- Thu, 2011-03-03 13:03
The media spotlight is currently shining brightly upon Slough four piece Brother [the band have renamed themselves Viva Brother since this interview - ed]. Signed after their debut single Darling Buds of May recieved an overwhelming response on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, Brother have since been grabbing headlines via slurring matches with Liam Gallagher and their far from bashful claims to The NME that they want to be the biggest band in the world.
I Like Music caught up with frontman Lee to find out why they've set their sights so high, the reason their songs are the best in the world and Acid Love - a rather arty streak amongst the creation of their (self-titled) gritpop.
"I Like Music because...it got me out of Slough." Lee, Brother
ILM: Hello! We’d like to start by chatting about your debut single Darling Buds of May. What was the decision process behind making it your debut?
Lee: Making it our debut was actually a bit of an accident. Zane Lowe picked up on us early on and started playing our demo on the radio. That’s when all the labels became interested. So we thought well, if that’s the song that’s getting us noticed, then we may as well release that first.
ILM: How would you describe its vibe?
Lee: The song came together after having an argument with my girlfriend... It sort of took on its own life after that, I meant that was the starting point. The track is very sort of...bare. But we made that decision quite consciously, we wanted the listener to create their own story and vibe from it. It’s just a nice little catchy intro to our band really.
ILM: You released the single with the second issue of Acid Love, your own broadsheet newspaper! What’s that all about?
Lee: We wanted to do that because we live in a very digital age, there’s very little you can hold on to anymore, to have and to keep. It’s virtually like a real life blog. You can hold it and you can read it. It has photos of us and articles we write. We just thought it would be a nice, cool thing for people to keep.
ILM: What kind of articles have you written? Current affairs, art, music...
Lee: Yeah sort of.. It goes as far as poetry. How about that, that’s pretty arty isn’t it?
ILM: Yes. Incredibly arty...
Lee: Yeah. Haha! I mean it’s just anything. We’ve done some about where we were on tour, places we visited and where we’re going. It just sort of shows our progression as a band, people can kind of come to terms with everything.
ILM: How did Brother come to be?
Lee: Well, we met about five or six years ago. Just through playing in local bands round Slough and Reading. We just grew up together with the same mind-set that we weren’t comfortable with where we were and our surroundings, we didn’t have a great time in school. We needed to play music, the only thing we enjoyed at all. We weren’t very good at anything else. We never went to Uni or anything like that. We just got office jobs basically, well I got an office job and so did Sam and then Josh was working on the railway. So we basically saved up all our money and rehearsed at a studio in Slough and we did that until we were comfortable with the songs and we thought they were brilliant basically. We wrote our album way before we were signed or anything like that. We just did it ourselves.
ILM: Who have been some of your biggest musical inspirations along the way?
Lee: Well Morrissey is a massive inspiration of mine and The Smiths in general. Also Stone Roses we’re fans of and there’s a bunch of 90s bands we sort of mutually started with like Blur and Suede. Stuff like that. That’s probably why we keep getting wrapped into the whole Brit-Pop thing but there’s loads of stuff. We’re really liking Everything Everything, a great Manchester band. I mean there’s all sorts. Josh and Sam like their Dance music too...
ILM: You’ve been on the cover of NME which is a big achievement early on! It came with the quote “we want to be the biggest band in the world”...you have pretty big ambitions!
Lee: Well it’s just purely on a level of escapism. We were born with desperation to make something of ourselves. It was quite worrying that we were getting nowhere and so the reason we want to be so big is just, I guess subconsciously it means we’re going to be further and further away from what we were. We just want to prove it to ourselves.
ILM: What can we expect if we come to see you live?
Lee: Well, there’s certainly no gimmicks or anything like that. We just play our music very ,very loud and very well I’d like to say. We practise really hard so it’s just quite honest. And it’s very loud, so loud it’s scary.
ILM: Out of all the bands you’ve seen live, which are the most memorable?
Lee: Festivals are always great moments. I’ve had some pretty amazing moments at festivals. To be fair we haven’t had much of a chance over the last six months to sit down and have a coffee, let alone go to any shows. I’m trying to think of something recently…actually at Reading Festival last year I watched Weezer on the main stage. They were absolutely brilliant. That was probably the last band I’ve seen that really impressed me.
ILM: Cool, have you been to Reading before?
Lee: Yeah, I’m a regular. I’ve probably been eight or nine times.
ILM: Good work! I suppose headlining Reading Festival would be up there on the list of things for Brother to achieve?
ILM: Great. Well, what else can we expect from Brother this year?
Lee: Well, we’ve been really, really busy. This is our first date with The Streets actually and we’re going on tour with them. Then we’re going on tour to New York, Europe and America again. We’re basically non-stop touring all the festivals. We want to be around for a long time. We want to release a lot of albums. We’re in this for the long haul so as long as we’re writing good music we’ll stick together and we’ll still do it.