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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Brothers Weiss

Brothers Weiss interview, Bandcamp

A Ph.D chemist, a chess teacher and a youth symphony director form a band…no, this is not the start to a bad joke, this is Brothers Weiss. The band, comprised of brothers Kevin and Ryan Weiss and Miguel Ramirez, play alternative rock out of San Diego.

In January, Brothers Weiss released its debut EP, Conversations. The five-track album is available for purchase and streaming on Bandcamp and led to the group being named one of the “Bands to Watch in 2014” by the San Diego Reader, NBC Sound Diego, and Sounds in San Diego.

Below, read The Spec‘s interview with the up-and-coming band…

Tell us a little about yourselves…
Miguel: I had joined up with brothers Kevin and Ryan Weiss about a year and a half ago and we started making music together. I am also a violinist and youth orchestra director, Kevin is a chess teacher and Ryan is finishing his Ph.D in chemistry.

How long have you been making music?
Miguel: We have all been playing music since childhood. Naturally, Kevin and Ryan had played music together growing up, and Kevin and I were in another band together for a couple years.

Who/what are your influences?
Miguel: As far as I can think of this moment, I’d say my influences include The Cure, Pixies, Blonde Redhead, Spoon, Mineral, Further Seems Forever, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, The Appleseed Cast, DIIV, Lovedrug, Muse, Elliott, and As Cities Burn. The other two guys bring in a lot of other influences as well so I think the diversity helps us in our writing.

What is your favorite song you’ve released and why?
Ryan: My favorite track we have released so far is “The Shortcut” off our debut EP. We are all very proud of each song we have released, but this one is my favorite one to listen to. I love the rolling drum beat along with the pulsing tremolo from the guitars. The vocals seem to hover over the thick sonic cloud created by the rhythm section. Personally, I love the way the guitar tones turned out for this song. We recorded the guitars for this song at our friend Patrick Norton’s studio called Citizen Recording and I was really stoked with the way they shimmer throughout the track. I’m sure Kevin and Miguel each have their own favorites, but this one is mine.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
Ryan: Currently, we have been taking a break from playing live to focus on writing new material. We have been in our studio every week grinding out new sounds and fresh ideas. We spent most of 2014 releasing our debut EP and touring to promote it; therefore, now our focus is to expand our sound and release some new music. Soon, we hope to debut some new songs live, and we plan to record a new album later this summer. Overall, our main goal is to keep doing what we love to do – write music together and share it with the world.

If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
Ryan: We all hope to be able to play music to some degree throughout our lives. I can’t imagine what life would be like without it. But, if I can’t make a living as a musician, I will most likely be an organic chemist. I’m currently finishing my Ph.D. in organic chemistry at UC San Diego. I enjoy balancing my life with science and music. They are two very different professions that challenge me in diverse ways. If not a musician, I hope to eventually be a college chemistry professor or work in the field of developing new drugs to combat diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Kevin: Personally, I love John Bonham from Led Zeppelin as a drumming influence, and I think we all love the band as a whole. We also look up to bands such as My Morning Jacket, Alt J, Local Natives, DIIV, and the Strokes. All those bands seem to be doing their own thing, and it’s great to watch bands that put such emotion and energy into their songwriting. There are a ton of other bands that we all love, but I think we can definitely agree on those.

Why do you make music?
Kevin: We make music because we love it. There is nothing better than the feeling you get when a song takes shape out of an instinctual, cohesive bond you have as bandmates. It’s the natural process of playing together in a studio and having those moments where you kind of all just look at each other and a smile forms on the face. You know that only in the that moment, with those people, would that song or part be formed. That is amazing to me, and there are emotions and feelings that only take place in music. It’s art, and it’s meaningful to us even before anyone else hears it. Trying to come back to that place every time you perform and recapture those moments is truly wonderful. Then we get to release the energy and engage our fans live. It is so much fun, and we are stoked.

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
Kevin: We eat better burritos than 95 percent of the bands out there, and we probably eat more of them than anyone else. It really fuels the writing process and live performances. Everyone should jump on the bandwagon.


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