I have expressed before that one of the perks of my job is
to meet great artists, but on few occasions have I worked with a more unique
duo than the father and son band BTI.
A mixture of genres from soft rock ballads to all out rock n roll and guitar solos combined with the perspective of 2 different generations on lyric writing makes them truly unique and a must hear for all curious music lovers.
Working with them I must first express 3 things.
- They are the nicest people you could ever work with and that is completely transmitted in their music.
- By chance I happened to work on one of their most touching tunes called “Too Soon” and the impact it left made me want to dig further about them and why not spread the word through a blog post!
- The way they treat their music and the “self-taught” philosophy reminds me of my own journey in music.
Before you read the interview, I would suggest you watch one of their music videos. That will surely make you curious about the rest! I want to thank Brad and Stevie Lipsig for taking the time to answer a few of my questions about their work and future projects.
- Tell us about BTI – what does it stand for and how was it born?
BRAD: BTI means “Beat The Impossible!”. Our band name is taken from the lyrics of one of Stevie’s first freestyle lyrics, from a song called “Melody”. That is one of the 16 songs which will appear on our forthcoming album “The Lockdown”.
BRAD: “Beat The Impossible” is also our mission statement. We hope to bring a full dose of positivity to a challenging year. We write righteous tunes for trying times : )
STEVIE: My favorite rapper was Juice World. When he died, someone posted a version of one of his songs played on an acoustic guitar. I asked my dad if he could teach me how to play it. Once I learned the chords, I started writing songs. Soon after, dad would play guitar riffs and I would freestyle lyrics. This is how we wrote most of our songs.
- Can you tell me more about your musical background?
BRAD: I have been a songwriter since I was 14. I wrote about 100 songs over the years, but I never published and I have not been active since college. I taught myself how to play guitar and some piano when I was in my teens. I never studied formally, and I still can’t read music.
I did teach Stevie a few chords, and he picked up playing very quickly and naturally. Now he plays on his own the way that I did.
STEVIE: I was never a fan of rock music until we started writing it. I’m proud of the songs we wrote, but I still love listening to rap. I call out my favorite rap artists in the song “Tune Up And Sing”.
- What are your main inspiration (genres and artists)?
BRAD: My number one inspiration is Bob Dylan. Not only his lyrics, but also his career. All the twists and turns it took, and how he never stopped growing as an artist. And how free his is musically. He is constantly reinventing his own songs out on the road. I learned a lot from following his performances over the years.
STEVIE: I’m not sure where my songs come from. They just appear in my head. Like I say in “Melody”, I can’t fight it, gotta work with it. When we write it’s usually because I get an idea in my head and we try to find the rest of the song together.
- Which is the song that “touches” you most?
BRAD: We wrote a song called “Too Soon” which is sung to my sister May. May passed away many years ago, and she missed all of my adult life. So she never met my wife Anna or our three boys. I wanted her to know how she was missed.
STEVIE: I never met May, but dad talks about her all the time. It’s like she has always been here with us. So I wrote half the lyrics of that song, and I told her I look forward to meeting her one day up in heaven.
- What is your typical songwriting process?
STEVIE: Most of the time, my dad starts a guitar riff and I freestyle over it. I already have the freestyles, and there is some tune there, so we just try to find a match. Sometimes the song starts with dad and I help him finish the tune and especially the lyrics.
BRAD: Also, sometimes a person or a story inspires us to write. We wrote a theme song for a children’s cartoon book series called Veggie Vero, which is exploring production for a live animation show next year. You can find that video on our YouTube channel (or our website), complete with a full cartoon story. Some of our songs are inspired by politics. Stevie wrote “Change It All” in support of Biden’s campaign. We wrote “Tune Up & Sing” to try to encourage people to discuss politics more civilly. We wrote “Richard Russell Learned To Fly” to point out income disparities and how hard the average working American’s situation is.
- How do you find the remote collaboration with musicians?
BRAD: We love it! We find the most talented people over Fiverr. The model makes it easy to communicate across time zones, so our music benefits from a multi-national influence. We live in isolated times, and we could never have recorded a full album without remote collaboration.
STEVIE: We went to a recording studio a couple of times in the beginning. But if you look at Tik-Tok, everything is already remote.
- What is your goal as an artist?
BRAD: 2020 was a difficult year. But it inspired a lot of strength and kindness in people. And it made clear how much we truly need one another. We hope our music will remind people of that feeling, to help us all make a better world in the future.
- Future plans?
BRAD: We founded a website called Tune Up And Sing. I hope to continue to attract independent musicians to it so that we can highlight intelligent political music in the future. To help people unite and find solutions that work for the country, and the world.
STEVIE: I plan to attend art school and explore drawing. We will keep writing songs, but I will just focus a little time on the side on art and keep on working on music