From dorm room to dream: Brian Worick shares life beat by beat
Brian Worick, Jr. is 21 years old and, it could be said, dabbles in music.
A senior in music business, Worick is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and sound engineer who has a prolific output that includes a variety of collaborations with musicians as far removed as California and Brazil.
We caught up with Brian in a tree behind Edith Garland Dupré Library and got the scoop on his music, goals and personal journey.
With hands in the pocket of his sweatshirt and blinking heavy eyes through the windows of his glasses, Worick looks misleadingly tall, an illusion perpetuated by his hair, which is gathered into a top-knot. We were standing on the expansive porch behind the library, caught in intermittent winds that were too cold for February in Louisiana.
Let’s start at the beginning — Worick’s birth: “I came out my mom,” he joked.
Worick was born and raised in New Iberia. Introspective and quiet as a boy, he put himself into music and poetry.
“In a town like New Iberia, there’s not much to do at all, so music was my only thing that let me know that hey, this is me,” said Worick.
He became interested in instruments in elementary school, playing drums in the marching band and messing around with his dad’s piano. He stuck with percussion but began to pursue other musical expressions as he grew older — delving more into bass and keys. Worick’s poetry differed from his lyrical output in that it didn’t attempt to project the emotive pieces on characters and used music as a way to communicate: a deeply personal relationship with songwriting that complicated his approach to musical collaborations as he struggled to remove himself from the song in order to fully milk the co-writing session.
Starting out as a young musician, there was little-to-no audience for the type of music Worick wanted to play. Pitted against the Acadiana staples of zydeco and more roots-oriented jam bands, he found himself looking out-of-state for an audience. He found Austin, Texas, reacted positively — a something he hopes to harness when he moves there post-graduation.
Citing bassists Jaco Pastorius and Robert Bubby Lewis as his main influences, Worick also points to contemporary acts like Thundercat — with his unique exploration of the bass’ sonic capabilities — The Internet, Frank Ocean, and D’Angelo.
“I can listen to D’Angelo ‘till I’m blue in the face,” Worick testified. “A lot of older music. Anything that’s older, I’ll listen to it regardless of who it is. I just like the sound.” He has a still-sealed copy of Jaco Pastorius’ Greatest Hits record, given to him by a friend, that he treasures and constantly fights the urge to open. “I go into record shops and see so much of everything, but,” he added, laughing, “I don’t have everything money.”
When he came to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Worick converted his dorm in Huger — where he spent his entire college career until just recently, when the tuition hikes motivated him to move back to New Iberia — into a recording space, out of which he mined his influences and brain for little nuggets of aural gold.
Since graduating high school, he began to focus less on percussion and more on melodic instruments — the beats on his recordings are the product of what he terms “key drumming,” or using his MIDI keyboard to create a drum track. Collaborations, he said, are humbling experiences because he realizes the combative nature of the artistic spirit and the necessary compromises and capitulations. His stylistic pastiche is an amalgamation of hip-hop, jazz and “experimental-type stuff.” He likes playing with sounds.
“I don’t have an idea; I just go in and play whatever’s in my head ‘cause I always have something in my head,” said Worick.
His music is complex landscape that focuses on sonic depth and atmosphere — an approach exemplified by his use of digital effects to manipulate his voice into an instrumental texture rather than a lyrical force. Living in New Iberia while operating within the Lafayette music scene, however, poses little difficulty for him.
“The only hard part is transporting my instruments,” he said of the daily commute. These instruments include, but are not limited to, two keyboards, an upright bass, an electric bass and a jazz guitar.
Outside of school, Worick is a music director at East Wind International Ministries, a sales associate at RadioShack and operator of his own music production company, Clouded Productions, where he specializes in audio engineering, production and live performance — “Whatever you need, I’ll do it.” He’s working towards the day when Clouded really takes off and he can settle into full-time music production, away from the insecurity of business at his RadioShack gig.
Always busy, Worick is juggling multiple projects: he just finished recording an album with Miles Guy, a frequent collaborator and friend, and is now in the mixing and mastering stage; he’s working on an album with JoJo the Voice; recording tracks for other people — a plethora of what he calls “clientele work;” and his pet project, called The Difference: an EP that he is using as a strong personal statement — an establishment of himself as something apart.
“I feel like my first experimental project I put out was trash,” he said. “I’m not even gonna lie to you.”
Coming off a year plagued by self-doubts and second guesses about his music skill and ability, Worick has started falling in love with his own music again, and this love has resulted in The Difference.
Looking to the future, Worick plans on graduating and immersing himself fully into music and personal betterment.
“I want to really shock people and surprise people with some of the things that I’m working on,” said Worick.
Brian Worick, Jr.’s music can be found on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/the-cloud-4.