Mighty Brother unplugs for Victoria House
New Orleans-based Mighty Brother is offering a rare, intimate evening at Victoria House. Taking a different route from the usual feat of sound offered up by their full-band performances, the acoustic set will feature the talents of Jake Ryan and Nick Huster, the songwriters and original members of the group. They’ll be playing with local musician Greg Jr.
Cat5 sat down with Jake Ryan to chat about the upcoming show, the history of the group, and the ins-and-outs of being a musician in the eclectic Big Easy scene.
Q: How did Mighty Brother get started?
A: So, it started as a songwriting duo. Nick Huster and I met in Bloomington, Indiana after graduating college. We kept running into each other and decided to jam sometime. It just so happens when we did that the writing came out really easily. We fit into each other’s writing process very well. Nick is good at finishing songs, and I am good at starting them.
We did as much skateboarding as writing in the beginning but decided to cut a record. We raised money to record through IndieGoGo.
Q: How did you end up in New Orleans?
A: After tracking the record in the summer of 2015, Nick was looking at graduate schools and decided on University of New Orleans and asked if I would move down there with him. Bloomington is a great little college town and has everything you need, but it becomes like any place you stay for a long time — familiar. So it made sense for me to move.
Q: What was that transition like?
A: Well, New Orleans is a pretty small city honestly. Part of its magic is that you will run into people you have met before in what seems like this unlikely serendipity.
The housing was affordable, and it has a booming arts and creative scene. It is a city that is famous in itself, a little island in the South that doesn’t exactly feel like the South, so it was an easy move. The creative community is amazing and exceptionally diverse.
Q: How can someone experience the New Orleans art scene?
A: New Orleans’ main industry is tourism, so you experience more what they have envisioned for you as a tourist as opposed to the authentic face of the city. My main piece of advice would be to stay out of the French Quarter.
Q: Has New Orleans music influenced the band?
A: New Orleans is a special city in that there are a ton of supremely talented musicians in one area, which encourages self-expression and acceptance. It is a city that encourages you to be you. People here make music that is on the fringe. Every band here has something that makes them weird.
Q: You’ve played Beaumont before. How did that start?
A: We met Olivia Buscemi in Lake Charles at a coffee shop we were playing at. It was empty. Her and the baristas were like the only people we ended up playing for, so she liked us and invited us to play in Beaumont. So as we have been on our way out to Austin or Lake Charles, it has become a no-brainer to shoot her a message and see if we can play. We have played at the Texas Rose Saloon, The Gig and LogOn Café. Every time we pass through, there is an audience.
We actually have not played a show at Victoria House yet because we are usually touring with the full band, which doesn’t fit the constraints of the venue. So this time we will be doing an acoustic set with just Nick and me.
Q: How is the two-person acoustic set different from the full band experience?
A: As a duo we are able to really bring it to an intimate space. We talk about our songwriting, our set and tell more of our story.
Q: The band has been busy as of late, just finishing up a week in Washington, D.C., after your most successful tour ever and a music video release. What’s next?
A: Yeah, we have been going pretty hard as of late. We always have our eye on the next prize, asking ourselves “What’s next?” We have our double-album tracked, and it is all in post-production, so we are waiting and brainstorming our publishing campaign. We are going to take a break and travel. We will be going to New Zealand, and although it’s a vacation, we will also be making connections and scouting places we may want to play. Even when we are relaxing we always have our eye to the future.
Daniel Pemberton is a freelance writer for Cat5