It was Back in December 2016 when Spotify played a song “Where’s My Love” by an artist called SYML. I (AK) never heard the song before and back then, I did not know how important the song will end up to be in my life. The lyrics went straight to my heart while the piano gave me comfort. Just a couple of days later when I fell to pieces during a December day, I came home and I instantly put the song on while lying on the bedroom floor.
Sometimes, life hits you unexpectedly and I probably never took a song more seriously, because all I did was fly home. Today, six months later, still feeling the impact of that one December day, we were able to ask Brian, the mastermind behind SYML some questions and that means more than anything.
Hi Brian! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. How are you today?
Hi! I’m good! Thanks for having me.
People may know you as the founding member of the band Barcelona. What made you start SYML and what are the key differences for you between playing in a band and performing as solo artist?
SYML started as a bit of an experiment. I had a couple of songs that didn’t fit the Barcelona “mold” at the time, so I recorded them anyway and gave them to my friends at Secret Road (a sync/licensing company). Within a few months, Where’s My Love was picked up for MTV’s Teenwolf. I hadn’t performed as a solo artist since I began writing songs back in the early 2000s, so it was a bit weird to start that again. There are some upsides to creating/performing alone, but it can be lonely sometimes, especially traveling solo.
Seattle is a city of music and the birth-place of Grunge. Do you think the musical background of the city influences your own music?
Yes! I grew up listening to Nirvana and Soundgarden and a handful of other great Seattle bands. My first band, back in middle school, covered all of these bands in true grunge fashion. The songs I’ve written have definitely been influenced by some of the song writing and vocalists who came from that amazing era.
After listening to “Where’s My Love” on Spotify for the first time. The song left familiar emotions. Are your songs based on your own experiences?
Most of my songs are based on personal experiences. Granted, most of my songs aren’t very literal so it might be hard to tell. Where’s My Love is full of metaphors for loving someone who is constantly running and hiding from you. You know it’s not because they don’t love you back, but you might never know why they can’t come back to you.
The mission of our website is bringing people together with the power of music and letting them share a story to a song that is connected to something special in their life as a song that helped someone might be able to help someone else too. Is there a specific song that helped you and would you mind sharing the story?
There’s a song called “To Build A Home” by Cinematic Orchestra (sung by Patrick Watson). The first time I heard it I was gutted. It is an incredible mix of sadness and hope. The song came into my life right before I was going to be married to my (now) wife. It’s about aging, love, and a unifying sadness that everyone can relate to regarding both of those things. It fit perfectly into that season of our lives.
Do you use other artistic expressions next to music and in your opinion, what makes music so unique?
I enjoy visual art and a consistent “aesthetic” in various parts of my life, but I wouldn’t consider myself a creator of those things. I do think they are important when considering how I create music, though. Music is a unique expression because it is fairly ubiquitous. Most humans, animals, and even plants can experience music in a variety of ways. I think music is typically a positive expression even when it deals with negative things. For as many faces that exist on this planet, that is how many different ways music will be experienced. THAT is mind blowing and inherently unique.
It seems like one the one side there are people who say music saved my life while on the other, people deny that music itself has not the ability to save someone. Would you mind sharing your own opinion on this?
I think it’s sort of a silly debate. Music is, at a base level, intangible. By definition, a person can’t be literally “saved” by something intangible. You can say that love, or angles, or luck saved you from a disaster, but at the end of the day people make decisions that affect outcomes. All this to say, I think music can influence someone’s choice. Maybe they were considering hurting themselves or another person but hearing a song changed their mind. Maybe they were in church and heard a song that led them to God and they were “saved”. I’m not trying to make light of it because I think music is one of the most important things we have. I think people save people.
Before we come to an end. Is there anything you would like to say to people who are struggling at the moment?
If you are hurting or sad, talk to another human. There is literally nothing that you can tell them that would be “too much to handle”. Someone else has felt the way you are feeling and they have come up from air and they are ok.