What’s In a Name? – An Interview with Steven Bradley of Iwrestledabearonce

Krysta Cameron & Steven Bradley of Iwrestledabearonce, Branden Linnell of Century Media Records

Iwrestledabearonce is an avant-garde metal band from Shreveport, Louisiana. The band formed in 2007 and their debut full length album It’s All Happening was released last year by Century Media reaching the #1 slot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band tours extensively in the US and Europe. HMXBinThrDunTht caught up with lead guitarist Steven Bradley at SXSW in Austin for a quick chat after their set at the world famous Emo’s.
HMXBinThrDunTht: The band formed in Shreveport - tell me about the music scene there. How did the band get together?

Steven Bradley: There is one all-ages venue in Shreveport and last I heard we were banned from playing there! So yeah... There really isn't much of a scene there sadly. The talent exists and it always seems like there are enough people who care about music to make shows succeed, but nothing ever seems to work out. When I was younger the scene was amazing and big tours would come through and shows were crazy, but now it's just sorta sad and tragic.

HMXB: I have read descriptions of your sound as a crazy blending of genres. Primarily metalcore, but including changes within songs that feel like jazz, disco, swing, and even electronica. How would you describe your sound?

SB: We sound like us! I don't know... I don't think we are ground-breakingly amazingly unique or something. We just don't feel any limitations and do whatever the hell we want at all times! Being in a band is pointless if you're not going to do whatever the hell you want and put boundaries on yourself.

HMXB: Tell me a little bit about the band’s writing process. Who are some of the bands that influenced you? Where do you get your inspiration?

SB: Mike Patton, Bjork... Any artist who does weird s*** and doesn't ever repeat a certain formula over and over. Honestly none of us listen to much heavy music anymore. Weird ambient music seems to inspire us to write weird heavy s***. [laughs] As for our writing process, it used to just be me and John [Ganey, rhythm guitarist/programmer) working on ideas and then arranging them on the computer. Now we have a drummer and bass player who write as well, so the new stuff will cover even more ground hopefully! Still the same process though. Everyone works on riffs or ideas and then we all piece them together and jam on them. Krysta [Cameron, vocalist] helps with some arranging and ideas here and there and of course writes all the lyrics and sings all the vocals.
HMXB: - You have had some solid success with songs like "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon" [over 3 million listens on MySpace, Billboard #1 Heatseekers, #122 on the Billboard 200] from the album It’s all Happening. How, if at all, has the band's sound developed? Tell me about the new songs you are working on. What can we expect from the band in the near future?

SB: Well our first EP was basically just John and I in our old s****y rent house working on songs and Krysta adding vocals and our old bassist adding bass. The full length was extremely rushed, but was way better simply because it was a full band and not recorded in a bedroom at 3 AM while drunk. [laughs] As for new stuff, we just want to branch out in every direction possible and have fun. We have some ideas, but we've been on tour for so long we haven't had much time to really work on stuff yet. We're all ready to get to work on a new album though!
HMXB: You have toured with a ton of bands such as Winds of Plague, August Burns Red, Vanna, The Dillinger Escape Plan. Do you enjoy life on the road? Where are your favorite places to play? Can you share a crazy stories?

SB: Touring is awesome but tiring as f***. Obviously we all enjoy it, but being on tour nine months of the year definitely starts to wear you out no matter who you are. As for favorite places to play, I never know how to answer that! We just played Lisbon, Portugal and it was maybe the most insane crowd ever. Without even speaking fluent English they all knew all the words! Insane. And as for crazy stories there are too many to tell... watch our tour videos online for some dumb s*** we've managed to capture on film.

HMXB: The name - tell me the story behind the band's name. I hear it has something to do with being inspired by Gary Busey.

SB: Gary Busey blurted it out on his short-lived TV show. Means nothing and just seemed like an awesome/ridiculous band name!

HMXB: Do you guys play Rock Band? Are you good at it?

SB: Yeah! Some of us are [good], some are terrible. [laughs]

HMXB: [What are your] favorite songs to play in Rock Band?

SB: Favorite songs are any '80s rock jams where you can really beat the instruments and yell along no matter how wasted you are.

HMXB: What role do you see games like Rock Band playing in the music industry?

SB: Video games outsell music, so hopefully they can do some good for bands and labels! Obviously they already have, but now that tons of songs are getting added, hopefully even gooderer things are in store!

HMXB: Do you see games like Rock Band encouraging fans to take up "real" instruments?

SB: Definitely. It's a starting point for lots of people now and especially young kids.
HMXB: How do you think music engagement has changed over the years? Do you see fans wanting to be more connected with their favorite bands?

SB: Well the internet has made it easy to interact with people. Decades ago it was virtually impossible whereas now we can talk to people and share videos and content with them instantly. I'm sure people always wanted this sort of interaction, it's just possible now!
HMXB: Rock Band allows people to experience music in a whole different way. It's interactive play, not passive listening. What kind of impact do you think this will have on helping developing artists grow their fanbase?

SB: It obviously turns people on to new bands which is amazing. And it lets fans jam with the band which I would have killed for when I was 12 and playing Super Nintendo haha.
HMXB: What's next for the band?

SB: - Tour! Tour! Tour! Then a new album at the end of the year hopefully.
We are psyched to have Iwresteledabearonce in the Rock Band Network! Go download and play their RBN track “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon” and check them out live on tour this summer with Otep and then on the Van’s Warped Tour….coming to a city near you!