July 28, 2011

Written Here: Bryan John Appleby




Bryan John Appleby ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

After getting a glimpse at Pickwick’s practice space last year, we got to thinking. About the mundane places magic is made. The bedrooms, cafes, break-rooms, buses and park benches where songs are written. The everyday places where inspiration strikes.

Such is the premise of our new video series “Written Here,” where we film artists in the space they create, songs in the room they were written. We wanted to hear the stories of our favorite songs and to share their story with you, to give a glimpse into a side of song-writing and the song-writers that even band-mates might not be privy to.

Our first subject for the series is local singer-songwriter, Bryan John Appleby whose debut album Fire on the Vine comes out this Saturday. We couldn’t wait to see the space that inspired Bryan’s twisting tales, what had made a young man so death obsessed and to talk about the process with one of Seattle’s most gifted story-tellers. We never thought Bryan, or anyone, would tell us the space itself and the things that filled it, were his muse. That his wellspring of inspiration comes not from lost love or his stunning girlfriend, but a painting on his wall, the books on his window shelf, the photographs that are pinned to an old American flag. He was a perfect first subject. Bryan wrote virtually all of Fire on the Vine in the low-ceilinged basement apartment we crammed into on that cold February morning, but we focused on the process and inspiration behind two stand-outs from the album: “Honey Jars” and “Noah’s Nameless Wife.”





Bryan has moved from his quirky basement apartment since we shot the video this winter. But we have no doubt his songs have made a tangible imprint on the space, like young couples carving their their initials into tree trunks. Bryan’s songs linger in the space now occupied by someone else and in the items that made the move with him to his new home. They cling to the space that made them, as if written on the walls “Bryan John Appleby was here.”

Stream Performances of “Honey Jar” and “Noah’s Nameless Wife” from the rooms they were written:

Honey Jar (live)

Noah’s Nameless Wife (live):

Huge thanks to Bryan John Appleby for welcoming us into his home and his songs. To Tyler Kalberg our videographer, editor and series director, for taking our idea and again making it more than we imagined and to Chris Proff, sound guy extraordinaire.