Brad Sucks has been my pocket band for a while now. That band that I like, that very few other people have heard of, that I could pull out for my friends and say “Oh, have you heard any Brad Sucks?” and they say no, so I play them a track and I look all cool because I know of this secret awesome music that’d they had never even heard of. His track “Making Me Nervous” was a staple on my mix CDs for years. Brad’s got a new album coming out, “Guess Who’s a Mess” on November 2nd, and he traded a few emails with me to talk about the record, his music, and such.

[Scott] Tell me about your new album, “Guess Who’s a Mess”. What are your thoughts on it, and when is it coming out? I dug the first track, “In Your Face” an awful lot.

[Brad] Hey thanks, glad you like it. My thoughts on it are all weird — I feel disappointed in it but I think that happens with every record. Just gotta wait for my hopes and dreams that it’d be a masterpiece to fade. But I wanted to write a bunch of songs that were hard and loud and danceable and had neat sounds in them and I wanted to talk a bunch about dealing with society’s expectations and becoming your own person. It’ll be out November 2nd.


“In Your Face” sounds very electronic. ” “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing” had an electric guitar/rock band sound to it, and “Out Of It” seem to move more into an electronic sound. Is “Guess Who’s a Mess” continuing in that trend? How do you describe your sound on this new album?

A lot more electric guitars and synths for sure. There are hardly any acoustic guitars on it. Also I swear a lot more on this record I realize now that my friends’ kids are listening to it. There are f-bombs everywhere, what was I thinking.


You mentioned your friends and their kids. With your first album having been released nine years ago, how has time affected your music? You’re dropping f-bombs more, but what else has your experience brought to the album?

Whoo, that’s a tough one. I think musically I have a better understanding of rhythm and groove and I’m a better player overall now. A lot of my older stuff just seems so slow and sloppy but maybe that was part of its charm, I don’t know.


You’ve always been interested in using the internet to self promote. I first heard your music after finding “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing” on a new artist download site. Why use the internet? 

I’m a huge nerd so the internet was just an obvious choice. “Brad, you can move to a city with an actual music scene, tour your ass off and try to impress A&R people and maybe get signed to a label and MAYBE be successful or you can record some songs and put them up on the internet and try to get people to listen to them.” I chose the one that let me not leave my house as much.

And the internet was everything to me. I just wouldn’t have kept at music if I had to do all that other stuff. I got to put my songs out and nice people encouraged me and I slowly kept at it. I’m easily discouraged so there’s no way I’d still be doing this if it weren’t for the net.


Any plans for a tour coming up?

No plans for a real tour, just some shows around here over the next while — Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto. If this record does OK and it seems like there’s demand I might think about something for next year but otherwise I’m just looking forward to getting this album out and working on new stuff. I don’t want to take four years to come out with another thing.


A lot of your music has contrasting emotions. Songs like “Out of It” sounds musically like an upbeat pop song, but the lyrics are actually, to me at least, introspective and sad. Songs like “Dirtbag” and “Fake It” are other examples of sending a couple of different emotions at once. Is this something you’re trying to do, or, uh, is it just me looking too deeply into stuff? I do that. 

It’s not you, that’s definitely a thing I do. When a song has a certain mood I tend to push in the other direction with the words. I think it’s interesting to contrast them and also when I write a happy sounding song and I try to write happy lyrics it just feels embarrassing.


You seem to take your music career as a very DIY endeavor. Why is that, and what is the appeal there for you? 

Well, it’s just how I started and I haven’t found anything better. I’d love to have some help so I could focus on the music more but I have no idea where to find that. But I do like the simplicity, low cost and the control. I don’t have to worry about making enough money to pay a label or manager and nobody tells me what I can and can’t do with my music.


Can you tell me a little bit about your process for recording? You said you liked having control of your sound, but how are you putting it all together?

It’s nothing too fancy — I record everything with software called Reaper. I get my basic track together and then I just start layering and obsessing over details. Everything for this record was done in the box — guitar amp sims, synths, drums. I think I only mic’d my voice and the occasional acoustic guitar.


We’re kind of a nerdy site here at 9to5. Got any geek stuff to recommend? 

Latest game I really enjoyed was Sleeping Dogs, I wish it hadn’t ended. For comics, Batman: Earth One was pretty good but I’m still having a hard time finding comics that really grab me. If you’re a nerdy fight fan (MMA/UFC) you should check out the Co Main Event Podcast.

They album launch is November 2nd at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa, and you should totally check out all of his stuff until the new record comes out, like his blog, his facebook and his twitter.