Rachel Brooke - Sound In The Signals Interview

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First off thanks for the interview

-Thanks for asking me to do it.

You’ve got a new album coming out called Down In The Barnyard. Can you tell me a little about what the recording process was like for the album and why you decided on that particular title?

-Well the recording process took a long time. I have a small studio set up here at home, and I would work on it here and there, when I was inspired to do so. I think that having a studio at home has its advantages, as you don’t have to waste anyone else’s time, but it also can lead to procrastination. ...that was my problem. But, I also made sure that I didn’t force myself to work on it..I think it’s best to wait for the inspiration (and the good mood) to write/record.

This was honestly only my second real project that I ever recorded. I learned A LOT from my first try and did my best here at home. I recorded everything at home except for the drums. After I was through I took it up to my brothers (real studio) and we recorded the drums. Then he fixed a lot of my recording mistakes. Ha ha. He is a genius when it comes to engineering and really helped me a lot. He helped me mix, and also mastered the album. We also gave it a lot of warmth with the reel to reel. I don’t trust a lot of people when it comes to engineering. They are always wanting to change things, or push you to do things you don’t want to do. My brother and I know each other very well, and it’s cool because he knows exactly what I want to hear in the production. It worked out very well.

As for the title, it kind of just came to me. The word “barnyard” sounds good to me. Actually it came to me a few years ago, and I am the type of person who has a hard time making decisions. So when “Down in the Barnyard” sounded good to my ears, and felt right, I never considered anything else. It’s just the way it was meant to be, I think.

If you had to pick one track off the new album that you would say would be your favorite for people to listen to first what track would it be and why?

-The first track I would want people to hear is actually the first track cd. I did that on purpose. Ha ha. It is “The Barnyard”. The reason is because it sets the mood for the rest of the album. I tell a lot of stories on this one, and it really has the old-timey feel of murder ballads, and stories. “The Barnyard” is probably my favorite of the story songs.

You are a big part of the underground country(ish) movement that is supported by sites and events like Muddy Roots and Saving Country Music. It really seems like this movement is starting to gain a lot of momentum. What caused you to approach your musical career in the way you have and what do you think of the current musical landscape for similar artists to yourself?

-It does seem like this movement is gaining momentum, and that’s great! I think it’s so cool that there are so many people and bands out there who are finally seeing the light…ah but I could write a novel about that…

As for myself, it sort of just happened. I was lucky enough to actually be raised in house where bluegrass was played constantly. I literally woke up to a banjo every morning. As I grew up, my dad showed me the way to play country and bluegrass guitar and recruited me to play gigs with him. That’s where I started to find my voice…but I never ever thought to make a cd, or try anything with it. To me it wasn’t about recognition, or touring, or selling cds, or being on stage, the center of attention. I just play music because it’s the only thing I know. There was one person who said I should make a c.d and get it out there (my bonk) and so I did. From there, it’s just been working out somehow. I guess people like it.

As for this movement, there are some amazing bands, and people out there who are doing it for the same reason I do. And I KNOW there are some good things to come of it. It’s real. And it’s only still “underground” because the masses don’t know about it yet. But, whether it stays underground, or does get out to the mass public, I don’t think anyone, or anything is going to stop it. It’s pretty strong.

You did an album with Lonesome Wyatt called Bitter Harvest that has really generated a lot of buzz for this upcoming solo album. What was it like working on that project and how do you think it impacted the interest in your solo music?

-Working on A Bitter Harvest was a lot of fun. Wyatt was essentially the mastermind behind the production of it, but we each wrote half the songs on it, and then sang on each other’s stuff. It was great. I think that working with Lonesome Wyatt really helped me out in a lot of ways. I gained a lot of new fans with that album..and there are plans for another one!

I saw a video recently of you performing a Misfits cover acoustically. I think it’s really interesting that a lot of the new country(ish) movement seems to draw from a lot of punk and rock influences that maybe haven’t been explored by artist in the genre much. What are some artists that inspire you and why? What are some artists you like to listen to that maybe people wouldn’t expect you too like?

I get inspiration from a lot of different things, and a variety of artists. I am always in awe of artists such as the Carter Family, and Hank Williams, and even Fats Domino. They inspire me everyday by their power of simplicity. It’s just beautiful stuff. But sometimes I hear a band or artist that inspire me to do it better. And I do. ;)

As far as artists that I like that people wouldn’t expect? Hmmm..I like a lot of old punk rock, and I have a soft spot for Megadeth. And I really love 1960’s folk music. The Everly Brothers, Peter Paul and Mary..all that vocal harmony and one-guitar kind of stuff. LOVE IT.

You are playing the Muddy Roots Festival this year. Is this your first year playing? What made you interested to participate in the event?

-Yes this is my first year playing Muddy Roots, and I am SOOOOOO excited for it. It’s going to be such a great time! I was always interested in playing the event, but Darren of Farmageddon Records approached me about playing as part of a “Farmageddon Showcase” So of course I said yes! There are tons of good bands playing, and to be honest I’m more excited about seeing old friends, and meeting new ones than actually playing. But I’m also looking forward to performing..don’t get me wrong.

You are going on tour with Those Poor Bastards in March. For those unfamiliar with the group it features Lonesome Wyatt. Do you have plans to play many songs off the Bitter Harvest album for fans?

-Yes! I’m sure we will be playing some of the songs from A Bitter Harvest! That is going to be a good tour. I’m really looking forward to it.

Who are your top two favorite female vocalist that you would say you are inspired by?

This is a very hard question for me. I enjoy and respect lot of female vocalists, but I’m not really inspired by their voices. I’m inspired by good lyrics, and the delivery of them, I guess. With that said, I would say that my top two female artists that I am inspired by are Sara Carter and Maybelle Carter.

I guess that about wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have any closing comments you’d like to make?

-Yes I do! I would like to mention that I have a lot of new ideas and projects coming up. I’m currently recruiting a few people that I think would match well with me for live shows. If it all works out as planned, it will be an AMAZING live show. They are real close friends of mine, and I’m working that out now.

As I mentioned before, there will be another Lonesome Wyatt and Rachel Brooke album coming soon! I’m REALLY excited for that one.

Lastly, there is another project in the works called “Modern Mal” ..more info on that band to come. I have a lot of things cooking, and I promise they will all kick your ass.

Thanks again for asking me to do this. It was fun! I hope to see you, and those reading this out at a show sometime! Thanks for the support, it means a lot to me

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