XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Brian Strean: We just released our new single “You’re the Void” last week which is available on Spotify and all digital retailers. There’s also a cool lyric video for it on our Facebook page and YouTube. It was a collaboration with a very talented friend @therealjeremus on Instagram. There will likely be some shows announced soon, but nothing scheduled just yet.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Brian Strean: We’ve had several members come and go over time, but as Our Future Leaders we’ve been together since about 2010-2011 and we released our first EP “Machines” in 2011.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Brian Strean: That’s a good question. I used to perform in some acoustic guitar chatrooms back in the day when that was a thing and I always loved it. When I decided to move to Orlando to go to college, I had written a handful of songs and wanted to start a band.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Brian Strean: I was a band geek from Middle School orchestra and moved into marching band in High School. I played bass clarinet and I was pretty good at it. I picked up the guitar at about age 14 after seeing a buddy of mine play at camp, I was hooked. Actually, I started off playing drums, but guitar came really natural to me after someone showed me how it worked lol. I practiced all the time and learned a ton of songs, then I started dabbling with songwriting.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Brian Strean: That’s tough because each song has its own message and they’re written so that they can be interpreted differently. But I want that image to come from a place of compassion and understanding. And maybe a hint of purple.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Brian Strean: Being able to write music and tour for a living is the dream. Hopefully, we can make enough noise with what we’re doing and make that a reality. You only need one!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Brian Strean: That’s another tough one, I love both. The creative process is it’s a completely different experience than performing and putting on a great rock show.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Brian Strean: A lot of the lyrics are written out of frustration or anger which I think happens to make awesome rock music. There are many political themes and world issues which are important to me. “Kill the Youth” for instance, is about our broken education system and consumerism affecting young people. Our latest song “You’re the Void” is written about the current disconnect between people and that feeling of worthlessness. Music is a good outlet to voice those kinds of thoughts and ideas without isolating groups of people. It can bring all types of people together and that’s a special thing.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Brian Strean: Originality.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Brian Strean: We once traveled to Georgia to perform and apparently there’s a time early in the morning at some 24-hour McDonald’s where they’re technically open, but not open enough to serve you food. That’s pretty outrageous.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Brian Strean: I think I signed a boob once, but our drummer Daniel Blume signed a girl’s back and she tattooed his name haha.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Brian Strean: Absolutely and I’m extremely lucky to have that.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Brian Strean: Record professional quality songs and get as much content out there as you can. And don’t fall for pay to play shows disguised as local “festivals”
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Brian Strean: I love to play “Kill the Youth” live. It has this fast punk rock energy that just gets me fired up and the crowd can feel it. I’m really looking forward to playing “You’re the Void” live, it has really intense, emotional vocals that I think will resonate in a live setting.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Brian Strean: It was probably Collective Soul. They were my favorite band growing up and I’ve seen them perform several times. Aside from some incredible songs, the singer Ed Roland is a master showman. He does all these cool moves throwing the mic stand around effortlessly and dancing all over the stage, it’s amazing.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Brian Strean: The Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Brian Strean: Performing at the House of Blues. Definitely the best show we’ve ever done and we met so many new fans. The venue is iconic.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Brian Strean: I’d be working in I.T. probably as a System Administrator or something.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Brian Strean: My main go-to guitar is a white Epiphone Les Paul Custom with EMG pickups, it looks like a Stormtrooper. That guitar has such a flexible sound and it plays great. I also have a purple LTD ESP Deluxe with EMGs that I use for most of the heavy stuff and a Takemine acoustic which is one of the best sounding acoustics I’ve ever played. My main rig is a Peavey ValveKing VK100 amp head played through a Marshall 4×12 cabinet. That cabinet is a workhorse. I also have a Peavey 6505+ 112 combo amp.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Brian Strean: I think it’s in a weird kind of transition right now. There’s a lot of generic garbage on the radio and that’s made a lot of people say things like “there are no good bands anymore”. There’s a ton of amazing bands out there but you have to be willing to look. Spotify, Pandora, and other similar apps have made it possible to discover so many artists now, but it’s also muddied the waters a bit.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Brian Strean: I’m a big gamer and I have a channel dedicated to streaming games with my friends and performing songs called Acoustic Gamer on YouTube and Twitch.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Brian Strean: Add our new song “You’re the Void” on Spotify and follow us on Instagram @ourfutureleaders and Facebook. Thanks to all of our fans who have supported us over the years. We’ve got a lot more music coming soon. Thanks to XS Rock for having us, these were some really great questions.