Brave Season ditches the album game with its new ‘Single Series’
How Brave Season’s singer whittled his band down to the basics
Elmer Martinez has some issues with his band’s debut full record.
Brave Season’s album, On Long Distance and the Ties That Held Us Together, a blend of emo, punk and math rock, was released last June. But the songs were written more than a year earlier. Because the music Martinez writes is so deeply personal and emotive, he says, that felt like a really long time for fans to wait to hear his art.
“I was in a different part of my life when I wrote those songs,” Martinez explains now. “We had been working on those songs for a year in one form or another. A lot of those things just kind of passed. Now I’m writing stuff that’s freshly happening to me.”
Lately, he’s taken a totally new approach to getting his music out. In November Martinez launched a “Singles Series” with two songs on Bandcamp. The next single will drop March 25.
Martinez says he likes the immediacy that the series offers him.
“I’m playing these songs fresh. I won’t have to wait for myself to get completely over it,” he says.
The series also addresses another problem Martinez says he had with the full-length. With On Long Distance, he says, the band members were pulling the record into different directions musically.
Ultimately, Martinez says, the record lacked a cohesive sound. That’s less important with the single series because each release only features two or three songs.
“I view the album more as a demo because it’s disjointed. I want the songs to fit together and to flow into each other,” Martinez says. “The Singles Series is very much about experimentation.”
For now, he adds, he’s holding off on making another full-length record.
“A good album is just a very cool work of art. I guess I’m not ready,” he says. “I haven’t found my voice just yet that I want to build an album on.”
There’s another reason Martinez has gone the singles route. When the LP was recorded, Brave Season was a band with consistent members, but now it’s just him, and whoever he can get to play with him. Martinez has always been the primary songwriter, but says in the past his band members were always trying to push the group in a more math, post-rock direction, while Martinez wanted to give the music a more subtle and pop-oriented sound.
Now, the series has inadvertently turned into Martinez experimenting not just stylistically, but with different lineups based off of the availability of his musicians.
“I am the band,” Martinez says. “It’s not a permanent band, it’s like friends that play with me. I can never keep anyone long enough.”
Martinez says he misses the collaborative nature of a full-time band but going it alone also has its benefits. “I’m learning to trust in my own abilities instead of relying on my bandmates.”
This all seems to be part of the plan anyway. One of the things that irked Martinez while recording the album was how little else the group was able to do during the process. Everything else got put on hold while the band did its best to fine tune one record.
With the series, he says, he intends to release approximately four-to-five singles this year. That way he can get fans new music all throughout the year, not just once.
“I hate when bands put out one album a year and they don’t do anything else,” he says. “I just want to put new songs out every few months so that people keep interested.”