New-to-the-scene rock band from Orillia, Ontario, Bleeker Ridge are comprised of two sets of brothers, has been going strong for seven years and recently hit their big break and a dream come true by getting signed to Roadrunner Records. They wanted to write songs that they could hear on the radio and did just that with their debut album, produced by legendary, world renowned producer Bob Marlette (Shinedown, Seether, Airbourne, Default). Their hit single and title track “Small Town Dead” is currently in the Top Ten at Rock Radio across the county. The video, which features Rickie from the Trailer Park Boys, was added to heavy rotation out of the box at MuchMusic as well as MusiquePlus in Quebec (where it jumped into the Top 5).
mindyourmind volunteer Ashley, from South Carolina, also an aspiring musician in a band called joie., was very excited to interview lead singer, Taylor Perkins, of Bleeker Ridge. Taylor shares what inspires the band and what their writing process is like. He also talks about small town living, giving some tips on how to deal with feeling trapped. Check out the interview to learn more about the band.
Is there a unique dynamic to your band because it is compromised by two sets of brothers? (Challenges, closer bond....)
I definitely think there is a closer bond between all of us. After 7 years, we are all brothers. We've fought about important things and things that don't matter. We’ve enjoyed times people would have went crazy of boredom over. We’ve even gotten into and out of trouble together. This band is a family and our parents and friends look at it that way too.
Your band started off by playing some big time covers such as Jimi Hendrix - who are or what are some other influences in your music?
We're influenced by all music. We try to keep an open mind and listen to everything from rock, to pop, to whatever we come across through radio, TV, friends, and family... We change the music we listen to all the time but some standbys are U2, Sevendust, Zeppelin, and John Mayer. Our surroundings are also a major influence. Issues people have and what is important in life. Good or Bad.
You have been quoted as saying you are more into the song-writing than anything - where do you draw inspiration from when writing lyrics/songs?
Sometimes it seems like it comes from nowhere, and it just writes itself like "You Would've Liked it". But in most cases the songs are about our lives and relationships of our own or people we know like "Small Town Dead", "Bitter Soul" or "From Now On". We don't write about things we don't know about. Keep it as real as possible because that's what people will relate to.
Some of your songs could be said to speak beyond your years of experience. What are some of the messages you hope to convey to your audience?
Songs like "Easier Today" and "From Now On" are about doing what you want to do and not following what everyone says you’re supposed to do. Those came from the people who believed our band would never go anywhere, but can translate to so many other situations. In songs like "Bitter Soul" we try to say what other people may not know how, or are too afraid to say. But the majority of our songs I think people can relate to and that's what it is all about.
Who is your audience? Who do you to intend to reach with your music?
Different songs reach different kinds of people. We do have a strong teenage audience but in saying that, their parents can throw in the CD and love some of the songs too. When writing, we don't think about who it’s for, but more "Would we listen to it?"
Your first single "Small Town Dead" has taken the radio by storm. What does small town mean to you? Since becoming "big" how has your perception of "small town" changed? (Do you miss anything? Do you appreciate small town living?)
We love small towns! A small town is a place with family restaurants, one or two places to go on the weekend where everyone is out for a good time. Not being able to go out without seeing someone you know. And we love visiting all these small towns across Canada that are just like our hometown of Orillia. So many places are so much alike. I think that's what we've realized. We're not alone in this.
What advice would you offer a young adult struggling with the trapped, terminal feeling often felt by someone living in a small town?
Start making little changes in your life. Get out of your routine day or week. Go somewhere you haven't been. Talk to someone you don't know too much about. The little things will add up. Get out of your comfort zone, and find something new and enjoyable because it can be found anywhere.
You are now embarking on this new chapter of touring - how do you cope and recharge in the fast paced, anxious entertainment industry life?
You have to take time for yourself, and look around. I make sure my life isn't focused around just one thing. Also, keep contact with the outside world! Touring can make you strange, so it helps to talk to friends and family from home. Good food helps too! McDonald’s everyday starts getting old, quick.
Tell us briefly about your song-writing process; from the thoughts that first cross your mind to the final product - is there chaos? A eureka moment? Catalyst/inspiration? Discussion amongst the band?
Its starts with a vocal melody or riff someone randomly thought of taking a shower, or out at dinner. I'll have some random lyric that makes no sense at the time, and usually end up writing around that lyric or idea. But from when we start a song, to when we finish, all the ideas have either been changed or swapped out for other ones. It’s almost like the song is never done until it’s laid down in the studio. But the best songs are the ones we write in 10 minutes and just happen like "You Would've Liked It."
How do you respond/react to criticism of your music?
We always make sure we look at the source. If it’s from our producer, or someone we trust, we take it in and think about what they are saying. But if it’s a YouTube comment or bad review we just laugh and make fun of each other about it. Can't take things like that seriously. If we did we would have gone crazy a long time ago. We are doing our thing and if someone doesn't like it that’s ok. It’s not a big deal as long as we are enjoying what we do.
What gives you hope?
The support of good people surrounding us. And knowing we can write a song in our living room, or on our deck, and have people from all over Canada relate to the things we are talking about.