TYLER BRYANT AND THE SHAKEDOWN (2017)
TBSD are conquering the world right now with their new album. We got the chance to meet Tyler and Caleb and know a bit more about them and the music they make!
Hi guys how are you?
Tyler Bryant (vocals/guitar): Good! Have we met before?
it’s possible at La Boule Noire.
Tyler: And did we meet at Dr Feelgood?
We think so! Plus you like that place!
Tyler & Caleb: (laughs)
Caleb Crosby (drums): I love that spot!
Your new album is already out, how’s the response to it so far?
Tyler: It’s been really great. We just played the songs for the first time live (at the time of the interview) during our album release show in Nashville. They went over great live and the response on the internet around the world is pretty epic you know. We’re very excited about it.
Why is it a self-titled record? For a second full length album.
Tyler: Yes most bands do that on the first but we just got off the tour with AC/DC, we didn’t have any record label but we got the songs that we wanted to record. So we went in and started making the record with no label, no budget and we picked the songs with no A&R guys input, nothing. It was just the band and with the help of a few friends we made this album and to us it felt like we were taking the music back like it was the start of a new chapter for the band and so we decided to called it this way to reintroduce ourselves. Caleb and I were doing this for a while and we were just given the opportunity to start really getting out there. This is the fifth time we’re in Paris in like 16 months so we’ve really been working hard to show people what we’re all about and felt it was time to self-title the album.
Can you tell us more about the process? You were pretty busy when did you manage time to write those new songs?
Tyler: There’s been a couple of them that were hanging around for a while that we just never recorded and then we wrote after the AC/DC tour. The band was pretty tight because we’ve done well over 200 shows so we were playing so we decided to go into the studio and write. So we did five days in the studio together and in those five days we got five songs but one wasn’t very good. But we also did “Manipulate Me”, “Into The Black”, “Don’t Mind The Blood” and “Easy Target” so four tunes made it to the record. The other songs well some of them were already played live. Then we wrote “Heartland”, “Backfire”.
But do you try new stuff during sound checks for example?
Caleb: Sometimes a riff could come up. For example Graham’s riff on “Weak And Weepin'” that’s how that song started. But for like a good year and a half we ignored him because we played the riff all the time. I’m not even kiddin’ you. He was playing it every time and we were like “dude shup up”. (laughs) And here we are with it, properly recorded. It was cool that some of the songs people have learned in our live sets can finally listen to it today but yes once in a while something can come up during sound check or something.
Tyler: On the last record, there was a lot of the show that we’re doing the last couple of years, there was not sound checks because we were basically with Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC and like we got ten minutes. “Everything is okay? OK we’re good then”. So with all the travel it was intense. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me jam and a lot of those end up into songs. When we got home with Caleb, we meet and write every couple days, spending hours and hours making demos.
Caleb: Oh dude, just so much.
Tyler: On the record like a lot of the tracks on “Jealous Me”, “Heartland”, “Backfire”, those are all demo tracks and even “Magnetic Field” almost all the song is a demo.
It’s a bit hard to define your style. How would you define yourselves? A rock band?
Tyler: Yeah it’s like we go from an AC/DC tour to Black Label Society to Blackberry Smoke which is more roots rock. We just love music and we got influence from the blues guys, the roots in the delta, to the grunge in Seattle to the heavy rock from NY and Brooklyn. It’s all over the place. We have roots from everywhere and bring those different influences and try to make something new and fresh with it. No confine ourselves in one lane. Because I get bored if I buy a record and all the songs sound exactly the same.
Caleb: It can still be great but… We often got asked about how we sound. But I think that’s cool to have so many different layers. We’re a rock n’roll band and we take some liberties too because that’s what you should do as an artist. Evolve, change and do what inspires you at the moment because a record is a snapshot of that timeframe. We took those liberties and I think it’s fine.
Tyler: Even some bands that know what their destination is and their fans can just magically arrive, I think we’re the kind of band that’s constantly on a journey and we’re after the fans that want to get in this journey with us.
Plus your sound is particular. Looks like guitars are over compressed with some fuzz/distortion. Why this sound choice?
Tyler: I don’t know I just like it. (laughs)
Tyler: It just like the speaker ripping.
What are the songs about? Stories / life experiences?
Tyler: Yeah it’s a combination of. There’s eleven answers to that. I won’t bore you with all of that. But there’s a couple of songs inspired by what’s going on in America right now, what’s going on in the world where you have people taking sides and I feel like as artist we have to come, especially as rock n’rollers, because rock n’roll is what turns people in times of chaos. RNR is the controlled chaos that people can find some resolutions in because if you come to a show and we’re singing a song like “Don’t Mind The Blood” which is about standing up for something you believe in and not being afraid of getting your ass beat up for it because you believe in something so much. We were inspired by the woman that literally got beat up while in a wheelchair at a protest rally for her believes, that beside the point, she believes in something and fight for it. Whenever we play that song you know there’s no way that 50.000 people will agree on the same thing but somehow they will all put their hands up in the air and kind of become one. For me that’s what rock n’roll is all about. There’s certain songs like “Heartland”, “Don’t Mind The Blood” which is just us trying to spin a negative thing in a positive way. And we use rock n’roll to do what it was designed to which is bringing people together, create a sense of freedom. Then you have song like “Jealous Me” that are personal. “Into The Black” is certainly the most personal song on the record. They all come from some belief that we have.
Caleb: It’s interesting though because even if some songs relate to our home in America, it also concerns our lives and what we’re willing to stand up for with the music that we play. We’re still here and doing what we believe in, fighting for it. I love that because it’s so us and so our world right now and like he was saying regardless of what you believe in, it’s unifying in a way when you’re playing live for 50 or 50.000 people. That kind of feeling, whether it’s the lyrics or whatever, we’ve got those sing along parts and it’s like “okay I’ll forget everything what’s going on in my life because all I wanna do it’s this”. I’m just excited to fit all those live.
Why this song “Into The Black” and its vibe to end the record?
Tyler: That was a song we all wrote together with our good friend Roger who’s basically kind of the fifth member of the band. He rarely contributes to guitar riffs but he came up with a riff, recorded it on my phone and took it home and learn it in a completely different time signature, completely wrong. He came into the studio while I was playing with the chorus chords and we had a new born niece after his father passed away so we kind of write this song about the circle of life. It felt like one of the most emotional songs that we ever did as a band and we didn’t even try to rerecord it for the album because the energy was just so perfect. That’s song is just a demo from the minute we wrote it. We just felt like it was very vulnerable and honest way to show the Shakedown a different side because it’s easy for us to come out and be a “big bomb basted in your face loud as hell” rock band.
Caleb: It felt like a good final statement for us. We do shy away from songs like that sometimes. It was kind of like almost sending the record of the edge. Like that final statement was pushing it out the cliff and here we are. (laughs)
(Tyler went on for a phoner interview)
Do you agree if we say that you’re more of a live band than a studio band? Because your music is way more massive sounding on stage.
Caleb: Yeah I’ll take that. I mean that’s our thing. I think we’ve really taken our time to craft it and a lot of our music is tracked live so that does translate. I’d definitely say that we’re a live band more so than a studio band I don’t know because you can always grow right so we’re always getting better and that’s what we want to do. I totally totally, my favourite thing is being on stage.
How do you approach your live performances? You Caleb are really expressive for example.
Caleb: I don’t work on it but I do think it’s developed over the years just as far as being comfortable and feeling like you’re home and not being a nervous or whatever. I just do my thing and we also feed of each other and there’s a lot of dialogue going on between Tyler and I, most of people won’t see it. (laughs) He’ll turn around and say something, having fun. I’m expressive in a lot of ways but I also make crazy faces and a lot of those get caught on camera. (laughs) I remember a show, there was two girls taking pictures and I got super weird about it and I was trying to look right, thinking so much about it and I looked super awkward. They were taking the photos and they were cracking up laughing. Since then I was done. Don’t try to look normal or cool, just be you and don’t think about it too much. I sit behind them the whole time so I got to do something right? (laughs)
Define your band in three words.
Caleb: I would say: oh man. (laughs) Loud, proud and -oh words are hard right now (laughs)- wait for it I’m gonna get this. I’m kind of trying to find the right word for energy, charismatic energy in one word. Because we’re a loud band and we’re proud of that. It’s funny when we play small clubs like “hey are you turning the knobs down” and Tyler just put his hands on them but don’t really do anything (laughs) “yeah I turned down” “OK it’s sounds much better”. So I’ll say: loud, proud and “charismatic energy fun”. (laughs)
You’re all young. Do you think that’s a good thing in today’s music business industry?
Caleb: I think so. Honestly I think for us right now especially in the climate we’re living in, the world we’re living in, I think people are looking for a voice and looking for -I think- the rock n’roll voice as the music that make that statement. That isn’t just about regular every day stuff. I think it’s important for our generation to see someone carrying that torch and I’m not we’re the only one doing it because there’s a lot of bands out there doing it too and I’ve seen it more so now than I ever did before and I think that’s cool. That revolution is right on tip and it’s gonna happen, we’re right on the edge of it. That’s exciting for us and just see what’s happening. I feel like as we’re growing we’re also bringing more fans with us and that’s fun. I’ve been doing this for nine years for now and most people would have given up right now but, most of me says I’m glad it doesn’t happened until now because in that time so much happened. We’ve learned so much, we’ve evolved, changed and come into our own. We’re going to continue that but right now that’s great. I’m grateful for the opportunity that we’ve got lately because it has been insane and it still doesn’t feel real.
Finally we are “RockUrLife” so what rock Tyler Bryant’s and Caleb Crosby’s lives?
Tyler: (whistling like it’s a hard question) Right now it’s Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers entire catalogue. That rocks my life.
Caleb: What rocks my life right now is, I’m not home now but, what I love doing is being at home making dinner and listening to hip hop because I love doing that (laughs) just putting on a vinyl and turning it up all the way and just make dinner. For whatever reason I just like the two and paired together is something for me and I don’t know why. (laughs) Random answer but for now that’s it. (laughs)