Ich erzähle euch nichts Neues, wenn ich darauf hinweise, dass es die amerikanische Band Dispatch seit ein paar Jahren nicht mehr gibt. Das Triumvirat geht seither getrennte Wege und findet ab und zu in unregelmäßigen Abständen – für gute Zwecke – wieder kurzzeitig zusammen. So geschehen im Juli. „Dispatch: Zimbabwe“ füllte an drei aufeinanderfolgenden Abenden den New Yorker ’Madison Square Garden’ bis auf den letzten Platz und brachte dem förmlich in Trümmern liegenden Land ein wenig Aufmerksamkeit und dringend benötigte Spendengelder. Drei Monate später steht Triumviratsmitglied Brad Corrigan, alias Braddigan, in den Startlöchern um sein zweites Album „The Captive“ zu veröffentlichen. Das ganze als Soloalbum zu beschreiben wäre allerdings falsch. Fest zur Band gehören neben Corrigan mittlerweile auch Reinaldo De Jesus (Drums/Percussion) und Tiago Machado (Bass), deren Einfluss auf „The Captive“ deutlich zu hören ist. Anfang Oktober erschien der langerwartete Longplayer und kann auch hierzulande – ohne große Plattenfirma im Rücken – bereits gekauft werden (iTunes-Deutschland oder direkt im Braddigan Online-Store). Im Vorfeld der Veröffentlichung gab es die Möglichkeit zu einem Emailinterview mit Brad.
Sonic-Reducer: Your second record “The Captive“ comes out in October. Why did you pick that title and how was recording the new album different than recording your first record “Watchfires”?
Brad: Rey, Tiago, and I have all talked it through and we really don’t remember exactly where the idea came from. But it did literally fall on us during our 12 days in the studio! We recorded the entire record in that timeframe, and so it was definitely a bit of a blur. It was a wild creative ride where we were throwing ideas up against the wall every day, finishing song lyrics, writing song titles, and trying to brainstorm an album title. We actually put these huge blackboard sized sheets up on the walls to write on as we worked to keep the ideas flowing. It helps me a ton to see the project visually, almost as much as hearing it. And so we threw „The Captive“ up on one of the walls during one of the first few days in the studio, and slowly but surely we found it to be a fit.
And studio-wise it was a much different experience because we approached the recording as a band while „Watchfires“ was recorded one layer at a time and felt much more like a solo project. So we had a really good time making the record and improvised plenty. Just a real live energy to the whole thing.
Sonic-Reducer: Do you have a favourite track on the new album? (If yes, what makes it so special for you?)
Brad: Man, really so many favorites because of all the different memories associated with each track. But I’d say overall my two favorites are „Fist In The Ocean“ and „On The Mend“… „Fist…“ is a laid back reggae tune that was inspired on a surf trip in Peru… And when we recorded it we had a bunch of friends in to sing at the end, including my parents. It was hilarious getting to record everyone dancing around and see my dad kicking it with his studio headphones on. That’s a 70 yr old white man grooving it out. And then „On The Mend“ fell right out of the sky into our laps… The song itself was recorded live and the lyrics flowed in the moment, a divine experience no doubt! first time I’ve ever sung against a piano, so that was a really amazing moment. And the entire production took two hours start to finish on the last day we had in the studio. I love that last minute unplanned stuff.
Sonic-Reducer: You are a very religious person. Was this always that way, or did it evolve over time? How much does it influence your song-writing?
Brad: Man, I just love Jesus. He’s the most amazing and compelling figure in history, and he’s made himself real in my life. And the way he lived his life, even 2000+ years ago? I’ve never found a better set of footsteps to follow. It’s just never what you do in life but the heart with which you do it. My family raised me up believing in god as our father and always told me that god made me to follow my dreams. So they encouraged me to step into sports and music, and just gave me freedom to be who I am. When I was 18 or 19, I sort of thought faith was like inherited clothing and wondered if it was really mine? And so I asked god to make himself real to me when I got out of college, or else I was going to have nothing to do with him, and flat out he answered me. I know the lord is real as much as I know I have air in my lungs and love in my heart. Can’t touch air or love, but still know it’s there 100%. And real love requires action and a fight, so that tension inspires my songs for sure. The trash dump community where I work in Nicaragua has shown me a literal hell where I see heaven more clearly than ever before. It’s a love that requires action, that’s what I feel in my chest when I’m walking with kids and families that have nothing. And that’s exactly where Jesus lived his life, walking with the poor and the sick. And wild enough men, they are the wealthiest people on earth for sure in terms of their contentment and joy. Just crazy to walk with the physically rich in our country and see how spiritually poor we are in that we never have enough and so are rarely happy or content with all that we have. Don’t get me going here. I could go on and on… But yeah, god is real, his love for us is real and he wants us to be free. I like that!
I also know when I look at the beauty in the world that there is an artist behind it. There’s just too much perfection and joy in it. Like a painting when you see it, you know someone made it and you can see the brushstrokes. I feel like every sunset, wave, laugh, sneeze, tear, and hug in life is evidence of god’s grace and handiwork. Man there’s just more than meets the eye in every place and situation in life, and I think all that ultimately matters is how well you love those around you as you live and how well you love the one who made you.
Sonic-Reducer: When you first started out as ‘Braddigan’, you were a solo-artist. Now ‘Braddigan’ is a band and from what I saw and heard “The Captive” is a true group-effort. Was the band-thing always intended or did it just evolve as you went along?
Brad: I don’t like playing sports or music solo… it sucks. Playing on a team is the best. So I have always wanted to be surrounded by bandmates, ideas, and energy to play off of. I feel super blessed to know Rey and Tiago. And we have a drummer named Paul Stivitts that we’re starting to play with too now and he is a heavy, heavy player. Rey and Paul used to tour and record with Lauryn Hill, so they know what’s up and bring some heavy grooves.
Sonic-Reducer: One of the projects you are very involved in is “Love, Light & Melody”. Please tell our readers what’s behind the idea and why everyone should go and check out lovelightandmelody.org?
Brad: Love Light & Melody is my response to the community I alluded to earlier. It’s a non-profit organization that I founded with a few friends that have been to Nicaragua with me to visit a community of 1500 or so people who live and work in a trash dump. Some of the most beautiful people I have ever met live in that burning toxic hell, and it made me so angry to know that they’ve been swept under the rug in so many ways. They’re a community without a voice and I feel like God opened a door for me to go there and meet them so that I could learn from them, love them, and become a part of their world. Giving voice to the voiceless is a powerful thing man. I used to go into the dump and stay in the car, taking pictures was about all I could do. And after ten trips over the course of a year, a little girl named Ileana grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the car and into the real world of life in the dump. It became so real to me through her eyes and smile. Later I found out that she had aids from being forced into child prostitution at age 9, that she was addicted to glue sniffing, and that her world was falling apart despite the light in her smile. So Ileana is the one that really pulled me into this world and I am forever grateful. She’s now 15 years old and we’ve been working with her family for the last three years trying to help them find a new life built on hope. The idea of „love“ is that we can meet immediate physical needs meaning food, medicine, homes, etc… „Light“ is the idea that we can shine a light into the darkest corners of this community and bring awareness to the various addictions and social issues lurking in the shadows of poverty. Once the issues are in the light, like the child prostitution ring that exists there, then we can attack them and try to affect change. And „melody“ is bringing the arts and sports into the community for the kids to escape their surroundings and find joy in expression and their imaginations. We’ve already brought a huge concert into the dump and next we’re hoping to do a Lacrosse camp for the boys and a dance camp for the girls led by a few pro players and NFL cheerleaders that are friends of mine.. check out www.lovelightandmelody.org and you’ll see through the photography and video footage what is going on there… And please spread the word on this story and any other like it! Seriously we can make a difference in the way that we live and the stories that we carry with us.
Sonic-Reducer: You’re an avid surfer. What makes surfing so special for you and what other sports are you into?
Brad: Oh man, there’s just nothing in life like surfing other than maybe snowboarding on a powder day. It’s the most spiritually charged, peaceful, and adrenalized sport on earth. Riding waves?? Come on!! And waiting in the water floating with your friends… the aloha spirit… there’s just so much energy and improv in it. So much like life in that way, that we really don’t have much control over where we’re going but we can determine how we go as we go. You just have to commit to whatever wave you’re riding in life and go where it goes and enjoy. Otherwise you can kick and scream and try to go in a different direction as you live and life will have no joy in it. I am not the best surfer since I grew up inland with the mountains in my backyard, but I love the sea so much. And I also have been super blessed to ride the mountains for 25 years. Just really appreciating the beauty and power of the mountains…I played Lacrosse in High School and College, and pretty much love all sports. Racquet sports, Skateboarding, Water-skiing, Golf, Soccer, Road Biking… You name it, I love it.
Sonic-Reducer: In July you reunited with your old band ‘Dispatch’ and played three sold-out benefit-shows for Zimbabwe in the Madison Square Garden. How was that whole experience and hooking up with Pete and Chad again?
Brad: We had the best time man, it was really an insane experience for the three of us. Three nights playing in the round at MSG? It was hard to believe we were doing it even in the midst of it all! It was so good to be back with Chad and Pete and to get to share in yet another dream Together, and one with such intense meaning playing for our friends and family in Zimbabwe. We founded the “Dispatch Foundation” through these shows too, so now we’re in a place to do our best to help raise awareness and money whenever we get together.
Sonic-Reducer: During the shows you screened movies about Zimbabwe and the whole situation there. From what I’ve heard the crowd behaviour during those little interludes was pretty ignorant from time to time. What did you think about that?
Brad: I thought the crowds were awesome. We threw a lot of heat at them, a lot of ideas, and music… The entire event was a stretch for us as well as our fans and I feel like everyone came away with more than just a rock show. So I’m really thankful that we were able to bring first hand knowledge and footage from our trip to Zimbabwe. Particularly because it was so cool to hear directly from Elias on so many key issues.
Sonic-Reducer: In the last couple of years you travelled quite a bit to say the least. Did those trips to Nicaragua, Japan and many other places change your view of the world?
Brad: Yeah man, we’ve been given so much in our country and it’s like we don’t know what to do with all of it. We’re by far the most wealthy and advantaged country in the world, and maybe the saddest? I heard a statistic recently that we have the most depression anywhere in the world right here in the USA where we also have the most money. So clearly money does not equal happiness?! Crazy man… How is it possible for people with less than our definition of nothing to have everything? While we have everything and have nothing? I’ll take happiness, peace, and contentment any day over what we have in our addiction to money and material wealth. It’s just like there’s never enough around here. But slowly and surely I can see a change in our generation, that we’re ready to break the cycle of living for money and start living for our dreams instead. And that a huge number of us want to give rather than get.
Sonic-Reducer: In the Documentary Last Dispatch was a small scene that surprised and sort of stuck with me. It was the one where the three of you had a discussion about Chad wearing a T-Shirt that said “No Bush” during the Somerville show. Pete and you opposed that. Now, about three years later, what do you think about the whole record of the Bush-Administration, everything connected with that (e.g. the war in Iraq) and T-Shirts that say “No Bush”?
Brad: Nothing has changed there really. I sure wish we weren’t at war in Iraq. Nobody wants that. I hate violence and am doing all I can to bring a message of peace and hope to a world much in need of it. But people can express themselves man, I have no problem with that. I just don’t think in that particular situation with Chad, Pete, and I, that it would have been right for any of us to make a political statement from the stage unless it was obviously one where we were all in agreement. The film of course blew it well out of proportion. We all really appreciate, respect, and appreciate each other’s opinions so it wasn’t a big deal. But of course the cameras were rolling. As far as the Bush administration goes, I’m not a fan of his stance on the environment, capital punishment, or largely the war. However I do think we did the right thing in removing Saddam Hussein from power, it’s just what you do from there that confuses me. Who knows? I do like Bush’s commitment to fighting AIDS in Africa. I don’t know man, it’s just too easy to say someone is all good or all bad these days and that’s not fair. How would you like to be a world leader in this day and age? Man, it’s a tough time… But „faith, hope, and love shall remain and the greatest of these is love!“
Sonic-Reducer: What CDs of other artists are currently spinning in your record-player?
Brad: “Motorcycle Diaries”, “Walking On Water”, and “Babel” soundtracks… Ben Harper, Tyrone Wells, Josh Garrels, Kate Voegele…
Sonic-Reducer: What has the ‘Braddigan’-camp in store for the rest of 2007 and the beginning of 2008? Any plans to bring the band over to Europe in the near future?
Brad: Well we’re going to be playing shows here stateside, then we’re touring Brazil in January, heading to the Bahamas for an event in February and then to Nicaragua in the beginning of March for our 2nd annual festival event in the trash dump called the „Day Of Light“. Then we’ll tour some more in the USA in April and May… And then yeah bro!! We’re planning to come over to the UK and Germany in June or July of 2008. So we’ll keep you posted!! It will be so sicko to get over your way and play some shows man… We can’t wait. So let’s get the tunes spinning over there ok? Can’t wait for you guys to have „The Captive“… Germany, we’re coming!!
Sonic-Reducer: Thanks a lot for the interview!