We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bryce Allyn and ask him a few questions. Better known as Bryce Rutkowski, he’s fronted regional favorites B-Liminal and Boxelder. Now he’s embarked on his newest journey, a solo career. We learned a bit more about his approach to music and songwriting and a few hints about the future. (To see the full interview be sure to check out the video below at Youtube.com/user/echobeachtv.)
Q: You’ve been in a few bands and now you’re doing solo stuff. Tell us a little bit about the history.
A: It started with Boxelder in 1995 and I was a young 20 year old banshee. It was wild, rock n roll, a lot of traveling, and it was a really good time. We had a 10-year run and it became somewhat of a national band. Like all good things, things we’re just changing and I then founded my second band, B-Liminal. Which is a great group of musicians, it kinda evolved from the reggae-rock sound too a little more reggae sound. That’s really brought me to my solo stuff. Now I go by Bryce Allyn, being my middle name, because I’m serious now. Like when my mom used to say Bryce Allyn you straighten up… that’s my kinda pun intended behind Bryce Allyn. So after everything I’ve been through in my adolescence and in my twenties, now it’s that time in my life where it’s coming full circle. I really had my eye focused on creating music and really become more of a songwriter.
Q: How has your song writing changed from when you were with a band, to being a solo artist and dad?
A: As being predominantly a singer in the band’s, the group dynamic was great. I think the music as a whole was bigger. Having somebody else take care of the guitar, somebody else is drumming, I think I could really lend myself to singing more. But I think in a group dynamic it was tough for me to get it all out. I really liked what the home life has done for me. Although I’m not in the bus traveling and I’m not rehearsing with the guys five nights a week, I am in a situation where I can play guitar almost every day and get it out. So I think I’m writing more songs and getting more out being a singer/ songwriter.
Q: When you were with the band were you the primary lyricist?
A. Yeah, we all kinda had our job, or parts I should say, in the band. Writing the lyrics and melody thats mostly my part. It’s my story and it was delivered the way I wanted to. The guys are really great about supporting that, in both bands. Its taken months and months of evolution to still get the courage just when I go out to play acoustic by myself, without a band. it’s good, just you against the silence.
Q: Do you start with a melody, an idea, or a lyric when song writing?
A: Now in my little bit wisdom I got in life, my music is very conscious. Theres got to be a message, there’s gotta be that something behind it that drives me. I think primarily it’s the thought of something I need to get out, an expression, and I think that’s where it starts. Then I take that to the vibe and the mood. That I think is why Reggae is the flavor because it’s a very conducive vehicle for conscious music. I wanna say I start with an idea a lot. Then the idea turns into a couple different phrases. Then I think, where can I put the harmonies in? I might get an idea, maybe humming a melody for a day or two with a thought in my head. Then by day three I have the chords for it. Then I have the arrangements in. I’ve learned personally, it’s always important to have a couple different variations of the same thing in a song, it keeps it fresh. I’m a pupil every day, i’m always learning but that’s how I’ve got through these last group of songs.
Q: The song you performed, you had pretty much just been playing by yourself. However, you performed here in studio with some friends, tell me what that was like.
A: My favorite thing about that experience was there were no expectations. We’re all musicians that have somewhat different backgrounds.
Q: Tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on now?
A: I have a Boxelder doing a decade later reunion show, it has a lot anticipation. We have people flying in from
all over the country to see it and we’ve been rehearsing for months and months. Can’t say what will happen; if there will be more shows, this might be it. My main focus has been the Bryce Allyn stuff. I just recorded a three-song demo here with reggae greats; Wayne and Brian Jobson and Neil Case. I feel very honored to be somewhat embraced by the reggae culture, being as these guys are Grammy Award winners. The reggae is very authentic, I just feel blessed to be a part of that.
Q:Will those songs be available for purchase?
A: Right now we’re just doing the hype thing and getting it out there for people to listen to. So they won’t be available for download yet, as we’re still playing the business game. “Midnight Rider” was the great Almond Brothers cover, we totally redid that reggae style. I had another song “The Line”, not to recant the Johnny Cash “The Line”. This was actually my own version on “The Line”. “Short Life” which is self-explanatory, that’s another, almost dance hall track that we did, it’s truly Soca. I’m writing as many songs as I can on my acoustic, not necessarily reggae. I try to record them and get them out ’cause I’m trying to finish the rest of that album. Thats my big deal, trying to finish my solo album.