Total Concept

Area Musician Takes Time To Release ‘Dreamstate’

Album artwork entitled “Fireflies” by Ashley Ordines for “Dreamstate,” by Mike Brunacini.

For his new album, Mike Brunacini had a goal in mind and he knew what it took to get there.

Since 2007, Brunacini has been laying down tracks, writing and rewriting lyrics, so he could give his project the justice it deserved.

“This album took 12 years to make, but not 12 continuous years,” he said. “I released three albums in between starting this and finishing it. I wasn’t working on this as a full-time project. I started it in 2007, and I was a little bit too young and terrible. I hadn’t yet developed the skills I needed to actually do it (the project) justice. I kept trying to bring it back and every time I did, I never really got anywhere I wanted with it.”

He finally got somewhere with it and recently released “Dreamstate.”

Brunacini said “Dreamstate” is one story split into two different perspectives. “Each half is a different narrator. It is 100 percent a concept album,” he said.

Album artwork entitled “River Flows” by Ashley Ordines for “Dreamstate,” by Mike Brunacini.

Depending on who one talks to, concept albums have been around since 1940s and 1950s. Probably starting in 1967 with The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the concept album became a trend in rock music. Since the 1970s and 1980s it wasn’t uncommon for bands to tell a story through music. “The Wall,” “Dark Side of The Moon,” by Pink Floyd, “2112” by Rush, “Paradise Theater” by Styx, “Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” by Genesis are some concept albums that had stories to tell. The Who had their rock opera “Tommy” in 1969 while some critics contend “Pet Sounds” released in 1966 by The Beach Boys also could be classified as a concept album. Green Day even released a concept album or punk rock opera “American Idiot” in 2004, so the idea of a concept album still lives.

“Concept albums meant something and they made a statement. They had a beginning and an end,” Bunacini said.

He recorded the project in his home and said his ideas for songs come from different places. “It depends on the project. I tend to make a lot of lists, so each time I set out to do a new song or album, I have a general idea. I guess it depends. Some of the albums I have done have been more individual songs where I try to come up with an individual story for each song,” he added.

Brunacini is alumnus of Jamestown High School, and Jamestown Community College, and currently works at Digital, in Jamestown. He plays piano, guitar and electric bass guitar, and uses many instruments in his recordings. “I use a lot of different instruments. A Lot of times if I write a song on piano, it could end being more of a guitar song. If I write it on guitar, it could end up being a piano song,” he said.

The songwriter said melody is the most important part of the song, and if the melody can be played on its own, the song will be memorable. “I think if the melody of the song is good, then adding other things can make it better. If you pile on (layer) a bunch of stuff and there isn’t a strong melody, then it might not be as good,” he noted.

Album artwork entitled “Constantine” by Ashley Ordines for “Dreamstate,” by Mike Brunacini.

He loves writing music, but will admit, he has a hard time writing lyrics. He will compose the music first, and get a feel for the music. He will then try to add lyrics. He is his own worst critic and frequently will scrap lyrics and start over. “The hardest thing for me is to write lyrics. My cellphone is filled to the brim with all kinds of song starts. It takes me forever to write lyrics because I don’t want to damage the melody. I want the lyrics to enhance the melody,” he said.

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Brunacini also will compose for movies as he was asked by director Matthew Swanson to compose the main theme for Swanson’s film “Empire.” Like Brunacini, Swanson’s movie was shot over seven years, and recently completed. “He reached out and ask me if I could supplement some music in there (the movie),” Brunacini said. “I ended up writing just the main theme, not the entire score. I got to see multiple advance screenings of the movie, and I tried to focus as much as I could on the characters. My original plan was more ambitious. It was to have a specific theme for each of the main characters, but what I ended up doing was writing one for the most dramatic part of the movie,” he said.

For more information about his music go to mikebrunacini.wixsite.com/mikebrunacini.