From Long Island, New York, Beat Radio is the beautiful and genuine work of singer/songwriter Brian Sendrowitz. Nostalgically written full of sweet guitar folk-pop arrangements, cathartic melodies and melancholy layers, the music represents emotional and visual connection in the best way. Taking live shows to the next level, Beat Radio collectively joins as a band of close collaborations, soaring with humbled confidence, exposed vulnerability and heartfelt energy. Recently, Brian kindly contributed to Music Is Art. Please enjoy his music, answers and personal mix tape below!
L I S T E N
Teenage Anthem for the Drunken Boat
[Sunday Matinee, 2008]
MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: We played our first show in June of 2005. I’d made a bunch of 4 track demos of some songs I’d written really quickly in the month or so before, sort of in a flash of inspiration. it felt like a departure from the music I had made before, which was more acoustic based singer songwriter material. I got together the best musicians I knew to start playing live shows. Since then the lineup has changed a few times and it’s gone back in forth between being a band and a solo project in varying degrees. At the moment, I’m working on new material alone in my home studio.
MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in your city, feel free to share a memory or a certain place that makes you feel like home.
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: There’s a few places that come to mind in the sort of collective dream world of Beat Radio songs. I grew up and live in Bellmore, New York, on Long Island. There used to be this bar called the Juke Joint, it was my favorite bar ever. They had Tom Waits’ records on the jukebox, and Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. I used to put “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” on and make the punk rock kids sit through all 11 minutes and 20 seconds. When I sing our song Treetops, I’m thinking about that place. It closed a few years ago, but we’ve played at a few places since then that have felt like home in the same kind of way. My favorites are Union Hall in Brooklyn and Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ.
MIA: Do you enjoy to perform live? How does the band like to get ready and is there a favorite song that you like to play for your audience?
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: I absolutely love performing. We actually don’t have any shows set up at the moment as my wife and I just had a baby. I’m still working on recordings but I’m anxious though. I can’t wait to get the next thing together and get back out with some new songs. My favorite songs change, but at the moment I’m pretty fond of one of our newer songs, Sunday Matinee. to get ready for a live show I don’t do much. I like to be alone before hand to sort of go into my own world. i don’t like to rehearse too much.
MIA: What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, your band has ever received?
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: Early on, I got criticism to work harder on melodies. Lyrics always came more naturally to me. I was a literature major at school and had started writing poetry when I was young. I really worked hard as a songwriter on melodies, and it makes me happy when people compliment that part of the craft. It feels like its something I earned.
MIA: Within your songwriting, is there some type of element that has brought about a certain mood in yr writing, making you feel more/less different than when you started? How long has the recording process taken to complete your album and to finally believe that it’s ready?
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: The Great Big Sea LP came together over the course of a year or so. With those songs, I had made a conscious effort to simplify the writing, and write songs that were really direct and hopefully universal. I’ve written about an albums’ worth of songs since then and think the songs are a bit more adventurous musically and lyrically. I’ve had a lot of fun with words on the newer material. I think no matter what I write, the way I sing the songs evokes that same sort of mood. I can’t really do it any other way it just sort of comes out that way naturally.
MIA: What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: I like music because it makes me feel better. Even really sad songs make me feel better. I hope my songs make people feel a little bit more alive, than they did before they heard them.
MIA: Name some of your favorite albums of 2008.
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: Ctrl-Alt-Del by the Diggs is really brilliant. They’re great friends of mine, but this album of theirs is one of my favorites ever. it’s a powerful, emotional, dynamic record.
Wye Oak is a band we played with at Union Hall and they’re absolutely incredible. Their LP If Children has some really beautiful, wonderful songs on it. Reminds me of great 90’s indie rock when indie rock actually had a particular sound.
49:00 by Paul Westerberg was really great and i love how he was messing with the whole concept of how we listen to music by putting out the album as 1 45 minute mp3 file. He’s sort of my idol.
The Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit is really great and just the sort of heart on your sleeve kind of songs that I love to listen to.
I liked the Conor Oberst record a lot. I’ve always had sort of mixed feeling about the Bright Eyes work, but there’s no doubt that the guy can write great, great songs. I’d recommend this one all the way through.
I also really love M83’s Saturdays=Youth and For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver. There’s a lot of albums from this year i haven’t been able to get my hands on yet, particularly the Sun Kil Moon record. I really love Mark Kozelek’s work. It’s on my Christmas list.
MIA: Name any favorite visual artists, pieces of artwork and how it may inspire you.
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: I love Robert Frank’s photography. That’s the most direct inspiration I could think of in any visual medium. Particularly his book, The Americans, it’s just about the great mythic American road. The “endless poem” as Kerouac said. I like Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol alot also. I’m fascinated by the lives of artists.
MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.
BRIAN SENDROWITZ: These songs all make sense together to me..