Surprises is the new endevour from Florida based artist Brooks Daniel Paschal, after just releasing his debut solo record on the internet, i was fortunate enough to talk to him about all things Surprises.

Starting off, let’s have your name, your musical background and your favourite place to play.

My name is Brooks Daniel Paschal.  I have a project called Surprises, I just put out a new album and of all the places I’ve played I would say my favourite place to play would be Ogden Theatre in Denver Co.

Starting with Surprises, what was your motivation in putting out a solo record?

It was really therapy; these songs all have a very intimate place in my heart.  They are all very different.  It’s very much like reading my diary from the past few years.

Care to elaborate a bit more Brooks?

IE, was the album a close guarded personal secret for a while?

good question! Actually, it’s interesting, I wrote Magnolia Tree the day after Sullivan broke up..

And it’s a beautiful song as well..

it was like, "Ok Brooks; let’s see if you can still do this." The second your band is gone, it’s like.. WHAT IF I LOSE IT!! So I went out in a field and just let it happen. That was the result.

You just mentioned if you could do it or, what were the first initial thoughts when Sullivan split, were there any doubts that you’d continue as an artist?

 this was all what I expected; “I will make records until the end of time.” But my touring life was over, I needed to help others and so I started the studio and the rest is history.

Why did Sullivan split? It was during the Cover Your Eyes tour, and I remember people being insanely bummed that you guys weren’t together anymore. Are you getting sick of being asked that question?

Brooks : not really, some of us were together the other day. It was like we just knew it was time and we did it and never looked back. It’s weird, things expire and sometimes at the weirdest times. But it happened.

Backpedalling a little bit, you said you wanted to make music to help people. Sullivan was in cohorts with TWLOHA, are you still involved with them at all?

 It’s weird, I see Jamie around, we both are in the Orlando area, but Surprises hasn’t really been that involved. The truth is; I don’t tour so  I can’t help that much. By helping people I meant writing/producing

now you’re involved with The Fort, how did you managed to reopen it with Pete Thornton? The studio has had some major artists and labels come through, such as Anberlin, Paramore, The Academy Is… and Atlantic Records to name a few.

Well, the fort was Pete’s for years, we relocated 2 years ago.  A year ago Pete started pursuing film so I took over the studio.  It’s been a crazy ride, but I love it.

What’s on your plate right now with the studio? Was Surprises recorded there?

 I had 2 weeks in Dec off and Luke Davids and I locked ourselves in the studio and made the record. I just finished the To Speak of Wolves record, its Phil from Sullivan’s new band. It’s coming out on Tooth and Nail/Solid State, it’s pretty close to a perfect record, I’m so proud of it. And they are coming to Australia in a couple of months!

To Speak of Wolves are great! I got Follow Voices a while back and it’s been a regular jam.

Wait until you hear the record, it’s unreal.

Was it just you two making the record or did you have any other guests?

Basically I played drums, bass, guitar, piano, but Luke played most of the piano, and did all the string arrangements.

How was recording and writing the album with Luke? Can you tell us a bit about working with him?

It was amazing; he’s a genius and never has a bad idea.  We write together all of the time, so we are very well connected.

What influenced you most when coming to write Surprises? Lyrically and Stylistically. And did the breakup of Sullivan play a major part in it?

Not really, I have always written like this and just never really did anything with it. Honestly Luke was my biggest influence, he’s a virtual untapped treasure. In 3 years we will all know who he is, he’s just an incredible writer and player.

Now you mentioned that your touring life is over earlier, would there ever be a chance our American readers would be able to see a live set?

I just don’t think so, Luke and I made this record so specific, and it would be hard for me to see other people being able to capture the essence of it live.  MAYBE though, I am planning something special in the coming months.

I was looking forward to the 24 hour EP a while back, are the songs you wanted to record with that on the album? Or are they still going to be released as a different record?
yeah well Tyson and I just wrote a new album, it’s similar to Sullivan. we are kind of keeping it on the DL for a little bit, but, it’s done. And it’s RIDICULOUS.

When could we see that getting released?

who knows, its way more mainstream, I’m sure we will consider labels, really hard to say.

back onto it, you just mentioned that you’d consider signing, But on your MySpace it says "if you want to sign my band, get in line, your record label sucks" Could you care to expand a little bit?
hahaha, that was a little cynical. I don’t have any problem with labels, and what they do.

It’s hard to convey cynicism on the internet haha

but, I did that. And it would take a lot for me to do it again. I have been made offers by every label in the world; it’s just not for Surprises.  I wanted to make something that had nothing but great intentions.

Out With The Dish Water, what’s the deal? Did that turn in Surprises, or is it another entity?
Basically yes, at the time surprises was more pop rock based. so I wanted to have another identity, but then my heart just went all their and more people were familiar with surprises. so I just made it that.

On the Dish Water MySpace it says something along the lines of "I want to make a record my parents will like", how big of an influence and inspiration are your parents to your work?

The biggest, both were musicians so I wanted to make a record that they would really enjoy. They loved Cover Your Eyes. but I still knew it wasn’t their thing, but this is totally up their alley.

I really wanted to ask this earlier in the interview, would there ever be a chance in the future the guys from Sullivan may get together for a couple of shows?

you know, maybe, we all love each other so much and it’s great to see each other. it’s very possible, we’ll see.

Would it be a full blown reunion or once off shows?

who know, anything is possible!

Finally, what would you be doing if you weren’t making music, recording music, or anything to do with music?

I have no clue, it’s in my blood. But probably a basketball player

Thanks for doing this for us Brooks, any final words for our readers?

Get the album! Send it to your friends!!

Surprises debut release All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Die is available to download for free here, otherwise you can use the pay what you want option. Check out Brooks’ personal Myspace as well as the website for The Fort.


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