Q and A with Picture Me BrokenOctober 15, 2012 3 By Bryan Swann
Picture Me Broken is a rock band out of Hollywood, CA. The band is fronted by the very beautiful and talented Brooklyn Allman, guitarist Dante Phoenix, guitarist Jimmy Strimpel, and drummer Shaun Foist. This band brings something fresh and exciting to rock music. Follow along as Picture Me Broken works to bring back the hard-hitting music and glam back to metal.
BS: Thank you guys for doing this interview. I love the music and think you guys sound great.
BS: I know there has been some line up changes over the year, so how long has the current line up of Picture Me Broken been together?
PMB: Picture Me Broken was technically founded in 2005 when I was 12 and it kept evolving over the years until I was able to find that perfect lineup of serious musicians with the relentless dedication and “it” factor I searched for. This current lineup is less than a year old with the addition of our new drummer Shaun Foist whom we met in studio via our producer David Bendeth.
BS: From what I have heard you were pretty young when you started the band, what was it like trying to make a name for yourselves in the rock world at a younger age?
PMB: I started at age 12 and 7 years later we’re still the babies of the rock scene, 3 of us are still under 20. I think it’s a huge advantage personally. We were able to buckle down and be serious about our dream at an age when most kids are playing video games and fretting over prom dresses. Breaking a rocking band out is very challenging this day and age; so the more time you have on your side the better.
BS: Brooklyn from what I have heard you are the daughter of a founding member of The Allman Brother Band, is that correct? So did you know early on what to expect and how hard the music industry is, or have there been some surprises for you?
PMB: I think a lot of people assume that having a legendary father in the music industry gives me particular advantages or insight when in truth my dad is a man who made it on his own with hard work and drive and believes I should do the same. I rarely see him and he has yet to cross paths with PMB. He was thrilled when I let him know we were hitting the road, cause he certainly went through the phase of driving across the country packed in a van with bandmates, hitting a different state every night. I really don’t think the average person could survive that, but that’s what it takes.
BS: I really like your band’s sound; I think it is unique for female fronted bands. What do you think inspires the music that you make? And what bands do you take some inspiration from?
PMB: Thank you. We don’t want to sound like today’s overdone cliché of the “female-fronted band”. All of my most poignant influences are men (with the exception of the Wilson sisters) and I think that sets our sound apart from other acts fronted by ladies. To be honest, I don’t think there has ever been a female front person who could hold a candle to rock n roll heroes like Axl Rose and Freddie Mercury. I think femininity can be an enemy to rock n roll so in order to be a dynamic female front woman you have to “sack up” so to speak. I mention the Wilson sisters cause they could hang with the men, you weren’t thinking “oh they’re badass for women,” cause they were just badass in general because of their talent and songwriting. As far as modern bands go, I take a lot of inspiration from AFI, they’re my diehard favorite and are responsible for my gravitation toward dark lyrical content as a child. I also recently stumbled upon a British pop artist called IAMX who is uniquely genius and inspiring.
BS: Now people wouldn’t expect this starting out listening to one of your songs, but first Brooklyn already has an amazing singing voice and then she screams and it’s surprises you and sounds equally amazing. How do you decide the set up of your songs, like what parts will be sung and what parts are screamed?
PMB: I use screaming like an emotional, lyrical exclamation point. My screaming has nothing to do with an association with “screamo” or “post-hardcore”, I think our new album will illustrate that very clearly. I just think screaming is passionate and can convey certain emotions and lyrics more effectively, that’s essentially how that came about in our music.
BS: There is a short list of female vocalists that can sing and screams as well as you do. What is your secret to be able to go out there and perform at that intensity for so many shows without exhausting yourself?
PMB: I think it’s something you’re born with. You have to be able to control your voice enough to transition between the two seamlessly. That being said, I don’t think screaming is a skill or talent in the way that singing is, it’s brainless and effortless to me where as singing is something that must be practiced and focused upon heavily.
BS: Is there a typical response people have when they hear you doing the screaming in the songs?
PMB: Yeah, it’s always one of the first things people bring up about this band. To be honest there is so much more to PMB than a “chick-screamer,” I definitely think our new album accomplished getting that point across. I get that it’s not something you see everyday and I’m flattered by people’s reactions but I see this band’s songwriting and musicianship far surpassing that.
BS: While on the topic of the setting up of a song, how do you guys go about writing your songs? Is there a typical process or is it all from experiences and feelings at a certain time?
PMB: The songwriting process varies but we found that the most effective method is when I finish the lyrics, vocal melody and perhaps an exoskeleton of piano chords before commencing the detailed instrumentation process. My guitarist, Dante Phoenix, is my primary co-writer who is responsible for a great deal of the instrumentals on the new album. It really varies though; there are a few songs on the album in which I wrote all of the music and lyrics to and others where Dante brought me a finished instrumental demo to write vocals over. Lyrically speaking, I really let words write themselves.
BS: Your LP Wide Awake has a lot of great songs on it including the single “Dearest (I’m So Sorry)”. What is your favorite one to play live? Or have you been playing some new songs?
PMB: I’m extremely proud of “Wide Awake” and it’s raw, youthful aura, however I feel that it’s a thing of the past for me artistically. That’s not who we are anymore. The new album is practically a completely different band in terms of lineup and sound. We did stick to some of our roots but for the most part it truly illustrates a new, more mature evolution so I definitely most enjoy performing the material of this nature.
BS: The most current music video I have seen is for “Dearest (I’m So Sorry)” are there any plans to do another music video soon for a song? What type of video would you like to make next, another performing, telling a story, or combination like the “Dearest” video? [Video at end of interview]
PMB: “Dearest” was sort of thrown together, none of us are really responsible for anything in that video conceptually, we just wanted to take a whack at it. I’m so excited to create a video reflecting our vision and message. We will be shooting a music video for “Corrupt Me” as soon as we’re off tour, it will be a nice mixture of the two.
BS: What types of tours have you been on? Any tales from the road you’d care to share?
PMB: We’re actually road rookies. We’re on our first official tour right now. It feels like rock n roll boot camp, we’re learning so much and growing quite a bit as a live band. All of the bands on this tour are extremely nice to us and there’s a great sense of mutual respect. I’m sure there will be a myriad of notable tour stories in the near future.
BS: If you could go on a tour with any band who would it be and why?
PMB: I think a MUSE tour would be a dream, they’re so musically competent. Avenged Sevenfold and Green Day would be equally as incredible as they’re both highly influential to the members of this band.
BS: I have seen a lot about a little album called “Corrupt Me,” what is the story with this one? When can we expect to be able to get our hands on it?
PMB: When I was 14 years old I sent the brilliant, multi-platinum producer called David Bendeth a message on MySpace telling him that I wanted to record an album with him because I found his mixes and drum sounds to be unparalleled. He told me to keep writing and developing my band and perhaps one day we could. I took his advice and went back years later with a decent track record and an arsenal of strong songs and he agreed to produce the album that is now known as “Corrupt Me”. It is the new Picture Me Broken. I have three new musicians with me on this one and a newfound vision. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it; the going release date is February at this point.
BS: Are there any details about the album you can tell us, such as any themes throughout it or tracks you’d care to talk about?
PMB: The album has a diverse spectrum of songs. We broke some genre rules and learned how to write more memorable chorus’.
BS: What do you think Picture Me Broken has to offer the fans, that maybe they have not heard or seen before?
PMB: Picture Me Broken is a band that’s dedicated to abandoning the “scene” the “trends” and all of the homogenized bullshit that has infected rock n roll. We just want to write meaningful lyrics, practice true musicianship and give ‘em something nice to look at. Rock n’ roll should be glamorous, decadent, clever and original.
[You guys definitely succeed there, great job]
BS: What can we expect to see from you guys finishing out this year and going into the next? What does the near future hold for the band?
PMB: Tons of touring and some new video content! We’ve sort of been in the lab for last year and it’s time to lift the curtain.
BS: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?
PMB: Our fans are the sweetest and we are so lucky to have them. I’m blown away by the support daily.
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About The Author
My name is Bryan Swann and I run this entertainment site, BareBones Entertainment. Based out of Dallas, TX we focus solely on the music, art, and other area of entertainment, and none of the gossip or fluff. That is why our motto is "All Entertainment, No Fluff." Any bands or artists that may be interested in doing an interview please follow us on Twitter @barebonesent, or like our Facebook page and message us.