It’s uncommon to find a modern day singer/songwriter whose sound recalls such artists as John Mayer, REM, Lindsey Buckingham, the Byrds, and the Beatles, but Brian Larsen is not your average musician.
Having been a recording artist since the ripe old age of 11, the 25-year-old Baltimore, MD resident is now preparing for the release of his second album as a solo artist, and he manages to avoid the so-called “sophomore slump” with his brand new offering, BUILDING, released April 17, 2012 on Protocol Records. Amazingly, despite Larsen’s youth, Building is already Larsen’s tenth album overall (counting the albums he issued with the group he previously led, Twilight’s Moon).
Along with recording Building, Larsen has spent the last two years cultivating a dedicated following to his YouTube “vlog” (www.youtube.com/blogbrian), a day-in-the-life video comedy series which has quickly gained over 285,000 YouTube fans, chronicling everything from flirting with old ladies at bingo parlors to fun videos inspired by the songs on his new album.
Building is the second release to be credited solely to Larsen. Following the same route as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and Prince on their early solo albums, Larsen wrote, performed, and produced the album entirely himself.
“My earlier albums were part of my growth process, but my worldview has expanded over time as I’ve gained experience,” explains Larsen. “Along the way, I’ve improved my recording technique, my songwriting technique, my performing technique and my singing technique. Building is very personal to me because it reflects my growth and evolution, not only as an artist and an entertainer, but as a person.”
Managing to be both hard-hitting and melodic at the same time (“alternative-folk-rock-pop” wouldn’t be a too-far-off fitting description), Larsen’s impressive talent for song-craft is well beyond his years.
“These 13 songs are about surviving, about overcoming adversity, struggles and pain and literally ‘building’ or ‘rebuilding’ one’s life,” he notes. Indeed, in a year that saw his five year long marriage come to an abrupt end, Larsen has a lot to write about.
Song-wise, Building is chock full of introspective, smartly-penned rock songs that include message-filled lyrics to boot. The album is louder and more aggressive than Larsen’s debut solo effort, Breaking, but the production value has increased exponentially. The album was mixed over a month-long period in late 2011 by multi-platinum producer and engineer Michael James, famous for producing and mixing albums from artists including The New Radicals, Hole, and L7. The album was mastered by Dave Donnelly, whose discography includes albums by Jimmy Eat World, Aerosmith, Blink 182 and Cher, among many others.
“Everything about my entertainment career is just about me being natural and being myself. If people can connect with that — if they can relate to me and what I do, then that’s great. Since my infancy, all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life is to entertain people, so every day along this journey is a new opportunity for me to continue realizing my lifelong dream.”
And judging by Building, Larsen is well on his way.