Marc Broussard: Interview |
By: Linda Spielman
There is a new era of Blues and R&B music reaching a whole new audience,
those who love the genre and those who are experiencing it for the
first time through the sounds and soul of Marc Broussard. There
is a saying that "a person is an old soul." Many times personality,
wisdom, outlook on life and life experiences are all catalysts in
the formula when coining the phrase. Such is the case of Marc Broussard.
The twenty-six year old Louisiana native is most definitely an old
soul when it comes to his music. Broussard has somehow been able
to bottle the best of the bayou and expose, as well as educate,
listeners to a genre of music that is uncomplicated, raw and real.
No stranger to the music
scene, Broussard is set to drop his latest release via his new home,
Atlantic Records on September 16, 2008. Keep Coming Back
harnesses all that truly encompasses a classic record. What makes
this record different from Momentary Setback and Carencro
is that Broussard, along with his band and studio musicians, have
given fans what they've wanted for so long: a record that brings
Broussard's live show and all its energy into a neat little package
everyone can have all the time. This isn't Broussard's first foray
into simplifying music. In 2007, S.O.S: Save Our Soul, showcased
the singer and his band covering classics from Marvin Gaye, Al Green,
Stevie Wonder and countless other music legends. It's now Broussard's
turn to take that "old school" way of recording and apply it to
his own lyrics, style of writing and performing. Keep Coming
Back showcases Broussard's gift for channeling the multiple
spirits of classic R&B and Soul into contemporary terms.
Broussard and the band
were determined to make Keep Coming Back their way and Atlantic
Records couldn't have been more accommodating. "When signing with
any label there are always concerns about the people you will be
working with and if they're going to be around for the long haul.
I do feel really good about the team we have working with us at
Atlantic," Broussard notes. To maintain a level of consistency and
the caliber of quality work Broussard is known for, in his contract
he insisted on using his own producers on all projects. As a whole,
the dedication, effort, A&R team and everyone involved at Atlantic
has made it a very comfortable, creatively open and a confident
environment for Broussard to showcase his talent.
Recording is not so much
going in with your touring band and a few session musicians to lay
down tracks. For Broussard it's more like going in as a band of
brothers to jam for an extended period of time. Not only are producers,
Calvin Turner and Justin Tocket respected for their craft, but they
are also friends of Broussard. That type of trust in professional
and personal relationships helps break down barriers that some artists
have during the creative process. "It's easy when you and the artist
have the same vision and goal. I trust Marc to deliver the songs.
We can have differences of opinions along the way, but we always
have the same goal. I trust Justin with the sound, just as I do
Marc with the songs. I can produce and say whatever I want to say
all day. But four years from now that cover is still going to say
Marc Broussard. We're lucky that we trust each other enough to have
our own opinions of this project, yet never lose sight of the main
vision for it," Turner explains.
Creating a record in
eleven days is somewhat unfathomable by industry standards. However,
as Chad Gilmore (Broussard's drummer) elaborates, "The way we record
and capture the sound, no exaggeration, it doesn't take as much
time as one might think. When you hear about those projects taking
months to finish it's because they are sitting there piecing and
analyzing every little aspect of every track." Broussard echoes
Gilmore's take on the project noting that contrary to what a lot
of people may think, it is actually harder to go into the studio
to create a record that is not like a live show. "You go in and
do what you do as musicians, and then the producers come in and
start copying, pasting and chipping away at every little note. And
truthfully, it takes the humanity out of the project."
For this record, it was
straight out of the gate running for Broussard, the band and his
producers. The band had never played the majority of the twelve
tracks before recording the CD. Broussard first made demos of the
tracks, and then brought them into the studio for the band to hear.
At that point everyone wrote their chords and charts, copied their
parts and the eleven day recording process began. Broussard and
the band turned off all the computers and recorded strictly on analog
tape. Thus, it gave the recordings the feel, texture, contrasts
and movement of a live vibe. "Naturally there is something old school
about our vibe, it's not forced in the process of the five of us,
plus the two other musicians that played with us," Turner emphasizes.
There was obvious confidence
and ownership of this project for Broussard and the band to record
in this fashion, as he elaborates, "When you walked into the room
you saw all the computers screens were black. It gave everyone that
sense of awareness. There was no going back and overdubbing tracks.
Everyone knew this is the way it was going to be throughout the
recording. I really thought it was special that we were doing it
this way." Turner and Gilmore both agreed that as musicians the
way they recorded makes one mentally more cognizant of getting the
entire take rather than the one note, and having the capacity as
musician and artist to capture that moment in time while recording.
The result of all the
effort and thought is a cohesive project that captures the simplicity
of music and lets it's character shine through. Guest appearances
by Sara Bareilles on Why Should She Wait and the reunion
of Broussard and LeAnn Rimes on When It's Good add just a
touch of femininity to balance out the storylines of both tracks.
It's truly hard to nail down Keep Coming Back's general vibe.
It's heart pulse is pure soul, but there are glimmers of country,
blues, streetwise rock, heartfelt love songs along with all the
live enthusiasm you find at Broussard's shows. Hard Knocks
is rough around the edges and street smart. Keep Coming Back
makes you want to dance. Evil Things is truly one of the
most honest songs on the album. The storyline is one of mistakes
made in life, and how the love of that one special person can erase
all the bad and allow all the good of a person to resonate through.
It transcends the evolution of love and maturity of human spirit.
For the listener, Keep
Coming Back has body and substance. It has a solid foundation
minus the sterility present in most modern day records. It has taken
the party vibe of Broussard's shows and translated them in a way
to not only be a great listen, but also to set the standard for
other artists to get back to the roots of recording. The music doesn't
have to be perfect in every way, every note doesn't have to completely
in tune. This is what Broussard and the band wanted to achieve with
this project, the authenticity of playing live. As a whole the band
feels quality of music doesn't necessarily reflect flawlessness
of music. In order to be authentic, the music has to have the ability
to fluctuate. "The industry started to buy into this notion that
everything has to be perfect all of the time, and that's not the
case at all. Some of our favorite music has screw ups all over it,
and that's really endearing to the tracks. It's about the total
body of work, not one or two songs. It always has to be about the
songs," according to Broussard. Keep Coming Back exemplifies quality
of musicianship on all levels. It's not glossy; it's not overproduced,
nor is it cookie cutter. It's what Marc Broussard and band do every
night live: tell their truth.
Testing the waters with
the new material, Broussard recently played a free outdoor show
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he previewed such tracks as Hard
Knocksand Real Good Thing for the audience and received
a great response. Staples like Rock Steady and a rousing
AC/DC Back in Black intro to Home got those who weren't
already dancing by this point of the evening on their feet in front
of the stage. The two hour set was a combo Broussard classic, snippets
of Keep Coming Back, as well as some great covers of classics
like Lovely Day. For those just out to enjoy the summer night
or die hard Marc Broussard fans, it was a perfect way to spend a
wonderful August night under the stars.
Being an old soul in
so many ways is one thing that makes him stand out above so many
other artists in the industry today. When asked if your career ended
today how would he want people to remember him, Broussard responded,
"I would want my legacy to be one of kindness and generosity and
passion for not just what I do as a musician but also for the people