As music fans, we can often associate genres with decades. The 60s brought about the sounds of Motown, perhaps the most beautiful of all. The 70s had disco, which fortunately died a painful death. The 80s had hair/glam metal, something that has tried to make somewhat of a comeback from time to time.
Of course, the 90s brought us grunge in its early days, and the return of ska/swing music in its later years. Most of these trends have fallen by the wayside, only to be reinvigorated a few decades later.
Grunge, in particular, exploded on to the scene when bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soungarden were rippling through the popular charts. Almost as quickly as it rose, it was superseded by nu-metal, and left to die by the wayside. Aleks Serdar is looking to bring back a bit of that era, and he’s not alone.
“Grunge resonates with people because it has a real sound,” he explains. “it wasn’t overly produced, so it felt more real, more raw.”
Serdar plays guitar and sings for Mudbrain, whose very name should resonate with fans from the grunge era. For the last few years, he’s been kicking around the idea of how to bring that sound back to fruition. Eventually, he says, it was time to stop thinking and start doing.
“I had a feeling that a resurgence might be coming in modern music, especially with how rock’n’roll was making a turnaround. You see bands like Greta Van Fleet, Black Coffee, etc. I thought, why not grunge?”
While groups like Pearl Jam and The Melvins are still kicking, the mainstream appeal of the genre died along with a lot of its forefathers. Personally, I’m a huge believer in making music that touches people, and Serdar says that in that regard, grunge’s reach is almost limitless.
“People definitely resonate with the authenticity of it,” he stresses “there’s a passion behind it that captures the sound, the words… just everything. But it’s much more the feeling, rather than the sound.”
Serdar says he met the other members of Mudbrain, guitarist Riley Dennis and bassist Derek Ansel, through a Facebook ad auditioning for a band they were already a part of. It didn’t work out with that specific band, but Serdar says he kept in touch with the two, and when it was time to start his own band, he wanted them to be a part of it.
“I learned a lot of what I did and didn’t like about the music business from the previous bands I was in,” he explains “but once I met with Riley and Derek, I knew we had something special.”
“Almost immediately, we meshed and started writing songs together,” he continues “When you find a group of individuals that believe in the same things you do and is okay with growing with you rather than staying stagnant, it’s really special.”
The band is fairly new and has been recording music with Gino Bambino over at Avant Recording in Columbus. Serdar credits the producer with helping shape their sound.
“I feel like Gino does a great job seeing what artists actually want, and making it come to fruition,” he says. “If anyone is looking to record great music, you should certainly work with him. He definitely made us feel like we were at home.
“Once we went into studio, we all collectively knew that we had something,” he admits. “Things just keep going for us when we get together. It’s almost too good to be true, but we’re all humble and grounded.”
Serdar says one of the best things that has helped them record is that they’re not trying to force anything.
“We’re just a couple dudes who want to play loud rock and roll music!” he laughed. “One of the things that is missing from the music industry today, is that too many people are doing what they think they need to do to be famous. We’re just want to be true to ourselves.
“We’re not looking to be fancy, not looking for any smoke and mirrors or extensive backing tracks. We just want real, raw, authentic rock music,” he finished.
You can definitely feel the honest, unbridled passion in their debut single, Ignite. There are definite influences from acts like Alice and Chains, Tantric, and Day of Fire, with a little modern flair sprinkled in.
“We weren’t trying to be too noisy or distracting, we just wanted to be riff heavy – the kind of heavy where you hear it and you immediately start to feel it.
“The funny thing about Ignite,” he paused, “is that it’s honestly our least favorite song that we’ve recorded so far! But we still think it slams pretty hard, and it’s a good way to showcase the initial product of our combined sound.”
As I spoke with Serdar, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the vision he was presenting me. Far too many musicians and groups in this world are just going with the flow of things, rather than just playing for themselves. Being true to your craft is obviously important to the group.
“That’s honestly where the name Mudbrain comes from,” he says. “Like, everyone in this world has this mud in their brain, giving them the wrong ideas for how to live their life. We’re living in this crazy world, and we hope our music can help bring a little clarity.”
The band plans on dropping a few more singles before releasing their debut full length effort, tentatively titled The Butterfly Effect. Live shows are obviously on hold for the moment, but Serdar says he’s pleased with how far the band has come so far.
“We’re still super new, super fresh and are learning as we go, but we want people to hop on board for the ride of revitalizing the sound we have.”
I asked him to give me a little preview of what was to come, and he didn’t hold back.
“People are actually going to be surprised at how diverse we are,” he stressed. “Afterglow is our next single, and it’s going to be much heavier. It’s a roller coaster of a song – starts real heavy, slows down… you just have to be ready for it.
“It’s also a song where I experimented with different vocal styles. I’ve always loved Chino Moreno (of the Deftones) and how he did different things with his voice. Plus, the song has a great breakdown. Who doesn’t love a good solid breakdown?”
While Serdar spoke with a voice brimming full of passion, you could tell that his strongest suit was humility.
“Once you get so famous, people don’t seem to care anymore. We don’t think we’re better than anyone – we’re just musicians. We still have that dream of playing in front of 50,000 people, but we’re gonna bring the same amount of energy for 5 or 50 people.”
Personally, I’m excited to see where the road leads this band. It’s easy to put up a façade and say the right words, but Serdar definitely seemed like the type of guy who fulfill on his promises. The group wants to release Afterglow in mid-April, and hopes to be playing shows as soon as they can.
As it stands, they haven’t officially played their first show, but you better believe that Music in Motion Columbus will be there to capture the experience.