Founded in 2016 by neighbors Felix Quinata and Jordan Ott, Boom Boom Brady is one of Fresno’s premier emerging blues rock bands. Their self-titled debut EP was released in April 2017 shortly after drummer Cameron Andreas joined the group, and they followed that up with touring around the Fresno area.
The members of Boom Boom Brady include:
Cameron Andreas – Drums
Brian Llamas – Bass
Felix Quinata – Vocals
Daniel Dukes – Keys
Jordan Ott – Lead Guitar
Eric Farnsworth – Rhythm Guitar
I caught up with Boom Boom Brady at The Sauce Pot Studios as they finished tracking their upcoming album, Building Up Credit. Here’s what they had to say about the Fresno scene, what’s gone into this recording, and the evolution of their sound.
Welcome to San Luis Obispo, Boom Boom Brady! When did you guys get in?
Felix Quinata: Thanks! Cameron, Dukes and I got here last night, and we were able to EQ the drums and find the right tones and everything for them and the keyboards. Jordan, Brian and Eric got here this morning and we hit the ground running.
So you were able to come set up the day before?
Jordan Ott: Yeah, it was nice being able to come in Saturday with everything already set up.
Felix: When we last recorded in Fresno, we had to show up and mic everything every single day we used the studio. And that’s not very creatively conducive. And we’re liking it here because it’s really cool to make music with musicians like Rick and Eric. It’s different from our last recording experience where we recorded with someone who wasn’t a musician.
Jordan: But it’s totally different here.
Felix: It’s night and day.
Tell me about your last recording experience.
Jordan: We had just started as a band. We wrote 6 songs in a month and we were just like, let’s record immediately so we can get gigs.
Felix: We weren’t very enveloped in Fresno’s music community and we didn’t know a place for a band like ours to record. I knew a lot of the hip hop community in Fresno so we went to record in a hip hop studio to make a blues rock album…
Jordan: And the first time the mix came back all you heard was high hat and bass (everyone laughs) and we were like, how is this the mix?
Felix: We never want to feel rushed again. The last time we did it we had such a negative experience that we wanted to come here and book both days so we could relax and have a good time and enjoy making music with each other.
Jordan: And not start recording at like 12 at night. The last time, we showed up at 10 and the guy would mess around for 2 hours. I think it took him 2 hours just to set up the drum sets one night and it was like midnight when we started and that’s not an easy way to record. But this has been a great experience already. Tomorrow we’re really gonna add the bells and whistles.
Felix: I don’t think we’re gonna go anywhere else honestly, this has just been so much fun recording here.
In regards to the Fresno scene, have you paired with any other bands there for shows?
Felix: We have; my buddy James K linked us up with this studio and Rick and everybody from Wordsauce and the Saucepot.
Jordan: In Fresno, we know some bands but we’re not really tight with anyone yet. We’re a year old and still trying to get our roots going. We know one band we’re gonna play with at some point, Cloudship. They’re pretty good.
Felix: I know Brandon Freeman who’s the singer of Cloudship because of the Fresno hip hop community. He’s a really solid guy and they’re a really fun group. It’s been a positive experience every time we play live, but as for the other bands in Fresno, we aren’t as familiar with them; we don’t really know when they’re playing.
So the scene’s not so transparent?
Jordan: Well we know a few bands: there’s the Light Thieves, the Wee Beasties, the Eighteen Hundreds…
Felix: Wee Beasties is probably my favorite band from Fresno .
Jordan: Strange Vine, they’re probably the biggest band there. And Sharks of Dance.
Felix: Lucas (the singer of Sharks of Dance) has made records with a good friend of mine, Zee Will, who’s performed in SLO before to a warm reception. The only person that grew up in the Fresno area is Cameron, so we’re kind of on the outside looking-in in regards to playing shows in Fresno.
Jordan and Felix, you guys are neighbors right?
Jordan: Yeah, we lived in the same neighborhood.
Felix: Originally I lived less than a mile away so I’d just walk over, but originally we met at Coachella – selling churros at Coachella. I remember just messing around singing and he told me he played guitar. Like a year later we finally buckled down and he punked me out and said, “Hey, you’re either down to jam or you’re not man..”
Jordan: I gave an ultimatum cause I try to start a lot of bands and people just get kinda like, “oh I can’t make it this week,” and I’m like alright then you’re out.
Felix: I was like well, I’m really down to jam. So I showed up the next day and we started writing songs and it took us 3 weeks to write the EP. Then we were like damn, we need a drummer, and a bassist. So we went to Instagram to find our drummer, Cameron. Cameron’s been with us since the jump, and he’s helped us out a lot, he’s a very good drummer. When we started with him he wasn’t even 21 yet, so we had to sneak him into the bars. We had sent him the scratches of the early songs and he was playing in a different band at the time, but as soon as he heard the songs he ended up quitting the other band and rocking with us.
Where were you guys practicing?
Jordan: It was actually my house, upstairs in my room. We’ve got a whole kit set up there, it’s pretty cramped. The neighbors love us playing; cops have been called a couple times, neighbors have moved out.
Jordan: Yeah, the music may have been a small factor haha.
Felix: It was weird cause when we wrote the songs, it was just vocals and guitar only. And so for our first EP, there were a lot of dynamics we were missing. When we started to write as a group instead of just me and Jordan on vocal and guitar, that’s when things really started coming together.
You guys recently expanded, right? There’s six of you now.
Felix: We got Brian, Dukes and Eric in. Brian was our quasi manager at first, and then when we needed shoes to be filled he just stepped in and figured it out. He’s only been playing with us for 3 weeks and he has it figured out.
Jordan: I actually taught Brian how to play bass like years ago in an old band. And then Eric is my friend from New Hampshire and he just moved out so he joined us on rhythm guitar. It helped with Dukes coming in too; usually when we wrote songs, I had a riff on guitar and we’d just go off that. The keyboard adds a lot. Dukes’ been with us for awhile but I’ve never called him a full member in the band til he actually got a nice keyboard.
Felix: We were holding it over his head, like you down? Are you going to get a new one?
Jordan: And I was like yeah you’re a member as soon as you get that nice keyboard… I had borrowed a keyboard from some girl who’s son I gave guitar lessons to, and that was the only keyboard we had. We were like, it’s good, but we’re not going to sound professional unless you have a professional keyboard. And that’s what we’ve done in the last couple months too, I got a new amp, Cameron got a new drum set, Felix got a vocal processor.
Going around from an individual perspective, I wanted to ask you guys about influences on your playing or singing style. Like “Brother” on the last EP, there’s a very big Black Keys vibe on the verses of that one but then you go to something like “Too Good” and it’s so much more gentle.
Jordan: That’s my favorite on the last EP
Felix: Dan Auerbach is my Jesus man. I’ve seen the Black Keys live 8 times. I just really like his songwriting style, it’s not overly melodic and he’s a really good storyteller, and that’s what I strive to be. I also really like Brandon Flowers from the Killers, and Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. And my origin was in hip hop, so telling a story is what I always want to do.
In the song, “Mother Mary” off your last EP, you say, “Mother Mary’s son was a fool.” Tell me about that.
Felix: My dad’s mother’s name was Mary, so it’s not a literal, “Jesus was a fool.”
Jordan: We’re not singing about Jesus haha.
Felix: But I was raised Catholic and in the Hispanic Catholic culture, your mother’s a very important piece of who you are and both my grandmother and mother are very strong people. We did the chorus 3 times because I have 3 sisters, it’s very symbolic. That was probably the song that I liked most for those kinds of reasons. My mom can’t listen to that song ever, she would just cry. She’s listened to half of it maybe once, she just can’t listen to it.
What about you Jordan? From a guitar perspective I really liked “All my Lovin” on the last EP, there’s some parts in it where it feels a little Hendrix inspired.
Jordan: Right, I’ve always just loved the best guitar players: Jimmy Paige, Eric Clapton, Jimi, definitely stolen stuff from them.
Who doesn’t. Good artists copy, great artists steal, right?
Jordan: I really started playing guitar listening to Jack Johnson actually, he was a big reason I started playing. That, and John Mayer and Black Keys, I feel like a mix of stuff.
How about you, Brian, who are your influences?
Brian: Jordan Ott (laughs). He taught me to play.
Do you enjoy sitting back more or throwing a little flair in?
Brian: Before when I was their quasi manager, I’d just sit in on their practices and take it in, the groove. Right now I feel like I’m sitting back a little bit, but they’ve already come up with some great riffs so I’ve been following that.
Jordan: One thing I find really important is that we’re not all trying to be big show-offs. It’s all about being tight. I feel like a lot of younger bands, there’s a dude on 5 string going off, then the keyboardist goes off, and a lot of time it just feels like a giant mess. So I really try to keep everything nice and tight. Some of our songs, if people try to get a little fancy, if they get a little off it’s really noticeable. And Brian’s great because he really knows exactly where to be.
How about influences for you Cameron?
Cameron: I love Led Zeppelin, John Bonham for sure. He’s always blowing my mind. I listen to tons of music. I wouldn’t consider myself an amazing drummer. Whenever Jordan or Felix come in with a song, it’s always easy for me to accent that song and make it sound good to where I’m not overdoing it. I just try to get the fills in the right place and that’s what I’m going for in this band and what I’m going for with music.
How would you characterize your sound as a whole? 3 words to describe Boom Boom Brady.
Jordan: Alternative Blues Rock?
Felix: It’s weird too, this much variety; I think it’s just cause we like so much shit, and so many different types of music and musicians from hip hop to soul to Chris Stapleton to the Black Keys, we like so much stuff that we don’t want to make a record where every song kinda sounds the same. We felt that was how our debut EP turned out in the sense that the writing process didn’t have a lot of change of dynamics. We’re excited about this one because there’s a little something for everybody.
Jordan: And I got a little different for the writing style too; the first one was mostly bar chords, and introducing chord progressions to start the songs, with very generic structures. This one I tried to write some cooler riffs to it. I’m used to playing by myself where you have to sound as full as possible, but now we have another guitarist, a keyboard player, and I can really focus on my own playing.
And do you guys all write the lyrics?
Cameron: Felix writes the lyrics, he just busts them out in like 10 minutes.
Felix: When we get to writing, Jordan can walk in and say, “This is what I have for you,” Cameron gets the beat going, and then I have a template that I can write to. It’s easy to write when you trust the other players around you.
Something I really liked in your last EP was that a lot of the songs were in that sweet spot of 3 to 4 minutes, where at the end, you’re not sick of it or tired of it.
Jordan: See, if the songs gonna be over 4 minutes it’s gotta be a great song. Especially nowadays when people have a short attention span.
Right, a lot of the top 40 stuff on the radio, by the time it’s done I’m feeling like I don’t want to hear it again just yet, but your songs, when they end you want it to keep on going.
Felix: Repeatability. A lot of it has to do with that: we don’t want to play anything that we don’t want to listen to all the time. If we’re not cool with it yet, or excited with it now, you don’t feel it. We’re all very honest with each other about what we like or not like. I think it’s really cool to be in a group of guys that don’t take things personal and are just really down with trying to sound as good as we possibly can without getting anybody’s feelings hurt, cause everybody knows that everybody just cares about making the best possible records.
Brian: The group’s definitely gotten a lot more diverse since we started. I think a huge part of that is Dukes joining, cause he’s got jazz influence.
You didn’t have keyboard on the last EP right?
Felix: No, it was just guitar, bass, drums and vocals. It took us longer to write this album as we spent a lot more time perfecting the individual parts with the added instruments.
Jordan: Also because we have like 14 new songs so it’s trying to pick the best ones. The first EP was definitely rushed.
Felix: Writing this record as a collective group, especially as we started to get a feel for each others styles, made us a lot more dynamic. Especially the guitar, there was a lot more freedom with what Jordan wanted to do which makes everybody else in the group have more fun.
I know it’s been quite a marathon day for you guys, tracking 9 songs today. Throughout the process have there been any songs which have turned out different than how you expected them to?
Jordan: For one song we do this “oooh” part during the chorus and we all went in and did that, which we’ve never done before. It was pretty fun actually.
Did you guys do gang vocals around one mic for that?
Felix: Exactly. It ended up sounding really really good too, which is exciting because we normally don’t have backing vocals when we play live.
So that’s a big difference today too.
Felix: It’s that extra little something that makes the record sound like something you could hear on the radio. We didn’t expect to be finished so early in the evening to be honest. We were very very happy with most of our takes.
Jordan: And we have all day tomorrow to make them perfect. We’re definitely gonna be focused on that tomorrow.
Felix: Jordan’s pretty on top of the structure. Sometimes you get mad and you want to do something else, but he’s like no no no. It’s funny cause you notice a difference.
Jordan: The way I think about writing songs is, you get the rough structure, and once you really get comfortable with that, that’s when you can expand. When people are like oh we can just figure it out, it’s like: we probably won’t.
Felix: It’s easy to say we can worry about it later, and then you never worry about it later. The way Jordan runs practice is like, let’s shut up and figure it out and make the best quality records we can make. I’m the dreamer so sometimes I think it’s not a big deal, but i also don’t play an instrument.
Well that’s good, you’ve gotta have the Yin Yang…
Jordan: I’m only a hard ass cause I care.
Felix: Would you rather be like, “Yeah fuck it,” or no, “Let’s make sure this is right.” Singing a song 6 times in rehearsal is terrible and I don’t like it, but after hearing us play as a group in this kind of setting I’m so glad that we focused so much on the songs. And to have a group that doesn’t take things personal and is very cohesive, it makes the whole ordeal way more fun.
Have you been using your kit or the studio’s?
Cameron: The kit here, we’re very happy with it. I’m using my snare and hi hats but that’s about it.
Are you using Dukes’ keyboard?
Jordan: Yeah, we might hit the Hammond though, or the Fender Rhodes. I want to put some stuff on acoustic tomorrow. This place is so cool with all the antique equipment and keyboards and everything, it could be a museum.
Did you see the synth room here?
Felix: That’s where our rhythm guitar amp is isolated. It’s really cool too cause we’ve never sounded this good. We’re good at playing together, but even listening to these early mixes, it sounds so nice.
Felix: I think we’re done tracking already, Jordan might do some guitar overdubs soon.
Cameron: I think drums are pretty much done.
Jordan: Our next plan is to really listen to all the songs, take notes on them and work on that.
Felix: Oh and speaking of things we added today… we did a big gang vocal as a group. I did it once in rehearsal and everybody was just like, wow. We should put that on the record, and we were like, let’s have everybody do it. Even Kyle, our photographer, is in there doing the oohs.
That sounds like a lot of fun; it’s been great to hear how the tracking has been today!
Go check out Boom Boom Brady’s newest album, Building Up Credit, which can be found on Apple Music. You can also check out their upcoming shows and all other things Boom Boom Brady at the following places: