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At Sea

If Vladimir Nabokov were a singer instead of a depressive, midcentury writer (and didn’t have a Russian accent), he would probably sound like Jason Brody.

Brooklyn-based musical construct AT SEA is many things; on any given night you may find its linchpin, Jason Brody, engaged in witty banter with the audience at one of his solo shows, hosting a premiere for his latest video, or rocking the house in a traditional full band set-up. One thing it is not is predictable. With Brody at the helm, AT SEA strives to engage its audience on many levels, with the only constant being the ambition to thoroughly entertain… and to snag as many gratis cocktails as possible.

Brody’s musical past has taken a number of interesting turns. As a solo artist, and then as leader of the quartet The Death of Jason Brody (yes tongue was planted firmly in cheek when deciding on that name), Brody orchestrated the release of a critically acclaimed full-length and an equally lauded EP, while touring a couple times on both coasts.

In early 2009, Brody found that playing in an eponymously named band made delegating confusing. Delving further into a freer, more experimental musical phase, and having had a vision that the future of music revolved around more aquatic-based band names, he renamed the group AT SEA. (This also served as a response to the glut of landlocked bands named after animals like deer, bears, or wolves.) Over the following year, AT SEA did all the things that rock bands made up of affected white males with patchy facial hair do—released an EP, played all the usual venues on the LES and in Brooklyn and even sometimes out of town in exotic locales like Los Angeles, and so on, in their pursuit of the ultimate goal of walking the red carpet at the Oscars and being mistaken for that OTHER band.

With a new decade has come Brody’s need to even further expand on the fluid nature of what being a musician means as AT SEA continues to explore new musical territory. Thus the decision to delve into more electronic leanings and to perform with a rotating cast of musical riff-raff as opposed to a traditional rock band lineup, in settings as various as cafes, art galleries, and abandoned smelting plants. A move to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the epicenter of ennui, indifference, and rabid self-abuse disguised as “socializing,” has only further inspired Brody to be ever more pretentious and insufferable. However, with all this change afoot, he’s writing a hell of a lot of new material.

At each juncture in his career, the musician has strived to produce music that embodies his love for classic rock and pop forms, while embracing a more modern (we mean “cool”) aesthetic. It helps that Brody’s singing voice has often been described as unique and special, with press frequently citing Jeff Buckley, Kurt Cobain, and once even Anthony Newley, as comparisons. Brody often cites the Doves, Elliott Smith, Morrissey, and America’s Most Wanted (mainly the freeway-killer episodes) as inspirations.

All quips and silliness aside, and in Jason’s own words: “At the end of the day I’ve realized that it’s all about writing a great song. Strip away all the fashion, all the production, all the other elements that go with the experience of music, and it really comes down to that. That’s what gets people, what touches them. That’s where I want to be and what I want to do, and I don’t give a shit if it’s just me up there on stage, or four guys, or a full orchestra and a choir, whatever. As long as I’m doing that, I’m good.”

AT SEA is currently working on demos for a new EP to be released later this year. Their video for “Low Light,” a collaboration between Soap Media (AT SEA’s production arm) and film company Lullkskull, Ltd., recently wrapped and will be released online in June 2010. Jason is also in the process of recording some solo tracks and videos for viral release.

For more info, tour dates, or just to say hello, visit www.atseamusic.com.

Amazingly, AT SEA’s manager, Adam Pollock, is even more pretentious than they are. Contact him at adam@soapmedia.net.

(June 2010)

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