Thursday, 24th May 2018. 10:58:59pm ET
Interviews Ethereal Interview- Audra

Audra

by Julie Johnson

December 2, 2000

Audra's singer Bret Helm speaks with Grave Concerns about the debut release on Project Records.

Julie: You have just released your debut album, on Projekt Records. How does it feel to finally get your music out to people?

Audra:It's fabulous! It's great to walk into a record store and see a display set up with 30 of your CDs in it and a framed poster of Bart and myself. It's flattering to go to a club or listen to the radio and hear one of our songs kick in. I enjoy reading the e-mails that I receive from people that have bought the album. It's nice to know how far music can reach.

Julie: How and when did you get signed to Projekt Records?

BRET: Well, it all started out with one e-mail to our friend Randall who owned the Atomic Café out here in Scottsdale. He was running the Atomic out here and in Austin. After he closed down the Arizona club, we were left without an honest and supportive venue for our shows. I kept track of the Atomic's Austin web site and saw that black tape for a blue girl was coming in Feb. of 1999, so we got in contact with Randall and he booked us. We had a fabulous show out there and met the people in black tape and gave them copies of our self-released CD, "In a Dark Room…" We ended up inviting black tape to come out for a Phoenix show a few months later and opened for them again. I remember noticing that Sam and Elysabeth Grant (black tape vocalist) were standing right in front of the stage while we were playing. After that show, I kept in contact with Elysabeth over e-mail and then sent a copy of our next CD, "Silver Music" to her. A month or so later, I received an e-mail from Sam Rosenthal saying that he was listening to the album and within a month we had a record contract!

Julie: Where have you been touring?

Audra: We did three shows in the Los Angeles area, a couple of weeks after the album came out in July - fabulous shows. And we just got back a few weeks ago from our West Coast tour - The Basement Tour. We went to Long Beach, Fresno, Las Vegas, San Jose, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. The tour was incredible. We've already been invited back to Los Angeles, so we'll probably be heading back in February. I'm in the beginning stages of planning a Texas/New Orleans tour for Spring 2001 and then hopefully there will be a Projekt Festival on the East Coast towards the end of the year, and we'll definitely be doing that.

Julie: How have you been building your fan base up to this release?

Definitely through live performances and touring. There's no better way to reach people than through concerts. It's the greatest part about being in a band, the shows, the touring, meeting the people who are buying your records, turning new people on to the music… it's the best way to promote. The Internet has had a HUGE impact on the way bands can now promote themselves. Web sites, mp3s, e-mail and mailing lists all allow people from all over the world to access a band's music and find out more about them. It's gained us hundreds of new fans.

Julie: Since Audra is made up of you two brothers, who is the stronger one in the group?

Bret:Well, I'm pretty sure that Bart could beat me in an arm wrestling match, but I've been working out, so WATCH OUT!!! But seriously, Bart and I deal with different aspects of the band, so everything is covered and our work complements each other's, therefore there is no need for a dominant personality. We're both very serious and dedicated to the music that we do. You really have to learn how to work together and respect each other's opinions and give them a try.

Julie: Has Audra always been the two of you?

Bret: We've played with many different people throughout the years, but the core of Bart and I have always remained. When we perform live, we incorporate other musicians, but essentially Audra is a two-person band. Robert Stacy, who plays guitar with us, has been playing with us for 7 years.

Julie: Have the two of you come across musical differences during the recording of the new album?

Bret: Not at all. We both have ideas and we try them all out. We can just look at each other and know what each other is thinking. I'm really looking forward to recording again. So many beautiful things happened when we sat down to record the songs. Bart always surprises me when we creates amazing guitar parts right on the spot - first take… it's absolutely incredible. There are so many cool things going on in "2 Girls in 1 Dress" and "The Dancing Images." So many layers of sounds that intertwine with each other.

Julie: Which layers do you feel dominates Audra's mysterious beauty?

Bret: I think that they all are extremely important to the overall sound. Bart's guitar parts are very unique and distinct. I could pick out his guitar playing in a mile-long guitar playing, police line-up. His drumbeats are extremely original and innovative.

Julie: Your lyrics are very poetic, is there a certain poetic style you like to write in?

Bret:Thank you! All of the lyrics began as poems and then were later set to music. But no, there is not a poetic style that I write in. I just grab a pen and let whatever comes out happen naturally. It's the only way for me to write. Sometimes I'll be sitting around and a word or a line will pop into my head and I just take it from there.

Julie: How have your life experiences been captured into the body of your music?

For me as a writer, it is essential that I express what goes on inside of me, what happened in the past, and what is happening in the present. Sincerity and substance comes from what people have experienced and how they choose to write about it. Each song deals with a certain aspect of my life and each one has it's own story.

Julie: Some people, like myself have said your vocals resemble Neil Diamond, how do you feel about this?

Bret:Ha! That's not a bad compliment. Unlike many singers, Neil Diamond does write his own songs. I have great respect for him being a songwriter. Do you remember "Red Red Wine," that song UB40 did? Well, Neil Diamond wrote it! And how about that fabulous song, "Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon." Our voices happen to be in the same vocal range… but when I listen to our album, I don't think that I sound like him.

Julie: Of all the bands you grew up listening too, which bands do you respect the most and why?

Bret:I have great respect for all of them. Today, I still listen to all of the bands that I grew up listening to. The music that makes the biggest impact on you should always be there. David Bowie, Gitane DeMone, Rozz Williams, Joy Division, The Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop are all in my Top Ten.

Julie: On your album, which song is the most seductive to you?

Bret:They are all quite seductive in their own way, but the ones that make me feel most sassy on stage are "You're So Pretty" and "Flowers."

Julie: What do you have planned for the upcoming months for Audra?

Very shortly we're going to be recording a track for the upcoming Rozz Williams tribute album that our friends over at www.rozznet.com is putting out. The money that will be raised from the cds will go towards a headstone for Rozz in a Hollywood cemetery. After that we're going to start working on our next album for Projekt. I want to tour as much as possible in 2001. I'm really looking forward to traveling more and playing in different cities.

Julie: Anything you would like to add to this interview?

I encourage everyone to visit our website at www.audramusic.com. We have a couple of free mp3s that you can download and sample our music if you are unfamiliar with Audra. Our album is available in stores all over the U.S. and also over the Internet. Thank you!


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