This interview has been transcribed from the New Music Monthly E-Zine, September, 2003 issue. It is ©2003 NMM, Inc. All rights reserved.
THE BOY WITH THE BROKEN WINDOWS
"Sometimes there is no cure for addiction: you just have to let it take its course, and hope you come out the other end alive."
New Music Monthly E-zine: Good morning, Brian.
Brian Larsen: Hello!
NMMEZ: So, lets talk. You've been a machine these last few months: you've done a new album, "Broken Windows," which comes out soon, you've worked with several artists on your record label, you've released and promoted a trance album, you've been playing live shows, and you've gone through massive personal turmoil. How the hell is all of that possible?
BL: I've had a determination and drive that I've never had before. I am more prolific now, I have more energy now than I've ever had before in my entire life. And yes, there's been a lot going on in my life, but things happen, people change.
NMMEZ: Can you elaborate on that a bit? We've all read the news and comments, but what really happened?
BL: To put a painfully long story short, my fiance and I have separated. It's the kind of thing that you can never prepare for, and no matter how much you try, it hurts, and it's a struggle to feel yourself again. I, however, have been able to walk away from it and become a stronger person. It's definitely done a great, great deal to change me. It's changed my whole drive. My entire frame of reference and mind is different now. In the end, I suppose it was a good thing.
NMMEZ: And tell us about "Broken Windows."
BL: This album is the marriage of three years of writing and recording. I had been demoing songs since I finished "Emergency Exit," more than two and a half years ago (editors note: Brian finished the album more than six months before it's scheduled release in 2001). I have been collecting all of these things, I had been laboring over them, making them into these complex works of art, "painting on a grand scale," as some critics have said of me, but I wasn't getting very far. It was then that I met Justin Ray, a member of a band I've sinced signed to my label, who really put things in perspective. He could sit down and write a song in ten minutes and be ready to demo it. So, I learned a bit from him about how I should just let things flow, and I merged the two worlds: cutting-loose but still being elaborate and organized. In the end, it's created the greatest album I've ever worked on.
NMMEZ: The critics have always loved your work, but your older releases don't seem to be as fan friendly. How do you think the public is going to react to this album?
BL: The public is going to LOVE "Broken Windows." If I had to do what I did the same again, I never could, but I was somehow able to make something that is completely approachable and commercial, yet as arranged and intense as anything I've ever done.
NMMEZ: You've also brought back an old friend on this disc, Barry Wood, who has mastered some of your previous releases. Tell us about him.
BL: Barry Wood is a complete and total genius. He can sit down in a matter of just a few hours and completely master an album he's never heard before. I have a lot of respect for him, and when I finished with the disc I realized that it was of an extremely high quality and that I needed a professional to master it, so I looked no further than the man that mastered "Slope" and "ClockWork."
NMMEZ: So, tell us, what is it that makes Brian Larsen tick?
BL: Oh, there are so many things, but ultimately it all comes down to love. I live for love. I've learned now, after being not-so-constructive that love can come from any number of places, that you can love friends and love family. Ultimately, I think I've become a better person. So, yes, that, and my desire to make music. I still have my ups and downs, but I just feel like I'm so much more driven now by a passion for live than I've ever been.
NMMEZ: In an interview you did back in 1999, you said that one day you hoped to be an old man with hundreds of albums to his credit, a Willie Nelson, if you will. How is that coming along?
BL: (laughs) Well, considering that this is my eighth album in five years, I would like to think that I am well on my way to being a Willie Nelson.
NMMEZ: There is a new track, an instrumental, on your disc called "Tryptizol." The only thing we can think of to associate that with is the name of the antidepressant amytryptiline, which used to be called tryptizol. Why?
BL: It's funny that you should ask, I was prepared to be asked that eventually. Tryptizol is the name of an antidepressant. I wrote the song about Nick Drake, the folk singer. The story of his life is a true tragedy. He put out an album in the late sixties, it flopped, and he got very depressed. He gathered up the energy to make another album, and it did just as bad. He went two years without writing and recording, just barely getting by, and then one day he gathers up the energy to make one final effort. He records the album in one day, just him and his guitar, and it, of course, flops. He completely loses the desire to live, and a doctor puts him on Tryptizol, and he was crippled by his depression. One day he overdoses on the medication, which is extremely deadly in overdose, and he dies. I had to write a song about that, it just touched me very deeply. So that instrumental, in all of its sadness and mystery, became one of my favorite instrumentals that I've ever done.
NMMEZ: Every year of the last six years has been extremely good for you, artistically, except 2002. Why did 2002 yield no true Twilight's Moon album?
BL: 2002 was, indeed, a bad year for me. It was a personal year which I spent as a recluse. I made demos, but nothing came of them. And sometimes we do things we don't want to do. Sometimes there is no cure for addiction: you just have to let it take its course, and hope you come out the other end alive. Fortunately for me, I did.
NMMEZ: And with that having said, what is in your future?
BL: If only I was Sylvia Browne (laughs). In my future, I see some shows promoting my album, I see some relaxation time where I get to meet some new people, spend time with friends, the start of a relationship, and a new album on 2004s horizon. I'm more excited than I've ever been.
NMMEZ: Another relationship. Do you mean a new love?
BL: Anything is possible. I'm hoping that I'll find "her" sometime soon. I can only hope!
NMMEZ: Well, we know you have to get going, but thank you for spending this time with us.
BL: Thanks so much! I send my love to everyone. Bye!