Musician Dax Brooks originally got his start working in film and television, which gave him firsthand insight and knowledge behind the camera, which is fitting since he just self-directed his touching new single, “Only Human.” The single touches upon life’s hardships that every single human being can relate to; i.e., personal struggles, break-ups, loneliness, dissension and brutally hard work, and all of these circumstances were delicately filmed in his music video.
Not only is Brooks a soulful singer, he’s also an exceptional storyteller. With his new record, Only Human, he enlisted some of the best talent in record production. Only Human was recorded at East Nashville’s Bomb Shelter studio with the resourceful Andrija Tokic, who drew praise for his work with the Alabama Shakes. The track was mixed by Jason Schweitzer, a specialist in modern soul who has worked with Macy Gray, Mayer Hawthorne, and Raheem DeVaughn, among many other hitmakers. For a mastering engineer, the singer turned to his brother Che Brooks, who played with Dax Brooks in the Questions, his first band.
Watch Brooks’ video for “Only Human” below in our interview, and discover more about this genuine and empathetic musician and filmmaker, who talks about the meaning behind this truthful and relatable single, why he decided to direct the music video for it, and recording his upcoming EP.
I love your new single and music video for “Only Human.” Can you tell us the backstory with the single?
I wanted to write a piece dedicated to those who give their best to love, but don’t always get the gratitude they deserve in return. I think many of us experience not feeling like we’re enough in love and life – I have experience with that unfortunately. “Only Human” reflects the fact that we can only do what we are able to do.
What inspired you to self-direct the accompanying video?
I wanted to pour every ounce of passion and creativity I had into this song. The video is just another medium of expression.
Before venturing into music, you’ve had a successful career as a director, editor and producer of television shows, movies and other videos. What draws you to music, and do you prefer both or one more than the other?
I’ve always been passionate about music, but life pulled me in the direction of film and television. Initially, I worked to keep a roof over my head and food on my plate, and fortunately fell into a few opportunities that are incredibly rare. So I turned right and that was the path I was on for many years. I didn’t mind. Working in film and television not only provided me with an interesting life, it helped me to develop another channel through which I could express myself.
How did you get connected with your producer, mixer and engineer for your Only Human EP? What was that experience like?
After my co-writer, David Green, and I, finished writing the songs we were working on, I reached out to Andrija Tokic in Nashville. I had been a fan of the Alabama Shakes and loved the rawness of their first record. I cold called him, shared a few demos and he was in. It took a few months but we finally scheduled time at his Bomb Shelter Studio and made it happen. It was the first time I recorded in an analog studio and loved every second of it. Andrija has a great sound and is fun to work with.
Years ago, I was working with my brother, writing and producing music for film and television as a side hustle at one point, and we had a manager who also represented other producers, engineers, and mixers. Jason Schweitzer was recommended and after a few conversations we started on mixing the project. Jason is incredibly talented and someone I’d work with again.
You and your brother were in a band before your solo career. What did you like most about being in a band, and why did you decide to go solo?
Yeah, my brother and I were in a band called The Questions years ago. It was a talent-packed band that I have very fond memories of. It was a blast writing and performing with my brother – one of the best times of my life. It wasn’t so much a decision to go solo as it was the band dissolving itself. The decision to put out a solo project came many years later and was a natural part of my evolution as an artist.
What you do hope your audience draws and/or takes away from your music?
What I desire most with my audience is that they feel something – whether that’s me, the music, the rhythm, the lyrics, themselves, others – anything. I want the time they spend listening to my music to be a reminder that despite the constant distractions we have in life these days, we’re still Only Human and feel deeply and passionately about things.
Who was your first concert, and do you have an overall favorite so far?
The first concert I remember loving was in 1996 at the House Of Blues. It was the The Fugees, The Roots, and few other bands. Blew my mind.
What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
I think the first cassette I owned was De La Soul’s Me, Myself, and I single. Must have played that song a thousand times.
Which five albums and/or artists would you want to live without?
I know a few folks out there who may hate on me for this, but here we go…(there are only 4)
Which artist out now that you admire whom you’d like to collaborate with, if any?
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
“Billions” on Showtime. Not sure why I like the show, but I do. Shameful.