The Real Dirt From 8 Graves Band
Brent Carpentier and Nick Goncalves, thank you for connecting with us at USA News to share some personal and professional experiences. You are both accomplished music artists with a significant following.
How did you both meet and begin working together?
Thanks for the kind words! We appreciate that!
Nick and I originally met, working part-time jobs at an electronics retailer. My sister worked closely with Nick and knew he played guitar. She knew I wanted to start a band and said I should talk to him. Nick and I became great friends pretty quickly and have been close ever since. We’re very different people, but we complement each other really well, and we have been able to stay close and make a ton of music together.
Nick and I have now been in 4 different bands, spanning the course of 18 years. We started in a post-hardcore band, then we did an emo rock band, then an EDM project, and now here we are, combining all of those together into 8 Graves. It’s pretty crazy to think about it, but we have been making music together for essentially half my life, and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.
Can you tell us how you came up with your 8 Graves name?
When we started 8 Graves, I wasn’t doing well mentally. I thought about death and dying a lot, and I wanted to name the project around those feelings. I had the idea to call the band “Graves,” but that name is taken like 14 times over, so I brought it to Nick, and he had the idea of adding something else to it. The number 8 just kind of sounded good to me. It had internal rhyme. It’s nice and dark, which I liked. It just kind of worked. Then Nick sealed it by adding a nice meaning to it.
Seeing as how we were in so many projects, Nick said it was like we had 9 lives. Our projects kept dying, but we kept going. We knew this was our last chance to try to make music work, so it was like we had 9 lives and 8 graves. I loved that idea because while it is inherently dark, it also speaks to the hope we felt going back into it. We knew one shot was all we needed, and it has been a transformative experience for us.
You have released amazing music available on many online streaming channels. What is the magic behind the scenes to release your content?
We have released a TON of music, some of it before streaming was really a thing. The process has changed, but I think our current iteration is definitely the best process we’ve had. It took us years to refine, but it works really well.
Nick and I do all of our writing together. Generally speaking, Nick comes up with a simple loop, a “beat” if you will. I then pick and choose from the library of beats he shares with me, and when I find one that’s speaking to me, I’ll start to iron out a melody. At that point, when I get a good, solid hook, I’ll bring it to him and see what he thinks. If we are both digging with it, we’ll work together to nudge it to where we love it, then build a song backwards from there. Once we have the idea all ironed out, we commit it to a demo.
Then, those demos go to our producer, Dwight Baker. Dwight has become an integral part of our team. He helps finalize things with arrangements and really pushes us to make the songs as strong as we can. But the three of us are all we’ve got. It’s a tight circle but an effective one.
What are some of the ups and downs of achieving influencer fame and/or continuing your music success?
We are lucky that we have always only done things we feel comfortable with. If the industry dictates that you “have to do this,” we, generally speaking, ignore that. When everyone “had to be on TikTok,” making “4 videos a day,” we simply said we didn’t want to do it. And we didn’t. I think that really helps us avoid some of the downs. If we don’t like something, we don’t do it.
We also most definitely wouldn’t consider ourselves influencers. I was always very focused on making sure all of our content we shared was music-focused, and Nick always agreed. It was important to me to make sure that the people who were taking time to support us were doing so because of the art we were creating. If they aren’t there for that, then I’m not a musician. I’m an online personality. That was never our dream, and so we made sure to refuse to embrace that.
In today’s music industry, another downside, and the byproduct of the “content creation” era, is isolation. Playing shows has become increasingly difficult between the sharp rise in expenses and the decline in independent booking at venues. I feel like we spend much more time creating videos and posting than meeting and engaging with other artists. That lack of community is definitely hard to deal with at times. Support, validation, and encouragement are things you don’t want to admit you need, but as an artist, I think we all want as much of that as we can get.
What do you feel has been your most personally successful song up to this point in your career?
We did a live chat event yesterday with a bunch of our Discord members, and this question actually came up. The great thing is that both Nick and I said that our favorite song we have made isn’t even out yet. Our new favorites will be out in a couple of months. It’s a really great feeling to be 8 years into our project and still be making music we absolutely love.
That being said, if I had to choose from songs that are out, I’d probably say Wasted and/or Two Wrongs. We created those songs before we had a lot of eyes on us, and I truly believe that if anyone in the music industry with any pull got a hold of those songs, they would have been huge, and I still get emotional when I listen to them today, years later. Those are good tunes.
What are your latest projects?
This year, we are trying to really build an even stronger bond with our awesome supporters. I know everyone says this, but we truly have the absolute best supporters I think I’ve ever seen. We get comments all the time of “I hope you guys are taking time to rest ” or “I hope you’re feeling well.” We even have people telling us, “make sure you’re staying hydrated.” It makes me laugh, but we are so blessed to have so many people listening and caring not just about the music but about us as people. It’s just absolutely humbling. So with each release this year, we are doing multiple live streams and chats, whether it’s on YouTube, or our Discord, or Twitch, and we are really trying to forge an even deeper connection in our community. That’s our focus this year.
Do you plan on touring in any significant events/shows in 2023?
Yes! This year we will be releasing our first-ever full-length record! The way music works now, there’s a lot of pressure to release new music all the time. You don’t really get breaks. Last year, we decided that we wanted to do a full-length. We took the risk of pausing on releases and wrote a bunch of really, really great songs. So all year, we will have constant releases, and that all will culminate in our first-ever full-length. It sounds like a funny thing for a band to say, but as a completely independent artist, that’s trickier to accomplish than some folks might think. We are really proud to have made it happen, and we are even prouder of the songs.
Any other exciting work you are doing this year?
The pause we took in 2022, along with getting so many songs done, has set us up to write another full-length record! So we are right back at it, writing our second full-length. So we are really excited that we can promise everyone a bunch of new music coming for the foreseeable future, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Brent and Nick, we appreciate you and the music you continue to produce to entertain us all. We love your independent style and respect the decision to preserve your originality. Do let us know when your full-length album is released so we can provide an update. The USA News team wishes you both the best in your music success!
Photo Credit: 8 Graves