Road to ‘Renegade’: A.T. Branch Speaks Out on ‘Thug’ Perception

Image credit: Myke Wright

When we met Nashville-based alt-rocker A.T. Branch last month, he told about his upcoming EP, Renegade. Specifically, A.T. noted that, with a debut record title like that, he needs to be willing to take risks.

That includes courting controversy, which he does fearlessly on his new single, “Thug.”

Produced by Chris Folsom at Nashville’s Underground Treehouse, “Thug” meshes a punk swagger — “Green Day in their prime,” according to Branch — with a rebellious ambiance reminiscent of The Resistance-era Muse. The single addresses what Branch describes as a “dissonance” in the way minorities are often treated by the media, in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts.

“Watching the media, I see how when you have a mass shooter, they try to find the sweetest pictures of them. I’m like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.'” Branch notes. “Then, to see someone get pulled over for marijuana that looks like me or a friend of mine, they try to find the most thuggish, awful-looking pictures or terminology. There is some dissonance with this that may or may not be conscious, but I don’t like it, and I don’t think it’s fair.”

Between his upbringing and time served in the military, Branch notes that has been surrounded by people of numerous cultures throughout his life. This taught him to respect people from all walks of life without judgment; a message that he hopes “Thug” will deliver.

“I think that you respect people, regardless of what you know about them,” Branch said. “I don’t care what you look like, as long as you are polite.”

Stream “Thug” below. Also, be sure to take a look at the single’s music video, animated by Myke Wright, which we’ve included for your convenience!

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