Interviews

From childhood aspirations to musical triumph, observe Brian Olson’s journey

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Every musician has a special journey inside of them that shapes their love of music. In a recent interview with Barbie Edonia of Chunedesk, Brian Olson shares his special musical journey thus far touching on his, influences, creative process, and the tales behind his most recent single, “Press On.”

Brian Olson started his musical career when he was growing up in a home where music was a constant companion, he found solace and joy in the exquisite sounds that surrounded him.

Rock music and the allure of the guitar and drums swiftly captured his young heart. The instrumentals of rock legends like AC/DC sparked his passion for guitar music and gave him the confidence to pursue his artistic goals.

The core of Brian’s musical aesthetic is rooted in the genre of rock, which includes several subgenres such as country rock, blues rock, and hard rock. His songs give vintage rock a contemporary spin by fusing the styles of legendary musicians like Eddie Van Halen and Black Sabbath.

His performance displays his affinity for the rhythm and phrasing of Van Halen, which have greatly influenced Brian’s musical identity.

Press On, Brian’s latest single is a moving account of development, tenacity, and legacy. The song, which was influenced by his life’s journey and depicts the touching moment of his grandfather’s dying, causes listeners to ponder on the fleeting essence of existence.

With a desire to leave an enduring impact on the world through his music, similar to his grandfather’s unrealized aim of publishing a book, this touching work stands as a dedication to his loved ones.

Melodies that organically occur to Brian as he is playing the guitar serve as the foundation for his creative process. Then, to put the musical components together into a coherent composition, he adds instruments.

His melodies’ evocative emotional currents naturally flow into his words, which are frequently influenced by personal experiences. For Brian, music is a way to express his feelings and establish a deep connection with his listeners.

Brian intends to share optimism and provide comfort to his listeners because he has a strong belief in the therapeutic and inspirational power of music.

Brian’s aspirations for the future are limitless as he looks ahead. He sees himself working with well-known musicians, developing his skill, and becoming a renowned composer and artist.

What initially inspired you to pursue a music career?
always had a love for music – even as a little kid -my parents listened to music a lot so I fell in love with it right away. I remember vaguely I would perform drum air jam drums for my family – hahaha. it seemed to come naturally to me, I remember the sound of the drums drew me in and I somehow knew where the hi-hat would be and snare and kick at like 3 or 4 – maybe I saw it on TV and mimicked it.

but When I really started wanting to write music and be a musician was when I started playing guitar seriously at around age 14. I loved playing the guitar so much and loved music so much, that I had a natural urge to make my own music. I would always try to come up with my own stuff. I would constantly think about song ideas

Can you tell us about your musical background and any formal training you’ve had?

I played trumpet in the school band but lost interest in that in the 7th grade because I didn’t like the music we were playing, this was when I really got into AC/DC especially, and other harder rock bands like that. That’s when I traded my trumpet in for a very cheap electric guitar. the strings so were so high off the neck, it was very painful to play. Every time I hear Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams I remember that guitar- haha. Thankfully my parents were awesome and finally gave in to my pleas and bought me a decent guitar.

I was pretty much self-taught except for guitar chord books, a few instructional videos, and a friend or 2 who showed me some basic stuff like bar chords, and the pentatonic scale. I did a 3-month internship at a music studio. I’ve recently taken some more advanced lessons online, one with Guthrie Trapp, I plan to do more with him hopefully soon.

• How would you describe your music style or genre?

I like guitar music, mostly rock, country rock, blues rock, and hard rock. The last few songs I’ve written have been a modern version of classic rock. smashing pumpkins meets black sabbath maybe

• Who are your biggest musical influences and how have they shaped your sound?

tough question. Eddie Van Halen was probably the biggest influence. His rhythm and phrasing were so incredible to me. His tone was so good. I think his rhythm playing and how he would sneak in the most subtle but memorable changes in his songs, it’s like he was always saying something with every note and chord no matter what he was playing. That was a major influence on me.

• Could you share the story or inspiration behind your latest release ‘press on?

Life took me on an amazing journey of raising 2 amazing daughters, but when they got a little older, I started playing again. That was around 2018, that’s also when I started recording again with the Garageband app (I used to record on a 4-track recorder before my daughters were born). I wrote a few songs and sent them into a Nashville Song Challenge that runs every year. Shortly after that, I connected with Bradley Denniston, a Grammy-nominated recording engineer in Hollywood CA.

I signed up for some of his online coursed about songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering, etc. Then in July 2022, I jumped in with both feet in the deep end and joined one of his song creation challenges. I loved it so much that I kept doing them. Then I thought, why not release some of these into the world rather than just listening to them myself? I’ve always wanted to do this, and it felt like it was now or never.

It ultimately came down to I know I’d forever regret it if I didn’t do it, so I made the investment in myself and went for it. Lastly, my grandfather who I was lucky enough to have a close bond always said he would write a book someday, but unfortunately, that day never came. When I lost him I found myself yearning to know more about his life and experiences, and really wished he would’ve written the book.

I kinda made a little promise in the back of my mind that if I ever had the chance to write a song and release it to the world I would do it hoping it would serve as a lasting legacy for my loved ones and daughters, and maybe leave a mark on the world that i was here just like my grandfather had hoped to do with his book.

• What is your creative process like when writing and composing songs?

good question! I usually start playing guitar and when something catches my ear, I’ll quickly get a drum beat from logic pro drummer, or a sample and record the lick or melody (I like mic-ing my amp to record guitars mostly). Then I will build on that by extending the drum loop out and creating the next part and so on.

Then when I get 3 or 4 parts that flow together I arrange them, next I ad-lib sing to try to come up with a top-line melody, and sometimes a few lyrics will subconsciously come from that. Then I try to build on whatever I feel my subconscious is trying to say and write lyrics from that. Sometimes I’ll have a lyric idea to start but not usually. It usually starts with the music moving me.

• Are there any specific themes or messages you strive to convey through your music?

Great question. Ive always wanted to spread a positive message with my music, and Ive always wanted to help others. I hoped that I could make music that helped someone just like music has helped me in so many ways in my life.

I like music that makes me feel, whether it motivates me, or gives me the feeling that I’m not the only one feeling a certain way, or dealing with a certain situation. I want my music to bring joy to others, and send a positive message. And maybe help someone, as music has helped me through tough times, and lastly do my part to keep hope alive.

• How do you approach live performances and connecting with your audience?

So far, I have only been posting my music and performances on social media. This has really just ramped up in the last year so I haven’t yet put a band together, but hope to someday soon.

For now, I’ve been focusing on writing and regularly updating on social media

• Can you share a memorable or challenging moment from your music career so far?

oh yeah, when I first started my music career in my early 20s I moved to the city to try and find a band and start making music. To pay the bills I got an industrial job. While training for my new job, the machine I was running had a guard removed that I wasn’t aware of, and I ended up having an accident that caused a serious injury to my finger that was irreparable.

I was devasted and I thought my guitar-playing career was over before it ever started. I lost the tip of my left index finger down to the 1st knuckle – Sorry for that graphic description.

Within a few weeks of the accident, I was picking up the instrument to see if I could still play- even before it was fully healed. I kept going, and before long learned to play with my newfound disability. There are things I can’t quite do that I used to, or do as well – but it didn’t slow me down too much. Still, to this day years later, not a day goes by that I don’t wish I would’ve never taken that job.

• What role does technology play in your music production or performance?

That’s one of the main reasons this is happening. I used to record on 4 track recorders and it was quite difficult to make it sound good, and drums were a big challenge. When I started playing with the GarageBand App in 2018, I was blown away by how much easier recording has become.

The built-in virtual drummer was huge for me. I recently “graduated” from logic pro last year when I started working with Bradley. For me mostly the virtual drummer is what I use the tech for, but also the ease of editing makes songwriting much easier for me than before.

• Are there any collaborations or dream collaborations you hope to pursue in the future?

Dream collabs would be many, but the 1st to come to mind would be Stone Temple Pilots and Foo Fighters as they are 2 of my all-time favorite songwriters. Also, Tom Bukovak a session guitar player in Nashville is one of my favorite guitar players of all time, huge dream to have him play on a record, or even better to work with him would be amazing.

• How do you stay motivated and inspired as an artist?

Music is my motivation. I can’t wait to get home from work every day to get in the studio. If Im stuck, I’ll listen to music from some of my favorite artists to sometimes get inspiration. Also, read or watch positive material.

• What do you think sets you apart from other musicians in your genre?

I think everyone has their own style – music is kinda like a fingerprint – especially with guitar it seems. 2 equally talented guitar players can play the same song but it still sounds a little different with each player. I also feel because Im a bit of an introvert, I express myself intensely through my guitar. It’s easier to get my feelings out with a guitar than with words for me.

• Have you encountered any obstacles or hurdles in the music industry, and how did you overcome them?

Hard to put bands together, especially being from a small town. Not many people played so the choices were limited or non-existent. Overcoming that by using social media, joining music communities

• What do you enjoy most about being a musician?

Besides how a guitar and great tube amp sound and feel in my hands, I enjoy creating songs. I love it so much – the whole process. it’s like bringing something to life from nothing, adding to it, making it sound as good as I can, then enlisting help to make it sound even better, and finally letting it go to have others hear it and hopefully like it.

It’s pure magic to me. It also feels as though the music sometimes comes through me, not from me, and I love that feeling.

• How do you balance your artistic vision with commercial considerations?

I just try to make music that I want to listen to. That’s always been the goal, to make a great song(s) that I would love to hear. Like hearing your favorite song for the 1st time – how it made you feel. I’m trying to do that with every song I write for myself 1st and hope that is enough to have it resonate with others.

Commercially I try to make it sound professional to compete with the unbelievably great-sounding music out there, and ultimately I want to help people, so I do what I can to give it the best shot at being heard.

• Are there any upcoming projects or releases you’re particularly excited about?

The last few songs I’ve written I think are even better than Press On, So I’m super excited to release those. I just finished one yesterday (sorry for the delay in getting this to you, that was why)

Also, I still feel like I haven’t written my best song yet, so I am most excited about continuing to write more and making the best songs I can make.

• How do you utilize social media and online platforms to connect with your fans?

I post regularly on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. That’s how I’ve been building my fan base, and reconnecting with my old fans. My new focus is on posting things that bring my fans value, maybe something they can learn, or get something out of

• What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting their journey?

Get as much help as you can. Do anything you can to get around the people who are where you want to be and soak up as much knowledge from them as you can. Never be afraid to put yourself out there. Even if you feel you’re not ready. You’ll never feel ready, and even if you flop, the lessons you learn will make you better for the next try, and don’t give up – ever

• Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals or aspirations as a musician?

To make the best music I can, that hopefully resonates with people and helps them in any way – even if its just a smile. If Someday I could find a way into the music profession and do nothing but music -that would be amazing whether its as a song writer, artist, sync licensing, working in a studio, just about anything really.

Written by
Barbie Edonia

OWNER AND MANAGER OF CHUNEDESK || BLOGGER || GRAPHIC DESIGNER || WEB DEVELOPER

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