Breathe Electric: Day One of a Warped Summer

We caught up with Grant Harris of Breathe Electric on Day One at the Warped Tour in Carson, CA.  Having the distinction of being the only unsigned band on the entire tour, Grant remains humble and focused while looking forward to a truly Warped Summer.

Combining pop rock with electronic music, Breathe Electric has been releasing their own music for a few years now.  Lovestruck is their latest recording to date and it’s gonna make you want to dance, dance, dance!  In addition, the band contributed a track to Rockin’ Romance 2 – a vibrant cover of Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley.

On a bright and sunny Los Angeles day, here is what Grant had to say on Day One of the Warped Tour…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Breathe Electric, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Grant and I sing and do all the writing and recording and programming for Breathe Electric. I started Breathe Electric a couple of years ago, and it’s our first time on the Vans Warped Tour – at least on a good portion of it.

How does an unsigned band wind up on the entire Warped Tour? Have you ever played Warped Tour before?
We played two dates last year. We played Chicago and Milwaukee – kind of where we are from. And to tell you the truth, we don’t really know how we ended up with the full tour. We’re just very thankful to Kevin (Lyman) and all the other people at Warped Tour for giving us this opportunity.

The last time I talked to you, you hadn’t met Kevin Lyman yet. Have you met him at this point?
I have met him – it wasn’t even on this. I met him a couple of weeks ago and I told him, “Thank you so much for putting us on!” And he was, “Oh, no, it’s okay….” He’s such a nice guy. It’s great and everybody here is awesome.

You’re pretty much releasing everything on your own. Would you rather do it on your own or would you want to work with a record label?
You know, we have no problem working on our own right now. I think right now we’re the only unsigned band that is playing the entire Warped Tour. We’re pretty cool with being unsigned. Everything is going well. The new record is out and doing well. It would take the right kind of label and the right kind of offer for us to even think about not being signed. We’re happy. We’re content.

And you’re calling all the shots right now…
Right, yeah. I like that!

Tell me about two of the songs on Lovestruck and what inspired you to write the lyrics.
I wrote this song called One In A Million – which is kind of a story of a girl who’s been hurt in the past – and it’s a girl that you’re into. And you’re trying to say, “I know you’ve been hurt in the past and I know that you’ve said that you’d never love anybody anymore.” And it’s kind of like, “Let loose.” And the chorus is about just letting loose and being in the summer. I’ve always wanted to write a song about summer, and we did just that kind of thing. And then another song called Stop Actin – which is the last song on the record. I actually wrote about – actually he’s my tech – he’s my best friend – I’ve grown up with him. And he had this girl – and I think it’s something that everybody relates to. They always have somebody that’s had a relationship which is just not the right relationship for them – so the song is kind of about that.

You worked with Tom Higgenson of The Plain White T’s on one of your earlier songs (What Would You Say from the Emotion EP). What was it like working with him, and how did he become involved with the song?
To tell you the truth, I was not even in the studio with him. I had the part written and my producer knew Tom – he was real close friends with him – and he’s actually producing Plain White T’s newest record. But this was a while back. He just knew Tom and he said he thought it was a great song and it would be a great fit for the bridge. So I sent him over the bridge I wrote – and he sang it and sent it over in a couple of days. It was awesome! I’ve met Tom a few times now. He’s a great guy and I love the band.

You currently have an acoustic EP available on Itunes. Have you ever thought about doing an all acoustic tour or show?
We do some in store Hot Topic acoustic shows. Right now, I think we’re really just trying to push the whole band aspect – kind of the way it is on the (Lovestruck) record. Hopefully if the record does well, we’ll bust out an acoustic tour somewhere.

Who are some of the musicians in your current lineup, and are they in other bands?
There’s Aaron Everly on guitar, Phil Pepperton on drums, my brother Carter Harris on keyboards, and then Kyle Fasel on bass. And Kyle is actually in a band that went on hiatus maybe 8 months ago and I asked him to join in Breathe Electric. He and the other guys in that band – they don’t really tour or play too many shows, but when we have some off time, I know they’ll play a show and they continue to put out new music. They are called The Fastest Kid Alive.

What made you decide to cover Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley on Rockin Romance 2? That was actually an interesting choice!
Yeah! They approached us about doing a song for Rockin Romance and it was going to be a love song. We had a list of all these songs we could chose from – and Never Gonna Give You Up was not on there. And I said, “Is there any way we could do that one?” Because I’ve always been a big fan of the song. It’s something I think that everybody knows – whether they like or not. It kind of gave me the chance to do that – to cover the song – so I went with it.

What could one expect from a live Breathe Electric show at the Warped Tour?
We’re gonna try to keep it fun – keep it light – get kids dancing and hopefully just have a lot of fun with everyone.

If you could open up for any band either today or who have ever lived, who would it be and why?
One of my favorite artists of all time is Ben Folds, and I think that would be so much fun because I think he’s so creative. Maybe one day – way down the line – that would be amazing!

I thought you would say someone like Depeche Mode or Lady Gaga…
Yeah, a lot of people would say that – I mean I’ll take both of those – don’t get me wrong! I do love electronic music, but I’m not even that heavy into it. I love just any kind of pop music. But like I said, Ben Folds because he’s so creative and does his own thing all of the time.

What advice would you give a kid with a synth who wants to be on the Warped Tour next year?
Really, just try to find that little thing that makes you stick out in front of everyone else. I know as well as everybody – being a kid in a basement with a laptop and a keyboard putting it on Myspace. There are so many kids everywhere doing that. It’s just really finding your sound and staying with it and promoting and really just following “you”…

And one last question. Do you have any messages for Breathe Electric fans?
Yeah! I just wanna say thank you to everyone that’s supported us this far. I mean, we’re here on the Warped Tour because of them. There’s nobody else BUT them that got us here. We’re just so thankful – and I hope to see all of them out here.

Many thanks to Grant for the interview.  We will catch up with Breathe Electric at the end of the Warped Tour to see how they survived the summer.    Stifling heat and torrential rain is on the horizon.  Stay tuned…

(Interview and Warped Tour Carson photos by Kenneth Morton)

Breathe Electric on Myspace

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