Brandon Theis, professionally known as The Orchestrator, is a Denver, Colorado based multi-instrumentalist. An absolute weapon on the saxophone, Brandon effortlessly blends elements of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music to create some of the funkiest music coming out of the Rocky Mountains.
We recently had the chance to sponsor the afterparty for The Orchestrator's back-to-back sold-out shows at the ever-psychedelic Meow Wolf Denver. In addition to being an extremely talented musician, Brandon also happens to be sober. We spoke with him about his decision to leave alcohol behind, and the positive impact it's had on his art and career.
What’s your history with alcohol? What was your relationship with it like before you decided to make a change?
I started drinking when I was 14 years old. The first time I drank I was drinking tequila and remember trying to impress the people I was with because they were all older than me. After about 8 shots I blacked out and woke up next to the toilet with alcohol poisoning. I remember never wanting to drink Tequila and to this day the smell of it makes me sick. My relationship with alcohol before deciding to make a change was bitter, I never was much of a drinker or partier.
What led to you deciding to change your relationship with alcohol?
I felt out of place when drinking. I never really liked drinking in the first place and I always decided to partake so I didn't feel left out. I never needed to drink to socialize. I was always pretty social on my own and I feel like I was diluting my own social energy. I feel like everyone needs a reason for why they quit and really my main reason was the fact that I wasn't much of a partier. I wanted to spend my Friday Nights more focused on my music and craft than going out and drinking.
What did you hope to get out of altering your use of alcohol?
I don't really know what I was hoping for at first. It started as a Dry January in 2020 and when February came around, everyone started drinking around me. I had a feeling in my heart that maybe if I kept it going, good things would happen. Then when March 2020 hit and that pandemic took over our lives, I decided that the last thing I would do was hinder my progress. It turned into a more focused lifestyle on my tangible goals. I started practicing saxophone more than ever. I started to make so much new music. I started playing basketball every day and shooting hoops. Everything that has come from not drinking has been a positive outcome.
Has choosing to be more mindful about your drinking had an effect on your life? If so, how?
Quitting drinking has been the greatest undertaking I've ever done. It has been the most positive achievement and has been filled with success. I'm able to focus more on my goals and aspirations. I've been able to pivot my attention to selling out my shows and making quality music. I've learned who I want to surround myself with.
Do you ever feel pressured to drink by other people? What do you do in those sorts of situations?
Not so much these days. I'd say when I first quit drinking I felt more pressure, but with all the studies that have come out about how alcohol affects us, I feel as if people understand the science of why we shouldn't drink. I'm not one to try and educate people on what they should do with their bodies, but I do try to help others understand that there are other options.
What do you do in situations where drinking is expected, such as parties, etc? How do you deal with people questioning why you’re not drinking?
I was never much of a drinker, so when people ask, I just tell them I don't drink. I feel like it's becoming more of a social norm these days, or at least, more so than it was. There are so many more options now for non-drinkers than there were 5 years ago. It's not as stigmatized as it once was. I've seen a number of sober options at bars and even full-on sober businesses pop up all over the country.