Brad Walsh is an American singer/songwriter/visual producer who got his start remixing hit songs by artists such as Adam Lambert and Britney Spears. In 2011 his album, Right Now, was praised by The Advocate as “an album of intelligence that inspires new thoughts upon every listen,” and in 2015 his EP, Primary, was called “indie-electro gold” by Paper Magazine. Brad’s new album, Six Infinite, was released this October, touching on political themes that young people can relate to. There’s no doubt Brad is bringing the conscious movement to the club, where it secretly was all along.
FLURT’s Editor-in-Chief, Amanda Van Slyke, caught up with Brad over email to discuss his new album, his recent marriage to fashion designer Christian Siriano and having a social responsibility in the celebrity world.
Amanda: Congratulations on your recent wedding! With same-sex marriage now legal across the U.S, the younger LGBTQ generation will grow up feeling more accepted than ever before. But I think it’s safe to say that the club has always been a safe haven for the oppressed and will continue to do so. Would you agree?
Brad: I kind of think that nightlife was for a long time not only a safe haven, but maybe THE safe haven. For decades before any legal strides, queer people were only able to express themselves unabashedly at bars and clubs. And that is still the case of course, but there are many more outlets available now. The internet, for example. Creating or joining like-minded groups, and creating expressive content and finding people to support it, is much easier now than when I was a teenager in the late 90s.
A: Off your new album, Six Infinite, you have a song called, Available, that has a very political spoken part in the second half of the song. Can you talk a bit about that and what inspired it?
B: [That part] came out of me very quickly. There was very little editing or second-thought when I wrote that. And it’s a lot. I just can’t get my head around the fact that there are people who are against the Black Lives Matter movement. I think, “they must just not understand what it is,” but no, that’s not the case. Many people understand exactly what it is – a nonviolent equality movement – and still dismiss it, or worse, insinuate it’s somehow racist. Is there anything more pathetic than a racist who claims they’re the only one who’s NOT racist? The song is about my feeling of helplessness in the face of the increasing volume of bigotry of all types in America these days. And it’s sort of a rallying cry to others to join in standing and speaking against it.
“I could never pander or avoid political discussion to gain or keep a fan. That’s literally selling your soul.”
A: Back in July you posted online about a friend who’s racist. Activism used to be something that was sidelined, but do you think we’re seeing a shift where being socially conscious is becoming ingrained in our culture, where it’s uncool not to stand up for others?
B: I absolutely think it’s an offense to witness and not speak up against injustice. But people are afraid. The party of wrong resorts to violence. They shoot up black churches. They burn Muslim womens’ clothing while it’s still being worn. They beat trans women in the streets. There are daily acts of aggression and violence in America against black people, women, queer people and people of minority religions. So to stand up for someone can be literally dangerous. But the more these horrible things happen and are met with little collective horror and condemnation, the bolder other like-minded criminals grow. So as much as I hope it’s becoming uncool to ignore the mistreatment of others, I don’t know how often that’s met with real-world practice.
A: As someone who has found themselves in the celebrity world, what social responsibility do you feel you have in terms of using your voice to bring attention to important issues?
B: Well I don’t know how loud my own voice is, for example, in the social media world, but I do know that I have a lot of influential friends. So when I put something out there, often my words are amplified by friends and followers who have bigger followings than I do, and my messages sometimes spread that way. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut about issues that upset me, which can be a fault sometimes. But I never censor myself or my language. If something I feel strongly about is enough to turn off a potential listener, so be it. I could never pander or avoid political discussion to gain or keep a fan. That’s literally selling your soul.
A: What are some other issues you’re passionate about and touch on in your new album?
B: I deal a lot with depression and anger, anxiety and disappointment. But all in an upbeat way, haha. I have always loved pop music that hypes you up with great production but then the lyrics are about something dark, or at least anything more than the typical lifeless ‘DJ turn up the beat’ shit that dominates the air. Lyrics matter. I always say that there are three major parts to pop music: Production, songwriting and vocal talent. I can appreciate any artist who has two of the three mastered. Selena Gomez has great producers, but her lyrics are nothing substantial and she barely eeks out her vocals. So her songs are hollow and forgettable. When you get the rare case where all three are stunning, that’s what changes music for everyone.
Brad’s new album, Six Infinite is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify now.
Published in the Winter 2017 issue. Read the rest of the issue for FREE here.
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