Chris Braide is a singer/songwriter and record producer originally from the UK, who now resides in Los Angeles California. As a musician, he has worked with artists such as Squeeze, Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, and also has had a very successful solo career. Apart from his piano, guitar, and vocal abilities, Chris is a very sought after record producer. Some of the artists that Chris has either produced or written songs for include: Brittney Spears, Beyonce, Lana Del Rey, Clay Aiken, and many, many others. Chris and Geoff Downes have a current project called "Downes Braide Association" (DBA) . They have just completed their second album titled "Suburban Ghosts". I recently conversed with Chris about this project and his career.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new release "Suburban Ghosts" with Geoff Downs and DBA. The two of you seen to have a magic recipe to come up with great music. What was the premise of this release and how does the music differ from the debut album "Pictures of You"?
C.B. - Thanks. The premise of the album is about going back to a place you left behind and finding out that there's nothing left but memories and ghosts. The new album is darker than the first one we did. It's more produced... more realized... it feels complete.
R.V.B. - With the both of you having busy musical schedules, how does the writing process work with you too guys to work through songs towards a finished product?
C.B. - It's a case of snatching a day or two here, but with this album a lot of it was done without us being in the same room. Geoff sent me a folder full of ideas, chord sequences, melodies, riffs, etc., and I would add my own and write the words. Once the basics were down, I spent a long time perfecting the whole thing. Kind of like a movie soundtrack, and Geoff would then add keyboard solos and riffs to the final mixes.
R.V.B. - Is the song "Time goes Fast" a reflection of your upbringing to today?
C.B. - Not really. It's about later on in life and having to escape a place that is trying to finish you off. London is a dark place at times and I've been there and wanted to get away. Drowning on English streets is a reference to drinking to drown your problems.
C.B. - It seemed to announce the album, which is why we chose it as the opening track. It's about mortality. You can try to control the things in your life but really you are powerless to it all. Things happen, people die, lovers fall out of love, etc... etc.
R.V.B. - How did you get started in music? Did you come from a musical family? What instruments did you tackle?
C.B. - My dad and my brother are both musical. I came from a very music obsessed family. I started by getting myself a manager and heading down to London where I signed my first record deal with Polydor. I play piano and guitar. Piano is my absolute joy though.
R.V.B. - In some of your early teenage bands, what were some of the covers that you attempted and when did you start writing songs?
C.B. - Things like "Hammer to Fall" by Queen and "Life's a Gas" by T. Rex. I started writing songs in my early teens. Once I had the bug, I couldn't stop.
R.V.B. - How did you make the transition into turning professional in music.
C.B. - I went to London and worked tirelessly at it until it started to work. I was always committed. When people in their 20's ask me "How do they get started in music?" I'm always amazed and wonder what they've been doing? If you really mean it, you just do it without thinking.
R.V.B. - How was working with Chris Difford and Squeeze?
C.B. - Great. I love Chris. I have many happy memories writing together at his house in Sussex. Beautiful lyricist. I've known Glenn my whole life too, and write songs with him all the time. I love them both.
C.B. - I met Geoff through Trevor Horn, who I was in a band with called "Producers" at the time. We hit it off instantly. Geoff was the first person I worked with in the States after I moved out here five years ago.
R.V.B. - How did you get heavily involved in the production side of music?
C.B. - I've always been a producer. Even when I had a four track tape machine. I was always obsessed with making home demos as a kid. I always feel that I'm the best producer for my wn songs. It's the soul and the glue that I put into my own stuff, that makes it work.
R.V.B. - You've worked in producing and writing for some major stars such as Lana Del Rey, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Paloma Faith, and more. As a producer do you have general guidelines or does each star have its own individual way of working to achieve a proper performance?
C.B. - I just try to make the artists I work with feel safe and comfortable with me. My studio is like a music den with instruments, vinyl, and memorabilia. I always strive to get the best vocals out of the singers I work with. It differs with each artist but generally it's the same philosophy, which is - try to make the best record you can make, and always have the singer centre stage.
R.V.B. - Where do you write your songs? At your house... in the studio? What event can give you an idea?
C.B. - I have a studio in Los Angeles surrounded by mountains. Its inspiring to work there. Usually my emotional state is what dictates the songs. I always like to write from the heart or the gut! I just can't sing something if it isn't real.
R.V.B. - Are you going to perform "Suburban Ghosts" anywhere?
C.B. - A one off show in the cards might be in the cards next year. It all depends on schedules.
R.V.B. - Thank you for considering answering these questions.
C.B. - Thanks. It was my pleasure.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
This interview may not be reproduced in any part of form without permission from this site.
For more information or to advertise on this site contact musicguy247(at)aol(dot)com