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Conversations: An Interview with Kevin Weiss of Brothers Weiss

One reason I chose Brothers Weiss as a band you should go see in 2014 (yes, I’m bossy) is that I knew their EP release for Conversations was right around the corner. Another reason is that they fucking rock. The release is now upon us and the dudes have gone about introducing fans to the new tracks in a very cool way; each single from Conversations was paired with a piece of artwork and released digitally over the past couple weeks. Four tracks (“Conversations,” “March,” “Light Bulb” and “The Shortcut”) are up now with another coming soon.

The band’s EP release show at Soda Bar this Friday promises to be a bitchen time. They’ll get a little help from local garage-pop band Buddy Banter and a fantastic blues-rock duo from Fresno, Strange Vine.

Brothers Weiss is in fact comprised of two brothers – Kevin (drums) and Ryan (guitar) along with their good friend Miguel Ramirez (vocals/bass). Together the trio creates a wild sonic experience laced with indie rock goodness and harnessed by Ramirez’s raw and passionate vocals. Read on for more on the band, the artwork, and the release show in this interview with Kevin Weiss.

Brothers Weiss - Photo by David Rumley

Brothers Weiss – Photo by David Rumley

Sounds in San Diego: Have to start with the boring age ol’ question: How did Brothers Weiss get together as a band?

Kevin Weiss: Brothers Weiss began as a project that Ryan and I started in late 2012 after Ryan had left his old band and I returned from living in Charleston, SC.  We started writing and realized we needed a bass player to fill in the sound and also someone who had a more lead vocalist voice.  We immediately thought of Miguel who I had been in a band with previously, and he was just the right fit- not only musically, but also personality wise.  As soon as the three of us starting writing together, we really felt like we had found a dynamic between the three of us that would work for what we wanted to accomplish.  We played our first show in March of 2013.

SiSD: How did you decide to record an EP this time versus a full-length record? Do you have plans for a full-length soon?

KW: I think we wanted to have a specific focus and display select songs that we felt really introduced who we are as a band but also take people on a journey.  I think sometimes when you’re first release is a full length, songs can get lost in the crowd, and your sound can become less defined.   We still have a lot of growing and evolving to do as a band, but these songs are ones that we really enjoy and love to play.  I think when the time is right, we would love to release a full length.

SiSD: The concept of pairing each single from Conversations with a piece of artwork from an artist is a really unique way to bring attention to both your songs and the work of these artists. How did that idea come about and how did you find the artists you used?

KW: This was an idea Ryan had because of his connection with so many artists here in San Diego and abroad.  You have people that do visual art and go to art shows, and you have people that create music and go to music shows, and we felt like bridging that gap would bring attention to the art in both and the artists who created them.  All of the artists are close friends of ours.  Most are in San Diego, but one goes to RISD (Matt Mahoney), and one lives in England (Matt Syms).  Each artist was randomly given a demo of a song with lyrics, and then we told them to listen to the song and read the lyrics, and whatever they felt inspired to create was up to them.  They really put in a lot of work, and we couldn’t have asked for more amazing artwork than what they all gave us.

brothersweisspics

Clockwise from upper left:
artwork for “Conversations” by Chris Konecki, “The Shortcut” by Matthew Bradley, “Light Bulb” by Matt Syms and “March” by Matt Mahoney

SiSD: I’m glad you put the lyrics up with the new tunes- they’re quite poetic. Who does the writing and where do you draw inspiration for your songs?

KW: Miguel writes almost all of the lyrics, and I think he gets most of his inspiration from the Land Before Time movie series.  I think they are still making sequels, so he has plenty of content to choose from.

SiSD: You each have interesting “day jobs” – Ryan -PhD chemist, Kevin -elementary chess teacher, and Miguel- youth symphony director – Do your coworkers at your jobs know you’re out rocking stages around San Diego after hours?

KW: They do for the most part, but I think we all try to not talk about it too much while we are working.  All of our jobs have a teaching element to them, and as soon as you tell your students that you play rock and roll, they would rather talk about that and can sometimes take you less seriously (as if rock and roll isn’t serious 🙂 ) But honestly, a lot of coworkers that are interested and do know, have been more than supportive, and we thank them so much for their continued support and for coming out to our shows.

SiSD: I imagine the EP release show this Friday feels like the culmination of a lot of hard work. Do you have anything special up your sleeve for this performance?

KW: Yes we do.  We have some special guests and other rabbits coming out of our hats, but you will have to come to find out.  It’s gonna be a fun one.  We can’t wait.

SiSD: Last but not least, the Five S’s of Sounds in San Diego:

Sound You Love: Jurassic Park theme song

Sound You Hate: Out of tune guitar

Spot in San Diego You Have to See: The Coronado Bridge at night on top of someone’s roof

San Diego Band You’re a Fan Of: Get Back Loretta

Song That Makes You Smile: “Bohemian Rhapsody”-Queen

Get tickets for the EP release here, listen to their recent interview on The Nardcast here, and check out this sweet video courtesy of Brothers Weiss’ biggest fan, Dustin Lothspeich:

For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.

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About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

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