SJBRAVO is a new upcoming synth-pop artist that has taken us all by surprise since the arrival of his debut EP ‘We Never Dream’. The mysterious songster spoke to GIGsoup about his love for retro visuals and similarly towards his love for 90’s tinged synth-pop. Read our interview about how his influences stir up to create some timeless pop music and a bit of knowledge into his various tools for writing…
What were you first steps in music? What instruments did you first learn to play?
I just always wanted to play the guitar, so eventually, I got going on that, set up a band before I could really play very well, and that was that. I couldn’t really sing, but neither could anyone else I knew, so I ended up doing that too.
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What made you want to pursue a career in music?
I don’t think I ever really made a choice – it was just that music was the only thing that I was both good at, and interested in. I’ve just never been able to not be involved with music.
How did you approach writing songs from the EP? Did they begin stripped-back on piano?
They all started in different ways. I believe that We Never Dream started on a guitar, whereas Waterline begun with a beat that my good friend Goodbrain had produced. The other two tracks have had a varied start too. Baby Don’t Go ended up being constructed from bits of two separate songs that seemed destined to go together.
How long did you spend writing towards ‘We Never Dream’ EP?
I actually did some digging into the SJBRAVO archives for this, and the first demo for We Never Dream (the lead track) was written in 2012. That seems like a huge amount of time, and it is, but I really wanted to ensure that I had my sound locked down before I launched the project as a whole. Over that time, I’ve built up a large catalogue of material, so from here on out, my releases will hopefully have less of a gestation period.
To me SJBRAVO appears as a very mysterious artist, your EP cover shows a silhouette in front of with some big colours.. How do you think your image ties in with your music?
I’m very inspired by retro visuals – smoke machines, gradients, so we try to incorporate some of that into the graphics we create. I work with my live drummer Matt (aka CasioGhost), as he’s a graphic designer by trade. I’m very lucky in that I have a great team of creatives that I work with on a variety of projects, so pretty much everything comes from in-house.
Who are your biggest artist inspirations? and have they changed since you first started writing music?
I guess my inspirations change fairly regularly, and there’s quite a wide range of them. I’m not sure that they come through in my music, but songwriting wise, I’m influenced by Hall and Oates, and Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac. Sound wise, I’m inspired by more modern electronic pop like Passion Pit, and the whole retrowave scene.
I’m interested to know how you turn the studio experience in your tracks into your live show.. How does your live show appear? Do you play with a band?
The live set up is fairly simple, it’s just myself and Matt. We keep it that way so that we can travel easier. I also move around the stage a bit too much to fit on there with a full band, so it works out perfectly. I used to gig with a ten-piece band, which was amazing, but perhaps slightly indulgent.
Which producers and artists would you love to work with in the near future?
I’m hugely into the retrowave/synthwave scene, and am trying to collaborate with a variety of producers from that genre. I’ve got a track coming out with Sunglasses Kid on his album very soon, so that’s one ticked off the list, but there are still a load of others I’d love to do stuff with.
From this EP release, are you to take this to some live shows soon?
We will be playing live very soon, and are in the process of arranging some shows right now.
Which track off ‘We Never Dream’ means the most to you and why?
They’re all special in their own way, but We Never Dream will always have a special place due to the theme, and the way it came about. I wrote it with a very good friend of mine, James, and it took so long to be complete, simply because we’re both such perfectionists.
Listen to ‘We Never Dream’ above