In 2011, Adam Bricks returned to Houston from New York. Since then, he has established quite a few connections, many of which are explored on the anti-folk singer-songwriter’s forthcoming album, Relations.
“On Relations, I'm talking about relationships with people and how they develop,” Bricks says. “The sad and the happy and the wild.”
Due out May 6, with an East Coast tour to follow, Relations sees Bricks turn his introspective songwriting outward.
Unlike 2013’s City Songs, which was written while Bricks was on the road, traveling and living between New York, New Jersey and Texas, Relations is about Houston and the people in it.
“I don't think there are any direct references to Houston on the record, but that's because most of it was written here,” he says. “Most of the stuff that goes on on the record has to do with experiences I've had while living here.”
Bricks admits that some songs were written with a specific bar or Houston landmark in mind, but he’s light on the specifics, only clarifying that not all of them are that exclusive.
“This place is crazy,” he says of Houston. “In a wild kind of way. Or maybe I just am. I’m not sure.”
City Songs, Bricks says, was an outward-looking album, filled with pictures of where he was mentally. Relations, meanwhile, is a much more focused record. Its lead single was written after Bricks lost his job as he was considering what it would take for him to pursue music full-time.
“I was sort of giving myself advice or something,” he says of “The Only One.” “I think also it's about coming to terms with making your own decisions and facing the consequences.”
Recorded at Hazard Studios with James Westley Essary, who also produced the album, Relations features Pastor Oropeza on drums. It was later mixed and mastered at Sugar Hill Studios by Steve Christiensen and Chris Longwood, respectively.
“The instrumentation is a lot heavier,” Bricks says of his new album. “The songs are denser and I sing second vocals, which is something I didn't do on City Songs.”
Bricks says he was experimenting on City Songs. But with Relations, he says he had vision.
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“We wanted to make more of a consistent album sound-wise,” he says. “I think we were listening to some Father John Misty at the time, maybe some Cass McCombs and Jessica Lea Mayfield as well. A lot of songwriter stuff.”
In Bricks’s opinion, it’s especially hard these days to live the life you want, specifically when the life you want involves art. But he also recognizes that he has a lot of live left to live and a lot of lessons to learn.
“Most of my friends have to do some kind of other job to keep themselves afloat,” he says. “But maybe we're still just figuring things out. Who knows?”