Hanford Sentinel Feature

Here is the full feature written in the Hanford Sentinel about the Bryan Vickers Band, the Draw The Line album release party, and the tour. Enjoy!

The Central Valley’s music scene continues to impress and  The Bryan Vickers Band is one of those performers whose star is on the rise. I talked with Bryan Vickers before his band's debut album is released.

Question: When did the Bryan Vickers Band get its start? How did you meet?

Answer: I started playing and singing at clubs in Monterey in 2005. I was only 19 but the local pros took me under their wing and got me into the clubs to sit in with them. After moving to Hollywood to attend Musician’s Institute, I dropped out and moved home to Hanford to marry my high school sweetheart. It was while playing solo acoustic gigs around the Valley that I met the Andrade brothers, Quetzal Emanuel Andrade and Quetzal Uriel Andrade. (Yes, same first name, long story). I remember being really impressed with them, but they were in other bands at the time. A couple years later we were all free and decided we should get together and jam sometime. The first time we played together it was effortless, locking into grooves, improvising, and making some awesome music! I think one or two songs from the album actually came out of that first jam session.

Q: What would you say your biggest musical influences are?

A: A tag line I like to use is featured at the top of our website: “A bluesy alt-rock guitarist, a funky R&B bassist, and a progressive drum major walk into a bar...”

Growing up my dad had a huge collection of classic rock vinyls. We would sit and listen to everything from The Beatles and Elvis, to The Doors and Clapton. My mom and stepdad had a big CD collection of hard rock and ’80s stuff like Mötley Crüe, Metallica, and Guns ’N Roses. Then I listened to tons of ’90s alternative on the radio. Everything form Nirvana and Sublime to Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

The Andrades are both music majors with degrees from Fresno State. They also grew up in church with plenty of gospel and hymns. Bassist Quetzal Emanuel loves soul and R&B like Musiq Soulchild, plus a healthy dose of funk. Drummer Quetzal Uriel is a big fan of progressive metal like Dream Theatre. They both love interesting melodies and tight grooves.

Between the three of us, there is a huge range of styles and influences, which makes for a very fresh and unique sound in our own songs.

Q: How would you describe your band’s sound?

A: It’s definitely rock. Sometimes it’s funky, sometimes it’s bluesy, sometimes it’s heavy. We aren’t afraid to venture into different styles from one song to another, or even in the course of a single song. Acoustic strumming, funky jamming, or big heavy riffs. If it sounds good and feels good, we go with it. Kind of how rock and roll used to be.

Q: Describe how the recording process for your debut album went? Can you talk about Freewill Studio and how bands can go about booking it to record?

A: The recording process at Freewill Studio was great. It’s a very relaxed environment. Danny Stacy, the owner, brought us in to record our album. It’s not an independent label at this point (though the idea has been tossed around) so we’re not technically an in-house band. But we’re kind of ambassadors for the studio, and I’ll be working there as an engineer/co-producer, so we were able to do a lot of our own tracking. After Danny taught me the board and the software, I ran the sessions while the Andrades laid their tracks down, then spent a couple months on my own doing the guitar parts. 

Then Danny and I recorded my vocals, and we worked side by side on the mixing. We have a lot of great hardware and software at our disposal. Anybody interested in booking some studio time or recording an album can contact me through the website www.bryanvickersband.com. We’re in the process of building a site specifically for Freewill.

Q: I see that you have a few wedding gigs lined up including one in Hawaii. How did those come about?

A: We love doing weddings. We offer a full service entertainment package that includes: Solo acoustic songs for ceremony, solo acoustic performance for cocktail hour, DJ/Emcee for dinner and reception, then the full band plus DJ for dancing. It’s the best of both worlds! Some fans of ours live on Oahu and are getting married in June, so they hired us for their wedding. Basically they paid for our flights and put us up at their place while they’re on their honeymoon. So we bought extra tickets for our families and booked some gigs while we’re there. We’re playing the Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu and Surfer: The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort.

Q: What can people expect from your live shows?

A: We are very much a live band. Lots of energy. We keep people dancing by mixing our originals in with a bunch of great covers. Everything from Santana and Michael Jackson to Sublime and Britney Spears. We have a really big sound for a trio. It helps that Quetzal Emanuel often plays keyboard and bass simultaneously, which is incredible to watch. We also love to improvise, so if people are really into a song, we’ll keep it going with some cool breakdowns or solos. Sometimes we have guitar vs bass duels. Quetzal Emanuel has got to be the best bass player around. I throw down some nice guitar solos, but his solos are always amazing. And you have not seen a drum solo until you have seen Quetzal Uriel terrorize the kit with his ridiculous precision and amazing stick tricks. He literally juggles and spins his drum sticks through the air and never misses a beat. I see him do it at every gig and I still just stand there dumbfounded every time haha.

Q: Anything else that you’d like readers to know about the Bryan Vickers Band or any other projects you’d like people to know about?

A: We want everyone to come to the album release party at ApCal June 6. It’s 21 and over, and it’s free! I hope people check out the album, it will be free to stream at www.bryanvickersband.com,  so you can listen before you buy it. Watch us on Great Day Friday, May 30. We’ll also be broadcasting the world premiere of the album on New Rock 104.1 June 1 at 8 p.m., so you can hear it before it even comes out. Tune in! Then call New Rock 104.1 and request our songs every day for a few years!

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423. Follow him on Twitter @HanfordPete.

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