Kevin Brandon: Brandino Is In The House
AAJ: What songs would be on your dream set list? Remember, this is a dream list so it can be long.
KB: My song, " Where is the World Going," would be the song I would like to perform with these greats; after that it would have been all said.
AAJ: As you progress as an artist and a composer, does the creative process associated with writing new music become easier or harder?
KB: It's a little bit of both. Sometimes things come spiritually inspired and it goes the way it's supposed to; then there are times that you are looking for that right phrase and it might come in a day, week, or month. You never know about the creative process.
AAJ: How important have the internet and social media been to you as an artist?
KB: It's something everybody needs to deal with and, if you use it to your advantage, it can help you reach out globally in ways you could never do in the past. In 1987, I started going back to school, dealing with computer classes in media to stay on top of where technology was heading and how I could use it to my advantage as an artist and in my business.
AAJ: How difficult and time consuming is it to stay on top of your social media responsibilities?
KB: It's real hard and time consuming. You really need to allocate your time wisely and focus on what you are trying to write, record, or market in the entertainment world.
AAJ: How much time do you spend practicing?
KB: About two hours a day
AAJ: How much time did you use to spend practicing?
KB: About eight to ten hours a day.
AAJ: Who are your jazz heroes?
KB: Louis Armstrong.
AAJ: Who are your rock heroes?
KB: Jack Bruce.
AAJ: Who are your bass heroes?
KB: Slam Stewart.
AAJ: How would you describe your musical style?
AAJ: What do you do for fun?
KB: Work on my 1965 Ford Econoline van.
AAJ: What is your favorite restaurant?
KB: RJ Southern Home Cooking Restaurant in Downey, CA.
AAJ: How did your family influence your development as an artist?
KB: They introduced me to a lot of different kinds of music.
AAJ: How important is chemistry with fellow band members when you are on tour?
KB: Without chemistry in your band, you don't have a band, you have individuals playing what they want to play individually, instead of collectively.
AAJ: What was your formal musical training like?
KB: Classical flute lessons in high school from Milton Hall, Watts, CA; harmony by Walter Piston; techniques of 20th Century composition by Leon Dalin; 20th Century harmony by Vincent Persichetti; counterpoint by Kent Kennan, and more.
AAJ: Did reading music come easy to you?
KB: It was hard at first but when you enjoy playing an instrument, you want to perform as much music on that instrument as you can, to open up possibilities performance-wise.
AAJ: Are there any musicians in your family?
KB: My sister played piano and my brother played saxophone and piano. My parents did not play.
AAJ: How supportive was your family with respect to your early adventures in music?
KB: Really supportive, music gave me a chance, It kept me out of trouble so that was good, but it also gave me a chance to excel where I knew I could.
AAJ: How has jazz influenced your life and music?
KB: Jazz is part of my DNA.
AAJ: Who were your early jazz influences?
KB: All the greats!
AAJ: Who are your current jazz influences and likes?
KB: I really don't have though influences anymore. They do what they do and I do what I do.
AAJ: How would you describe yourself as a person?
KB: Very positive and energetic.
AAJ: How would you describe yourself as a musician?
KB: I really don't judge myself; you tell me, you heard me play.
AAJ: What do you do for fun?
AAJ: How do you relax?
KB: Chamomile tea.
AAJ: What was your most embarrassing experience on stage?
KB: Breaking a high G string in the middle of the show Dream Girls, where there are no stops in the music.
AAJ: What were some of you special on stage moments and memories?
KB: The time Aretha performed at Navy Pier in Chicago and the band kept playing for about 20 minutes after she had already left the stage. The band was so much in a groove and trance; we didn't know she had actually left the stage.
AAJ: Describe a typical day in your life when you are on tour?
KB: Get up, get some breakfast in the hotel café, wait for the band to collectively unite and get to the next city to perform and start it all over again the next day.
AAJ: Describe a typical day in your life when you are home.
KB: Coffee in the morning, feed the dogs, turn on the computer, check email, practice, run errands. Come back and start writing, go to the studio to record on an album. Make sure If I have any writing assignments for the week, if not go have some fun.
AAJ: How do you balance your home life and your professional life?
KB: It's a challenge some time, but if you focus on the duties you have in front of you and plan your time. You can be amazed how much you can accomplish.
AAJ: What is the most difficult aspect of your work?
KB: Meeting two or three deadlines at the same time.