October 29, 2019
Tune-In Tuesdays #42: The Bronze Age on Being “People People”
Black and white photo of The Bronze AgeSource: The Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a blow-your-speakers-out rock band based out of Raleigh, N.C. that launched two years ago. Their music is a powerful blend of rock-genre elements that’s driven by their heart and soul. At their core, The Bronze Age are “people-people” who seek to truly connect with their audiences.
Following the release of their latest single, “Don’t Worry, It’ll Only Hurt For A Second” in September, the band is gearing up to record their debut album in November.
On Saturday, we reached out to Jesse and Austin to learn more about their debut album and U.S. tour in 2020.
Could you tell us a little bit about The Bronze Age?
Jesse: We’re a rock band from Raleigh, N.C. We’ve been a band for two years, so we’re pretty youthful.
Austin: Me and Jesse met working at a guitar store in town together, and we were both in different bands at the time. Eventually, things ended with the band I was in and [Jesse] was breaking out, wanting to do something on his own for a little while.
Everybody asks us what genre we are, and it’s really hard to pinpoint because we’re not like mainstream radio rock ‘n roll, but we’re not really heavy and we’re not super pop-y.
Jesse: To take it back I think the best way to describe us with a lot of people is we just go up and play. We play what we feel and it just comes out sounding like The Bronze Age.
What are your personal backgrounds in music like? When did you know it was more than just a hobby for you guys?
Jesse: I’ve been playing and touring in bands since I was 17 and I’m… 31 now – which, I had to think about, which is sad.
I was an all-state baseball player all throughout my youth. I was a baseball kid.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was nine. I got hurt playing ball and I had to take two seasons off, so I just locked myself in my room and played guitar for six to eight hours a day.
At 17, I started touring with the band I was in at that time. Once I hit that mark of going out, playing shows, getting to meet people, and getting to experience putting your own music – something you put your heart into – out into the world, I learned very very young that this is what I wanted to do forever (basically until I can’t walk anymore. Then I might just get a wheelchair and still play music).
Austin: I started playing guitar when I was about 12 or 13, something like that. It was always a cool hobby and it was something that kept me busy. I started playing in bands back in youth group days.
In high school, I started playing with friends and garage bands. In college, it was one of those things where all the kids who played sports and everything, that kinda fades away as you grow up a little bit, but music is something you can keep with you forever.
At the time, [music] was always where I found myself with tons of opportunities. I started playing out around town, doing cover gigs of top 40 bands, doing the whole jam-band thing. I was playing in different church acts, too.
I’ve played in other bands and there was opportunity after opportunity that I was starting to get paid for. That’s when the lightbulb kinda clicked like, “Oh, I can actually make this a feasible thing to do and this is super cool because it’s something I love to do.”
I’ve gotten to grow and develop with music since I was just a teenager, and now I’m a lot more grown. I’ve had the chance to play just about every genre of music you could imagine.
Now, we’re getting to do something original with our friends. Making that into a career and a future for ourselves is amazing. It’s not something that I would ever know would come to happen, but one thing led to another going down the road, playing at different gigs and shows.
Ever since I’ve passed that, it’s been full steam ahead.
In the press release for your latest single, “Don’t Worry, It Only Hurts For a Second,” you talk about how the band tends to overthink various decisions, and this song represents letting go of fear. How did you reach that point of letting your worries go and just rolling with where the music will take you? What were your turning points?
Jesse: We overthink everything that we do musically and almost personally. Every single one of us wants 110 percent from the music, from each other, and from our lives in general.
Me especially, I’m a really, really, really huge driving force in persistence and being dedicated to your craft.
For that song, we got in the room and we started writing it – I think I wrote it in what, 20 minutes?
Austin: It was quick.
Jesse: I just played, threw it out, and it happened. I think it was one of the first songs where we actually did let go. We stopped overthinking every single little thing. That’s how we put out such a unique sound.
Every record we put out in March will be songs that represent not only us as individuals but as a group.
The song sits nicely in that theory of letting go of fearful thinking; worrying that something’s not gonna be good enough, that it’s not gonna be the exact thing that you want it to be, or whatever.
I’m really big about standing in the middle of something and being like, “We can go left and do this decision, or we can go right and do this decision. Which one is not gonna make me fall to the ground and die,” I guess you could say.
Austin: To chime into that, some of those themes in that song stem from us starting to get more serious about being a band and learning to just let go and trust each other.
In my experience, Jesse has always been our leader of the band. He’s got a lot more experience in the professional music area and he’s been doing this a lot longer than I have. He’s a phenomenal musician and super creative.
He got a lot of those [ideas] together in the song, lyrically and musically. It sounded good and I was like, “Wow, this takes some of the work out of it. Let me just learn to trust you, roll with it, and add my little spin on top of it, too.”
Outside of the writing, we were also in a season where we were gearing up to play more shows, get out there, and start promoting it more: marketing more, playing live more. [Jesse] had a little bit of a game plan for some of that and contacts to help us out with booking things.
I really had to let go of the fear of what it’ll look like, sound like, how we’re gonna do this, how we were gonna get these shows done, all of this such and such.
What is one of your favorite lyrics from, “Don’t Worry, It Only Hurts For a Second?”
“Don’t Worry, It’ll Only Hurt For a Second” by The Bronze Age coverSource: The Bronze Age
Austin: The opening lines jump out to me a lot.
“The bridges burn at both ends,“Don’t Worry, It Only Hurts For a Second” – The Bronze Age
The middle’s where I stand”
That’s always a point I feel I’m at pretty frequently in life. I stay really busy keeping up with my day job, keeping up with the band, and everything else going on.
That’s also a common theme we see in relationships and anything else that we go through. It’s constantly being caught in the middle of two things – whether it be two of your friends’ opinions, your family, or anything else.
It’s one of those moments where you feel trapped a little bit, but you have to trust that you’ll make the right decision and let go.
Jesse: When the bridge starts in and it’s the whispery part:
“You can’t run, you can’t hide,“Don’t Worry, It Only Hurts For a Second” – The Bronze Age
You can’t stay away from this life”
That was the inner soul of me. There was a time in my life where I thought, “Y’know, I’m getting older and I’ve been playing music since I was 17. I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to do what I want to do. Do I need to make another decision?”
I write every single day, I play guitar every single day.
Writing that bridge, even when I play it live, it really tugs at my soul ’cause I feel exactly what it says: I can’t run, I can’t hide. I can’t stay away from who I am as a person. I’ll always be someone who wants to share what I’ve created – but bigger than that, what we’ve created as a band.
It’s very important to me because I don’t do this alone. I have three other guys with me that put their hearts and souls into this. I really feel so good about this band, what we can do, and the future we could have.
Now I don’t have to worry about running or getting away from music or what I really love to do, ’cause I have a strong team behind me and we make it happen.
Those [lines] really do a lot for me and I hope it does for anyone who listens to the song.
In the press release, it also mentions that you’ll be hitting the studio this November to work on your debut album, set for release in 2020. What can fans expect and look forward to from your first album?
Jesse: We’ve been working on this record for two years. My expectation and other people’s expectation is probably going to be two humongously different things – is humongously a word?
Austin: It is now.
Jesse: Alright, cool.
My expectation is for this album to attach to people on a bigger level than some of the stuff that’s coming out now or will be coming out in the future.
We put a lot of our heart and soul into everything we’ve done, which is why we’ve been writing it for so long. We wanted it to be beyond perfect – and not beyond perfect meaning everything sounds perfect to the dime.
I just want to get out and play this music to people. [I want to] change someone’s perspective, life, or have them hear a song that really gets them through a day/bad time.
That’s basically a lot of the stuff that I write about: battles within myself or battles within other people. Sometimes it’s stories and stuff like that.
We just want to hit the road and play this album for people. Be in front of people and communicate.
Austin: I don’t think people are gonna be ready for this album, to be honest.
We’ve written 25 songs or more in the past several years. I distinctly remember back in January of this year, we were like, “Cool, we have the whole album finished.” I took all these demos and showed them to close friends to get some opinions, a couple months went by.
We were honestly going to gear up and head to the studio last spring, and then we had this realization that we could do better.
We constantly try to one-up ourselves. [With this album] we were like, “Let’s replace this song, let’s swap this song out, that song’s kinda weak let’s swap that out.”
One thing led to another and here we are now, another eight or nine months since that time period. The album looks completely different from what it was before and we have got so many songs we’ve scrapped or demos saved on the computer of what we’ve shifted out.
We’re finally at the point where we’re ready to show people what we’ve got. It’s been constantly evolving and changing, as with us. We’re a young band figuring out our sound and what defines The Bronze Age, but we’re on the cusp of it now.
We’re putting ink to paper next month, and I’m not just saying that to get people to check it out. For example, I thought some of our original stuff was good. Not just “okay” good, I really did think that stuff was great.
Listening to [our tracks from the upcoming album], this stuff is great. Every song is powerful in its own way and they’re really uniquely done. I’m really excited to get them recorded and release them.
You’ll also be touring the United States in 2020. Are you excited? Nervous?
The Bronze AgeSource: The Bronze Age
Jesse: I am beyond excited. I’m sure the guys in the band are like, “God, man. Shuuut up,” ’cause I love to tour. It is ultimately my favorite thing to do in the world, not just for the music aspect of it.
Austin and I are very, very southern boys. We talk a lot. I’m a people person. I love to be in front of people.
I was a guitar player in every band I’ve ever been in until I started The Bronze Age. I wanted to be out front and talk to people, sing to people, really connect with them on a different level.
Touring is something I’m very much looking forward to. It’s not just going and playing music. That’s only one small part of it. It’s about being able to play your music that you’ve put your heart into for people and hope you connect with them.
I love meeting new people, being in new places, and making friends all over the map. Going out and getting to experience life on a different level is something people don’t understand until they do it all the time.
Austin’s fresh. He’s never toured before, so I’m gonna break him in and he’ll love it.
You get to see the world, hang out with people, talk to them. The world doesn’t make this a viable option to do because most think touring must suck – and sometimes, a lot of the time, it does.
But, if you break it down into how many places you get to see, how many people you get to meet, you get to hear so many stories and go to so many different places. I think that’ll be huge in the development of this band because we’re all very big people-p…. people-persons? People-people.
We’re gonna go with people-people. I think it’ll change the dynamic even more for us to go out and play shows for the world, to not just be a band that you can play on your phone.
I want to change the dynamic and make live music the ultimate thing to go see. I think it’s important for bands to want to bring that back.
Austin: Jesse hit the nail on the head a little bit with some of that. We’re definitely people-people, as we’ll say.
I’d definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. We know we’re gonna be gone for extended periods of time and I’ve never done any crazy-long tours or runs like [Jesse] has. It’s always been a few states here or there, an extended weekend. Little runs where you’re not really far from home and it’s less than a week. You can stick out anything for a week.
But, like Jesse said, I love playing live. Every show we go to we make friends at. Most of the time, we’re talking to people before we’re even done our stuff. We interact with people who come up and we take the chance to meet everyone, talk to them about life, how they got into our shows and music. We bond with them over experiences like that.
We make friends wherever we go and this is a chance to do that on a big-scale. It’s super exciting ’cause it’ll give everybody a chance to see the band behind the curtain of The Bronze Age a little more. They’ll get to see us on a more personal level.
So, I’m a little bit nervous about some of the details and figuring out the logistics, getting work lined up when I get back.
Other than that, it’s gonna be a great time. I’m sure we’ll get a lot tighter as a band and get a chance to enjoy lots of bro time for a little while, meet people, and see a lot of places.
Where are you most excited to visit and perform at?
Jesse: Anything further down south has always been really cool for me, like St. Augustine, Miami, Orlando, anywhere in Tennessee or Georgia.
I think it’s ’cause we’re southern boys anyway. When we go up north we’re all gonna die and freeze ’cause we’re so used to 75 degrees, which it is today in October.
I love doing the U.S. with all of my soul, but I can’t wait until we’re at the point where we can go overseas and really do something there.
I’ve toured the U.S. constantly from a young age and I think I want to see this band break out of the U.S.
Within the United States, I’d say further down south is my favorite spot to be ’cause everyone is so nice and easy to talk to.
Austin: I really love the south and everything around here. I’ve grown up right here in North Carolina, played in most of the states right around here and loved that.
I’m really looking forward to places I haven’t been. I’m stoked for us to get a chance to go up north and play. I’ve actually never been passed the D.C.-Maryland area. Never been to New York or anything, so I’m really excited about that.
I’ve done some stuff out west: I’ve been to California a time or two, done LA. I love playing here around home where we can still pick up some sweet tea – that’s gonna be a problem whenever we get out of here [laughs]. We’re gonna have to learn how to cope.
I’m excited to see the U.S., be in a state I’ve never been in before, get a chance to meet new people, see some different stuff.
Jesse: We can get along with anybody.
Austin: We’re people-people.
How long will The Bronze Age be on tour for?
Jesse: At the moment, we’re working everything out. There’s not really a definitive timeline right now, but we’re looking to release our debut in March, so I know our manager Chris will be booking us through March.
I think the first [show] will be in March, but the tour’s gonna be longer than a week or two just ’cause it’s extremely important to get out and play these songs as soon as possible.
We’ll be working the timeline out towards the end of the year, but it’ll definitely be a while ’cause we’re a touring band.
How do you think touring the United States will differ from the shows you’ve already performed?
Jesse: I think we’ve built a homestead here of fans and people who always come to our shows, but I think once we head on tour it’s really gonna punch us in the face. People will have to want to come see us play.
Our first tour is going to be extremely important for us to make it known that we’re there to perform.
We’re looking to create friendships and a backlog of people that’ll be there if we go to Pittsburgh or Atlanta. Wherever we go, we want to see people who have connected with us and I think it’ll be a bit different.
Austin likes to pick on me ’cause I’m older and I don’t really know where music is headed with digital formats because I didn’t come from a time like that.
Austin: We’ve built a fanbase around town and in this area. It seems like most of the places we play right around here we have friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, friends of other bands. Everybody kinda knows who we are. They sing along to the songs that are out. It’s a really great atmosphere to play around here like the hometown hero band sorta gig.
When we go out and tour, these people are going to have never seen us before, so we’ll have to break that ice.
I’m really excited for that opportunity, ’cause then we get to go out and teach all of these new people our songs and make friends with them so that when we pass back through, they’ll be like, “Oh, it’s The Bronze Age band! They were really cool, super nice people, I liked their songs.”
We want to bring that family environment we have here in Raleigh out to everywhere else.
Overall, what are your goals, as a musician and as a band?
Jesse: We’ve always had this goal set out in mind from the beginning that we stay tight to what we said we’re gonna do.
The biggest goal of this band has always been to put out music that people love, that we love, and reaches people on a level that bands have done to me; bands like Seurieus, Anberlin, Story of the Year, Motley Crue, Journey. My favorite band of all time is Foo Fighters.
My goal has always been that caliber of a band that isn’t just doing it because they want to play arenas – we want to do those things, that’s top of the priority list for sure. But along with that, I also want to do something that’s almost life-changing, as cheesy as that sounds.
It sounds crazy to say out loud, and most people think I’m insane, but I want a Grammy award on my mantel. That has been my goal since day one. We’re gonna keep pushing for that and see what happens.
Austin: We’ve got our sights set pretty high, but some of the biggest words that come into mind when goals come around are sustainability and happiness.
We want to make this a reality and what we get to do for an extended period of time, for however long we’re blessed enough to have people listen to us. We want to continue putting out music, getting tighter, and getting better as a band. Make more fans, friends, and more memories along the way.
Like [Jesse] said, if we could play Wembley, that would be great! Whether we’re playing the Super Bowl half time show or dive bars, we just want to keep doing this and bring our music into the world.
It’s about having fun, being happy with your friends, not making this a stressful thing. One of the themes in a lot of our work relates to how life can get pretty stressed out between decision making and everything else, but we just want to enjoy the ride, having the best time that we can while we’re blessed to be able to do this.
Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?
Jesse: We literally can not wait to put this out. We’ve worked so hard as individuals and as a group. We’ve put in a lot of time, a lot of headaches, a lot of late nights, a lot of pots of coffee.
I know that we’ve got something here. This is the first time in my life where I’ve played in a band and felt I really had something to give.
I can’t wait for everyone to be able to play this record and connect with us on a level that we’ve wanted to get to for the last two years.
Austin: The tagline that we’ve somehow come up for with this interview, “people-people,” has kinda stuck with me for the last couple minutes.
Whatever the future holds for us, however many more shows we play, I want to get a chance to interact with friends and fans. I think that’s awesome.
Everybody, don’t be afraid to reach out. Hit us up, whether on our personal accounts, or band accounts, or seeing us at a show, anything like that.
I want people to know The Bronze Age is here. We’re fun, we’re cool to talk to. We’re not bigger than we really are.
Also, if you come and see us live, we are going to be the loudest band on the bill.
Austin: Without a doubt, everywhere you go. Everywhere we’ve played, we have quite literally almost blown people away. We all love that.
It’s such a shock when we start into the first song, you’ll see people’s eyes open a little bit wider. Some people step back a foot or so. It’s an experience – but don’t let that intimidate you. We’re all good dudes who like to have fun, hang out, and love on people.
We’re excited for the album and all the things to come.
The Bronze Age logoSource: The Bronze Age
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