Passion brought The Brevet together, and it defines their music. Their very name represents a Civil War rank awarded to individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty without the expectation of extra monetary compensation. In other words, The Brevet traditionally act out of their passion for and dedication to music. That spirit courses through their songs, and it’s the reason why they’ve quietly built a palpable national buzz.
Since the release of their 2013 independent debut Battle of the Heart, the quartet—Aric Chase Damm [vocals, guitar], Michael Jones [piano], David Aguiar [drums, percussion], and Ben Ross [bass]—has landed high-profile placements throughout film and television, including The Good Lie, Ashby, 90210, Growing Up Fisher, American Idol, The MLB Network and more. They’ve also earned ink in Los Angeles Times, American Songwriter, and OC Weekly, among many others. Their forthcoming 2016 sophomore effort, American Novel, elevates the group’s rock-tinged cinematic Americana sound to heavenly heights.
“We want to take listeners on a journey with American Novel,” exclaims Aric. “Each song blends into the next, weaving together this adventure. In many ways, it feels like our first album as a defined band.”
“We have so many stories to tell,” agrees Michael. “We try to create an environment for listeners to immerse themselves in.”
The creative union between Aric and Michael dates back to seventh grade when the two recorded their first CD and sold it to classmates in Orange County. Inspired by their school’s music program, the musicians dove headfirst into learning their instruments, spending countless hours gaining palpable proficiency at a young age. This would start translate into their very first local performances.
By college, they had begun scoring short films together, drawing on influences as diverse as composer Thomas Newman, Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, Bruce Springsteen, and needtobreathe. Following their graduation, the duo officially formed The Brevet, self-producing and recording Battle of the Heart.
“It’s always been a D.I.Y. effort,” says Michael. “This is totally our vision created and presented by us. There’s a purity to that approach that we take pride in.”
It carried through the sessions for American Novel. Tracked in the community center of a mobile home park a stone’s throw from Southern California’s famed 405 Freeway, they channel a rustic, raw, and real energy throughout the record’s 10 tracks. It’s stitched together by threads of soundtrack-style overtones, rock power, and Americana spirit.
In between recording, they developed an overpowering live presence. Reflective of their deft musicianship, the shows left audiences singing and stunned anytime they hit the stage. All of this would lay the foundation for their latest body of work.
They previewed the album with the three-song CH.1 EP, including the first single “Moving Mountains.” On the track, a gang vocal towers over slick finger-picked guitar, resounding piano, and booming percussion.
“‘Moving Mountains’ inspired us to make this album lyrically,” admits Aric. “It speaks on themes of overcoming. Everything was rooted in that. I was reading a book of Vincent Van Gogh’s journal passages at the time. For someone to have such clarity in his dream in the face of uncertainty and doubt is very inspiring. You’ve got to make your own path and do something you can be proud of. That’s our mantra.”
Michael adds, “You’re working towards creating your own reality and success. It might feel like you have to move something seemingly insurmountable to do so, but it’s not impossible. There’s always a way to overcome.”
Elsewhere, “Be Your Man” swings form an expansive chant into a bluesy twang, and “Hold On” builds from a stark and soulful verse into an impassioned refrain. “People might think ‘Hold On’ about a love interest, but it’s actually referring to holding on to yourself and who you aspire to be,” remarks Aric.
A song of determination, “Hazy Eyes” carries a robust refrain over a driving beat and guitar, while the finale “Upholder” closes everything out with an appropriately epic crescendo.
Now, The Brevet share their passion with the world on American Novel. “I hope we can speak to everyone’s journey,” Michael leaves off. “We’re in this together, and this is the first step.”