Images by Tim Holahan
A glimpse into the beginning of this music story, was a man completely hell-bound driven to succeed in the music industry. Determined through his passion for music, Brandon Hardesty’s relentless pursuit of the music dream was more than just an idea, it is way of life and the stronghold of the band’s current success. Maryland’s punk reggae-rock band Bumpin Uglies has given us another album, this one will give you chills. I have already spent hours listening to the new album Mid-Atlantic Dub their seventh studio album. Along with playing the biggest music festivals in the country, they have also debuted on the world-renowned Sugar Shack Sessions Music Channel .
Their latest album has nonstop hit! The song “Slow Burn” on the album featured Jacob Hemphill of SOJA. The song “No Love” featured the band Little Stranger. Bumpin Uglies has become a household name in the modern reggae world. They have continued to sell out shows across the country. They played the biggest festivals nationally and shared the stage with many such as BallyHoo!, Twiddle, Little Stranger, Kyle Smith, and hundreds more. The bands relentless touring and hard work has brought them to the forefront of music.
I got a chance to speak with the lead vocalist-guitarist Brandon Hardesty before he leaves on tour. We discussed the new album, and the band’s progression.
Suzanne –Thank you for joining me I know you’re a busy guy! I want to first congratulate you on the new album!
Brandon- Thank you! We love it we worked hard on it very excited!
Suzanne – So I know you’re about to hit the road on a US tour, I bet it’s great to get back out there! A lot of bands I’ve talked to really went through a lot when Covid shut it all down.
Brandon – My wife got pregnant in the middle of COVID. We then found out that pregnant women are high risk so we made an agreement that any gigs I would be doing would be outdoor shows. So, when winter came around, I couldn’t go out and do any gigs stuck at home for all of February, but I kept writing. When COVID hit it felt like a new frontier, I really did feel like I was bootlegging. It felt like we were going out into the wild west looking for gold and shit, it felt very primal.
Suzanne – This album is a hit! Your lyrics are very telling in that you mean what you are saying to us.
Brandon – I have always written a lot, and I do take it seriously. I treat it like a job. There was a month where I woke up every morning and I made a pot of coffee and wrote a song. Anytime I get an idea, I’ll write it down on a notepad or iPhone notes. I’ll come up with a riff and record the riff on my voice memos. I’ll get passionate about an idea and remain focused on that until its done. Like one day I woke up and picked an idea and then it turned into writing 25 songs. This was very enjoyable as I have never had time like this before. It was a nice routine to get into. Not all of them are great, but a lot of them were and that’s the bulk of this new album. Then touring started in April, going balls to wall making up for lost time. I made demos and sent them to the boys, booked a couple days in September to go track drums and then went from there for recording, it took about 6 months.
Suzanne- You are very gifted; how long have you been doing this?
Brandon – For about 15 years I have been singing, and songwriting. I like to compare it to weightlifting in a sense that songwriting is the muscle. It’s the matter of repetition and the more you do it the better you will be at it. I would not say I am gifted, I just worked hard at it.
Suzanne – I will say you are gifted. There is not a lot of people that can do what you do, and how you have accomplished this.
Brandon – Thank you. I guess I just take the lyrics very seriously. Lyrics are everything and I’ve have thought critically about the lyrics since I have started this 15 years ago. Even before that, the lyrics drew me in to love music.
Suzanne – What inspired you to pursue music?
Brandon – I started playing guitar at 17. Then at 21, I was playing open mic nights. I always liked writing when I was growing up. I had the idea of becoming a journalist and going to college. Combining music, and writing, with singing I loved it so much. I was at a point in my life, working at the restaurant, and I had to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I figured I was good at this, so this is what I am going to do.
Suzanne – You just had a baby not that long ago, how do you juggle it?
Brandon – It’s a lot (laughs). I just got back from my kid’s soccer practice (my first child), his second year of soccer. I had to get him in soccer, and I had made sure I get to this interview in at noon. But we got to make it happen and make the time for both. My priority right now is to make a living doing what we love.
Suzanne – Your latest album was released on the 16th of September 2022. It’s unbelievable, I love it!! Something I want to point out the lyrics are amazing along with the music its very motivating! Just by your lyrics and talking to you already I love that you’re not complacent to it all.
Brandon– It’s something I’ve realized more so since last year. We are never going to be one of those fairy tales stories. We have literally had to kill everything we’ve eaten our entire career (laughs). Every piece of respect we get out there, we take it! You know how there is the “chosen ones” and then there’s the other ones. I feel like we are the other ones, and you must be your own biggest cheerleader. You have got to outwork everyone and be on top of your shit.
Suzanne- I listened to “Slow Burn” and “ No Love with Little Stranger ” 10x in a row, really love the songs!
Brandon– “Slow Burn” is really about the long road before you get that place of success, so don’t get frustrated and enjoy the journey. “No Love” is a more boisterous song. Like fuck you, you don’t have to love me, but it would be cool if you did. I am a big hip hop fan so it’s a lot of what I listen to these days. Then Little Stranger jumped in, it was perfect. I think as a band we found our lane in the music industry. I still feel like writing weird music too though, so I kindlv want to make my cake and eat it to. We are going to silently release the weird stuff. I feel this album
Mid-Atlantic Dub is a good representation of what we are doing now.
Suzanne – Message to the fans.
Brandon- I appreciate all the support, coming out to our shows. Our whole thing has always been grassroots, so It’s been completely funded by the fans. We are starting the tour soon through the states very excited to back on tour.
Suzanne- I know we will be seeing so much more from these guys in the future!
Catch them on tour soon!
Brandon Hardesty – Vocals/Lead Guitar
Dave Wolf – Bass/Vocals
Ethan Lichtenberger – Keys, Horns
TJ Haslett – Drums
Will Lopez – Sax/Guitar
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Hey guys! I’m living the beach life in Cocoa Beach, Florida. UCF Graduate dbl. major , dbl. Masters. Prior to grad school, I spent around 10 years in the music industry managing bands, national tours, and stage management. Most of my career has consisted of working within the realm of criminal justice.
I have always loved to write honing my skills though my time in graduate school. I am obsessed with the paranormal, animals, wildlife, and the ocean of course surfing my whole life. Cancer survivor 2 years with my recent remission. I am very grateful to be a part of this magazine and to share my passion for music.