Brooklyn of Picture Me Broken Interview June 10, 2010

June 14, 2010 by: admin

June 10, 2010

PICTURE ME BROKEN

Megaforce (Sony/Red Distribution)

Layla “Brooklyn” Allman (Vocals, Synth)

Redwood City, California

Myspace.com/picturemebroken

By: Shauna O’Donnell

MUEN: HEY BROOKLYN, THANKS FOR CALLING IN. I HAVE BEEN HEARING REALLY GREAT THINGS ABOUT YOUR BAND.

Oh really? That’s awesome, thank you.

MUEN: YOU’RE STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL, ARE YOU A SENIOR?

I am actually a junior, well technically a senior now that I just finished my junior year. We are all juniors.

MUEN: THAT’S COOL, ONE MORE YEAR TO GO.

Yes, one more.

MUEN: YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN FRIENDS SINCE THIRD GRADE.

Yeah, we have been friends since third grade; we met in Elementary school when we were about eight years old.

MUEN: YOU FORMED THE BAND WHEN YOU WERE TWELVE.

Yeah, we started jamming together in seventh grade.

MUEN: IN SEVENTH GRADE YOU WERE PLAYING COVERS IN A COVER BAND CALLED LANE FOUR.

Yeah, we were playing a lot of Green Day, Guns N Roses and classic rock covers.

MUEN: IS IT HARD TO BALANCE SCHOOL WITH YOUR MUSICAL CAREER?

It’s really not that hard to balance because it is no more time consuming than being a serious athlete or being involved with a lot of the clubs at school. I just choose this as my extra-curricular, but I would definitely say I prioritize music over my academics. Next year, I’m taking night school to free up my schedule so I can play music a little bit more.

MUEN: DO YOU PLAN ON GOING TO COLLEGE?

I really don’t know at this point. I have a long time to think about that.

MUEN: YOU ARE FROM THE BAY AREA, WHAT IS THE MUSIC SCENE LIKE THERE? IS THERE A LOT OF BANDS?

The Bay area has a lot to offer as far as the local music scene. There is a big scene for indie music and then there are the really heavy hardcore bands and the pop punk bands. It’s pretty good because there are a lot of shows and a lot of local bands you can play with. It’s a pretty supportive scene, I feel fortunate that we can live in an area that has such a dense music scene.

MUEN: I SEE A LOT OF BAND’S TOUR SCHEDULES AND IT DOSEN’T SEEM LIKE TOO MANY OF THEM STOP OFF THERE.

I noticed that lately a lot of bands go to Sacramento, but they don’t really come to the San Francisco area. I don’t understand that because there are so many kids here that go out to shows and enjoy music. I think the only problem is that this area is not really heavy music friendly. I think the reason why the heavier bands and the metal bands stop off in other areas is because the kids here like the soft indie music. It is pretty popular here as far as vocal radio and everything.

MUEN: DO YOU HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING BANDS TO PLAY WITH?

There is actually a good deal of hard core bands to play with. There are not a lot of metal bands, but there is a good amount of bands that we generally play on the same circuit with.

MUEN: ON JULY 6TH YOU WILL BE RELEASING YOUR DEBUT ALBUM WIDE AWAKE THROUGH MEGAFORCE RECORDS. CONGRATULATIONS!

Thank you so much, we are really excited about it.

MUEN: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING THIS RECORD?

We never started recording it with the intention of releasing it as a full length album. We were recording songs and piecing things together after school, weekends and whenever we had time off. In the middle of the process, Megaforce approached us and said “Hey, why don’t you guys release a full length album?” We started to take what we originally recorded as an EP and complete that to make a full length album for Megaforce.

MUEN: DO ALL OF YOU WRITE TOGETHER?

We all write together, it is very much a team effort. I will write a lot of the music and the riffs. We will generally start from the riffs and come up with pro progressions together. It’s all done in the same room. Nick and I are two of the principal writers of the instrumentation, but we will put it all together and structure it as a team. At the end, I will put the vocals and the lyrics on there.

MUEN: WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU WRITE SONGS THAT PEOPLE YOUR AGE RELATE TO OR DO YOU THINK YOU WRITE SONGS THAT CAN RELATE TO A BROADER RANGE?

One thing about us is although we are really young, I feel like our music is more relatable to a more mature audience as well as a younger audience. I think a lot of the songs we write can appeal to a wide range of people. I don’t think we write our age, we write about issues that can be accessible to anyone.

MUEN: IS THERE A LYRICAL THEME TO THE RECORD?

I think the lyrics are a summary of important events in my life throughout the past three years. I’m very much somebody who writes about personal experiences and draws inspiration from actual things that happen. I like to write my music from within.

MUEN: YOU SING AND SCREAM.

Yes, that’s true.

MUEN: WHICH DO YOU PREFER TO DO?

I really enjoy the screaming, it’s a lot of fun. It’s almost the one year anniversary of me learning to scream. You’ve got to be careful with it because it is hard on the vocal chords. There is a whole art to transitioning from clean vocals to screams. I like them both equally, I think it’s all part of the vocals.

MUEN: I NEVER KNEW YOU HAD TO LEARN TO SCREAM.

Oh yeah, there’s an art to it. It took me a while. There were a few shows where I’d sound like a little frog choking. I finally learned how to do it and once you learn how to do it, you have to do it without hurting yourself. You then have to learn how to transition into clean vocals. It’s pretty complicated.

MUEN: YOU DO NOT FIND MANY FEMALES WHO SCREAM. YOU HAVE ANGELA GOSSOW FROM ARCH ENEMY….

You have Maria Brink too, she is very good. I love Angela; she’s one of my main inspirations for screaming. She is fabulous.

MUEN: HAVE YOU TAKEN VOCAL LESSONS OR MUSIC LESSONS?

I’m not a big believer in vocal lessons. I took classical piano until I was eleven. I was really into it and took the lessons religiously. I practiced a lot and that has actually served as a nice little background for my keyboard work in Picture Me Broken. I have never been a believer in vocal coaches because they always try to get me to sing all technical. It just doesn’t work for me, so I have never regularly gone to a vocal coach for that reason.

MUEN: YOU PLAY SYNTH AND PIANO. DO YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS?

I pretty much stick with piano and the vocals. I can mess around on other stuff, but I’m a pretty serious piano player. I apply a lot of it to my keyboard work. I think the keyboard is such a valuable tool for me because my knowledge of piano allows me to take part in the writing process of the music and not just in the lyrics and vocals. I think a lot of singers who don’t play instruments miss out on that. I think it is just as important to be able to take a part in that process.

MUEN: WHICH OF THE SONGS ON THE ALBUM IS YOUR FAVORITE TO PERFORM?

I think we all collectively like the song “Skin and Bones.” We did some really trippy stuff with what we are playing. I feel like it’s really cross genre. It’s a good representation of screamo and metal worlds together. It’s a good old hard rock song, I love it.

MUEN: WILL IS THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE BAND. WHAT DID HE BRING TO THE BAND THAT YOU DID NOT HAVE BEFORE?

We were looking for a rhythm guitar player for a while because we wanted to fill out our sound. We were looking for about a year and then we met Will. Over anything his personality meshed with us perfectly and he is a great guitar player. He is a genuinely nice guy and he gets along with all of us. You have to have the chemistry in there and it has to complete the band.

MUEN: I AGREE WITH THAT. THE ALBUM WAS AFTER-MASTERED BY SHELLY YAKUS OF MYSTUDIO.NET. I WENT TO THE WEBSITE AND I’M NOT SURE HOW IT ALL WORKS.

He has this little booth, you go in there and pick a background of anything. There can be dancing skeletons, frames or whatever you want behind you. You can play a track, lip synch to it and it’s like making a little music video. It’s a lot of fun; I’ve done a couple of them. You don’t have to do a song, you can do a monologue. You can pretty much do anything in there.

MUEN: THAT IS SO COOL. WHO DID YOU WORK WITH PRODUCTION WISE ON THE RECORD?

We worked with a few different producers. The primary producer was Scott Llamas. He does a lot of the local San Francisco scene indie bands around here. He is a really great guy and we enjoyed working with him. The other one we worked with was Aaron Hellam. His name was misspelled on the album and so now we call him “Hellman.” He recorded “Dearest” which was a $300 demo that we whipped out in 24 hours and it sounds fantastic. That is the song that stuck out for us, so we decided to re-record the song “Echoes of an Empire” from our first EP with Aaron. We really love what he did; he definitely took it to the next level. We have one old song from the EP on there that was recorded by Andrew Murdock who has worked with Avenged Sevenfold and Godsmack. Scott Gillman also worked on that track.

MUEN: ONCE THIS ALBUM DROPS, WILL YOU BE HITTING THE ROAD IN SUPPORT OF IT?

Once the album drops we are going to be doing a bunch of scattered dates around California. We are going off to Milwaukee to do Summer Fest. It’s going to be exciting for us, but we are pretty much staying around the California region. We have yet to branch out from local shows so we want to hit some of the So Cal area and central California.

MUEN: HOW DOES THAT WORK IF YOU GUYS ARE UNDERAGE? I KNOW SOME CLUBS DON’T ALLOW BANDS TO PLAY UNLESS THEY ARE 18. HOW DO YOU GET AROUND THAT?

A lot of the clubs will make an exception for the bands. We haven’t had a lot of problems with 21 and over or 18 and over limits. Since we are all underage, we just try to avoid playing shows that aren’t all ages because a lot of people that come to our shows are also underage. For our CD release party we can’t even have minors because the two headlining bands attract an older audience, so we have to play first instead of last.

MUEN: YOU HAVE PLAYED WITH SOME REALLY GREAT BANDS. WHO ARE YOU A FAN OF?

I love Avenged Sevenfold. I have always been a huge fan of AFI. One of the newer bands I am a fan of is Black Veil Brides. I also like Bless the Fall and My Chemical Romance. I like a broad range of sub genres.

MUEN: I JUST INTERVIEWED ANDY SIX OF BLACK VEIL BRIDES.

Oh really, he is a friend of mine. He is so smart. He is actually my mentor and I go to him for advice all the time. He has been great with helping me out.

MUEN: I USUALLY ASK THE PEOPLE I INTERVIEW IF THEY CAME FROM A MUSICAL BACKGROUND. IN YOUR CASE, I KNOW THE ANSWER IS YES BECAUSE YOUR DAD IS GREGG ALLMAN. HOW HAS HE INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?

He really hasn’t at all; his influence doesn’t really go farther than genetics. He has always been supportive of it and he likes that I’m pursuing music. He has always been very complimentary of my voice. There is really no influence in there; he has never been to a show or anything. It’s not one of those situations.

MUEN: SOMETIMES FAMOUS MUSICIANS TRY AND TALK THEIR KIDS OUT OF JOINING UP IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.

Yeah, he has never tried to talk me out of it. He fully believes that I can do it.

MUEN: YOU WON AN MTV VMA FOR “BEST BREAKOUT BAY AREA BAND.”  WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO WINNING?

Oh it was crazy; I was on the couch watching the VMA’s. We came on the screen and I was like “Whoa! What’s that?” My friend was like “You Won! You Won!” I was like “What did I win?” I didn’t even know what was going on, but it was really exciting though.

MUEN: YOU ARE ALSO ONE OF PUREVOLUME’S TOP 20 UNSIGNED BANDS OF 2009.

Yeah, Purevolume has been really great to us. We’ve had a lot of top songs and top downloads on there. The kids on there are great.

MUEN: “DEAREST (I’M SO SORRY)” CAN BE DOWNLOADED TO ROCK BAND 2 NOW.

Yes

MUEN: ARE YOU GUYS REALLY INTO VIDEO GAMES?

We are actually not; none of us have even played it yet. We are really excited about it though, a lot of people are saying it is a fun song to play. We had more downloads than No Doubt which is really sick.

MUEN:  I READ YOU ARE ALSO A PRETTY GOOD ATHLETE.

I was for a while; I was a competitive swimmer and water polo player. I did it for many years and then music took over. I was really serious about it, I was starting Varsity my freshman year. It was fun, but I’m glad that I can focus on music now. I’m still about health and fitness. I still work out every day.

MUEN: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW BROOKLYN. GOOD LUCK WITH THE NEW ALBUM.

Thank you so much!

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