Tyler Bryant’s first visit to London has involved some fairly standard tourist stuff: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Denmark Street, the tube. But there’s also been the small matter of performing to at least 40 000 people at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“It was a rush,” the singer and guitarist grins with some understatement.
As AC/DC’s support act, Bryant and his band The Shakedown are still adjusting to stadiums, with the Rock or Bust tour’s North American leg having played out in arenas.
“It was crazy, just people as far as you could see,” remembers drummer Caleb Crosby of their first European show in Portugal, a few weeks earlier. “My memory of it is so hazy,” he laughs, “and I don’t think it was until we walked off the stage that we looked at each other and went: ‘What?’”
But they’re now getting used to the experience, in part thanks to some advice from an old pro, AC/DC’s Angus Young.
“He’s like: ‘If you go out there and make them believe they’re going to come with you, then they will.’ And that’s exactly it – you just have to go out, you have to charge out and take everyone on a little trip,” explains Bryant.
And that’s exactly what the band – rounded out by guitarist Graham Whitford and bassist Noah Denney – have been doing, especially with the songs from their current ‘The Wayside’ EP.
“There are different vibes on the record,” says Bryant of the follow-up to 2013’s debut ‘Wild Child’, “but we think of it almost like a movie. If you go to a movie there’s going to be the action scene, there’s going to be the fight scene, there’s going to be the beautiful drive through wherever scene.
“We just wanted it to take you on a journey and we also wanted to show off sides to us that people hadn’t heard before, because by default we are a high energy rock ‘n roll band. But there are certain songs that called for us to be a little more subdued and musical – like ‘Devil’s Keep’ and ‘The Wayside’ – and we felt that we would be robbing ourselves to shy away from that.”
Musically, it’s also more reflective of the band members’ diverse tastes – Denney was raised on ‘90s grunge, Bryant on vintage blues, and Crosby on the likes of Stevie Wonder and Prince, while the son of US rock royalty Brad Whitford “grew up with Aerosmith ringing in my ears, so that left an imprint”.
“We all come from completely different backgrounds,” reflects Crosby, “but it’s good because we come together and it’s a fresh kind of thing where we each bring something different, and we all keep turning each other on to new music.”
Living in Nashville has also rubbed off on the band members – albeit not in the way you’d think.
“As a band, musically we’re kind of in a tunnel – there’s not a lot of what we do coming out of Nashville,” says Crosby of the city synonymous with country.
“I think the biggest thing about Nashville is there are great artists who live there and there are great songwriters.There are people there who are extremely talented and that’s inspiring,” elaborates Bryant. “There are a lot of people who just love music like we do there.”
“And they don’t do it because they get paid to do it, they just do it because they love doing it,” adds Crosby.
That love of music is just as apparent in these four young men who have already written over 20 songs for their next album.
“I don’t know exactly when it’s coming, but we’re sort of “damn the torpedoes” with it,” reveals Bryant. “As soon as we can get home long enough to make it happen, it’s going to happen. There’s only so much you can do on the road.”
- Listen to the full, unedited backstage interview: