John Brandoli's music has always been hard to describe. He has a distinct pop sensibility that will catch your ears with lyrics that can melt your heart. Few people capture the mystical and dark side of pop music quite so well. Brandoli is clearly an emotional person that writes about deep subject matter. I was lucky enough to catch up with him. I asked him what his songs meant to him and who was the 'Christine' in that closing song that made me cry. SG: What are the songs about? JB: I write about the things that I have experienced, it is all real to me. I never make up stories, but I do have to tell you that I write sometimes very subconciously, almost dreamlike. Sometimes the melody and words just flow out of me with little regard for them making sense. But then I am singing the song and I will slowly start making sense of it. Sometimes the writing is not always reflective either. It can be very psychic. That'll freak ya out! (laughs) SG: When do you write? JB: I would like to say I write about many situations and with different emotional places. But I really don't all that much. My best stuff mostly comes out of angst. So my songs tend to have that common context. They are about desperation. When I have to give up control and have no where to turn that's where my songs come in. They are my outlet, my journal. SG: Where do you write? JB: The initial inspiration can happen almost anywhere. But it's almost always finished being written at home. Because they are so personal. Rarely have I ever been able to write with other people. I seem to write the most when I just get up. It's like my mind is free of distraction, and another world is let in. But I always seem to write 3-4 songs at a time. But then, I won't write for a while. SG: Really, like writer's block? JB: I wouldn't say writer's block. It just seems like a portal opens and the creativity flows. It's at that time, I have to fully capatilize on it, because I know it is a fleeting moment. I do periodically start getting scared when I go too long without writing. That is aggravating. But now I am used to it, so I don't dwell in that aggravation as much anymore SG: For example, If Only Make, what is the inspiration. JB: Basically about someone I had strong feelings for. And that person made me think it would work for about five seconds. It was a whirlwind situation. But it's the old 'I love You but it will never work' scenario. So I had to let it go. It took a long time, but I am finally over that situation. But it's strange, anytime I sing that song it freaks me out, because it stirs up those same feelings. But most important, If Only Make is a beautiful story, because it ends with acceptance: we never change but 'if only you remain'. So if we can move on, and be friends then I guess that's cool with me. SG: How long have you been writing? JB: Since I was 14. I wrote a song on the piano. So simple, probably 4 chords. But it made perfect sense to me. I was as deep as a teenager could possibly be at the time. I do remember writing stories and drawing and far back as about 5 years old. SG: So are you "Not Happy" in your life? JB: (laughs) No, I would say overall, I am very happy with my life. I have a lot to look forward to. I am blessed that I am able to sing and write and be myself. And people accept me for that. I am surrounded by people who care about me, and support me. Everyone in my life, knows how important this is to me and they respect it. I can't ask for anything more SG: Except a multimillion dollar record deal? JB: (Laughs)Yes, that would be nice. SG: I was listening to your album, and came to the song 'Christine', the closing song. It made me cry... JB: Oh,I am sorry. SG: No, no. It is just such a beautiful song. Can you tell us what it about? Who is Christine? JB: Christine was written about my best friend with the same name. Her Dad was sick and she was going through so much. I really didn't know what to do or say. It was an intense situation, for sure. It is a little bit about me saying 'I will be there'. But as I wrote it, it almost seemed as if something that a father would say to there kid. I love that song. It is one of my proudest. SG: Finally, what would you want to tell people that pick up your CD? JB: Thank you. And that these songs are about things we all go through. I am just talking about them from an intense perspective. If someone comes to me and tells me that a song I wrote makes them feel better about something that they're going through, then I have done my job.
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