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Foreverinmotion

September 12, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

brenInterviewed by: Debie Patton

Welcome back to Indianapolis!

Thanks!  Glad to be back.

We have to start with the obligatory first question, about the name. I know you get it all the time, but as a solo artist you chose to instead go by “Foreverinmotion.” Why did you do that versus “Brendon Thomas?”

Because the name “Brendon Thomas” isn’t interesting, and it’s too… earthly, you know what I mean?  Everyone has a name.  Why should music be represented simply by someone’s name?

Why “Foreverinmotion,” then?

Why not?  (laughs)

Touche!

Okay.  I’ll explain. Its kinda deep. So… The past and the future are nothing more than ideas, you with me?

Yep.

What’s happening now will soon be a memory. And the future is something that hasn’t happened but is also nothing more than thought…an illusion of the mind.  The only thing that truly exists in space time is the present–moment by moment–a window that is constantly changing its view.  The present is forever, and what creates the ideas of the past and future is change: The movement, the motion, moment by moment. And we are that moment. We are forever in motion. So that’s the gist. I hate answering that question.
I’m sorry, I had to ask it.

No, it’s cool!
If there was a way around it, I would have done it, but… Okay moving on.  Your writing process is very interesting.  You play pretty much every instrument except drums on…both of your CDs, actually…

I actually did play some drums on the new record.
Oh, okay. I love the video you have on your myspace, so share that writing process with us.  We’ll probably link that, but…

Yeah, totally! I basically write bare-bones acoustic or piano songs, and I can kinda hear the other parts in my head, but I don’t work them out until I record. I’ll record the basics, then I’ll track some bass guitar, drums, and from there I’ll just pick an instrument and jam.  Just jam with the song and build it up, part by part, until the sound scape feels right to me. It’s like painting a picture, you know?  Its fun.
Layer upon layer.

Just listen for it.

Now can you actually read sheet music?  Do you ever use it with any of your songs in the studio?

I can read it.  I was in band all the way through high school…I played saxophone and drums.
No shit?  That’s what I did!  Both of those, actually!

That’s awesome!  Well, there’s a connection! I don’t ever write out sheet music. I feel that when I read sheet music, the focus is on reading the music as opposed to feeling it. I know some people can feel music when they’re reading it, and they’re amazing musicians, but I just don’t like it.  It doesn’t work for me.

I think it takes more talent to feel it without reading it, really.  Anyone can be taught to read music.

Yeah.  The emotion is ten-fold stronger when it’s just coming from inside of you as opposed to coming from an external source.
Your first CD was recorded when you were 19, is that correct?

You are correct.
Okay, um…in your bedroom, layer upon layer on your computer…

Yep.
Do you consider yourself a pioneer in any way because of that “homemade” process?

No.
Why not?

I know a lot of people who record music this way, I guess I have a knack for it, you know?  I do it in a unique way, maybe?
I remember last time you were here you said something onstage about Myspace and how Myspace was evil and asking people if they had one and all that…but it’s a great outlet for music and musicians…

Yeah, I won’t deny that…
So with those opposing views, do you think it’s more of a help or a hindrance, and also, what are your thoughts on file sharing as an up-and-coming musician?

Honestly, I think Myspace is a very helpful tool for bands because it’s becoming less of a necessity to sign with a label in order to be heard, you know, to get your music out there.  And it’s easy to keep in touch with your fans and keep them in the loop, especially when you’re touring…so when you come back around the next time after playing their city, they’ll know about it, you know?  Um…no, I think it’s great for bands, it’s just…it’s saddens me to see how much time young people waste on myspace for vain and superficial reasons. It replaces “real” life after a while.
Everyone’s just out to “collect the friends” and…

Yeah, well…yeah, and to just sort of live behind the illusion of…the image we are on myspace, you know?  The identity we create that we feel comfortable with..  Because everyone can kinda perfect themselves–or what they think is perfect–when in truth they’re hiding who they really are.  I feel everyone is perfect in their own way.  You don’t need myspace to correct that.

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What about file sharing?
File sharing?  Eh, whatever.  For an up-and-coming artist I think it’s a good thing to just get your music out there.  You’re not gonna make money for a while.  Even huge recording artists aren’t doing as well as they used to because everyone can download albums for free and burn CDs and…buy a record on iTunes for $7.00 as opposed to buying a record in the stores for $13.00 or $14.00.  I dunno…I mean, I’ll ask so many kids, “when was the last time you went to a store and bought a CD?” and they can’t even remember!
March 27th…

What?
That’s the last time I went to a store and bought a CD.  March 27th.

See?  That’s what I’m saying.  Things are changing and you can’t really fight it, you know?  Technology has taken off.  It’s helping bands and hurting bands at the same time, so…whatever.
Do you think that’s going to be the future of music then?  It’s all going to go digital?

I dunno.  I don’t really care.  (laughs) Music is music.  As long as it’s reaching people, that’s all that matters.  As long as it’s bringing people joy.
If you had 30 seconds to convince somebody to buy your album, what would you say?

I would say, “There’s a gun in my jacket.  If you don’t buy this album, you’re gonna get it!” (laughing)
Nice!  That’s one of the more interesting responses I’ve gotten to that question!  So…what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Sing for the balcony, not the orchestra pit.” The ones in the balcony are there because they love you. Those in the orchestra pit are so close, they only look for reasons to spit on you.

(laughs)

You know what I mean, though?  In terms of the music business, it’s like, the industry–magazines, the press, and the media–they’re all kinda the orchestra pit.  They’re so close to you, they have access to you… but they don’t care about what’s in your heart. They’d rather tear you apart than see you for what you’re worth, because it boosts their own ego.  But the people in the balcony…all they can do is listen, and just appreciate who you are from a distance, you know?  They’re there to understand you, so…
I’m feeling pretty hated here! (laughs)

No no no no no!  I’m not saying everyone in the media, I’m just saying… The ones who write you off without giving you a chance…you’re not singing for them, you know?  You’re not writing your songs or pouring your heart out for those people.  You’re doing it for the ones in the balcony, the ones who are…there because they love the music.
Alright.  In turn, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Just be real to yourself.  Dig…dig deep inside yourself and don’t let what others think influence you.
Speaking of influences, who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Um…just…a female performer…really big in the late nineties–her name was Britney Spears–really changed my life and my outlook on everything.
Really? How so?  Because a lot of people look at her negatively now…

They don’t see the genius within.  Um…N*SYNC.  Uh…Ashlee Simpson is a big influence… Uh…

(laughing) Are you being serious with any of these?  I can’t even tell!

You can’t tell?
No…

Well, no…no I’m not…there’s some…wicked influences… Okay, reword that in a way where I can narrow it down a little bit.  “What are my…”
Um..?

“What top three bands have changed my life the most, musically?”
There you go!

Or “in terms of my career?”
You don’t need me here.  (laughing) You can interview yourself.

Jimmy Eat World, Bob Dylan, and Nickel Creek – they’re amazing!  I completely admire and loathe Chris Thile…’cause he’s just so fucking good!  He’s so good.  They all are amazing. Sarah and Sean too.  Okay… honorable mentions: Damien Rice, The Beatles.  The answer could change at any minute.
Understood….you mentioned connecting with your fans before, through myspace and email and such. A lot of your music stems from personal experiences.  When someone comes up to you after a show and says, you know, “I really connected with you because…” how does that make you feel as an artist and a person?

It completely validates everything I do.  I mean…I said “don’t let what other people think influence you” or…you know, have an effect on you, but… I think it’s a little different when it’s just… a connection with someone who understands what you’re expressing. What am I trying to say?  It…just makes it worthwhile.  Simple as that.
Talk to me about social causes for a minute.  Your new song “Invisible Child,” written for/about the Invisible Children and that cause. A lot of artists these days tend to shy away from taking any kind of stand on any social issues. They don’t want to be viewed as like, a “preachy” band or something.  And I’m not saying you are, on the contrary, I think it’s important that if you have the kind of…vocal…”power,” if you will…that musicians have, by all means, speak out.  I found out about Invisible Children through another band just a few months before your song was released on myspace but without them, that’s a few more months I’d have been in the dark.  So share with me some other social causes you feel strongly about.

Absolutely.  Well, I mean, all over Africa that stuff is going on right now. Children are being abducted by rebel groups, forced to carry guns and kill or be killed. They’re having stolen from them everything that could allow them to have normal lives, you know?  Fighting the wars and stuff… That was the one that affected me the hardest recently anyway.  I’m an environmental advocate, too, to an extent.  I mean, when I was five years old, I found out that dolphins and whales were being endangered…so I took out a box of Crayola crayons and something like fifty sheets of paper and made up my own petitions to save the whales and dolphins. I put them in my grandmother’s store and sat there all day to get her customers to sign them. A lot of people would come in, so I would just sit there for hours.  I ended up getting probably over 150 signatures, and I asked my parents to send it to Greenpeace.  (laughs) I don’t know what ever came of it, but it doesn’t matter. I was a driven little kid.  Half of helping any cause isn’t necessarily what you do, but just doing something, you know?  Just…putting energy into it.  I wish I had more time.  All I have is the songs that I write and the audiences who might listen to what I say and awaken them. But hopefully in a few years’ time, I’ll be able to actually take some time to travel and help first hand. I want to go to Africa.
That’s awesome.

It will be.

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You’re signed to One Eleven Records.  How did this come to be and…were you with them for your first album or was that all self-produced and everything?

I’ll start with the first album, which was basically an experiment not connected to any record label. FIM was just a side-project then and the album an opportunity to get in touch with a much more personal side of my creative self than I’d ever known before. I released that record on my own in May of 2004 and toured a few times on it. By then, Foreverinmotion was my main focus. After a year and a half, still unsigned, I recorded the original version of “The Beautiful Unknown” and independently released the album in June of ‘06. However, I’d sent One Eleven amongst many other labels a demo with an unmastered version of “The Rain” before the record was even finished. Seven months later, I get an email from Brad Fischetti–the owner of One Eleven–saying he loved what he heard and he wanted to hear more, so I sent him the record.  About a week later he called me up, in love with the album, and offered me a deal. From there, I don’t know if it was coincidence or what—and I don’t think it was–I started seeing the number 111 everywhere.  Everywhere!  It was ridiculous.  On signs, clocks, telephone poles, hotel room doors… everywhere… It was like my spirit guides we just reassuring my gut feeling to go for it and pursue this record deal. So I hired a lawyer, we negotiated the contract, and I signed with One Eleven at the end of 2006. We re-released “The Beautiful Unknown” with a new song, new artwork, new parts, re-mixed and remastered. I call it album version 2.0. The record dropped in May, and now here we are!
So has being signed contributed to your growth as an artist?

No. (laughing) No…
Well alright!  (laughing)

No, not to discredit One Eleven. They’ve been great. My point is, their job as a record label is to help me in the business. They’ve contributed to getting me out there, and have given me a much needed boost with their resources and financial backing. My growth as an artist is gonna come from within me.  I’m so independent that I have a hard time working with other people when it comes to my art. It has to just come from me.  It has to be organic and…not influenced by a label or a manager or a producer…it’s gotta be me.
Alright, aside from a copy of your CD, maybe a t-shirt…what do you hope people take away from your live show?

Whatever it is they need….emotionally.  Whatever it is that they’re searching for, you know?  Even just a tiny little glimpse of hope or joy or…something to relate to.
You’ve got a full band with you for this part of tour…that’s something new…

A little bird told me you were apprehensive about that…to an extent.
(laughs) Yes!  I am!  Are you going to be playing anything solo or..?

Of course!  It’s like half-and-half. Just a couple of songs to give the audience a taste of what the record sounds like, too, because there’s a lot of full-band stuff on the album.
How’s it been with them so far?

Good.  It’s fun. I love how intense the songs feel onstage with drums and electric guitars behind me.  Um…it’s definitely a different feeling, because I haven’t played with a band in two years, but I’m enjoying it. It sounds good.  My band is actually a band I borrowed for the tour called Serenata.
Are they from Vermont as well?

Yeah, they’re from Vermont.  I’ve known them since they were just little guys.  I actually taught their guitar players. I taught them a few years ago when I did lessons and they’ve made leaps and bounds since then. They’re amazing So good that I was more than happy to take them out.
And what’s been the favorite city or venue that you’ve played at so far this tour?

On this tour… Erie, PA was awesome.  Philadelphia was really cool.  Where else did we play?  Watertown, NY?  I was actually really surprised at that town.  Those are my favorites so far. Tonight should be great. I love Indianapolis.
Starting to get into the “strange” questions now…

Good.  (laughs) It’s about time.
(laughs) Gosh, sorry!  What one item can you not tour without?  And you can’t say, “the van,” “gear,” or anything obvious like that.  Do you have anything, like, sentimental that you take with you on tour?

I’m not very materialistic, but… So I can’t say like van, gear, or like, toiletries?  It has to be something…
Nothing obvious!

Okay, here’s a good one……I take this tea with me–it’s called Chaga–its more anti-oxidant than blueberries and green tea combined. Its extremely good for the immune system.  So whenever I feel like I’m getting sick I’ll just have a shot of this Chaga tea.  It’s made from a fungus that grows on birch trees. And it knocks out any virus or bad thing in your body.
I’m a tea person and I’ve never heard of that one before!

Yeah.  It’s nearly unheard of in the States. It’s big in Russia.  C-H-A-G-A…look up Chaga.  Read about it, it’s magical stuff.
Have you ever been to Russia?

Nope.
Just checking… Craziest experience on the road to date, or the strangest thing that you’ve ever seen on tour?

Strangest thing I ever witnessed was in Miami.  This car pulled up behind my van while I was loading out, and the driver runs around to the passenger’s side and opens the door and this kid falls out of the car…he’s unconscious and barely breathing.
Oh my god.

Yeah…and he’s looking really, really bad.  So everyone started freaking out.  The girl who was driving the car was freaking out. I didn’t know what was going on, but I ran inside the bar and told them to call 911 and they just said, “get the fuck outta here!” It was a sketchy british pub in Miami and they just wanted us out, they didn’t care. So, luckily a cop was driving by and we waved him down…he called the paramedics and…this kid is just getting worse by the minute, obviously, because…you know…every minute you’re not breathing it’s one minute closer to permanent damage and possible death.  Luckily they managed to revive him, but I was convinced that I was gonna see this kid die right next to my van that night.  Apparently he had overdosed on cocaine…they found a big bag in his pocket.
Okay, moving on to something happier!  Favorite road food…I hear you have a thing for peanut butter and banana sandwiches?

You know, that’s my favorite quick-fix. My favorite road food is Moe’s burritos. Southwest Grill.  The “Art Vandalay…” That’s been a favorite on this tour.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m good at impressions.
Hook me up with some.

I know, I know.  Um…how about “Smeagol” from “ Lord of the Rings,” have you seen “Lord of the Rings?”
Mmhm.

Okay… Alright…I don’t… I feel uncomfortable!
I won’t look..?

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Okay…tell me about your favorite piece of art outside your medium.

Outside my medium, it’s a drawing that my cousin did when he was 5.
Aww!  Of..?

I don’t even know.  It’s just…abstract.  I think it’s beautiful though, you know?  This…just…pure piece of expression from a child.  It’s just bunch of colors in free form.  You can almost see things in it.
Like a “Magic Eye” thing…

I wasn’t gonna say “Van Gogh” or “Monet” or anything.
Most people I ask that of are like, “Uhh…what?” At least you had an answer!  Next question though… If you were given access to a time machine and could return to any point in musical history and change something, what point would you go to and what would you change…and why?

I don’t think I’d wanna change anything, I’d just wanna witness it.
What would you wanna witness?

The sixties.  Of any time, I’d like to go to the sixties.  I’d like to go to Greenwich Village in 1962 and…hang out with Bob Dylan and like…all the folk artists.  Dave van Ronk and…Peter, Paul and Mary and…just vibe it.  Vibe it out.
With your mushroom tea?

Nah. I would just drink whatever they were drinking at the time…
Uh oh… Let’s move away from this.  What’s in your pockets right now?

(stands up and empties pockets into hands) Uh, cell phone…eye drops, because I wear contacts… Fifty cents, three guitar picks…and my wallet.

Okay.  If you could be a superhero for a day, what’s your power, and what’s your name?

The power of flight… Why not, right?
It would make touring a lot easier!

It would, it would.  If I could carry everything I needed in like, a…if I could just haul like, a flying trailer behind me, you know… Um, my name…would be…I don’t know!
(laughs)

Okay, power of flight…uh…I don’t know.  I mean, do you think “Superman” came up with that name just like that?  Or “ Batman?” Or “Spiderman?”
“Spiderman?” Definitely!

Yeah, I know… “Spiderman…” Like those are real original, you know?  I…I can’t answer that question, sorry.

You could be “Flightman!”

“Flightman…” (laughs) Yeah… “Flying Man…”
(laughs) Okay, famous last words? Anything goes here.

Half the people can be all right part the time, some of the people can be all right part of the time, but all the people can’t be all right all the time.  I think Abraham Lincoln said that?

Paraphrased…

Roughly…?
Yeah.

You can be in my dream if I can be in yours… Bob Dylan said that.

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LINKS:

www.foreverinmotion.net

www.myspace.com/foreverinmotion

www.myspace.com/teamforeverinmotion

www.myspace.com/serenatamusic

www.invisiblechildren.com

www.one.org

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