Artist Interview:
Briar Rabbit

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Briar Rabbit at the Leon Loft. Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Briar Rabbit at the Leon Loft. Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Benjamin Weatherston sits down with Phillip-Michael Scales (aka Briar Rabbit) at the Leon Loft to discuss his music and upcoming move to the West Coast.

BW: How long have you been making music?
BR: As far as notes with my mouth, I’d say since 2. Been refining it ever since.

BW: What is your earliest memory of singing/performing?
BR: Hmm, it’s one of those weird memories that you remember through people telling you the story. But I was 5 or so and I screamed “owwwww!” My mothers heart dropped in the other room then she heard “I feel good!” So James Brown, I spose.

BW: When did the writing start? Were there any sad attempts at early songwriting?
BR: I don’t think any attempts at writing are sad. Probably I remember writing a parody of “Wild Thing” on kids paper that teaches them how to write. Don’t remember the parody. I’d say probably by the end of middle school I was off and running!

BW: What impact did your uncle (B. B. King) have on your decision to pursue music?
BR: I can’t really say. I mean probably the guitar that was bought for me was influenced by him but it was just in me.

BW: What do love most about writing and crafting words?
BR: Getting it out. It’s a bit like inventions that make millions. Hear me out. Someone creates something like an apple cutter because they think “there’s gotta be a better way to cut these things” then they do and realize “I bet other folks would find this useful too.” So only instead of apples, it’s emotions.

BW: Have you ever played other people’s songs?
BR: Ever?!? Yes! I sometimes play solo gigs to pay the bills and make mix in a cover or two into my set. It’s fun, kinda freeing in a way but I just love songwriting so much.

Briar Rabbit at the 2014 Ann Arbor Summer Festival. photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Briar Rabbit at the 2014 Ann Arbor Summer Festival. photo by Benjamin Weatherston


BW: Do you feel like your main art is the message (lyrics) or the medium (singing/music)?
BR: I don’t think you can separate those anymore than you can a pie. Sure, the filling is great but if the crust sucks …. It’s all gotta support each other! I guess if I had to pick, lyrics would be my strong suit.

BW: What are you working on right now?
BR: Getting set up in L.A. while finishing production on a new record. Oh, I’m also playing shows all month. So I guess a lot. But I like it that way.

BW: Tell me about your decision to move West.
BR: When it comes down to music people generally help out folks that they know and the majority of the industry is on the East or West Coast. So along with my best friends being out there, I’d like to be closer to the industry.

BW: Where do you want to see your career go from here?
BR: The same place as always. Playing my songs to crowds of people and maybe hearing them in a movie or two. Making a living off of doing what you love is always the goal. I also want to get in a position to help other bands.

BW: How has the Michigan/Midwest music scene been for you up to this point?
BR:  It’s been polite. I grew up here, so it’s fun to play for those people and there have been some cool opportunities.

BW: But what does it lack for the professional musician?
BR: I guess what it lacks is the music industry, which in all fairness most other cities lack, too. There’s no real industry power looking for new talent in Michigan. They definitely have their own pockets that they love but even when those hit the next level it’s got to do with one of the coasts. So I’m excited to explore a town with a lot of opportunities.

Briar Rabbit at Leon Loft. photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Briar Rabbit at Leon Loft. photo by Benjamin Weatherston

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