Many bands give it their all, but few have what it takes to connect with fans. One Less Reason have been connecting with fans since day one and their lyrics are some of the more emotional ones out there. With a raspy voice, solid song structure and more hooks than a tackle shop, One Less Reason have carved their own niche. Recently, the band released their fifth album, titled A Blueprint For Writhing. We caught up with vocalist Cris Brown and below is our chat. We hope you enjoy.
Today, I’m joined by Cris Brown. Cris is the vocalist for the band One Less Reason. First off, thanks for taking the time to speak with us and welcome to the Unsung Melody family.
You guys recently independently released your latest album, A Blueprint For Writhing. I really enjoyed the album. Tell us a little bit about the writing and recording process for this album.
This record was a record that I was very eager to write because I had no one looking over my shoulder or telling me, “You have to write another song like this or that.” I was free from ALL management and record labels, finally, and I could just do anything I wanted to do. If I wanted to make a country record, I was free to. Luckily, I have no desires to do that. (Laughter) It seems like I know when it’s time for me to write a record because I get this feeling…Its almost like a turning knife in my chest and I have to get it out through lyrics and music, and so I start writing until that feeling is gone.
I believe this is your fifth album, which in this day and age is quite the accomplishment, and I feel a real testament to your music. Being able to simply survive as a band for five albums is great, but to do it with as much success as you guys have had is awesome.
It has been quite a journey, but we have people that have been faithful to us and always buy our records and that really is what keeps us going.
Uneasy is the first single. It’s probably the most different song on the album. The video portrays a couple in which one is lost to a drunk driver. Was that story the inspiration for the song or was that just a treatment for the video?
Yes, that was all treatment for the video done by the director. I actually wrote the song after having a dream about my grandmother who passed away when I was 8 or so. I had a dream that she called me and she said, “I hear you have been having a hard time, but I want you to know that there’s a heaven for all of us…even those of us that sold our souls.” I woke up and wrote the song.
The young lady in Uneasy is Blair Simpson. How did she become involved in the song?
If you have heard the previous records…I’ve always done the really high parts and I have a very big range, but my voice is really scratchy. So I recorded the song and recorded myself doing the high parts, but my voice just didn’t match what the song was telling me it needed. So I had been hearing about this country singer from our area named Blair Simpson, and we had some mutual friends and boom.
I commend you guys for donating the 2012 proceeds from that song to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
It seemed like the right thing to do. Being as blessed as we have been and seeing people lose everything really puts things into perspective of how lucky we are.
Bands generally bust out of the gate with a blazing rocker. How did you land upon that one as the single?
Once again, it goes back to not having a label or management telling us what to do. It seems that record labels always force people to put out a rocker then…a ballad, then a mid-tempo. It’s a dying formula that is going away with the last breaths of the old ways of thinking that the record labels are still clinging to. I thought that Uneasy was a song that I WANTED people to hear because of the effect I have seen it have on people around me.
I’m a huge fan of the piano. Do you do a lot of writing on the piano?
I actually do. Every OLR song starts with just me and a piano or acoustic guitar. I am a firm believer that If the song isn’t good stripped down, then it’s not going to get any better adding more instruments.
Oh, by the way, I’ll send you the bill for my speakers in my car. I put on the album and All Beauty Fades began softly. I was like, alright, let’s see what the message is. I was drawn in, fully engaged, then BAM! You guys kicked me in the mouth!
That was actually the plan. I wrote that song and it was one of the most aggressive songs that I’ve done since like ’04. So I tamed down the beginning when I went in to record it because I wanted people saying, “Really? They started with a ballad,” and then boom!
That song is honestly one of my favorites on the album. I love the dynamics, even if they did cause permanent hearing damage.
The second verse of All Beauty Fades, I love the lyrics to it because it goes through all of my emotions of being in the delivery room of my firstborn, and as she breathed her first breath, the old me died and I was focused on the things that really mattered from that point on.
You guys are from Jackson, TN, which is not far from Memphis. That scene has seen its share of rock bands rise up and have some nice success. What makes Memphis such a hot bed, if you will, for musicians?
Ummm I don’t know, maybe because there really is nothing to do here. The scene is honestly at an all time low right now. There are only a couple of rock bands that still draw here. It seems that a lot of the rock scene died with the loss of our rock station, BUT IT USED TO BE A MONSTER!!! Saliva, Full Devil Jacket, Primer 55, Breaking point, Dust For life, Tora Tora…and the list just goes on.
I see on your Facebook that you are working on a music festival of sorts in Dyersburg, TN. Tell us a little bit about that.
I’ve always wanted to host a festival-style show. Dyersburg has always been one of those towns that even though the population isn’t huge, they have always come out in large numbers for us and it’s right on the borders of Missouri (which is my native states) and Kentucky. So, we call it The Tri-State Music Festival. It is going to showcase some of the biggest and best bands in our area and give some smaller bands a new platform.
Alright, I always end with a random question. Seeing how most of your lyrics center around emotions and are meant to be felt just as much as heard, I thought I’d ask you what’s the goofiest lyric you’ve written, but we’ve never heard.
I sing a song for my 14 month old daughter and its called “I Love Sweet Potatoes Oh Yeah Oh Yeah!!” (Laughter) It’s quite an epic composition!
Cris, thank you so much for your time. We wish you continued success. You guys be safe on the road.
Keep up with One Less Reason below:
Preview or purchase A Blueprint For Writhing below:
Check out the video for Uneasy below: