Spotlight Interview With the Isolated brigade
The latest single dropped from The Isolated Brigade is a laid back indie-rock track with some contemporary undertones and a little punk peeking through at times.
"Stuck On Payroll" is full of some great guitar work and really feels like a lost 90's radio rock song you may have heard before.
The song has it's own twist and feel of a mellow rock song with belting vocals sounds a bit refreshing and the song itself is a bit inspiring in its own right.
Some tasteful lead guitar solo work and a cinematic vibe flows throughout the songs course and you can hear the alternative rock wanting to burst out.
The song seems relatable but we wanted to have a talk with The Isolated Brigade to see exactly where this song came from.
RAG: Okay guys, let's start with "Stuck On Payroll". This track has a great laid back indie-rock feel to it with some classic rock infused in there. Where did this song come from?
Alex: This song dates back to around early 2016. I was still at school at Iowa and remember clearly working on the guitar parts very quickly. I want to say the majority of that song was done within one week. I wanted two dual guitar parts for a song much like The Strokes or Arctic Monkeys, but more laid back and mellow. I know I drew a lot of influence from Foo Fighters 3rd album, There is Nothing Left to Lose, which is a lot mellower for them, but also lyrically from bands like Radiohead and Pearl Jam on more so that indie rock feeling. I was working on the accounting payroll side for the University Hospital and nearing graduation. Lyrically, that’s where the subject came from and it was more so questioning “Is this what life could be like after college? Just work and work, doing the same thing for years on end before a change comes again.”
RAG: This is a bit different from "Murmurs Of A Mellow Mind" which has a more classic punk feel to it. What bands influenced you?
Alex: I think for every song we work on we draw influences from several bands. A lot of it comes from what we’re listening to at the time or if we got something that reminds us of someone and changing it to more so fit our attitude and style. For me, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains are big influences. I could go on and on, but more so recently I’ve been listening to lots of David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Phoebe Brigders, and other sounds that aren’t as guitar driven as well.
Steve: All of us enjoy progressive music to various degrees. I’ve always been a fan of musicians and bands that do things just a little bit differently. Being a bass player, I like listening to music where the bass lines are more than just the root note of the chords the guitar is playing. Les Claypool of Primus is one individual that comes to mind for having some real great work. King Gizzard and Devin Townsend are two more acts that push the boundary, King Gizzard with having widely different styles from one album to the next, and Devin Townsend with not being just a typical metal musician and trying to explore as many different avenues as he can.
RAG: How did this all start for you?
Maximillian: I started playing music at 5 years old with piano. I then taught myself bass at 14, guitar at 16, and drums at 17. Alex and I have known each other since we were 5 and started playing music together at 14. I met Steve in high school and eventually asked him to play bass with Alex and me.
Alex: I picked up the guitar around 13 when my aunt gave me my first two guitars. Around the same time I discovered lots of classic rock and just learned as much as I could about guitar and those bands. Been stuck with Max since.
RAG: How do you record your stuff? Is it a home set up?
Maximillian: Since August of this year, we have been recording our music at SoundVault Studios located in Fort Knox Studios in our hometown of Chicago. We’ve been working with some excellent engineers and the owner of the studio, Mark Sobot, is a truly amazing guy. Once we have our rough mixes done, we send them to our artist, Brad Hofbauer, and he creates some insanely good artwork for our songs.
RAG: Did you used to perform live at all? Do you think you'll focus on that when the time comes?
Maximillian: For a solid year, we performed live at a variety of places around Illinois. Over the last year though, we’ve been focused on recording and releasing music online. For me personally, I would like to stay focused on recording and releasing music.
RAG: With these singles released on Spotify already, is there an album coming?
Maximillian: Our plan is releasing a song every 4-6 weeks until March at the moment making 5 songs total. We may put these 5 songs onto an EP so they’re all together but nothing is concrete at the moment.
RAG: What's next for you?
Maximillian: Our plan at the moment is continuing releasing our 5 completed songs until March. Our next song, Celestial Canyon, is set to release January 15th and has a more progressive feel to it. What I like about the songs we are releasing is each song is different from one another.
Alex: Continue working on new songs/projects to keep the flow going after March too.
Steve: Attempting to integrate different instrumentation, like a synthesizer, to try and deviate from the standard guitar, bass, and drums we’ve been used to so we can dive into different sounds.
RAG: The Video for "Stuck On Payroll" was pretty cool. Was this your idea?
Maximillian: Alex told me he wanted a POV shot of someone driving around trying to escape the mundane life of work and discovering nature. Since I own a convertible, I attached a GoPro to my head and drove around Des Plaines, Illinois. Originally, I wanted the video to end with me jumping in the water but it was too cold outside at that point when I recorded the video so I opted for just sitting down and enjoying the peacefulness of the lake.
RAG: What sort of advice would you have for other up and coming bands just trying to get heard?
Maximillian: You will run into a lot of people trying to promote you or take advantage of you. I strongly suggest researching these individuals/companies because most are out to just make a quick buck off of you. Word of mouth is best to start and learn that each platform works differently. For example, playlists are huge on Spotify so getting your song on some playlists will definitely help. Have realistic goals and be proud of each goal you accomplish, no matter how small it is.
Alex: Have fun and keep learning/practicing new things.
Steve: Always try to keep doing and listening to new things. You never know when a short section of a song from a genre you’d never think of listening to can push you into creating something great.
RAG: What sort of non-musical things inspire you to write?
Maximillian: My lyrics come from a variety of things, such as television shows or observing every life. For example, Murmurs of a Mellow Mind was my attempt at addressing how far an individual drives themselves into their work and eventually explodes. Our song releasing in February, Agony or Bliss, is a take on the whole red pill/blue pill from The Matrix.
Alex: Just everyday life things and experiences and more so matching a feeling to a certain piece of music I have or working on. Again, for Stuck on Payroll, it was just about everyday work life and questioning what else there is. The subject didn’t necessarily match the vibe of the song, but it almost came to me right away as I was working on the guitar sections of the song and just worked out naturally.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans?
Maximillian: Thank you all very much for supporting us and our music. We are nothing without you and I cannot begin to describe just how much you all mean to us. Truly, thank you everyone, old and new to our music. We hope you continue to enjoy what we release. We definitely have more to come.