an interview with Brandon Reilly (Movielife, Nightmare of You), who has a new solo song, “That’s So Millennial”
by Mischa Pearlman
As the guitarist of influential Long Island punks The Movielife and frontman of Nightmare Of You, Brandon Reilly has always had a musical trick or two up his sleeve, especially after both those bands recently reunited to play shows. Now, Reilly is adding another string to his bow with the release of a new solo track, "That’s So Millennial." As you can hear, it’s a moody yet uplifting number, brimming with sultry style and just a little dose of sardonic social commentary. That said, it’s also full of Reilly’s quintessential sense of romanticism, wistfully recalling days gone by while also looking ahead to the future with tongue in cheek. Brandon played everything on it except drums, which were recorded by Brett Romnes of (Brandon's Movielife bandmate) Vinnie Caruana's band I Am the Avalanche. Brett recorded and produced it as well. The song premieres here:
Brandon is on tour now with Vinnie Caruana. He's playing in Vinnie's band (which also includes Brett Romnes and RX Bandits/Sound of Animals Fighting's Steve Choi) and opening with a solo set. The tour hits NYC on Wednesday (6/8) at Saint Vitus. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All remaining dates are listed below.
We caught up with Brandon ahead of the tour about the new song and what to expect in the future:
You just played a couple of reunion shows with Nightmare Of You, but this is a solo song. Does that mean it’s a new phase of creativity for you?
Yeah, I think so. The thing with Nightmare Of You is that, at this point, it’s logistically very hard to still be creative with the guys because everyone lives in a different state. So I found that the most tactical thing for me to do right now is songs on my own.
What does this particular song mean to you? What does "That’s So Millennial" stand for?
It’s just a little playful jab at the new generation. We got it from the generation before us, so it’s just playful. I don’t mean any harm by it! There just seems to be a lot of self-victimization and public outrage with this generation, but maybe it’s always been there and it’s just social media that’s making it more glaring and obvious now. I don’t know. I’m not an expert – I just observe!
I know you’ve begun writing new Movielife stuff too, so how does it compare doing that or Nightmare Of You stuff to writing solo songs like this? What’s your mindset like when you’re writing your solo stuff?
Well, I’ll compare it to the Nightmare Of You process because it’s a little more relevant, in that it’s not actually different at all. When it comes to writing for myself, all songs start out with me on an acoustic guitar anyway, and the difference with Nightmare Of You is that I brought my skeleton of a song to Joe [McCaffrey], who’s the guitar player in Nightmare Of You, and he had a big influence over where it went sonically from there as far as layers and other guitar parts, and even structure. So the only difference is that it never went to another person – I just brought it into a studio and I actually played everything on it with the exception of drums.
Is this the only song you’ve done or are there others in the works? What’s your general plan for where you go from here?
I have about half a dozen in the works, but this is the only song that I have recorded right now. The plan is I actually don’t really have much of a plan – I would like to do a proper release, but I’m also open to just putting out a song at a time. I think that all depends on if anyone is interested in putting it out. If there isn’t any kind of interest to put music out for me, then I’d probably just do a song at a time because it’d be too expensive to do a full product.
You’re about to embark on a tour with Vinnie Caruana, your co-conspirator in The Movielife. Are you looking forward to that, and what can the crowds expect?
Yeah, that’s going to be a great tour. This is going to be two weeks, and I actually haven’t done a two week tour in many years, so I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with Vinnie. I’m going to be playing mostly Nightmare Of You songs – probably all Nightmare Of You songs with the exception of this new solo song. Which I hope people like.
Does it feel weird playing the Nightmare Of You songs without the rest of the band?
It does feel weird, in the sense that it sounds a lot better with the band, but it’s interesting and nice for people to hear these songs stripped down and intimate and to hear them played the way they were actually written – in my bedroom, essentially.
What is your ultimate hope for where all this is going?
I’d love to be able to live off of music again, but I’m also very realistic and I know that’s a very difficult thing to make come true, but I’m going to take it a little bit at a time and I’m not going to take anything off the table, whether it’s music or not music. You know, I have a family, I’ve got two kids, so I have to be a little bit – a lotta bit – careful! Which reminds me - I’m going to be bringing limited edition, double vinyl Nightmare Of You records – it’s the self-titled LP and the Bang! EP. I’m pretty much bringing all that I have left and it’s not available anywhere else. I’ve seen people pay like $60 for it so I’m going to bring the last of it and it’s only going to be available at these shows.
Vinnie Caruana / Brandon Reilly -- 2016 Tour Dates
06/07 – Cambridge, MA – The Middle East Upstairs
06/08 – Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus
06/09 – Hamden, CT – The Space
06/10 – Syracuse, NY – Spark Contemporary
06/11 – Albany, NY – The Hollow
06/12 – Rochester, NY – The Bug Jar
06/14 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Smiling Moose
06/15 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
06/16 – Pontiac, MI – The Pike Room
06/17 – Lakewood, OH – Mahall’s
06/19 – Amityville, NY – The Amityville Music Hall