a negative way; I like it. Kids that are hunting for music are berated with fake drums and synths and sample sounds that the band have no intention of playing live, unless it’s on an iPod/Pro Tools setup. I want to be the other band, the honest ones with nothing to hide.
If you had to pick a favorite lyric from one of your songs, what would it be?
I don’t know. This was my first attempt at writing vocal parts. I don’t like to look within myself and tear out emotions for everyone to see…I’m a very introverted person. Just so I don’t avoid the question, I guess the first line in the bridge from “Chapter One,” “Can I bring my black and blue bruised broken body back to you?” I’m a sucker for alliteration.
It’s no secret that you have played bass for Boys Like Girls. What’s different between being in Early Morning Blues and BLG?
The songs, the lineup, everything. I want to do this band in a different way than BLG. It’s not music for the pop masses, so I want to approach it dirtier and in a rougher way. I’m just trying to show everyone who I really am, I guess.
On the same topic, that connection will undoubtedly lead some to group the two bands together. So, to offset that line of thinking, what would you say sets Early Morning Blues apart from Boys Like Girls?
Come to a show and see for yourself, that’s the only way to get to know a band.
What was the approach to recording the EP, and what made you decide to offer it with a free option?
I’ve had these songs and ideas for years and years and they never really stuck in any of the bands I had been in. I decided it was about time to get them out of my head, so I started everything on my own at home and asked friends to help me out in the studio on some tracking. I liked the social experiment that Radiohead did with In Rainbows, and I wanted to take it a step further. Would kids be even more inclined to pay for it knowing their money will be going to charities? I’ve raised a little over $110 so far for Keep-a-Breast and Dear Jack through kids buying the EP through our Bandcamp page. Once we reach $200, I’m going to split it up, send checks to them, and start all over. So download generously, please.
Which bands have been your favorites to tour with so far?
With EMB, we haven’t toured yet, but we’re talking about maybe doing a regional run soon. With BLG…everyone we’ve toured with has been great to us and has been a blast to play with.
Would you rather tour with a band that you’re friends with, or a band that you idolize?
That’s a good one…I guess I’d have to say tour with an idol and become friends with them.
What is your perspective of the current state of the music industry?
I think it’s still changing and everyone is trying to figure out how to adapt. The industry is what we make it, and with all the dinosaurs falling off the top, a burst of fresh new ideas needs to be injected into the machine.
With the release of Newest Versions in late December, fans got their first taste of what the band has to offer. Can we expect to see any other releases in the near future?
Definitely, we are working on new songs now. Danny and I just finished one last night. We’re going to keep people guessing with what we’re going to come out with next.
What does the band’s set list consist of?
We’ll be playing a new song called “All About Tonight” at our show in Worcester this weekend on the 16th, but the rest of the set is the 4 songs from the EP. “Echoes,” “Chapter One,” “Never Leave,” and “War And Wisdom.”
If you could choose any band to hear cover your songs, which band would it be?
I’m not sure. I don’t think anybody knows about us yet, so there won’t be any covers. Write your own damn songs why dontcha?
What music have you guys been listening to recently?
We’ve all been really into Ghost Ocean. They’re another band that offers pay what you want through their Bandcamp. We’ve also been jamming our friends’ new bands Born Without Bones and The Tower & The Fool. The new Foo Fighters record is unbelievable.
Marry, Fuck, Kill: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha.
Awww do I have to? I don’t like Ke$ha or Lady Gaga at all. I’d marry and fuck Katy Perry, and kill the other two.
What can fans expect to see from the band in the coming months?
More and more shows hopefully, new songs for certain, and that all means a new EP at some point.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
Yes. Thank you for taking time to read what I have to say. I don’t get to do many interviews and it means a lot to me to know you’re interested and listening. Also, check out www.ventureguitars.com