It was just announced that electro-pop band Breathe Electric would be on the entire Warped Tour – certainly an achievement for any band, yet a near miracle for one that is currently unsigned. In the true DIY fashion, Breathe Electric has self-released a whole collection of various EP’s and singles and has accumulated quite a fan following due to incessant touring and Myspace exposure. Here is an interview we conducted on the phone with Breathe Electric’s mastermind Grant Harris to find out more about this up and coming band ready to invade your town this summer…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Breathe Electric, and how long the project has been together.
My name is Grant Harris and I basically am Breathe Electric. I started Breathe Electric a couple of years ago and I write and record and basically do everything.
Were you in any other bands prior to Breathe Electric?
I played in a bunch of small local bands, none of which anyone has heard of. I played in local bands all throughout high school.
Where are you from and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re actually from a suburb of Chicago – about an hour north. Basically right on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin. It really wasn’t great when I was in high school. When I was in high school in local bands, it really was a struggle to get even like 50 kids out to a show. We’ve seen quite a big increase in attendance and such. The South side of Chicago has a great scene right now.
How did your recent tour with Brokencyde go and what were some of the highlights?
The tour itself was fantastic and we had a lot of fun, and we made friends with everyone on the tour. We played great shows in Sacramento and Chain Reaction. The highlights were just the shows themselves. The people we were on the tour with – Brokencyde and the other bands – we became great friends with them.
How did your show at The Roxy go and what were your impressions of Hollywood?
I actually have been to Hollywood quite a few times. My manager lives like two minutes from the Roxy so I’m a bit familiar with the area and I’ve recorded a couple of times out there right around West Hollywood. The show at The Roxy was a lot of fun. It’s quite an experience to play out there where there’s so much history in music that went on right on that road on Sunset. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it.
Tell me about the new single Electronic Lover and where you got the idea for the song.
That song – you get a lot of Internet romance songs and stuff like that. There’s not one that I really thought captured some of the situations that people go through in that kind of thing. In writing that song, I did my best to write something in that nature.
Where you got the ideas for some of your other lyrics?
It’s really from everywhere. I always try to think about similar situations that everyone goes through but try to put a little bit different spin on it that not everyone thinks about.
What initially got you into electronic music?
In one of my old bands in high school, I got a hold of this program called Reason – and I had been listening to bands like Daft Punk and The Secret Handshake and stuff like that. I started fiddling around with it and kind of tried to emulate the sounds that they make. It kind of went from there, and I got a further understanding of the program and the secret thing that goes into it. I kept working at it and eventually got some terrible songs that I started writing and then kind of went from there.
How easy or difficult is it to maintain a live band when you go on your tours?
The main issue, I think, is keeping guys dedicated to music that they haven’t written. And I think that’s a huge part of it. And the fact that it’s electronic music makes it a bit more difficult. A lot of the guys that I’ve picked up, they are used to more less straight up rock bands. And I’m really fortunate to have a couple of my friends on board. They seem to really enjoy it and it’s kind of an experience together of how to take an electronic track and turn it into a live performance and put acoustic drums on electronic samples – and electric guitar and real bass when none of that is real on the record.
How did you wind up on the entire Warped Tour and have you met Kevin Lymon?
I haven’t. We played two of the days last year – we played Tinley Park and Milwaukee last year and we were real excited and we thought we did well. And then this year, they offered us all of Warped Tour. We were surprised but very appreciative and happy with the fact that they gave us the opportunity to play on the entire tour.
Has anyone given you any advice on how to survive the grueling days on the Warped Tour?
We’ve had a few people tell us, because we’re probably going to be doing it in a van. No driver and no bunks of anything. We’re mainly just hoping that we don’t fall asleep at the wheel in the middle of the night. We’ll probably just do shifts, and that’s what we’ve been told was best – is just sleep as much as you can. Just stay awake for your shift and then go back to sleep. We’re excited!
How close are you to releasing another EP or full length of tunes?
We’re going to release a couple more singles in the next month or two – and then we’re hoping to release another EP right before summer – right before Warped Tour.
Has Breathe Electric had any label interest or do you like doing everything on our own?
We’re definitely not opposed to doing everything on our own – we’ve done that thus far. In a label, we’re looking for something or somebody that’s going to be the best fit for us. It’s definitely a waiting game, but we’re confident that we’ll find somebody that fits our goals and aspirations.
Do you have any strange or unusual Myspace stories that you could share?
We’ve had some really odd pictures that have been sent to us before. To be honest, besides the typical Myspace creepers and the ungodly amounts of spam, we’ve had some very odd pictures – and we’ll leave it at that…
Are you involved with any other projects outside of Breathe Electric?
I kind of dabble in a little bit of everything – nothing very seriously – it’s mostly just like little side projects I’ll do with some friends from home. We have a hip-hop side project and we have a real almost like Millionaires / Blood On The Dance Floor style electronic side project and a few other ones. I keep busy. It’s nice to be able to outlet some musical ideas in a different way than Breathe Electric.
For those who haven’t seen you yet, what could one expect from a live Breathe Electric show?
Energy and a lot of fun and a lot of movement. Just energy is what I would say.
What was your favorite CD of 2009 and why?
I would have to say either Lady Gaga or the newest Ben Folds album, which I know are two completely different styles. Those are probably the two most played on my Itunes right now.
If you could do one cover song from Ben Folds and Lady Gaga, what songs would you do and why?
From Ben Folds, I would have to do 1000 Angry Dwarves, just cuz I love the angst it in and it would be a lot of fun to convey it in that way. And then from Lady Gaga, I would have to pick Bad Romance because there’s just something about that song – and I think that everyone would agree that there’s just something to that song that gives it that extra edge – which is probably why it’s so popular today.
Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles area or for people who haven’t heard you before?
To the fans that are out there in California, keep following Breathe Electric. I know we don’t get too many chances to come out there, but we’ll do our best to get out there soon and more often. Keep following everything online – there’s going to be a new single up – probably next month so keep an eye out for that. And for anybody who’s not aware of Breathe Electric – I know this kind of music is over saturated in the scene and in the world – but I think Breathe Electric puts across something a little bit different and a little bit more fun – and it helps us stand apart from the rest.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Breathe Electric on Myspace