by Chris Bryson
After years playing in bands like Slow Spirit, Odana, Somebody Language and under his own name, Brady Allard’s newest project, Warming, lives up to its own name. Allard will be playing his first show as Warming at the Handsome Daughter on February 17th. The first single from Warming’s eponymous debut album, “White Lies”, was released on January 23rd in anticipation of the show.“White Lies” feels warm and emotional, fluid and funky, full of undeniable earworms, jangly hooks, chiming chords, a hypnotically stirring melody and a swaying synth refrain that shimmers and enchants.
The new album’s tracks are vibrant and potent, with influences seemingly derived from the best of indie’s barnburners. Descriptions and comparisons to songs like a gothy MGMT, a funkier Deerhunter, or bubbling synths and soaring laser guitar lines alongside a Kurt Vile-ish/War on Drugs-like Americana groove wouldn’t be out of place, and Warming isn’t limited to these things either. Allard has a knack for drawing from multiple styles to create songs that are immediate and catchy, fresh and revealing, distinct in sound and tone.
Allard was writing songs for fun that didn’t seem to fit with any of the other projects he’s in. He wrote the parts himself and after posting them one day on Bandcamp, he says things spiraled a bit, “and the next thing I know I’m spending all my money on recording an album.”
In March of this year it’ll be two years that most of the collection of 12 songs were written and recorded.“I didn’t really expect it to take this long. I got a grant for one of the singles two years ago,” says Allard. “And that’s supposed to be you get the grant in the beginning of the year and by eight months or
whatever you’re supposed to have it done. But it’s been two years and I’m just like, UUUHHUGHH, I just need it done already.”
Allard says with his method of making music he’ll sit at the keyboard and bang around some chords and sing over top. “Or I’ll think of a guitar line, or bass line, usually just throw that into Logic. Start recording a little bit. Looping it. The way I recorded or wrote most of the songs on the album, it started with just loops of guitar chords or keyboard. And then I just kept throwing more and more layers on top of that to the point where I had twenty or thirty tracks for each song.”
This created a problem of excess, but Allard had some help in dealing with that. “I brought it to my sound engineer and he was just like ‘we’ve got to cut so much’, it’s unlistenable, there’s way too much going on, it’s so dense. So he helped a lot with picking and choosing what stays and goes.”
Allard went to school for music and has a degree in jazz. But after spending so much time in that world, he grew tired of it, and sought some structure back into his music.
With jazz, “you just completely open whatever you want indefinitely, and it was five or six years that I was doing that,” says Allard. “It was great. And then at some point it just kind of gets boring, you just want to… want to play a chorus. I want the audience to listen to a chorus and think ‘Yeah!’ I want to connect a little bit more than just noodling endlessly for twenty minutes per song.”
The album was inspired by events two years ago that led to the ending of an almost decade long relationship with his partner. “I was totally fully ignoring everything else in my life. And I didn’t want it to be, but it turned into a breakup album. Because I mean, I had ten or twelve songs or whatever that the lyrics hadn’t been developed yet,” says Allard. “And when you go through a breakup it’s very hard to write about anything else. I tried. I was just like, okay, I’m thinking of concepts. Like maybe I could write about ancient Mesopotamia, and then I would sit down and be like, “Well, I’m sad! I miss my partner”. So it turned into that. And sort of dealing with the existential questions that come up after a massive life change like that. Like what am I even doing? Why am I playing music?”
The February show will have Dana Lee, who Allard describes as a great folk, kind of country-ish singer as an opener. He says she’ll be playing with her band, which is some of the members of Heinrichs Maneuver. “It’s different from what we do,” Allard says, “but it’s just good music.”
As for plans for the future, Allard says he’s always writing, and has a lot of music left that was cut from the album that he recorded with Winnipeg mixer, recording engineer and producer Riley Hill.
“I honestly don’t think I would have been able to do it with anyone else. We spent fourteen hours each day, mornings to the middle of the night, just hammering it out, and then we’d stop, get a coffee, you know, eat a bunch of hummus or something, it kept going and going. It was to the point where I’m so physically exhausted I could not get off the couch,” says Allard. “I’m not going to do it. I can’t do another track. And he just kept the energy going. It was always like ‘yup, let’s just do it, come on, I set it up’. And I’m like, ‘we’ve been working for like, sixteen hours, and you’re still setting up mics, setting up the drums’. And I’m like, ‘I’m done. I’ll come back tomorrow.’ But yeah he was awesome to work with. We got so much done, but too much music for one album.