A Beautiful and Terrifying Place; An interview with Brandon Asraf and John Tacon of Brick + Mortar

New Jersey’s Brick + Mortar, comprised of longtime friends Brandon Asraf and John Tacon, have been building a movement. Spreading a message of empathy, positivity, and self motivation, their songs have garnered a notable history at both terrestrial and satellite radio, with singles like “Locked in a Cage,” “Hollow Tune,” and “Train,” which remained on AltNations Alt 18 for 10 weeks, peaking at #11.
In celebration of acquiring ownership of the masters, Brick + Mortar will are offering a fully remastered version of their Dropped EP cleverly called Dropped Again. The new EP features two new singles “One Little Pill” and “Great Escape.” Both singles offer a glimpse into the world and sound that will be their first full length album due out later this year.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Asraf and Tacon to discuss their friendship, battling depression, posi jams and their forthcoming LP.
You guys have known each other since age 14. Are you guys like brothers at this point? If so, who is the cooler brother?
Brandon Asraf: Tacon is definitely the coolest, I mean he exudes coolness. He has all the charm and sex appeal of Michael Cerra in Twin Peaks.
John Tacon: I wish I could be as cool as Wally. We’re brothers because on tour we fight over who gets the last hotel towel while arguing who sleeps on the air mattress.
What made it the right time to circle back to the material on Dropped Again?
BA: I’d say its timing and opportunity. We officially gained legal ownership of the EP masters right as we began recording the full length. We were approached by Believe Digital about re-releasing the EP to work it internationally. So we decided to add a couple of new tracks from the batch we were considering for the record and just went for it.
You recently dropped a video for “One Little Pill.” How do you feel about the way America deals with depression? Do either of you struggle with depression? If so, how do you deal with it?
BA: We realize that we don’t have the answer. We are merely pointing out that as Americans, we seem to want that quick fix or instant relief for almost everything. You get this feeling we were conditioned from a young age to feel this way. I struggle with depression and deal with it by expressing myself. I definitely need to work more on that part of my life, putting it in the music feels good and gives me a sense of purpose but I still feel I need to work on caring about myself and dealing with my past head on.

Who came up with the concept for the video and how did that come together?
BA: Well, I was hanging out with Richie Brown, our stage visual slingin, pee wee herman prop makin, nipple tassle swingin, goblin friend, and the plan was to find an intro clip of pills being processed and shoot the rest of the video. At the time, Trump just got in the White House and the world just seemed to be burning a little hotter than usual. While looking on the stock footage site for footage of pills and talking about news clips, we were seeing we realized how overwhelming it is to be alive today. We decided why shoot a video when we can just source it all from real life or stock footage? We knew it would have a hard time getting placed, but we didn’t care. The world is a beautiful and terrifying place.
[Brandon] had a rough upbringing. Does processing or dealing with those experiences leach into your writing at all? 
BA: Absolutely, sometimes it feels that way so much that I have to distance myself from my own past to stay fresh lyrically.
Brick + Mortar has an overall message of positivity. Which of your songs do you feel like wave this banner the best?
BA: For me, it’s “Keep This Place Beautiful”. The chorus is just very uplifting to me.
JT: Same. It’s just reminding everyone that everything could be ok if we all just try.
What are your favorite posi-jams by other artists?
BA: I am going to be honest and admit I always sing along to Sublime’s “What I Got” as I was a teenager of the ’90s.
JT: Anything ’90s hip hop makes me happy.
Is there new material on the horizon?
BA: Absolutely. We have a full length that’s close to being finished and beyond that we have songs already for the record after that. We stay writing pretty much.
What are your loftiest goals for the band moving forward?
BA: I’d say to tour internationally and become a cartoon
JT: Definitely tour the rest of the world, put out more music, and help write a movie/be in a movie.
(Visit Brick + Mortar here: