The Brevet, is a young American band from sunny Southern California. They have a mutual love for making powerful music in their mobile home park studio that hugs the 405 freeway. By combining Americana rock, sweeping orchestral tracks, gang vocals, unforgettable choruses and connective emotional lyrics, The Brevet passionately spills their hearts through cinematicsounds which has led to fans and critics labeling them as one of the first in the ‘Epic Americana’ genre. We sat down with Aric Damm (vocals, guitar) and David Aguiar (backing vocals, drums) following their latest EP release E M B E R S: Ch.2.
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Sean Ritchie: I know you’re from Irvine, California, talk a little bit about what makes that destination home. What about the atmosphere really stands out to you?
Aric Damm: I’ve always called Irvine home. I grew up there as a kid. So, for me, that is home. There’s no real thing that draws me to it, it’s just a super safe and nice city. It’s nice to come back to when we’re traveling. Just to come back to, what I call, the bubble. But, Orange County in general has a really big music scene. A lot of bands come out of Orange County — Young the Giant, Thrice, Rage Against the Machine, No Doubt. All these bands have come out of there.
I think what’s the coolest thing about the city is that a lot of schools are super supportive. Super backing of a lot of bands. They encourage the music programs there. I would say that’s the biggest thing about Irvine that makes it home. I don’t feel like I’m having to become a doctor, or something.
SR: Right, you can just be who you want to be. That’s pretty sick. How did you initially get your start in music? What was your first, real introduction to it?
AD: I’ve always been playing music. Michael [Jones] and I, as a piano player, we’re best friends since second grade. Right around when Michael was taking piano lessons in sixth-seventh grade, I was taking guitar lessons. Originally, we came into it to make covers, like Nirvana or whatever we could at the time. Then, it just evolved into writing our own songs. We’ve always had that inclination into keep writing our own stuff. That would be my first real memory of writing.
What encouraged me to be more out-of-the-box, was when I was in high school. I played football and tore my labrum my senior year. I had to do an elective, and theater was an easy [one]. So, I took that and the theater teacher kept really, really pushing me to do plays. I was always like, “I’m not going to audition for your plays.” He signed me up without me knowing. I had to audition and I got one of the lead roles in a musical. So, from that point on is the first time I had vocal lessons. I credit a lot to him for forcing me to learn about my voice and discover it.
SR: That’s cool how it kind of happens naturally, with a little bit of outside force. I know myself, I blew out my knee playing soccer in high school, and had dreams of doing something with that. But, it didn’t happen, and if it did, I wouldn’t be doing SCP.
AD: It’s all for a reason man! I definitely would have never taken a vocal lesson, if I didn’t want to look like an idiot up on stage. He totally forced me into this music theater. He actually told me that I had a great range. I never would have known, I thought I had a [cruddy] voice. It made me more confident and made me feel like it could be an actual thing.
SR: To fast forward a little bit, how does your sound now as The Brevet, really embody Southern California? Or, how did you pull inspiration from that area?
AD: I don’t know if it does necessarily. We never went in with that intention. We listened to this big, eclectic groups of bands. When I was growing up I was really into the hardcore, like Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold and all these other bands from Orange County. Which is bizarre, it’s a totally different style. A lot of bands have a lot of emotion in them obviously, aggressive emotion, and I think I was definitely inspired by certain elements of that.
SR: Nice, now to tie it into travel, how does music and travel fit together for you?
AD: I think my favorite thing about traveling in general is listening to music. The coolest thing about it is I like songs that make you think, that make you dig into an emotion. When you’re driving you’re around so many beautiful things, especially around the [United States] there are so many visuals. You’re constantly stimulated. Music that makes you think is a really cool thing. It plays a really, really cool part into your drive. You’ll find a certain moment in life and think back to it, like a song comes on and you’ll remember that drive. I think that’s a cool thing that plays differently in all of us.
AD: Yeah, so a lot of the way we traveled was backpacking. We’d go to these really beautiful, scenic places with vast landscapes — Yosemite. A lot of outdoors type of stuff. It’s definitely what inspired The Brevet for sure, larger-than-life landscapes. I’m going to really quick open this up on put David, or drummer on, he just came in.
SR: Nice to tie you in. So, when you do have some down time are you normal a mountain-type dude, in the countryside or more towards the beach?
David Aguiar: I think the mountains a little more. There’s so much traffic at the beach, where we’re at, I think going somewhere and getting a little more peace of mind and wide open spaces. I think it opens more creative avenues.
SR: Definitely, just switching it up from what normal, everyday life is.
DA: Yeah, where we’re at we’re kind of spoiled being so close to the beach and not too far from the mountains.
SR: For sure! On a broader level, everyone has a list of places that they haven’t been to, but want to see. What are three destinations or cities, not necessarily for music, that you want to hit?
DA: I was actually talking to a bartender the other day that was from Greece, and I was telling her how much I wanted to go to Greece and see Athens. It’s a place rooted in deep culture, has a huge history. My family is from Portugal. They’re from a group of islands off the coast of Portugal. So, I’ve been there a few times, but I’ve never been to mainland Portugal. That’s definitely a bucket-list thing, both on a personal level and as a musician. I want to get out, go to Europe, take some time and go to Spain. Those two would be massive.
AD: For me, I would love to travel in Germany. I’ve been to Germany once, on a backpacking trip, it was so beautiful. That would be one place I definitely want to go to for sure. Within the US though, man there are so many beautiful areas in the US. I really, really enjoyed when we were on tour going to Boston. I’d never been to Boston before, didn’t really know what I would think about it, but I loved it.
AD: I love American culture and history. So, how deeply rooted that city is in American history — Paul Revere and all these other cool things. The cobblestone roads too. I just loved all of that.
DA: Our guitar player, John, he went to Berklee [College of Music] in Boston. So, when we were there we got a grand tour. He wanted to show us everything. All of the historical monuments and stuff, he was all over.
We’re actually going to Canada next month. We’re doing two festivals up there — Jasper [Folk Music Festival], in Jasper National Park, which looks incredible. It looks absolutely gorgeous.
SR: Yeah, we actually write a lot about that! Lake Louise is insanely beautiful.
DA: Then we’re doing Kaleido Fest, a few days after that. I’ve been up there before, on a road trip. When we’re going to a place where we want to personally go, and get to play music, it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s like the best job in the world.
SR: That actually leads me into my next question. One of our objectives with SCP is to bring people together while traveling, and music is a huge avenue for that, because intrinsically, music brings people together. How special is it for you to perform, bring people together and do it in different cities across the world?
AD: I think that with The Brevet lyrically, we’ve always had the theme of hope and overcoming certain obstacles in life. Love is another one of our main themes. It’s really cool, especially when we’re playing shows to have people come up to us and tell us that a song inspired them. Those things translate anywhere, really. Everyone goes through hard times and difficulties. Music is such a universal language, it’s cool to bring people together in that sense. One of the special things for us, as a band, is to meet other bands from different locations. It’s a comradery, I guess. We’ve met so many incredible musicians, and maybe they’re music isn’t something that we’d listen to every day, but there’s such comradery.
SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, looking forward to the next couple of months, I know you said you’re touching on Canada, but do you guys have anything else planned?
AD: We’re constantly in the studio and recording all the time. We have the luxury of having our own studio down by us. So, we record all the time, but we just put out this new EP, E M B E R S: CH. 2 [August 5th]. We’re really excited to start playing that for people. We’re really excited on that.