Interview with Brian Calhoun of B.C.
DK: Thanks Brian for taking the time for this interview today! I’d like to start off with the basics, like where were you born?
BC: I was born in a small town in Indiana called Lafayette.
DK: Do you have a big family?
BC: My immediate family consists of my Mom and Dad and my brother Chris. I have a rather large extended family who mostly live in the Chicago area.
DK: Was anyone else in your family musically inclined?
BC: Anyone who was born under my family name has some sort of innate musical talent. It’s truly quite remarkable and often a bit humbling.
DK: How did you get involved in music and when?
BC: Being that I was born into this family, the moment of my conception is probably when I first gravitated toward music. I began playing instruments and performing at age nine and wrote my first song at age 13.
DK: What kind of student were you in school? Good? Bad?
BC: Average, I suppose. I was a pretty lackadaisical student during my teenage years because I didn’t like most of my teachers and never had a whole lot of interest in any of the subjects. I was more interested with writing and playing music than I was with academics. Creative writing and music were the types of classes that I typically excelled in since they gave me a chance to flex the right half of my brain.
DK: Your biography states that you performed and collaborated with bands and organizations across the US for over 16 years, tell me more about that. Who had you worked with and how were those experiences for you?
BC: I began playing in rock bands in Chicago at age 14. I later moved out to Los Angeles at age 20 and spent 8 years out there pursuing various musical career paths. In addition to playing in numerous bands in L.A., I also wrote and recorded production music – most of which has been used in many radio and television spots.
DK: Being that you had done this for so long, what made you decide to put your own music on an album?
BC: I was beginning to become frustrated with not having a release for many of my musical ideas. As the bass player in a band, I found that I was never taken all that seriously when I tried to grab the reigns in terms of creative songwriting input. Not to mention, my method of songwriting is a bit unorthodox and difficult to translate to a group environment. Rather than starting with a riff and embellishing upon it, I tend to hear the whole finished product in my head before I even begin the writing process. As a result, my attempts to convey an entire idea to other band members often proved quite futile. It was especially difficult before home recording studios became so affordable. I was greeted with dumbfounded looks, or even comments like “that’s lame”. So I figured the best way to get my ideas out and show the world what I had to offer was to write, record, and produce my own album.
DK: Had you written these songs recently or have some of these songs been around for a while, and just not recorded?
BC: I had the concept and a few lyrics in mind for the first album, “Map of the Muddled Mind”, before I started working on it, but mainly I wrote all the music piece by piece as I went through the process of creating the album. Because the album follows an emotional journey, I composed it out of sequence and let my mood dictate which particular song I was going to work on. The only problem with that method was when it came time to complete the album I had painted myself into an emotional and musical corner. I had to finish the last piece of the puzzle regardless of what frame of mind I was in.
DK: What kind of lyrics do you write? Stories? Life Lessons? Etc.
BC: All of my lyrics are fairly personal and based on my own life experiences. They typically deal with extreme emotional situations I have been through and what I have learned from those situations. However, there’s nothing worse than hearing someone incessantly whine about themselves, so I try not to hit anyone over the head with my own emotional issues. I structure the lyrics in a fairly open-ended manner so they can be interpreted differently depending on who is listening to them. Ideally, the result is a song where each listener can formulate his or her own opinion of the lyrics based upon their individual perceptions.
DK: When was it decided that you’d want to take B.C. out and perform as a band?
BC: After I finished recording “Map of the Muddled Mind” and the CD had been released, I was like “OK… now what?” The next logical step was to find other musicians and take the project into the live scene.
DK: How did you come to find Geoff, Brian and Dan?
BC: Word of mouth, pretty much. I’ve never had much luck finding other musicians with advertisements – you never know what you’re going to get. Not to mention, there’s so many factors to take into consideration when looking for other musicians. Just to name a few – they have to be talented musicians, they have to be dedicated to the project, and they have to be someone you can get along with on a personal level. Talking to other people involved in the industry that I know and trust always seems to be a much better route than taking a gamble with an advertisement.
DK: What are their backgrounds in music?
BC: Geoff Siebold is a very talented guitarist and lead/backup singer who has played in many bands, including his own project “Souls For Rent”. Brian Gabel and Dan Prost have known each other since they were kids and have a very tight relationship. They have been working together on musical projects for many years now, and their close-knit friendship is a wonderful complement to this band.
DK: How have they enhanced the B.C. sound?
BC: They make B.C. what it is. It’s important for me to stress that while the idea for B.C. started as a solo project, it has now evolved into a full band consisting of four members of equal importance. No member of this band is more or less important than the next. Furthermore, the songs take on a whole new energy live that the album does not convey. Though our tastes all seem to gravitate toward hard rock, each member comes from a slightly different musical background. Geoff prefers pop-oriented rock, while I like a bit more unorthodox progressive and psychedelic rock, and Brian and Dan both enjoy hardcore and progressive metal. Our varying musical preferences result in a blend of style that helps create the unique sound of B.C.
DK: How many shows have you performed as B.C. so far?
BC: About 30.
DK: I see you have a show coming up on January 19th at the Cubby Bear. Do you have anything else planned for shows on the horizon?
BC: The Wrigleyville Cubby Bear show is the big one to watch out for. We will be performing with two other great Chicago area bands – “Pandora” and “Munger”. Otherwise, we will be back in Chicago on 2/3/07 at Silvie’s and up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Union Sports Annex on the Marquette Campus on 4/15/07.
DK: When do you anticipate B.C. to start doing out of state shows?
BC: We’ve already started hitting Milwaukee pretty hard, and plan on doing so on a regular basis. We will be branching out further as soon as it’s economically viable. So many bands pack up and hit the road, playing every dive they can find, and they end up digging themselves into a giant hole with nothing to show for their efforts but the ability to exclaim “We did a tour!”. Huge mistake, in my opinion. We are currently running a nationwide radio promotion, which should give us pretty good feedback as to what regions of the country have significant interest in our music. After we discover that, it will be a little easier to assemble some sort of tour plan, but we still aren’t going to hit the road just for the hell of it. Best case scenario right now would be to jump on as the supporting act for a more established touring band.
DK: Will there be a new album in the works with the rest of the band? If so, is there any information on it as yet (name of the album, etc)?
BC: Absolutely. The preliminary tracks are actually near completion. I’ve recorded demos of about ten songs so far in my home studio, and after we get up to about 14 or 15 songs we’ll most likely pick and choose the best 12 or so and then hit the studio to record everything as a band. The writing process has proven to be quite an evolution beyond “Map of the Muddled Mind” both musically and thematically, so the working title of the album is “Evolution”. The songs have become a bit darker and heavier while still focusing keenly on strong melodies and harmonies. We have also starting writing collaboratively as a band, which has been wonderful. Many of the songs have worked their way into our live sets and they have been received with great acclaim.
DK: Being that bass is your primary instrument, who do you accredit as your biggest influence and also who do you feel is the most innovative bassist in music today?
BC: Geddy Lee of “Rush” was the one who really inspired me to start playing bass. I’ve always been enamored by how melodic his playing is while still staying firmly rooted in the rhythm section. I’m also a huge fan of Les Claypool, and I’d have to say that he ranks way up there on my list of one of the most innovative bass players today. While typically flashy in the technical department, his playing is mostly centered on unique and anomalous compositions rather than consistently being reduced to one long drab bass solo, as is the case with so many players who present the bass as a lead instrument.
DK: What are some of your other interests besides music?
BC: I really enjoy movies and physical fitness. I like to try new experiences and apply what I’ve learned from those experiences to my journey through life. Anything that stimulates my mind and/or moves me emotionally is good by me.
DK: What are your plans now for the next 6 months?
BC: We plan on playing many more live shows in Chicago and Milwaukee and hopefully branching out to other states some time within the year. We will be completing the writing process and recording the new B.C. album, “Evolution”, and there has also been talk of possibly doing a live recording.
DK: Is there anything more that you’d like to share with our readers today?
BC: Thanks for reading, thanks for listening, and come see us live! Hit us up at www.myspace.com/bctunes and say “hi” to us!
DK: Thanks again for your time!
BC: Thank you!
After extensively performing and collaborating with various bands and organizations across the United States for over sixteen years, Hound Sound Productions recording artist, “B.C.”, now writes, records, and performs his own Alternative Rock compositions, which have been described as “refreshingly different” (Songramp). A bass guitar player by trade, this Chicago based musician is always exploring new and interesting ways of expressing himself on this instrument, at times tastefully interweaving multiple bass lines, as heard in “Imagination” and “Manic Tranquility”. While his music possesses a hard rock edge and consists of complex arrangements, B.C. always retains a keen focus on vocal melodies and harmonies. Many of his influences, including Porcupine Tree, Tool, Incubus, Rush, A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden, Pink Floyd, The Cure, King’s X, King Crimson, and Primus can be heard scattered throughout his music, though the end result is a sound entirely his own.
Now armed with a talented and experienced group of musicians, B.C. continues to dazzle his fans with energetic live performances of songs from his debut album, “Map of the Muddled Mind”, as well as newly written original material. All members of B.C. are accomplished musicians and songwriters with extensive live and studio experience, particularly in Chicago and Los Angeles. They have performed as the supporting acts for such groups as Incubus, 311, King’s X, Phantom Planet, Greta, and Lisa Loeb, and have played in many acclaimed bands, including Monkeybread, Fran Banish, Souls For Rent, Blown, Selective Recall, The Euphoric, and Time Traveler.
As the recently released “Map of the Muddled Mind” continues to amaze progressive and alternative rock fans around the world, B.C. invites all music lovers to come experience what fans have referred to as “the best local band I’ve ever seen”.