- - Thursday, January 26, 2017

When you shop for music online, there is a part of every website that features the line, “If you like this, you’ll love this.” The best way to describe the music of The Explorers Club is “If you like the Beach Boys, you’ll love the Explorers Club.” The four-part harmonies with ultracatchy songs that last no more than three minutes and thirty seconds can’t help remind one of me of the classic California band.

Even though they are deeply influenced by the Beach Boys, the South Carolina band has fashioned an original blend of well-crafted pop brilliance. Lead singer and guitarist Jason Brewer discussed his obviously love of the Beach Boys, how he keeps sane with a head full of music and their genius new CD, “Together: Expanded Edition.”

Question: How did your band Explorers Club come to be?

Answer: When I finished college in 2004, I had been in some garage band, but I got to a point where I really hit a groove writing songs. I got more interested in creating complex compositions.

After college I moved to Atlanta and hit it off with a musician friend there. We wrote some songs together [and] did demos that featured some four part-vocals. Very Brian Wilson- and Phil Spector-influenced music. We took these songs back to Charleston.

We thought nobody was really doing that sound these days. At first I thought it would be too hard to find other people who were likeminded. The band really started around those demos. One of those songs, “Forever,” got a lot of attention.

Q: Is your music a tribute to the past bands?

A: I didn’t want this to be just a tribute to the music that influenced me but rather a continuation of it. Add new chapters to that book. I just love all the ‘60s music. I was a huge Beach Boys fan for a long time. Huge Zombies fan. Harry Nilsson. That sound and style of writing came natural to me.

Q: How did a 35-year-old guy discover, and fall so deeply in love with, the Beach Boys?

A: I had a neighbor when I was a kid who used to work on old cars, and he loved them. He had all their albums and put all these things on cassette for me. I would listen to them in my Walkman as a little kid.

Then my mom really loved the Beach Boys because she grew up in Florida and loved playing them. Plus we had an oldies station. So I liked all the hits for a long, long time.

Later on I discovered “Pet Sounds” and the “Smile” stuff. I thought, “If I’m gonna try to write songs, I’m gonna try to write songs as good as that. Otherwise there is no point in trying.”

You gotta be the best. You can’t be mediocre. I got into that so much. From there I got into Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb. I feel like there is nobody my age writing this stuff. I also try to keep my songs relatable, short and sweet. That’s one thing I have really worked on. That formula works for what we do.

Q: Are you the mastermind of Explorers Club?

A: Sure. I mean, I write. All the songs, they start and end with me.

Q: The songs in Brian Wilson’s head drove him mad. How do you keep “Teenage Symphony From God” from driving you insane?

A: I will hear a lot of music before it leaks out. I have music looping in my head. Sometimes it’s a little phrase or melody. I try not to control it too much and try not to let it control me either. The other thing is — and Brian has said this too — is that music can be as much of a physical thing as it is a spiritual thing.

As a writer I’m usually in one or two places. If I’m in the good place, it’s spiritual and the music can flow. If you’re in a really tough spot or a place where you’re really searching, sometimes the best stuff comes.

But if you are trying to force it? Then you’ll write garbage.

Q: Is this the quickest a record has happened for you?

A: The songs happened in like six weeks. This record came out in an explosion. While we were doing it, I knew how I wanted the music to sound, but I didn’t know how I was going to put all the cool harmonies on top. Luckily our guitar player, Mike [Williamson] is so amazing. As much as I like to take credit for the band, the record would not have sounded as good without Mike’s hard work. The whole band worked hard.

Q: Why is the album called “Together”?

A: It made sense because we were able to keep the vision I had and stick with all the really cool songs I had, but we really had to work together to make it happen. It’s pretty cool for me to be called the “brain,” but I don’t want to take all the credit. I couldn’t do it without the band.

Q: What is the ultimate goal with the band?

A: I wanna make some more good records that sound great. It would be great to figure out a way to make money. (Laughs) But truly if we can find more people that can be truly happy when they put in our discs and bring joy to their life, lift them up, then I’m doing what I’m supposed to do with my music.

I want to bring them joy.

The Explorers Club album, “Together: Deluxe Edition,” is out now.


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