The singer-songwriter approach to music-making is nothing new. Time and again, a boy sits with his guitar and writes the words of his heart down on a piece of paper. Brian Dougherty, however, is not your average singer-songwriter.
Considering his musical history, it’s hard to believe Dougherty is a singer-songwriter at all. Also known as Proof & Proving, Dougherty performs as the 13-year-old acoustic project that he developed out of the Philadelphia hardcore/punk-rock band Giving Chase. His music incorporates discordant chords and honest lyrics and has been compared to Chuck Regan and John Samson.
The Temple News: What inspired the change from hardcore to acoustic music?
Brian Dougherty: I’ve been writing and playing in punk-rock bands since I was 13. When I came home at the end of the day, I’d work on songs that were nothing like the bands I played in. I honestly never thought those songs would see the light of day up until about three years ago.
TTN: What made you change your mind?
BD: Typical band drama, as Giving Chase was going through a line-up change. At the time I didn’t like trusting my musical future to a group of people who could potentially just lose ambition or not be stoked about the music that was being written. I decided to pursue Proof & Proving, since I would never have to worry about anyone else losing ambition. I also wanted to start making music timeless to me, something I’ll get as much enjoyment listening back to 20 years down the road as I do now.
TTN: You recently performed with Cursive’s Tim Kasher at the New Barbary in Philadelphia. How was the performance?
BD: I’ve been a fan of Tim Kasher for years, both for Cursive and for [his other band] The Good Life. It was great to have the opportunity to play a show with him. He had a great performance with a very versatile band. They also played a song [by] The Good Life, and the song “Driftwood” by Cursive – all and all, great show. It’s also always great to play a show in Philadelphia when the opportunity arises.
TTN: What is your favorite song on your upcoming album?
BD: I am most excited about the song “No, It’s Just Different,” which is the last track on the [new] album “Humility in the First Person.” It encapsulates the entire album and the meaning behind the album’s title.
TTN: Can you tell me more about the name and meaning of your song “Thanatos”?
BD: The song is from an instrumental self-titled album, which is a collection of songs I’ve written over the years. That song in particular, I wrote when I was in a very angry and depressed state. I actually remember writing that in a cold, dark, drafty room in a South Philadelphia home, drinking massive amounts of rum. The word “thanatos” means a personification of death. It’s the death instinct, especially as expressed in violent aggression. I thought it was an appropriate title for what was going on in my mind.
TTN: What is the meaning behind the name Proof & Proving?
BD: Basically, the band name means proof that things that were once thought [to] be unlikely to happen can actually happen, and the existence of such proof will continually be proving its ability to happen. The name Proof & Proving is an encouragement that even if you’re the perceived underdog, you can still prove that perception wrong.
Danielle Miess can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.