Interview with Brett Walker of Kaupe

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Brett! Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

Brett Walker: Thank you for having us!

CV: Do you feel that it's still possible for an unknown band today to be plucked out of obscurity and make it to stardom? Can a dedicated core of fans sharing their music make that possible or has the internet and social media changed the game?
BW: Sure, I think you just need to redefine your definition of stardom.  A dedicated core of fans is definitely a step in the right direction.  People's attention spans are short though, so now more so than ever you can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Also, because of social media algorithms, and the inability for a band to reach all their fans at once like the old days, bands are having to either make a culture…a reason to follow besides their music, or a constant barrage of posts and slick methods to interact with fans. 

CV: Do you feel that given the accessibility and social awareness of modern times that a music underground still even exists today as it once did?

BW: Well that's a tough question to answer.  Being your own Ad PR firm for social media seems to be the norm for bands.  But I doubt edgier bands will show up in someone's feed that is not into that.  I just think it comes down to the style of music.  Some styles are harder to swallow, and less popular by nature.  They will most likely never reach the mainstream.

CV: What do you see as the biggest difference in music and how it is perceived from back say 35 years ago compared to music today? Has both the music and the artist evolved from your point of view?
BW: Considering I was three 35 years ago I can't really attest to what the perception of music was back then, haha.  I can say that there's great music in all decades.  My decade to start paying attention to music was really in the 90s.  I grew up in the MTV era where bands were larger than life, record companies were booming, and stardom definitely came with a larger paycheck than today.  I can't speak for every band, but we definitely write what we want, and a record deal isn't the catalyst for our existence as a band.  I don't think we're the only band that feels that way, however, so a byproduct of this way of thinking is that bands are more free to do what they want and have the opportunity to make better music than ever. 

CV: Do you believe bands and artists who have the biggest impact on fans and other artists are aware that they are or is there more of a tunnel vision sort of process for them keeping them somewhat in the dark? Can influential artists see past their own work to be aware of the ripples they make?

BW: This might be a question for a bigger artist to answer, haha.  Unless you're living under a rock I think it's hard amidst the ripples that you make, if you are in fact making ripples.

CV: Does music need to be influential to be
considered worth listening to in your opinion? Or can music simply be just an enjoyable auditory experience devoid of substance?
BW: I mean I think that most of the music we gravitate towards has substance.  That just comes with being a musician.  People can and will listen to whatever the hell they want though...pop music has proven that.  I'll definitely throw on some old RnB as a palette cleanser from time to time, or something less heady. 

CV: The world has been rocked by the COVID pandemic.  The economy has been sent into a tail spin in its wake, unfortunately.  Bands worldwide have been restricted with performing live and some it seems, restricted from earning a living.  How has the pandemic affected your band? Are you hopeful that 2021 will see many of the restrictions lifted?
BW: At first, the pandemic helped our band, giving us time to record our new record.  Right now it's definitely lame.  We already have four songs written past our unreleased record dropping February 19th…shameless plug, which is something I never anticipated.  I think the bigger impact has been on our lives, personally.  For some of us it's made it a living hell.  No shows have DEFINITELY sucked though.  Fuck yes we're hopeful to see restrictions lifted!

CV: What do you feel artists and bands can do right now to stay relevant, especially in an environment, such as the present, where performing in front of a live audience is being restricted? What immediate options do you see available?
BW: As much as I hate the social media game...keep posting…pictures, art, video, live performances, whatever!  I was fortunate enough to be a part of the virtual Mutants of the Monster Fest recently with my other band Junior Bruce.  It was a blast, and the bands' production and performances were great!  However, it will never beat the real thing as we all know.

CV: As an artist, what have you learned from the events of 2020? Are those lessons learned different for you as a person than as an artist or are they one in the same in your opinion?
BW: 2020 was a humbling experience to say the least. I have a newfound appreciation for life.  We were all so spoiled and selfish before...we didn't know what we had.  I hope that a greater appreciation for real human contact is the silver lining to the tragedy that was 2020.  Let’s put down the phones for once and talk face to face.

CV: What's next? What can fans expect to see coming in 2021?
BW: Fans can expect our new album 'Cognitive Dissonance' to drop February 19, 2021 to digital streaming platforms!!  We are having a “safe” album release show as well February 20, 2021 at Soundbar in Orlando as well!

CV: Thank you again Brett for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was such a pleasure. I wish you all the best.
BW: Thank you!  Nothing but love from Kaupe!  Stay safe everybody!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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