Q: Your latest song, “Better Angels”, is beautifully written and produced. What was the inspiration behind this track?
OCTOBER BRIGADE: It’s definitely an emotional song. It’s a song about heartbreak, really, and the journey to learn, grow, and keep moving forward through it. We all can relate to the struggle to listen to the better angels of our nature, and through the hurt find a way to rise above – whether it’s personal, societal, cultural, whatever – there’s plenty of divisiveness to go around, and whether it’s personal, like a failed relationship, or some larger issue like human rights, it creates an opportunity for healing and unity. The music reflects those emotions often associated with that struggle: sometimes delicate and fragile – other times epic and powerful.
Q: Walk us through the making of the music video for “Better Angels”? Which scene is your favorite?
OCTOBER BRIGADE: Making this video was really fun. The challenge was coordinating with Liel in Israel to film her performance, then editing and collaborating on sequencing and imagery. Liel filmed her performance in a studio with various lighting angles, then we added some location footage to give it the epic feel to match the sound of the music. We really felt like the imagery should convey the emotion of the song – the stark, cold, sometimes isolated feeling of recovering from hurt and the search for a way forward. Some of the best scenes in the video are the ones that display the vastness of the feelings they represent, and favorites are definitely those with Liel in the studio with the lighting behind her and it’s so cold, if you watch closely, you can see her breath as she sings – it really ties the whole theme together and really is just great artistry on her part as well as awesome camera work.
Q: This isn’t the first time you’ve teamed up with Liel Bar-Z on music. How did this working relationship come about and what have you learned from collaborating with her?
OCTOBER BRIGADE: Liel is amazing. We feel really fortunate to be able to work with some awesome musicians from around the world. The relationship started as we put this project together initially, we knew we wanted to utilize the power of technology and our love for collaborating with others to find a way to bring all these components together and make something uniquely interesting. Sites like Airgigs and Soundbetter are packed full of awesome artists who love music like we do just looking for an opportunity to follow their passion and make some music. We were working on one of our early songs, “No Tears for Tomorrow,” and knew we wanted some real power and emotion to take it to the next level, and that’s when we found Liel.
Collaborating with Liel has really taught us the depth of just how universally powerful music is. As we put these songs together, we knew we had an idea of where we’d like them to go, but the best part is letting go and empowering Liel (and the other musicians we collaborate with) to take whatever feeling the song evokes and letting that drive the performance. The result is always powerful, heartfelt, and genuine, and inevitably takes the song to another level – and that has definitely been the most rewarding part of these projects. We love seeing the song take on a life of its own through those contributing to it.
Q: Describe October Brigade’s sound in 3 words.
OCTOBER BRIGADE: Epic electronic grooves
Q: How has living in Chicago shaped you as musicians?
OCTOBER BRIGADE: Chicago has an incredible music scene – very culturally and artistically diverse. Awesome venues from small clubs, auditoriums, and all-out concert halls, there is always something for everyone – and it’s definitely a scene that knows how to appreciate music in all its forms, shapes, sounds – whatever. The really cool part is that while people may have their favorites, we’re all just as equally welcoming and appreciative of the multitude of bands and sounds and styles out there. That is probably the biggest takeaway: being able to listen and appreciate all kinds of music, and latch on to that as inspiration for our own expression.
Q: What is coming up next for you?
OCTOBER BRIGADE: We have a number of songs in production right now as well as more already scheduled for release. We’ve collaborated with drummers in UK; Guitarists in Serbia, Netherlands, and Italy; singers in Spain, Israel, Netherlands, and L.A.; keyboard players in Nashville – and many more, you name it – and are always looking for more opportunities to work with some really amazing people. We have more songs with Liel in the works right now!
Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant