The Bravery are so effortlessly cool they make every band that's gone before them look like a bunch of chancers. The Strokes, The Killers et all may have fallen into place by accident, but everything about the Bravery is calculated and pre-meditated. Since we saw them at the Manchester Roadhouse at the tail end of last year they've grown in stature. Then they were Morrissey's wet dream with a fusion of rockabilly meets New Romantic. Now thanks to the video for "Honest Mistake" they're awaking sexually dormant domino's fanatics as well as teenage girls who've grown tired of Dougie McFly's silent broody treatment. Designer Magazines Editor Alex McCann caught up with Mike H (bass) and Anthony (drums) to get the low-down.
Q: The last few years we've seen various bands explode
whether it be the Darkness, Scissor Sisters or the Killers. Yet we've seen
none come and make the impact The Bravery have on the nations consciousness.
From playing a couple of hundred capacity venues to nigh on a thousand
people every night. It must be strange for you guys?
Anthony: We've been getting a lot of radio play and I think you can attribute a lot of it down to that.
Mike: To us it's just another good show and we've
been working hard so we do deserve it. I've never been in a band before
so I never had any expectations of how far we could go, but this hasn't
really affected us yet cos we haven't had time off to think about it. We
had the first day off yesterday in months and I didn't want to just sit
and think about things so I went and watched a movie.
Q: You're coming from the New York scene, which is
more about a vibe than a particular sound, but New York has forever been
this epicentre of cool.
Mike: It's weird because everyone talks about the New York scene, but every band sounds different. I think it's the cold weather and that's why bands just stay in all the time and rehearse. In America New York has this spirit about it of total freedom. It's been that way for generations and it's something in the air that you just can't explain. At the same time that the UK looks over to New York as being cool, we're looking over to London, Manchester and the whole of the UK as this really cool place.
Q: What bands were you in before the Bravery?
Anthony: I played drums for a while with friends in Boston, but they were always the bands that never got out of the rehearsal room. It was more about being friends together than anything serious.
Q: It does appear in many people eyes that The Bravery
have just come out of nowhere fully formed.
Anthony: The band did start as a bunch of friends. Sam and John were in bands together and they started the Bravery. Michael, our guitarist, knew Mike who then hooked up with them. Sam knew this waitress who I was living with after moving to Boston so I auditioned for them.
Q: How did it feel when you got into a room together?
Anthony: I knew something was going to happen. The day before I had the audition they had this secret website thing which they put 3 songs to listen to and right away I knew. It was just like wow. I think the first songs we did together was "Tyrant", "Unconditional" and "Out Of Line". All the tracks and demos were recorded dirt cheap in Johns room...and these are the tracks you're hearing on the record
Mike: Our headquarters were in this dingy basement
just outside china town. We'd rehearse and then go over to the other side
of town to party.
Q: You formed post September 11th in the same vein
that the Scissor Sisters felt the need to do something. What was the spirit
like in New York at the time?
Mike: It's weird. I wasn't actually in New York at the time. I was in DC which was also part of the 9/11 attacks. I think in Sam's mind he felt the need to do something. The feeling for him was one of anxiety of life and especially at that age, it's a big part of who you are.
Anthony: After 9/11 thera was this waiting of something else to happen. I was out of New York at the time too, but I totally understood what Sam was talking about. You can sit around and wait for something to happen or you can live you life and do something with it.
Q: When we first saw you a back in November last year
we described you as Morrissey's wet dream. Where did the look come from?
Mike: That's awesome. Morrissey's Wet Drea. I've always had this look from when I was in high school, John likes to look sexy and Sam dresses well.
Q: People do mention bands like The Smiths, The Cure
and Duran Duran
Mike: I had heard a couple of Smiths records before, but the only time we'd heard the Cure was after we'd recorded the album and everyone kept mentioning them. I can see where people are coming from with the electronics. I think it's probably cos we were trying to record it so cheaply that it ended up sounding like that
Anthony: The funny thing is that Sam's never owned a record by any of those bands. He's never owned a Cure record, never owned a New Order record. The main thing's he always says are The Stones, Beatles, Fugazi and The Clash which he grew up with. He wanted to take that and have a DIY sound that was influenced by disco, hence the electronics, and make something new.
It's not that it's influenced by a sound, more that it's
influenced by a philosophy of those bands. Writing it ourselves, producing
it ourselves so we don't spend a ton of money in an expensive studio and
right down to doing the artwork ourselves. We've got the same artist (a
friend of Johns) doing all of our artwork so it's going to have a theme
running through each release.
Q: Is there a pressure being on a label to do the opposite
Mike: Our record was done before we even got the record deal. It was being played all over radio before we signed a deal.
Anthony: I think that's what helped us get the deal. Record labels spend so much money trying to get a band on radio and all across the States before we even had a deal there were stations playing "Honest Mistake". It was like how are you doing this? I think that really lifted the heads of labels.
Mike: At one point they thought maybe we should re-mix it. We tried one time and it lost something. It lost it's balls.
You hear a lot of bands say the video sucks or the artwork sucks and it's like why? It's up to you and even though it is tiring being on the road you still have to care.
Anthony: If you have a vision it's up to you how
much control you want to give up. You're the artist, it's your vision.
Sam always says that all the greatest bands I loved - The Clash, Led Zeppelin
- were on major labels. They were part of the machine and still did everything
from the music to the artwork and then they used the major label as a platform.
Indie labels are just as f*cked up as the majors so wouldn't you rather
have the bigger machine helping you out.
Q: Keeping on the thread of control. Who's idea was
it for the "Honest Mistake" video with the domino's?
Anthony: We were all in Amsterdam and the Domino Championships of the World were on TV and it was like Oh My God, we couldn't move our eyes from the screen. When we went over to London our brains were still flying and it was just like we've got to do something with domino's. We spoke to a couple of directors and got the guy who'd won the World Domino Championship for the past 20 years to fly over to LA, set up all the domino's. It was one of those ideas that could have been lame and cheesy or it was going to be excellent. I think it's done the job because it's attracted a lot of attention - Jay Z called it the best white boy video he's ever seen!!!
Q: Are you having fans coming to shows dressed like
you guys? Is there a name for Bravery fans yet?
Mike: I've seen one guy so far come to the shows with the make-up. For a while there were a few girls coming to the shows so we called them the Bravettes. I think we're sticking with that until we come up with something better
At the moment people have only just heard the record and I can appreciate why we're being called the new Strokes or the new Killers. When i'm describing a record to someone i'll do the same. Maybe this time next year there will be a new band out with make-up across their chin and they'll be called the new Bravery!!!
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com
"The Bravery" is out now on Polydor
The band tour the UK throughout May
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