Bryan Estepa – Back To The Middle (Q&A)

Bryan Estepa has once been labeled one of ‘Sydney’s best-kept secrets’. It is indeed difficult to understand why the masses do not celebrate his uber accessible pop songs.

‘Back To The Middle’ also contains six very beautifully designed songs. Go hear it!

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

I think I knew that something exciting was happening during my first session with Josh Pyke recording the first single –‘Admit now, Pay later’. I came into this session with no set ideas on the sound I wanted for this song, but my gut told me that Josh was going to be the right guy for this approach. There was a moment in the guitar tracking where he added an odd XTC-like riff, which I would not have thought of doing. It worked perfectly in context, and it just lifted the song to another level in my mind. That’s when I knew we were on to something good!

How did this record come together?

This record probably would not have happened if not for COVID locking down the live music scene in Sydney. Josh Pyke & I first got together during one of the first few weeks when Sydney was relieved from our first lockdown in mid-2020. I was restless and needed to scratch a niggling creative itch. I was dying to get out of my house and connect with humans again on a musical level. It all kind of blossomed from there.

Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What is the line of text, or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember? And why?

Lyrically, I’m probably the proudest of my work on ‘Trick of the light’. It was a very cathartic song for me to write, and any fear I had of being open and vulnerable disappeared when I finished writing the song. It contains the line ‘Letting go is hard, even if we pull down our guard’. A line that I hope connects to people’s fear of moving forward and letting go but also embracing the strength involved in doing so.

When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

Well, in my head, every song I write will be a hit, but then reality hits, and I’m usually just back repeating myself or writing gibberish. But I remember finishing tracking ‘I’m not ready for this’ and on hearing the playback thought –‘My god, I think this could be my first hit!’. It was very catchy, and I knew I could keep listening to it without getting sick of it. It wasn’t a hit in terms of commercial charts, but if you look at the streaming side of things, I guess this is as close as I can to having a ‘hit’ song.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

Well, firstly, this mixtape will have a theme (it’s a rule, right?!). So, cos Australia is heading towards Summer; This will be my Welcome to Summer mixtape – Side A:

1. Wake up – Boo Radleys

2. Shining Light – Ash

3. Under the boardwalk – The Drifters

4. Levitating – Dua Lipa

5. Born Slippy – Underworld

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