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Spotlight Interview With Brody Schenk

Brody Schenk just released a neo-roots folk song that tastefully hits the aesthetic perfectly.

"Charlie Brown" is a story that you get hooked into straight away and the track grows instrumentally as it plays on. Pianos add depth and the acoustic guitar feels like an Elliot Smith riff.

An interesting take on Charlie Brown with a twist and all told with such description and depth that it does actually paint a vivid picture and has you feeling something you never felt for the character before.

Vocally, it reminds a bit of artists like Dylan at times and creates an feeling that almost tugs at the heart strings as organs begin to swell in.

Although you can tell Schenk has been writing songs for some time, "Charlie Brown" acts as a debut single for the artist making his way into the singer songwriter world.

With such a vibrant release, we had to sit down with Brody Schenk to talk about the song and what's next for him.

RAG: Okay Brody, let's start with "Charlie Brown". The song features some roots folk guitar performances and paints such a great picture. Where did this song actually come from?

Brody: I’m not sure where it came from exactly. It always rubbed me the wrong way how Charlie Brown was considered funny as a character. If you watch the shows or read the comics you see that all the other characters mistreated Charlie to me, Charlie Brown seemed to have many mental health struggles, which often go unnoticed. So, I wanted to write a song developing a character that showed the sadder side of Charlie Brown. I picked up my nylon string acoustic guitar one night and almost instantly sang the line, “Charlie Brown now you’re really gone, when we all kinda thought you just went”. And I went from there. It was an exciting song to write after that and it made me pay attention to many subtle details as I developed the narrative of the song.

RAG: How did all of this start for you?

Brody: I’ve played guitar about as long as I can remember and in about as many different genres as I can think of. I started taking lessons when I was seven and music soon became an important aspect of my life. About two years ago I began to frequent open mics around Rochester. It’s safe to say I spent more time in bars than your average 14-year-old. That experience became quintessential for me as my dad started helping me book gigs around town. I’ve since played over a hundred shows at venues such as Abilene Bar and Lounge, Johnny’s Pub, Lincoln Hill Farms, and Iron Smoke just to name a few of my favorites.

RAG: I love the style of the song. What artists really influenced you musically?

Brody: This is a tough question to answer as there are many sides to my music. As a guitarist I love the flowing jams of bands such as The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer. However, I’m more apt to write songs that follow suit with artists such as Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. All of which are some of my favorite musicians and songwriters in the world, there’s nothing better than when you hear an amazing Bob Dylan lyric for the first time, and it hits you right in your soul. Sonically speaking “Charlie Brown” follows a Wilco-esque production, with acoustic guitar led on by a deep piano, and distant organ to tie it all together. It's important to me that music sounds whole, which is something Elvio Fernandes (Daughtry, Producer for “Charlie Brown”) and I worked hard to achieve in his home studio while recording the song.

RAG: What does someone like you do when you're NOT working on music?

Brody: I manage to live a normal teenage life and like to hang out with my friends a lot as well as my family. I like climbing mountains (especially ones with a view), crushing my dad in ping pong, and taking rides in our 1973 VW bus.

RAG: What kind of things influence you that are not musical?

Brody: Just about everything I’m exposed to has an impact on me in some way. It’s important as a songwriter to dissect and think about everything I interact with in my day-to-day life. From the news I watch, to the people I meet, to the nature surrounding me, it's all very influential to what I ultimately make as an artist and the way I think.

RAG: What kind of advice would you give other aspiring artists out there just trying to get heard?

Brody: This is a tough question to answer as there are many different ways to get heard. For some, I would recommend pouring tons of energy into building a following via social media. For others, just grind out on open mics and build a reputation as a performing artist which clearly is a great way just to have people hear your music. If you are a young musician in Rochester, definitely check out Elvio Fernandes’ Roc Academy. Elvio provides kids with opportunities to join bands and play shows so definitely check that out.

RAG: What's next for you as an artist?

Brody: I have many songs to record in the near future and will continue writing new material. You could expect multiple singles and potentially an album or EP in 2021! Also, I can’t wait to get back to playing shows, both solo and with my bands, The Old Souls Band (Guitar/Lead Vocals) and JUDAH (Backup Vocals/Lead Guitar).

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to your fans?

Brody: I’d just like to tell any fans out there that I appreciate you more than you could possibly know, and hold tight, there’s more music coming soon!

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