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Local Limelight: Q&A with Before Braille

 by Mani O'Brien
 published on Thursday, September 8, 2005


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Just coming off tour and getting ready to release its latest CD Tired of Not Being Away From Here, the members of Before Braille have a lot going on. SPM chatted with lead vocalist David Jensen last week about the band's latest album, its musical self-sufficiency and the member's unique personalities. The 20-somethings that make up the band include drummer Kelly Reed, bassist Douglas Fielding and guitarists Brandon Buckmister, Hans Ringger and Rajiv Patel (currently abroad on a mission for his church).

SPM: I understand you have a release party coming up. Tell me about your latest album.

Jensen: It came out in August. We're having the CD release party a little late, because we were on tour. The album doesn't follow any standard pop structure, but it still has a catch. It has catchy elements to it that are universally acceptable, which is not the main goal, no matter what you write, if its good, people will like it. The point is to write music that is interesting. We were able to make something to where you're not totally sure where [the music] is going. It's not predictable, but it still has a catch, that's what I'm most proud of.

SPM: What has your greatest experience as a band together been?

Jensen: I would say touring with Facing New York and Novi Split. We're big fans of their music. It was like being with your best friends on a big road trip. Also, our tour with the RX Bandits is probably tied for the number one greatest experience. Touring with RX we were playing in front 500 to 1000 people. We opened for them when they played at ASU and I guess the reason why they had us play that show is because they liked our CD and wanted to see if we had a good live performance. They were testing us out, and I guess we passed the test.

SPM: So, what roles do you guys play in your band? Who's the ladies man, who's the brains of the operation?

Jensen: Musically, we're all involved. I would say that I'm the mom of the band and the business guy and manager. Hans is the little son. He's like a teddy bear. He's huge, like 6 feet tall, 200 lbs, big muscles, played football. But he's more like Smokey the Bear, a big lovable bear. Doug is definitely the Zen guy. He is pretty quiet, but everything he has to say is profound. I don't know if there is a ladies man in the group, but if there is one, it would be Brandon. We don't concern ourselves with all that too much when we're on tour. There's not much time for that. Brandon's the jokester. Kelly is easily the vagabond, homeless guy of the band. He bums food, clothes. The shoes he wears he finds on the side of the road. Like, if we are driving and there is a pretty decent pair of shoes in the road, he'll pull over and get them. He's done it twice.

SPM: If you were trapped in a crashing airplane with only one parachute, who do you think would volunteer to stay first?

Jensen: I think it would be Kelly, not because he was trying to hook us up, but because he feels like he can avoid death. He just tests the elements. I think he would think that he would make it somehow if the plane was crashing, he's just that way.

SPM: What are you most proud of as a band?

Jensen: We have really wanted to stand on our own two feet. We're not waiting for someone to come give us a record deal and make something happen for us, we're making it happen for ourselves. I'm really proud of the decisions that we've made as far as being self-sufficient and doing what feels good and right to us. We had a record label in the past help us out financially, but [they] never really tried to understand us, what we're about, what we believe in. We book our own shows, make our own T-shirts, record on my label.

Reach the reporter at mani.obrien@asu.edu.



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