While he may appear to be a hardcore rock star, Josh Bramlett is an inspiration as part of the rock band The Protest. Taking a few minutes from his busy schedule, and they seem to be busy all the time, vocalist Josh sat down to answer some of our questions.
OSR: How did the band come together?
JB: The story of The Protest dates back to the early 2000’s. My brother and I had just started discovering classic rock, mainly Kiss, and decided that we wanted to try our hand at rock ‘n’ roll. I got a cheap guitar starter kit, and my brother (Jarob -drummer) got a hand me down drumkit from a neighbour, and we set out to be the next Kiss! The only problem was that we didn’t know how to play at all. So my father, who is a school teacher, hired one of his students to teach me how to play the guitar, and Jarob started taking lessons as well. Little did we know at the time that Adam, the guy teaching me guitar, would be become a great friend and eventually join the band in 2009.
Once I began learning, I taught everything I knew to my buddy T.J., who just happens to be our current rhythm guitarist. We formed a little band in middle school, and from there we never really looked back. In 2009, Adam joined the band, and the rest is history. We are so fortunate to have almost the same lineup since our inception. We are the best of friends, brothers really.
OSR: Why did you choose the name ‘The Protest’?
JB: For years, in our early days, we went by the name ‘Protest for Pluto’. It wasn’t until 2011, when we went to Knoxville to work on our first official debut release, that this changed. During the recording process, we changed so much as men and as musicians. We grew and had a new vision of reaching people with a message of hope through our music. All these new changes sparked a name change. We wanted a name that was super bold and eye-catching, but similar to our ‘Protest for Pluto’ moniker. The name The Protest stuck, and we haven’t shed it yet.
OSR: Do you prefer touring in the States or experiencing overseas tours?
JB: It’s very different, touring overseas as opposed to touring in the States. One thing we love about both, however, is the people. We are blessed to meet so many amazing people with the most amazing stories everywhere we go. Overseas is always extremely exciting. Fans over there go so hard during shows. It’s absolutely crazy. That being said, it’s been an honour touring our beautiful country and seeing all the different cultures. I really can’t say which we prefer. We just love travelling, period.
OSR: What do you feel makes The Protest distinct from all other hard rock bands playing in the US today?
JB: There are so many amazing bands out there, and we are humbled to even be in the game. We aren’t the best musicians or songwriters, or have the craziest or most expensive show. What we do have is a unity and a crowd connection that I think is pretty special. We spend a lot of time with our fans and make ourselves available. After all, it’s the fans that keep the industry going. We want all those who attend our shows or listen to our music to be uplifted and leave feeling different than when they came in.
OSR: What is your main goal as a band, and do you think you are achieving it?
JB: Our main goal is stated above. We use music as a vessel to reach people and affect them positively. I think we do a pretty good job at this, but we are never satisfied and always want to grow.
OSR: ‘What Else You Got’ was one of the fastest chart-climbers in your musical career, thus far, reaching #32 on the BDS Mainstream Rock Indicator Chart. Did you think it would receive this much acclaim?
JB: We are never really sure how our music will be received. In this case, we are so humbled by the success of the song. This would not be possible without our amazing team at Rockfest Records, Concrete Management, and No Problem PR & Marketing. We are super blessed to have a team that believes in us, and who is in our corner.
OSR: What inspired you to write ‘What Else You Got’?
JB: ‘What Else You Got’ was co-written by Josiah Prince (Disciple) and Nashville songwriter Jeremiah Jones. We heard their idea for the song and fell in love with it. Once we decided to record the tune, we bounced a lot of different ideas around on how to make the song as big sounding as possible. The song means a lot to us from a personal standpoint. We live in a world that is overrun with negativity and hate. Sometimes we get so bogged down by the world that it’s hard to even function. This song is a fight song! We want it to encourage the listener to stay strong in the face of adversity.
OSR: The music video was done in a bit of a rush where you were leaving for a tour in a couple of days, so re-takes weren’t an option. Do you think working under pressure, like that, can make one perform better or worse?
JB: We thrive on pressure, usually. In the music business, there are lots of demands and deadlines, and often a short amount of time to accomplish things. Knowing that re-takes weren’t an option, we really buckled down and worked our tails off. In the end, we are very happy with the finished product.
OSR: What was the recording process like for the ‘What Else You Got’ video? Were there any memorable moments?
JB: We may seem like we were calm, cool and collected in the video, but if you panned out and saw the operation you may laugh! We were in a diesel garage with trucks on the other side of the camera. It was in winter, so we had blankets and space heaters just out of camera view, so we could run over there and warm up after takes. We also had friends blowing a leaf blower on us during some of the shots to give us that ‘Rock Star’ look. At the end of the day, we are four humble, fun-loving rockers that love people and love making rock music!
OSR: The big thing at the moment is the release of your new album Legacy. How do you feel about this album Excited? Maybe anxious at how it’s going to be received?
JB: WE ARE SO EXCITED! It has been close to four years since our last release. We put everything we had into this record. It is exciting, but also a little scary to be honest. Putting music out that you are passionate about makes you very vulnerable, being that a lot of our feelings are on this record. It’s always scary putting music out because you want to make new fans with the music and reach a big audience, while still keeping your die-hard friends pleased.
OSR: Despite all the reviews of Legacy so far, how do you hope people will feel about the album?
JB: I really think people will love the record. It’s extremely diverse, and in my opinion, our best work yet.
OSR: What does Legacy mean to you guys on a personal level?
JB: We all leave a legacy behind; it’s our choice of what kind we leave. We can choose to leave behind a legacy in which we loved and served others, working hard to be a positive influence in the world, or we can go the other route. Good or bad, we all leave one!
To us, this record hits home in so many ways. Creating this album was a hard-fought labour of love that was two years in the making. The lyrics are from struggles and triumphs in our own lives and the lives of those that we love. We have a lot to say on this record, and we hope it’s received well.
OSR: You’re constantly touring, don’t you become tired and doesn’t it become frustrating living in such close proximity to three other guys all the time?
JB: It can be very tiring on the road. It’s not unusual to have to drive through the night, just to make it to sound check in time. Luckily, there are four us that can take turns driving. We have found that off days are very necessary so that we can recharge and get some rest. We usually don’t get tired of each other, because we’re all longtime friends and have become a family. Our vehicle is big enough to hang out in when we want to hang out, but we are also able to have our own space and our own ‘me’ time, which is key.
OSR: Talking about touring, do you guys have any upcoming tours?
JB: We are going out on a set of headlining dates in mid to late-August that we are pretty pumped about. Some festivals in September, and we are heading overseas to do some shows in October. I think you can expect to see a lot of The Protest for the rest of this year into 2019.
OSR: So, let’s have some fun. Tell us, what animal do you think best represents your personalities?
JB: Our band is a wolf pack. We do everything together as much as we can, and each member has a different role that they play within the pack. We are loyal to our pack and our fans. Wolves, by nature, are hunters, just like we hunt for new opportunities to reach people in a special way. We also howl at the moon nightly, HA!
OSR: Name one thing that looks delicious, but tastes absolutely terrible.
JB: I feel like I’m constantly let down by fruit. Certain fruits look so amazing, you know? Often, the colours are so beautiful and pleasing to the eye; but then you cut it open and taste it, and it either tastes like nothing or just awful. It’s a major letdown!
Liver is also one that is a letdown; it looks like steak! I remember my grandmother made liver and onions, but I didn’t know it. She had leftovers in the fridge, so I heated some up for dinner. I began eating and thought to myself that it was really weird tasting steak. I ended up not being able to finish it.
OSR: Would you rather never be able to eat meat or never be able to eat vegetables?
JB: This is a tough one! The healthier choice would be to give up meat and stick with veggies. Unfortunately, I’m a carnivore through and through, and feel in my element behind a grill.
OSR: And that’s it. Thanks so much for chatting with me. I wish you the best of luck with the album release and everything else.
JB: Thank you so much for having me and for supporting the scene! Be blessed.
Thanks to Josh for speaking with The Other Side Reviews. To connect with The Protest, check out their official website or their socials – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also find them on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.