Doug Brown of Safetysuit
Sometimes life’s most precious lessons can be learned in a song. Nashville based quartet SafetySuit knows this better than anyone. On May 12th, their debut album Life Left to Go hit stores. The album is titled after a song on the disc that talks of suicide and encourages listener’s not to ever give up, it is just a small glimpse into the consciousness of this band. While the lyrics may carry a message, the melodies sure pack a punch. Radio ready hit after hit flow from track to track on this album with each song a little catchier than it’s predecessor.
With the first single Someone Like You already eating it’s way up the charts and becoming a fan favorite, the band is excited about what the future brings for SafetySuit. The name, definitive of the solid friendship among the band members and their ease with one another is a constant reminder of how well they get along and how much that contributes to their overall creativity. While this may be your first introduction to SafetySuit it likely will not be your last so sit back, open your ears, open your mind and enjoy…..
Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty & Mary Ouellette
Your album drops on May 13th, it has to be a day you’ve had marked on your calendar for awhile, do you have any special plans for the release date?
Surprisingly no. We will be on the road promoting the record just like any other day. It’s an exciting time, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
Your band really started as a grassroots effort with friends getting together to play and it just sort of took off from that. What do you think you’ve learned the most about yourself from that first battle of the bands that you won until now?
I think a great lesson we’ve learned is that your capacity is always more than you think. We have had so many times where we couldn’t see how something was going to work out, but we worked hard, pushed through and now we are where we are. I guess just don’t sell yourself short.
You made the choice to relocate to Nashville before you had a record deal or any sort of representation which was a pretty gutsy move, what convinced you to do that?
The decision pretty much made itself… in order to grow as a band we needed to relocate. It was a hard choice, but one that needed to happen.
For your record on Universal you chose to be very loyal and stick with a producer who you’ve worked with in the past, how important was it to you to stick with Greg Archilla?
It was really important, but not so much because of loyalty, but because he was the best candidate.
You attribute a lot of your creativity to being in band with friends you’ve been friends with for a long time and really being able to be yourself around them, can you take us through the writing process for the band?
I actually end up writing the majority of the songs in my head. I like to make sure that the songs can stick up there for a while before I get too excited. Once they make it through that little test I take them to the guys and the arrangement process begins. This is the hardest part. We try to challenge each other musically and make sure no one is just playing for the sake of playing. Man, this answer could go on forever… Short version: I write the songs in my head, we all arrange them, stick em’ in the oven and bam… a song.
You named the album after one of the songs on it “Life Left To Go” which carries a pretty big message, can you tell us a little bit about the song?
Life Left To Go is a song that speaks to someone who is contemplating suicide. There are so many people that go through life feeling like nobody cares and nobody sees them. We just wanted to put a song on the record that said “I see you, don’t give up.”
Another song that blew me away was “Annie”. I really do believe in the message you are sending. Your lyrics are meaningful and powerful! There is nothing cliché about you. How important is it to you to get a powerful messages across in your music?
It is really important. I think that music has the ability to do what few things can and that’s move people. It’s our responsibility as artists to make sure that our music moves people to something better. We want to write songs that empower people and that make them feel better then when they started.
In April you did a show in Michigan at The Machine Shop. You ran into a girl outside and touched her life pretty deeply. Liz was separated from Todd, yet they were at the show together. You guys listened to her story, gave her hope, then asked her to pick a number. She picked #6 which correlated to the song “Stay” and you dedicated that song to them. Guess what? They are together, and making it work… with their three children, and Liz credits you guys for helping make that happen. I can only imagine how this might make you feel… thoughts?
I’m blown away by that whole story. The fact that we were able to do that for them was amazing, but at the end of the day the real credit goes to them for having the courage to stick it out and make it work. I think the best thing to take away from that situation is that it isn’t always big things that change lives, its people taking the time to notice each other and doing what they can to help. That’s something we can all do.
I read your blog on MySpace and you mention that you spent the last month hitting radio stations to introduce yourselves and your music, any cool moments from that month you can share with us?
To be honest it was all awesome. We had no idea what to expect, but at every stop we met cool people and had a great time doing it.
Per a MySpace bulletin on May 4th – “27 Days, 33 States and over 10,000 miles… and we still like each other” – does it every get tough to spend every waking moment with the same group of guys?
Not really. It would be if we had been thrown together as a band, but we have been friends for so long that we know how to interact with each other without killing anybody.
“Someone Like You” just secured a spot in the top 40 on the Alternative chart and are #27 this week on Billboard’s Hot Modern Rock tracks. How does that make you feel?
Great. It’s nice to see that our hard work is paying off. We still have a long way to go, but to see our name up there is really amazing.
For people who will be hearing about Safetysuit for the first time when they read this interview, what is the one thing that you want them to know about the band?
We are here to make great music. We don’t feel entitled to your respect, but we would like the chance to earn it.