Interview: BRETT WILSON FROM THE BAND “ROOTS OF CREATION” Discuss how they Harness the Power of Music

Featured Image Photo Credit: Christian Clothier

 

 

 

Photo Credit Blake Hansen

 

 

 

BRETT WILSON FROM THE BAND “ROOTS OF CREATION” Discuss how they Harness the Power of Music
By: Suzanne Sanchez 08/04/2022

 

I’ve Been in search of bands that have that “something”. Wells my friends, Roots of Creation have it and all the
above!

This New Hampshire based band of musicians have the best chemistry & blend of diversity that drives out rhythmic symmetry with blends of ska, rock, reggae, and breathtaking meaningful lyrics that have certifiably made their mark in an ever-competitive music industry.

Since 2004, the band has toured with over 1000 international shows under their belt. Hitting the biggest shows such as Gathering of the Vibes, Wakarusa, Beach Life festival, Closer to the Sun, and countless more. Their music will saturate your soul with a multitude of vibes. Their name derives from a Sublime song Roots of Creation. In 2016, their album Living Free was the catalyst to their rising success leaving them #1 on the Reggae Billboards. They’ve debuted on Sugar Shack sessions and worked with Bob Marley’s engineer 5-time Grammy winner Errol Brown.

High- energy, heavy guitar riffs, smooth melodies their music is intoxicating and will leave you wanting more. Their newest single Ocean Moon takes you into an oceanic transcending place of peace. It’s reggae Rock so smooth you’ll be singing their songs in your head. Good energy a great sound completely original to anyone else. Nine albums since 2004 and sharing the stage with the biggest bands in the music industry such The Wailers, Collie Buddz, Slightly Stoopid, Michael Franti, Stephen Marley, and 100’s more. They’ve collaborated with some of the biggest artists. Stephen Marley, Marlon Asher, Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth ,G. Love and Special Sauce, The Aggrolites , Melvin Seals, and Reel Big fish are only some of the few. I sat down with founder, singer- songwriter Brett Wilson discussed their music, life, and the fans.

 

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Suzanne- Brett thank you for meeting with me, I do appreciate your time in your hectic schedule music family and life itself. Current band members?

Brett– We hover between 3- 6+ band members in a live setting sometimes we try to have special guests. It’s kind of cool we have like a music family of people. 99% of the time is always me, Tal Pearson (keys), Andrew Riordan (saxophone/vocals), then we have Pete our engineer who also records and mixes our albums plus his stepson Blake as Tech and photographer so thankful to them. Sometimes we can have a full stage with 10 people full horn sections, percussion and more.

 

 

Suzanne- Who inspired you to become a musician?

Brett-I was a visual artist influenced by a lot of psychedelic art, and into female figure drawing {Pen and ink and Painting}. So, I thought I was going to do this forever. My mother was an artist too, I was going to follow that path. The band came together while we were in high school. So, we were loving it. It was fun, but we started to build a fan base. I then went to college for art. While in college we were starting to sell out shows and then I compared that to the feeling of people looking at my art on the wall versus playing live with the people going crazy and raging. I was like umm, I think the music is beyond the best thing.

 

 

Suzanne- Your media presence is massive. This has obviously helped boost your popularity in the music industry. How did you come to see this was crucial for the music?

Brett-We try our hardest as we are an independent band, so we knew this was necessary. My dad owned his own business, and he was a financial advisor, so he told me either you got to find an investor or go into debt. I was like alright I’ll get some credit cards and bank loans and well hire a team to manage ourselves start a record and grow our music. COVID put us into a situation where we either going to go bankrupt or harness the power of the internet. We went live streaming and pull together a clothing company so we could eventually play live again. WE applied what we learned from talking to people at our shows and adapted.

 

Suzanne-How do you feel about the music industry right now coming from a couple years in hibernation with COVID?

Brett-When it happened, I was in a different head space. At first, I was super pissed live music was gone, but then I was like man I’m getting to spend a lot of time with my kids, I’m also live streaming. So, now we’re developing new methods to launch our music and new ideas such as giving away free merch and going into the studio every week and growing our fan base other than being gone every week. Of course, I was missing playing live. I am having trouble adapting back to where I was before, I want to play live. But do I really want to play 150 shows a year like I was doing? I would do 80 with the band and 70 by myself just to support the family and be a dad. At the other end of the spectrum, it changed my perspective for the music side. We never had a lot of time to be creative. We were always on the road, so this was our chance to home in on our writing. It was very financially stressful, but it made me go back to the roots of why I play music, jamming with other musicians and collaborating. I feel like the fans are ready to go, but the business aspect is still a little in limbo. Festivals are crushing it, but I don’t feel the indoor concerts are where everyone wants them to be. People are waiting longer to buy tickets in advance to shows which stresses out the bands’ teams and concert promoters.

 

 

Photo Credit Blake Hansen

 

 

Suzanne-You have toured relentlessly. Where are the best shows located?

Brett– In terms of what we do, and maybe the coast or the ocean being close. It feels like the live shows, Florida and California are the best, they are the two spots that really react amazingly to what we do.

 

Suzanne- How have you guys dealt with the success of it, I mean you guys are getting big.

Brett-lol, well its hard sometimes. You always set goals, like we need to get here and this needs to be done. But you must shut that off. There are all sorts of different perceptions of success. I’m very hungry, a go getter, but at extreme levels. So it’s good to be leveled out. Like my girlfriend levels me out. You got to have that balance.

 

Suzanne- where did you play recently?

Brett– We played 2 rager shows back-to-back with Bad Fish (A tribute to Sublime) with around 1000 people at both shows. It was super fun. Connected with a lot of people on a real level. Then on Sunday I played this little local gig 4-7. Something to pay the bills on the side in Salem, New Hampshire. People sitting in chairs, chilling didn’t know who the heck I was really lol. But the experience was almost better in some ways, I tell you why. There were 20 little kids in the front row, they were twirling around wearing little tie-dyed shirts doing fist pumps and putting
money in the tip bucket. They were loving life. Then there’s these 4 disabled adults in the back cheering, a guy in a wheelchair doing donuts and screaming and yelling and to see all of them loving life was almost as fulfilling to me than 1000 people singing the words. I just turned 40, haha so I guess my perspective has changed.

 

Suzanne – I love how your music is very appealing on a broader scale, you’ve got a great blend of music going on.
So really anyone from all backgrounds can be attracted to your music. You’ve got that Sublime vibe going on.

Brett-They were really my inspiration. I was inspired by the fact they had so many different genres in their music at the time like the metal, punk, ska, reggae, dance hall, and hip hop. I really like intense music. It must have meaning and soul. It’s like some people just write music just to have music written, I don’t get it. I want our music to be different want it to stand out.

 

Suzanne-What music are you guys into?

Brett-Our keyboard player has a super hard like Smashing Pumpkins guitar sounding album he’s working on right now. My first three greatest influences are Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead, Trey Anastasio from Phish, Anthony Iommi from Black Sabbath is a huge influence for me and the early 70’s stoner metal. Then I also used to listen to Metallica, and Slayer music with super long guitar solos with all the intricate parts.

 

Suzanne-You guys have 9 albums so far, right? Can you tell me about the most recent Dub Free or Die?

Brett-We have nine so far. Prior to the Dub Free or Die, we did 2 kick starter projects for both albums prior crowd funding campaigns. I was not going to do another crowd funding project and I was hoping to just do it ourselves. But when Covid hit mid-way into this album, I knew we were fucked, and we really needed the help from the fans. I’m so grateful to our fans, we couldn’t do what we love to do without them literally. Now during this time, it was near the end of my marriage. I did have a head block as far as lyrics goes. We ended having all these instrumentals, I was like fuck it this is going to be bad ass. This album is sultry and sexy, and it’s like a movie really. It’s trippy and gets heavy. Someday I would like to create some sort of animated movie to go along with all of it because I feel like it’s a movie when you listen to it front to back, like a concept album in Pink Floyd style. Couple of songs do have lyrics. I wrote the song “Wake up in California”. One of my best friends, Jon Phillips who runs SilverBack Music he was the manager of Sublime, and now he manages Slightly Stoopid and many others. He has been a mentor and best friend to me. I wrote this song in his guest house. There’s a cover from Allman Brothers/ Soul Shine (produced by Pete Peloquin of Boardz House Productions) that has some of the boys from Slightly Stoopid, and the singer, The Aggrolites, Jesse Wagner. I know you like Metal Suzanne, check out the song “Mammoth” on the album its super inspired by metal music and EDM/Dubstep.

 

 

Photo Credit Blake Hansen

 

 

Suzanne – Fav Album?

Brett– Man, I don’t think we’ve made it yet (Laughs). I think it’s going be the next one we put out! Just because I finally see the vision! But, out of the most I am proud of the Grateful Dub Album. A reggae infused tribute to the Grateful Dead. I had the opportunity to work with Errol Brown, Bob Marley’s music engineer. I didn’t write any of the songs on that album. We just rearranged them and produced them, so it’s hard to say “oh that’s my favorite!” It seems like it’s mine, but its not mine. You know what I mean?

 

Suzanne-One my favorite songs you’ve written “Ocean Moon” Is mesmerizing how did that come about?

Brett-This song is special to me. Usually, it takes me forever to write a song. And then I write it takes forever to record it, a lot of times they come out years later after their made. This song I wrote at a virtual song writing retreat, and it was timed 2 hours, I was like fuck. I used a classical guitar rather than a regular guitar. It really took me out of my comfort zone, it pretty dope. The song was about meeting my girlfriend at a time when It’s not the most ideal circumstances. I was already in a marriage that was falling apart. I was having a block in my mind in terms of writing lyrics. Where I was at, just not a good time in my life. So I felt stifled at that time of my life. Finding the perfect person for you and at the same time you’re not in the perfect position in life. What do you do about it? I was inspired by that. That was the vibe. I try to make the music not sound the same as what everyone else is doing.

 

Suzanne- Do you have any crazy touring stories?

Brett-lol Well it’s hard to think there are so many stories we’ve spent so much time on the road. A funny one, back when I used to drink (haven’t for a couple years now), we were in Michigan on a Monday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We were trying to get on tour with Bad Fish, a real full tour. They’re the real deal, and they’re great people. They were on the fence about us touring with them. The Grand Rapids promoter shows up and he outs a grand giant bottle of Jack Daniels on the table. He goes, Joel from the band said you can be on tour if you drink the
entire GIANT bottle right now. We looked at each other and said let’s take one for the team, this one’s going to hurt tomorrow! WE sent a picture of the empty bottle and got on the tour.

 

Suzanne- Let’s talk about collaborations, maybe some that stand out?

Brett– I always try to keep in touch with the people we collaborate with, it’s that connection we have now. Like Stephen Marley, I love him. Its great, he is Bob Marley’s son, it’s part of the legacy. But, he also produces so much music he done stuff with PitBull, and a lot of the beats for his brother Damian Marley. We were trying to get him on the “Fire and The Mountain” Song off Grateful Dub He was down with it, and he loved what Marlen Asher had done to it. Man, I must have sent 100 emails, texts, phone calls to his management (plus Jon and Errol hit them up too!) to pleasantly remind him we really wanted him in this album. He finally did it, and when we got it, we were like HOLY SHIT! He didn’t just do a verse there was a sick dancehall freestyle at the end. I know an artist of that caliber can be very, very expensive. Even if you’re friends with him. He going to bring A LOT to the table. But his stipulation was super old school, and he was like listen, I’m throwing a music festival in California, and I like your music. And his manager stated if you guys go play the festival for free and get your asses out to California, then Stephen Marley is going to throw down on this album, straight up barter system. Amazing to share the stage with him, but to also have him on the album was astronomical. I like to do things this way. He, his family, and his team are all great human beings.

 

Suzanne- You are so close with your fans, its amazing. You give away free merch and have a website and whole community of fans. You really appreciate your fans. You are undeniably one of the hardest working musicians I have ever seen. Where did this come from?

Brett– I would say before I was even playing in a band, I just loved music like you do. I just wanted to be involved in it, I was playing guitar, but I didn’t even have a band. So, I would volunteer and do what I could to help the bands pass out fliers what they needed. Just promote other bands to get free tickets. I have interned at different music companies. I have always had a thirst for knowledge and connecting with people. Before the internet was really utilized for exposure the bands used to mail out personal cards or merchandise, or tickets. I really admired the bands I looked up to and the way they handled their business and their connection to the fans they would treat them like gold. I feel like sometimes in our current music scene, this gets lost. I’m lucky, even though I work super hard I have a good support system. Great booking agent, my girlfriend takes care of the packages for mailing. I have a mentor who acts as in a management capacity, our engineer Pete, he records us and mixes up live, and his stepson Blake our photographer. So many others on the team, too many to name! I couldn’t do it without all of them. I do have a hard-working ethic, never give up.

 

Suzanne- Toughest thing about the music life?

Brett – Its difficult, the hand to mouth like an entrepreneur its difficult….not knowing how much income is coming in. People don’t realize the bands get compensated a lot of the time based on upon how many tickets are sold for each show, so sometimes there is not a lot of certainty. Its adventurous and fun but more stressful the older you get. The one way we are trying to combat that down ebb and flow is by starting a patron project where fans can subscribe monthly and if we can grow that we can have the funds to allocate and use that towards releasing new
music every 3 weeks that’s our goal, too continuously push out new music for our ROC family. The traveling is difficult. Its hard but its worth all the bullshit. I may complain sometimes like I didn’t pick up the guitar so I could fuck around with spread sheets haha. But music transcends all of the greatest experiences (i.e. sexuality etc) at one time not just one person but 100’s to
1000’s feeling this vibe at the same time. That feeling of oneness cannot be duplicated.

 

Suzanne- Do you have something you would like to say to the world?

Brett –To the fans, do what makes you happy. Don’t do what society or let anybody try to trick you into doing other things other than what makes you truly happy because they are just trying to inflict their insecurities or judgments in your life. Make sure you’re pursuing what truly makes you happy, long term. I was in a situation for a very long time, when I was not really thinking about happiness like it wasn’t important. I wasn’t in a great headspace, the music was not flowing out of me. I realized I needed to focus on what would really make me happy. Trying to obtain that is the
key to a great life.

 

 

 

Photo Credit Josh Coffman

 

 

Band members ROOTS OF CREATION:

Brett Wilson- Lead Vocals/Guitar
Tal Pearson – Keys
Andrew Riordan – Saxophone/Vocals

 

 

 

 

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