Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I've pretty much always written music. Even long before I could actually play or sing, I always wrote songs just because I thought it was fun. That said, in late 2014, I had decided to do a high-school variety show for funsies, performing the song 'It Haunts Me' by Royal Bliss. Someone had taken a video of the performance and posted it on social media, where it eventually reached the band itself. They reacted to it in a positive way, which was fun, but the real catalyst came in 2015 when they came to play a show in La Crosse. They had a great performance, as they always do, and after the show, they were doing meet-and-greets. We were getting ready to leave when Neal (the vocalist) approached me and struck up a conversation. He told me that day that, if I wasn't yet planning on pursuing music, I should seriously consider it. He saw something in me that day, and I've been pursuing music ever since.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I've had quite a few crazy experiences so far in my career. I've been featured alongside Derrick Sherinian on a track, and I've watched several of the people that I went to college with absolutely blow up and carve serious names out for themselves in the industry. All of that said, the craziest thing has to be the first time that I saw someone I didn't know singing my lyrics along with me at a nearly empty show. As silly as it sounds, the thought that my completely unknown album from my completely unknown band reached someone in a way powerful enough for them to remember the words I wrote was incredibly humbling. Sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact on a person, you know?
What has been the high point of your music path?
Releasing Broken by Design for sure. Hearing all of these songs that I had written so many years ago be given life is something I'll never forget. Some of them have taken on an entirely different form as the years have passed, but some of them sound exactly the way that I had imagined them, even up to 10 years ago.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Although sometimes things take on a standard process as you'd expect, a lot of my best writing is done unconsciously. I'll zone myself out, not thinking about what I'm writing beyond "does this rhyme" and "should this rhyme". It lets me write my music from a place of pure feeling, as I'm not critiquing lines as they're written, and I'm not thinking about "how would this fit over an instrumental". I usually reread the lyrics at a later date, discover for myself what the song is truly about, fix any obnoxious or poorly written lines, and decide what to do with it from there.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
It's not necessarily a "problem" with the industry, but I do wish that managers and labels were less leery about cross-genre collaborations. There are so many fantastic collaborations that could be had that you would never expect. Tesseract and Billie Eilish? Sure! Imagine someone like Kendrick Lamar, with the unique instrumentals that he typically uses, collaborating with a band like Polyphia or Animals as Leaders. Lets hear Sam Smith and Blue October do something. We've seen collaborations from Ozzy and Post Malone. We've seen Lady Gaga perform with Metallica. We've seen Zac Brown Band and Chris Cornell work together. Even Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith. We know it can work, so why not go for it way more often than we do?
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Devin Townsend. His shows always seem so fun while simultaneously being incredibly well executed. I could learn so much from sharing the stage with him. Otherwise, definitely Royal Bliss. I love those guys, and it would definitely be a poetic collaboration for me, being that Neal is the one who ignited the spark that pulled me into this crazy music world. Sharing a stage with both of those artists is definitely high on my bucket list.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Historically, I'd usually spend a couple of months ahead of a series of shows running through "set lists" of the material I'd be performing, that way the songs are almost second nature by the time I start practicing with patter, which usually starts about a week or two before a show. While I improvise a lot on stage in terms of addressing a crowd, one can get rusty when you don't do it that much!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Soal. It has to be Soal. I love that song, but I'm not convinced that it loves me back. It started as a song with the working title "Burn the Bridge". The goal with it was to have huge orchestrated choruses and heavy, chuggy verses. Basically, imagine Soal, but with the verses or Your Lie. If that sounds a bit jarring, it's because it was. Then I discovered that piano part that eventually became the backbone of Soal and realized that these two sounds were far too different to keep as one song. The heavier parts became a track called "Defect", which was unfortunately cut from the album in the interest of pacing. The more melodic aspects of the song, after several lyric rewrites, became Soal.
What's coming up in the future?
I have a bunch of things that I'm working on! I'm a part of two bands outside of my solo project that are both planning releases sometime in the next year or so. After that, I plan on working on a set of sister albums for my solo project, one to follow up the heavy vibe of Broken by Design, and one that will be more of an exploration into softer, more melodic arrangements.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
You can find my music wherever you listen to music!
And you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under @codybrandemusic
About Cody Brande
Cody Brande is an American multi-instrumentalist and singer based out of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Born in April of 1997, he began his music career in 2015 by forming the St. Paul-based hard rock band Crux of Motion, with which he released the album 'Automaton' on YouTube throughout 2017 and 2018. He has also provided additional vocals for the Visionary album, 'Cybergenerated,' the Sylace Snow album, 'Existence/Resistance,' and the Fubahre album, 'Generic Brand Rock Stars.'
He began pursuing a solo career in 2019 after Crux of Motion went on an indefinite hiatus, beginning by pursuing a short-lived career as a studio vocalist-for-hire. After feeling dissatisfied with his lack of creative freedom when working as a hired-on musician, he decided to pursue his musical interests by beginning work on his debut album in early 2020. The album, Broken by Design' was released on May 6th, 2022, and combines influences from Hard Rock, Progressive Metal, Ambient, Neue Deutsche Härte, and Nu Metal. When asked to describe his work, Cody referred to it as "...music to make you feel things, whether those things are happy and cathartic or sad and harrowing."