CD party will bring Hyatt full circle
ALBANY To be clear — Alex “Brasi” Hyatt’s new compilation album, “Brasi: Covered in Dirt 1999-2012,” is not a greatest hits package.
For one thing, the Albany-based singer only had one “hit” in 2002, when WEQX-FM played his band Livingston Bramble’s song “Air” in regular rotation. And Hyatt also wants to make it clear that the compilation, which covers five different bands and a one-off guest appearance, isn’t an ego move, either.
“The thing that I kind of worry about when I did the release is I don’t, I definitely don’t want to come across as, ‘I’ve done this crap,’ ” Hyatt said. “It’s more of the idea — like, I think it would be cool if my bass player Matt [Baker, of Flakjacket, one of the bands featured on ‘Covered in Dirt’] did it, and he’s got all the bands he’s ever been in on the CD and it’s called ‘The Bands of Matt Baker.’ I just think it would be cool. It’s like a different way — you know, like, ‘Really? You did gangsta rap back in ’84, before it was even [popular]?’ ”
Going through his old bands has been an eye-opening experience for Hyatt, who has been able to look back at his development as a vocalist over the last 13 years.
The acoustic release show for the CD at Valentine’s tonight will bring things full circle, with Flakjacket, Seven and Hyatt’s new projects Antecedent and Brown Dirt Mafia all performing. Hyatt’s friends Erin Harkes and Blaze, and new band Graveyard Poets, will also play sets.
“There’s a thousand guys probably within a stone’s throw of where we’re doing this interview that have played in 100 bands,” Hyatt said. “But maybe only one that thinks, hey, I’m gonna put them on a CD and get all these clowns together that I’ve played with forever, and we’re gonna have a big party and announce it.”
The 19 tracks on “Covered in Dirt” are organized by band, beginning with four songs from Flakjacket’s 2010 album “Almost Always Never,” and continuing with the hard rock of Livingston Bramble, the acoustic pop and reggae of Seven, a rapping appearance on Joe Mama Band’s “You Were the Love,” the ever-changing Brasi Project and progressive metallic rockers Whisper to Apocalypse.
The older projects, such as Livingston Bramble and the ongoing Brasi Project, date back to Hyatt’s early years in the Glens Falls-Whitehall area (Hyatt relocated to Albany about five years ago).
The Brasi Project, in particular, continues to be an ongoing concern whenever he gets together with his fellow musician friends. At one point, he even advertised to record musicians looking to lay down songs that weren’t being used in a band — with the catch being that they’d only have one night to do it.
“It’s just songs that — you’ve got your buddies over, and, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got a drummer, a bass player, vocalist, let’s record some [stuff],” he said. “I think the songs that are on this mostly are the better ones that we actually did in probably ’05.”
He chose the songs with help from his teenage son, who also put the tracks up on iTunes. Rather than a greatest hits package, Hyatt prefers to think of the collection as an autobiography of sorts.
“For the last 13 years I’ve always, almost every day of my life, been in a band, or been working on a song, or been lucky enough that somebody would grab me, or say, ‘Hey, come in and sing for us,’ ” he said.
Flakjacket is probably the best known of Hyatt’s projects for Capital Region audiences. The five-piece band originally released the acoustic-driven “Almost Always Never” through Ugly Media, but went on extended hiatus recently due to inter-band disagreements about the group’s follow-up album. But “Covered in Dirt” has helped to bring the band back together again.
“We all decided that we needed to do other stuff, because we really didn’t want to do ‘Almost Always Never,’ two,” Hyatt said. “We didn’t get picked up for another deal from that label, so we just decided to — let’s do other stuff, get creative. And the record that we’ve written is, I would say, probably 20 percent heavier than the other one.”
Along with a rejuvenated Flakjacket, Hyatt is looking forward to new material with Brown Dirt Mafia, his mostly covers duo with singer-songwriter Bill Frandino, and Antecedent, another duo featuring guitarist Brian Slattery and help from Edie Road Studios producer Marc Fuller. The latter group finds Hyatt exploring electronic elements and samples, which he has eschewed in the past.
“I’ve never done this before, but I’ve always been kind of against the use of computers and stuff,” he said. “But I’m just like, I’m over it. In this band, I’m over it. A lot of people do it — there’s whole shows now based off a laptop.”