Brooklyn Layla Allman is the daughter of music legend Gregg Allman. Yes, THE Gregg Allman. You might know him from a little band called the Allman Brother’s Band?? Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to what is really important here…
Picture Me Broken, the soul shattering band led by Brooklyn Layla Allman are about to release their new four song EP Mannequins on December 18th. They are kicking the music industry in the teeth and taking names like no other. Obviously no stranger to the music scene, Brooklyn is not only beautiful (she was nominated in 2012 as one of the “Hottest Chicks in Metal”) but more importantly she and her band are convincing fans by the droves worldwide that they are a force to be reckoned with. Described as a breed of old-school-soul meets modern day turmoil, they have a modern sound with the goods to deliver and they do just that on Mannequins. After many changes since 2005, Allman and bassist Austin Dunn are still carrying the PMB torch forth along with Dante Phoenix and Jimmy Strimpel as dual lead guitarists, all backed by the whompin’ ass beats of Shaun Foist on drums.
The first track “Torture” is an epic song. With the lyrics “I love how you hate me, torture and break me” you know you are going to be in for one hell of a ride. “Mannequins” the title track will rip your face off and leave you lying on the floor begging for more. Brooklyn is a woman of many words and she has a lot to say. In her own words “PMB is my canvas, emotional explosions are my paint and your beautiful words and passion my driving force.”
I had the opportunity to chat with Brooklyn for a while and I found her to be a very wise soul for her age; very articulate and well spoken. Here is what she had to say…
Interview with Brooklyn Layla Allman:
People that don’t know your background would be surprised knowing who your father is by the music you create. Who were some of your influences musically growing up?
Brooklyn: My influences were definitely bands like Alkaline Trio. When I was in the 5th grade I discovered that I loved rock music, which persuaded me to write myself. My other influences were a variety of pop and rock artists – from classic to modern. I love Heart. I love a British pop artist called IAMX. I draw a lot of inspiration from the bands I just listed, but I don’t really limit myself to one style.
Kudos to you for being nominated for one of the “Hottest Chicks in Metal.” When I first saw that I asked myself what does that had to do with you musically or creatively? Though it is nice to be recognized as being “hot” that really isn’t what it is all about. Do you feel like there is still a bit of a double standard when it comes to female lead singers in rock/metal bands? What is your take on that?
Brooklyn: I think it would be a double standard to NOT capitalize on sex appeal, even with female artists. I think male artists have been capitalizing on that for years. I think rock isn’t Rock-N-Roll without sex appeal. It does not cheapen you as a artist.
I think it is terrific that you are not using your father’s celebrity as a way to break into the music business. You are blazing your own trail and doing it on your own. I know the music business is a lot tougher than it used to be. Do you ever regret your decision to not use a few of the breaks you could have had been provided to avoid a lot of struggles and are you happy to have chosen the path you did?
Brooklyn: I never wanted to capitalize on my dad for that. I think sometimes having a famous father is more of a hindrance and makes some people think that you have everything handed to you and have more opportunities. I don’t think the music business is easy for anyone. I feel that when people already have a preconceived notion that you have it easier than everyone else then you actually have it a little bit harder in reality.
Picture Me Broken are releasing a new EP entitled Mannequins December 18th. How did that come about and what was the thought process like in the making of it?
Brooklyn: We intended it to be an album originally. We had quite a rough year behind the scenes that delayed the album. We really wanted to get some music out there so we took four songs that conceptually went together and put them on this Mannequins release. It is going to go hand-in-hand with the new album. We hadn’t released new music for so long we wanted to let fans hear the new band and the new sound. Mannequins is kind of a metaphor for the false music industry. It can be a real struggle being put in a box and being told what to do. The album cover is a mannequin with plastic surgery lines. It is a representation of the music business trying to alter us.
Speaking of EP’s, do you think EP’s are the evolution in the process and that they will eventually replace full album releases?
Brooklyn: Yes. I think with the internet that we are in a instant gratification era with music. Releasing small snippets here and there continues to feed your audience which is essential. It’s not like the old days where you would hype an album one, two or even three years. People are so over saturated and over fed that you have to continue to post small snippets to keep things new and fresh. That is precisely the reason we decided to do Mannequins.
Many fans that have heard the first single “Torture” think that your sound has changed because you don’t scream on it. Would you like to address that for your fans?
Brooklyn: I think that when a band has a niche that you establish yourself in; that people grab onto that. That is why I decided to do it a little less. I wanted to rely on our musical talents as songwriters and artists. I started screaming as a exclamation point to the lyrics. It also gave us a more aggressive sound. It sort of started to seem like a gimmick. I wanted to stand on our own two legs without that. I still do it some. With this first single I wanted to prep the audience for the new sound of PMB. We wrote the last album when we were 16. We hope that people will accept and like our new direction.
LISTEN TO “TORTURE” HERE:
Who is the main songwriter in the band? How does a song come together for Picture Me Broken?
Brooklyn: Thank you. I am the primary songwriter as well as my guitarist Dante Phoenix. Sometimes the music comes first; sometimes the lyrics. When we got into the grueling process of recording we realized that concept, lyrics with melody down first is the way to go. We are going to write a few more songs for our early 2013 release Corrupt Me and I think that is going to be the format that we will follow. Corrupt Me is definitely going to be released before summer so we can do some summer tours with the new songs. It keeps it interesting and fun for our fans as well as us as a band.
What can someone that has never seen you live expect at a show?
Brooklyn: They can definitely expect an authentic rock band. We don’t rely on too many tracks so you are not going to get anything but a straight up rock show. We just got off of tour and we are a well-oiled machine. I am really proud to be able to say that. Expect a high energy show with great showmanship.
How important do you think making a connection with your fans is and what do you do as a band to make sure that you make that connection?
Brooklyn: I think connection with the fans is the most important thing in the industry today. It is what drives your relationship with the fans. Because of the internet you can get so up close and personal. We engage our fans daily by responding to posts ourselves and talking to them personally. We hang out at shows. The internet is a tool we use to help us grow and it is absolutely essential.
Tell me something that fans would be surprised to know about Picture Me Broken.
Brooklyn: Oh, there is quite a lot to be surprised about with PMB! I think there is a lot of mystery surrounding the band right now with the chaos of the last year or so. I think the fans would be surprised to know that we really are a D.I.Y. grass roots band. We put ourselves out there. People think we ride around on a tour bus but we’re truly a do-it-yourself band connecting with fans one by one to try to make a name for ourselves.
Brooklyn: With this band the goals are endless. We want to bring back the glamorous and grandiose of rock and roll that has been lost. There is no ceiling. In five years we would like to be playing arenas if we keep writing and working the way we do. I think the goal for the next year is to keep touring and connect with International fans. We want to continue to release music. If you’re going to put so much effort into the music and industry you may as well aim for the top.
Do you have any upcoming tour plans?
Brooklyn: We just got off of our first USA/Canada tour and it was grueling. We are just going to release the EP and put out a video for “Torture” over the holiday season. In 2013 we are going to be on tour a good portion of the year.
Describe Picture Me Broken in four words.
Brooklyn: I would say Dark, Dangerous, Youthful and Glamorous.
This is your opportunity to say anything you want to your fans.
Brooklyn: I would like to thank them SO much for being patient with us. We haven’t released any music for a long time, so we hope you like the new songs. Pick up our EP Mannequins or download it from Amazon or iTunes. Please buy it and don’t download it illegally. It is so important for any up and coming rock band to succeed in their early years.
Indeed it is. Without that the industry will fail to exist.
Brooklyn: It is not even from a financial sort of way but from a sound scan number way. It is important on so many levels.
Check out Picture Me Broken’s new EP Mannequins scheduled to be released on December 18, 2012 and watch for the release of the video “Torture” coming out soon. It is sure to be a treat on the eyes and soul alike. Like PMB on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for the early 2013 release of their full length album Corrupt Me. If it is anything like the new EP…it’s going to rock your friggin asses off!
Interview conducted by J. Spiegel exclusively for RockRevolt™Magazine
~ Pictures from band Facebook Page with credit to DigitalDiversion Photography