Boy Becomes Hero Debuts Deeply Personal Album 'Reverie': Premiere

Boy Becomes Hero
Juan Seidel

Boy Becomes Hero

With its themes of addiction, depression and self-harm, Andrew Brittingham's new Boy Becomes Hero album, Reverie -- premiering exclusively below -- draws from his own life story and from his battle for the sobriety he achieved in 2017. But he hastens to add that Reverie (pre-order here; available on Spotify Feb. 28) is not explicitly autobiographical, either.

"I've never done anything this deep before," Brittingham tells Billboard. "The story is kind of semi-autobiographical, so it does follow some of the storyline of how I grew up, in a sense, my relationships with my family and the way my childhood was. But it really follows someone else through their story as opposed to writing about sad things that may have happened to me -- which actually made the writing process more enjoyable.

"I'm not at a point in my life where I'm like that anymore. I'm truly happy, so there's nothing on (Reverie) that relates to my life right now."

Reverie does represent a new chapter in Brittingham's musical life, however. After becoming sober, the Michigan multi-instrumentalist -- who recruited singing friends such as the Color Morale's Garret Rapp, Kurt Travis (Royal Coda, Dance Gavin Dance), Aaron Gillespie of Underoath and The Almost, Moqumentary's Darina Kaytukova and former Sea in the Sky frontman Sam Kohl for the album -- found himself unable to create, almost as if detoxing from music as well as alcohol. "I wasn't really able to touch an instrument without my body feeling like it was gearing up to drink," Bittingham explains. Finally, he employed mind over matter to force himself into his home studio and start creating again.

"I was really just thinking I was going to do one song," he says with a laugh. "It didn't work out that way." Reverie's 10 tracks run a stylistic gamut, from the soothing ambience of "Exordium" to the grungy angst of "Abstraction," the melodic ebb and flow of "Abeyance" and the metallic growls of "Contrition," "Deluge" and "Ingress," while the closing "Denouement" shows Brittingham did a good job of teaching himself to play piano. "It was kind of by design," Brittingham explains. "I wanted to be able to give it a feeling of a change of scenery in the greater sense, to know that after this (song) things must be changing in the story, and with each change the rest of the music gets either darker or heavier or gets a little bit brighter and poppier or punkier as the story goes on."

Brittingham isn't thinking about turning Boy Becomes Hero into a live act just yet, but he is planning some sort of literary incarnation of Reverie -- a comic book or graphic novel, most likely -- to illustrate the story the album tells. Brittingham also plans to continue telling the story on subsequent albums and is already two songs into a set that will serve as "a prelude" to Reverie. "Writing's where it's at for me right now," he says. "I'd like to touch on the live music as well at some point, but if I don't have people who are able to play with me, and it would be weird doing it live by myself. Nobody wants to see some real hardcore/metal being done as if it was a Kanye West concert, I don't think."