Allow us to introduce you to one of our favorite artists, Brooks Paschal. Many of you know Brooks as the lead singer of his former band, Sullivan.
Sullivan was a North Carolina based rock band on Tooth and Nail Records.They released their first cd in 2006, titled “Hey, I’m a Ghost”. Then in June 2007, after having a slot on The Tooth and Nail Tour, the band released, their sophomore cd “Cover Your Eyes”. But later in 2007, quite suddenly, the band announced on their Myspace that they had decided to disband and each go their separate ways.
Since then, lead singer, Brooks Paschal has been quite busy making music and living life. We are huge fans of his solo projects, “Surprises” and “Out With The Dishwater”. This is a little glimpse into his life and his art. We want to thank Brooks for giving us a peak. And we hope you all will enjoy reading this interview as much as we did! 🙂
TW: As many people know, you were the lead singer for the band, Sullivan. When Sullivan decided to call it a day in 2007, did you still think you’d be involved with music in some way? Did you plan on doing the solo thing?
Brooks: I didn’t plan on it at all, I knew I would be producing and writing for others, that was a given. A good or bad day for me is simply determined by one thing. “Did I make music today?” If the answer is no, then get out of my way, I’m probably gonna be in a rage. If yes, then life is as it should be.
TW: Can you tell us the story of how you got into music and what drove you to choose music?
Brooks: My parents, both musicians, my mom was a writer and a phenomenal singer, it was a given. That was gonna be my calling.
TW: You have quite a few songs you’ve written under the name “Surprises”, which was featured as one of Purevolume’s Top 21 Unsigned Artists Of 2008. Can you talk about the writing of these songs?
Brooks: Surprises songs are unique for me, cause there are NO rules, today I’m a sad pile of garbage, so that’s what comes out, last week I listened to The Starting Line for 4 hours a day (don’t tell my friends), so that comes out. There is no, “Bro! we gotta get signed, or make our label happy” It’s just fun. Josh at Purevolume is a saint, I practically begged him to NOT give me such an honor cause the truth is I don’t play shows, or try that hard. There are kids out there busting it just to get 5 people to watch them play at an Eagles Lodge. THEY deserve it.
TW: But as of now, you have a new project called, “Out With The Dish Water”, which you have said you were doing for your parents. We would love to know more about this project and what we can expect to hear.
Brooks: Well the writing hasn’t been slow, but actually recording it has been. The truth is, I work 15 hours a day with other artists,and while I’m always brainstorming on the inside, sometimes at the end of the day, I just don’t have the energy to start recording myself. Out With The Dishwater is my best attempt to be an adult and write something that my parents would be proud of, ironically all of the songs are about my childhood. So a lot of the material isn’t so cheerful.
TW: You’re a producer/engineer at The Fort Studio. Could you tell us about the work you do at the studio and the process of working with the artists?
Brooks: Well my day job is “producer” and the truth is I’m sooo lucky. I have done some pretty remarkable records and I’m still a rookie. The process is different for every band/artist. But they typically live here, and we end up becoming life long friends. When you make music with someone it creates a pretty remarkable bond, and I’m a lunatic, so they cant help but to love me!
TW: The lyrics in “The Mistress And Her Heart” are very honest and straight forward. What’s the story behind this song?
Brooks: It’s sort of my “farewell to youth” song. It’s all about the great and ridiculous things you do/think as a young one. Every song I write goes back to something or someone that’s super close to me at the moment, but the truth is I don’t really share that stuff. I’m in love with the fear that THE person could hear that song, and see right through it. Then I would be had. That’s a beautiful thing.
TW: “Magnolia Tree” is one of our favorite songs, what inspired you to write it?
Brooks: It will def be an Out With The Dishwater song, it’s too pathetic! The day Sullivan broke up, I went to the field out back with my guitar and a really cheap plastic patio chair and I just kinda wanted to see what would happen. It was the first moment I was gonna sit down and write and IT NOT be for Sullivan, or ANYTHING. That’s a scary venture. There is a lone magnolia tree in the field and the literal meaning is that is the place the “character” commits suicide. It’s not a happy song at all, but something about it makes me feel incredible inside. People always ask about that song because it is sooooo lyrically heavy. All I can really say is, it’s a true story.
TW: We would love to know your thoughts about the creative process of making music and what inspires you to write.
Brooks: Everything inspires me, that’s why you have to read and watch movies and go downtown and get in trouble, and sleep until 4 pm and hate your life and love your friends and make bad decisions and work harder than you have ever worked in your life for just 3 minutes to sell a concept that belongs to you, but you want to get rid of. The greatest gift I was given as a writer, is that I’m a HORRIBLE singer, so everything is coming from inside, cause I can’t sell it with my voice. As far as themes, it always changes. It also goes in phases. Cover Your Eyes was all about the dark half of people, that is AWESOME, but not so fun to talk about. I went through a phase where I just wrote songs about crashing my ex girfriend’s wedding. HAHA, love songs are few and far between but they can be remarkable accomplishments, cause they are never about another person, but rather how jealous you are that you have realized you can’t accomplish something that is in reality IMPOSSIBLE.
TW: How, if at all, does your faith play into your music?
Brooks: It plays a part in everything, it has to, or you are a fake. Music is faith. No one could like it. No one could care. No one will hear the 38 piece symphony in your head that plays every time you hit the last chorus. You are just hoping that it’s real enough to get noticed. It’s pretty intense.
TW: What are your thoughts on Jesus Christ?
Brooks: Jesus is the best friend that you walk all over everyday. You never call him back. You never thank him for all the favors he gives you, but you are always asking for one. However, in one moment of openness you will realize that he doesn’t care, and that he loves you anyways. I always feel churchy when I say “Jesus loves you” and I’m not a huge fan of the Church or it’s employees, but the truth is, he DOES. I don’t want to hear bible verses or quotes about Jesus. The bible has been on the best sellers list for 100 years, I think it’s gotten the exposure it needs. READ IT and then apply. Jesus and most people didn’t want you to repeat what they said, they wanted you to DO what they said. It’s time to give your good friend a ring.
TW: How do you approach life, what is your philosophy on life?
Brooks: DO IT ALL. I’m at the point in my life where I realize that I’m not gonna be young very much longer, but I am still there. Thanks to my parents, I still look 19 when I shave. Regardless, you have to act NOW. Don’t admire your position, it’s already changed, don’t stress about what’s coming cause the truth is, you are determining it by just being alive and you can’t change it cause you are you. Most interesting people in the world are the ones that don’t care about anything but what opens the door to the experience.
TW: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Brooks: That’s tough, cause it’s all about what kind of success you want. If it’s guitar, then play 20 hrs a day, if it’s writing, then do the same. If you just love to make loud music, then maybe 2 hours, give your neighbors a break!
TW: What are your thoughts on the Christian and mainstream music industry?
Brooks: They are basically the same now, but christian music has always been a weird one for me, cause it was always like, “are those just preachers playing pop punk?” Everyone in love with music is doing it whole heartedly. The themes change, but the soul behind it is always the same. I would say listen to AL GREEN- LETS STAY TOGETHER. To me, there isn’t a more honest song on the planet.
TW: What music or books have you been into lately?
Brooks: NONE! I hate that too. I used to read a lot.
TW: (Bonus) And last but not least, If we bake you 5 dozen cupcakes will you come to TX and play a show for us sometime? 😉
Brooks: I HAVE VOWED TO NEVER PLAY A SHOW AGAIN, but make it 6 dozen and we’ll talk.