Brent Colbert is The Awful Truth. Or rather, Brent Colbert knows The Awful Truth, because it’s him. I had the pleasure of interviewing Brent about his Indie project, which will sound both familiar and dissonant to the average Indie rocker. Brent currently hails from Salt Lake City, though Linescratchers first came into contact with him through Rexburg connections, where he spent some time at BYU-I. You will soon be able to purchase his upcoming album, Object Permanence, on iTunes, though in the meantime you can hear his songs at his Myspace or on The Hills.
So your project is called The Awful Truth. Is it just you?
A: The Awful Truth is mainly me, but it wouldn’t be possible without other people. The album object permanence had the help of 13 other musicians from all over. It was recorded in Idaho, Illinois, and Kansas.
What other musicians are featured?
A: Ross Brown, Dustin Gamble, Mendellsohn (all of them), Lars Lindstrom, Lynzie Glaus, Seth Lucas, Ford Erikson.
Tell us a little about your upbringing, and especially about God’s favorite state, Kentucky.
A: Well, I was born in Ohio near Cincinnati, though we lived in Kentucky at the time. When I was 3 years old and my father was out of the military my family moved to Decatur, Illinois for a job my father accepted, so Illinois feels like home, though I have a love for Kentucky as well.
Your music has a very original style. What musicians do you credit as influences?
A: Thanks, I credit a lot more than just musicians as my influences. It’s hard to say, I remember vividly hearing the song ‘It’s all over now, baby blue” by Bob Dylan on the radio when i was probably 14, i had never heard something that just stopped me in my tracks the way this did. I felt like it was something I had no idea existed that i had always been looking for.
I would also credit my friends Derek Porter (Piercing Music) and PJ Famicom (Super Famicom) as huge influences on me. They are good friends whom I met when I first started writing music. Derek did a band at the time called A Toothless Life, I was so blown away by it. PJ and my friend Milly were dating at the time, they both were songwriters. I guess that it just made a huge difference in my life to see people show me that playing music for people and making art wasn’t as far-fetched as we often think it is, how practical and possible it is. My friend Drew Danburry has had a similar influence on me, but years later.
Bands I play with hold a huge influence on me. Of course the music I listen to plays an effect on me to a degree as well. Artists like Julie Doiron, The Weakerthans, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Low, Red House Painters, Bob Dylan, Modest Mouse, Nick Drake, Townes Van Zandt, that’s just a few, so much really.
Do you see music as a future career, or just as a hobby?
A: That would be fun, but this is the first album I’m releasing right now. I plan to do more traveling and things, but I have no idea how it will be received. Also the new stuff I’m writing is pretty different than the old stuff, we’ll see. I’m not counting on it, but I’m working toward that in some ways I suppose.
What is the music scene like in Rexburg nowadays?
A: I live in Salt Lake now, but Rexburg is a desolate place for music. Not much goes on there, and the things that do go on don’t seem to last long. It’s not a big enough town with enough people playing music to have any sort of diversity. Also the rules at BYU-I are very strict, house shows and things of that nature are very hard to pull off with the housing there. The problem is that there is nothing consistent, but keeping a venue open is expensive, and there aren’t enough kids who will pay 5 bucks at the door to support a touring band. Maybe in the future, I really worked hard to have some good shows going, and I think we had a few good ones, but overall it was just a hard thing where you had to jump through so many hoops and could rarely get the bands enough money to get to their next town. Most kids in Rexburg aren’t into anything very ‘indie’ or ‘alternative’ either, there is just a lack of the arts there. There could be many reasons why, but it just gets old having to drive 3 hours to see a decent show. With all that being said, I love Rexburg, and there are so many good kids there, but there needs to be more bands and interest for there to be a consistent ‘scene.’ And I think at one point that existed, maybe it does again, but when I was there, it seemed to be hard for anything to happen.
What songs would you recommend for a new listener?
A: Purple Station Wagons, Object Permanence, and Try To Explain.
Tell us about your album that is about to be released.
A: It’s called ‘Object Permanence.’ It is basically a collection of songs written from 2006-2009. The songs are kind of old to me, but I put off making this album for a while. A lot of the songs were on previous small releases (EPs, splits, cassette tapes) which i released. I recorded full instrumentation versions of them with friends. There have been 3 cuts of the album, a lot of songs were dropped along the way, but I’m happy with the theme for this album, it represents the beginning well i think.
When can our readers buy it?
A: That’s still being worked out, but it should be through Orchid Collective in Chicago as a hard copy or MP3 download for a donation of your choice (www.orchidcollective.com), At shows, and probably through iTunes in time.
Any shows coming up?
A: A few in Salt Lake and surrounding areas. Talks of touring this Fall, we’ll see what I can swing, it’s a hard thing when you may have to quit your job just to tour.
Where can we learn more about you and your music?
A: I have a Myspace page, I sort of hate being on the internet too much, but it seems that its just something you have to do now.
How can interested readers support you?
A: Come to shows, contact me if you know somewhere in your hometown you could get me a show, give the music with your friends, buy the music, listen to the music, steal the music (seriously) get it on the show ‘The Hills’, etc.
Oh, I’ve got one more question for you. How are you connected with Cary Judd, who mentioned you when he was interviewed?
A: I know Cary basically because when I lived in Rexburg, he had spent a lot of time in the area and I met him I think at a show i played with him in Logan. He is a talented and kind person.