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Behold the Brave is a band on the rise. The Chattanooga indie outfit recently migrated from the Appalachian foothills of the Scenic City to Nashville after building a stout hometown following. BTB is a band that has formulated a fresh and concise take on the psyche-rock sound, meshing indie fuzz with elements of R&B and the best parts of Southern rock.
The band, nearly ten years in the making now, was birthed by Clayton Davis (vocals, guitar) and Zack Randolph (guitar) in high school and later added Jeremiah Thompson (drums) and Joel Parks (bass) during their college years.
The group released their debut EP nearly four years ago via indie creative house Regenerate Music Co and proceeded to pay dues in Chattanooga, until moving to Music City after acquiring management last year.
“Our manager and some other industry people encouraged us to bounce to Nashville. We love Chattanooga, but the pond is too small. We think that we can build more in Nashville,” Davis explained.
Davis continued, saying that since relocating to Nashville they have focused mainly on the studio, self-producing and recording their next self-titled project: “We’re all capable songwriters and write songs on our own. So, we all bring something to the table. We’re all over the place. It’s a blessing and a curse, you know. We got an R&B sounding song and then one that’s heavy as fuck.”
He added that when they were recording their first EP, “We were young and didn’t know what the fuck we were doing. It’s hard to hone in on a sound, but we’re getting to the point where we can see the bigger picture.”
He went on: “With our EP, we worked with Matt Goldman (Underoath, Copeland, and The Chariot); he was the first real producer that we ever worked with. So, just from doing that we learned a whole lot about the process. It opened our eyes to this other world that we didn’t realize was a part of recording or writing songs in general.
“He opened a door for us and we’ve been running through it ever since, experimenting with different sounds, just little things that you don’t think go into the recording experience.”
Davis expounded further, “You ever listen to the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix? You know how when you listen to them in stereo, there’s shit all over the place. Like, random shit on the left side or panning things to the far right. Before we recorded with Goldman, we never thought about that kind of stuff.
“It’s like, we can come up with this crazy ass disgusting sound and just throw it in the far back left over there and it adds a cool texture. It creates a whole other vibe just by doing that. I don’t’ want to make it sound like we’re genius songwriters or anything like that, but we’ve really just grown naturally from just doing it,” Davis added.
The guys, who recently opened for Blues Traveler at Track 29 in Chattanooga, have opted to do weekend mini-tours and one-off shows, preferring a quality over quantity approach to live performances.
“You gotta make friends, you can’t just go and play shows. I’ve realized that if you can just make friends with certain groups of people in each city, it really helps when you go back, because not only do you have these buddies that are going to bring people to your shows, you might have a place to stay. Especially when you’re on our level. We’re not showing up to play huge shows, so we just try to go in with the mindset that we’re going to make some new friends and hopefully they dig our music,” Davis explained.
The band, keenly aware of the current state of the music industry, has no plans to shop for a record deal, preferring instead to build with a DIY approach. “The whole music industry is fucked right now, man. I think everyone thinks they know what they’re doing and they think they know how to make money.”
Davis proceeded, saying, “I watched this interview with Billy Corgan, and they were talking about how it’s all going digital and how streaming is the next thing, expecting to make the same shit ton of money they were making before. The music industry is fighting this, instead of writing a whole new business model. They’re still using the same business model from the ’80s and that’s when people were making a fuck ton of money from record sales. You can’t make money off of record sales; that’s not what it’s about anymore,” he added.
“We are open to the idea of a label, for sure. It would just have to be the right fit and the right situation for us as we continue to grow,” Davis stressed.
Davis also talked about what it’s like to be a band on the come up in Nashville, a place that many people fantasize as a Music Mecca crawling with record execs, scouting bands in dive bars. “The difference from Chattanooga to Nashville is that there so many musicians here that are fucking amazing. Like, I see so many bands come through here, and I’m like, ‘Jeez these people are amazing!’”
Davis dug deeper, stating, “There’s a lot more session musicians than you would think. And I feel like that whole country music money train controls all that. You have all these session musicians coming in and that’s who they’re playing for. I’d say Joel, our bass player, is a pretty good session player. But I’d say that’s how musicians are making income [here]. It’s not through their band or their own original music, but through them just being musicians or songwriters for the industry.”
Despite the hurdles, Behold the Brave remains optimistic about their art and their growing fan base. Davis explained that they were able to work out a deal with some friends who own a studio and have been recording every week since January.
“We’ would love to just find a way to just release our music for people on our own, to just check out. Like, ‘This is our shit we’ve been experimenting with…come check it out,’” Davis explained.
He says that the grind has been paying off, though. “Here in Nashville, we’ve been growing slowly but surely, everyone I talk to, when I tell them what band I’m in, they tell me, ‘Oh I’ve heard of you guys for some reason.’ It always surprises me. But, we’ve only been here for a year, so I feel like this year might be the year that we really start making a name for ourselves.”
Look for Behold the Brave’s upcoming self-titled project early this summer. Their single “Rocky Mountain Strawberry” can be streamed now on Spotify.