Interview: Bryan Deister


(Randy Radic contributed to this interview)

Bryan Deister just dropped his latest musical effort, entitled Spines of the Heart. Deister's style of music is referred to as experimental/rock/electronic fusion; a lengthy term that generates a remote nuance of uneasiness. By most definitions, rock fusion is a subgenre of progressive rock that emphasizes electronic instruments and a variety of structural manipulations.

Deister refers to his musical style as alternative, as you'll when you read the interview. However, it's categorized, it is interesting stuff. He was kind enough to sit down with me and answer my questions. His answers were short and pithy.

What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?

I don't get into trouble.

What are the five things you can't live without?

1. Irony
2. Piano
3. Wit
4. The Room
5. Silence

What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

I don't sing in the shower, cause I can't hear too well. I have before in the car done The Great Gig in the Sky. But usually I prefer to sing only while playing piano.

What kind of guitar do you play? And why?

I don't play guitar at all, I'm a pianist first and a percussionist second.

What musicians influenced you the most?

I'm influenced a lot by Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke in my youth. Coltrane, McCoy, even Chopin and Wyschnegradsky have influenced me a lot. Folk music interests me a lot as well. But I'd say the musician that influenced me the most in the last year was Nietzsche.

In my review of your EP, I described your musical style as progressive/rock/fusion. How would you describe it?

My gut might call it alternative rock but I guess then I'd be pretty old school. I appreciate dissonance. And so the polytonality of many tracks, 19-tone equal temperament of "Come," and all the flat 9's are all my appreciation of dissonance.

Why Gothic rock/fusion rather than alternative rock or some other style?

I don't know if I would classify it that way, but this is a very personal album and I didn't really pick the style.

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

The songs find me, getting up in the morning is enough inspiration.

What is your songwriting process? Does the music come first and then the lyrics?

Normally I write the music in my head first and then spend time at the piano. Then I write lyrics that fit the music.

Will you be doing another similar album in the future? Or do you think you might try a different genre?

I'm already working on another album, but I hope it brings something completely different and surprising.

Was Spines of the Heart well-received by the critics? By listeners?

Most of the critics' responses were fairly positive, the listeners even more so.

Will you be touring in the near future? If so, where?

My plan is to go on tour in the fall after graduating in September from Berklee, but I'll give out more details of that later.

It's presumptuous to ask at this point, but are there any new songs on the drawing board? If so, when do you plan to go back into the studio?

I record music constantly. For Spines of the Heart, I had 50 songs that were finished and I stripped it down to avoid softballs.

Fusion/rock is tricky to pull off simply because it's so experimental. That being said, what is it about experimental fusion/rock that attracts you?

I don't know if I would classify it that way, but I'm trying to push myself to make music beyond my capacity. Whatever kind of music requires the listener's attention is what attracts me.