Call them cocky, arrogant or full of themselves, BROTHER are making noise. The band from Slough, England, have yet to see their debut hit shelves (Famous First Words is out July 4th) but they’ve already been compared to Britpop legends, have a slew of festivals attached to their name (SXSW, Summer Sonic, Osheaga) and are reintroducing an attitude the UK music scene hasn’t seen since the Arctic Monkeys first caused a ruckus in 2006. As frontman Leonard Newell revealed to us, the band are excited to tour and show they can “walk the walk”, but they’re also eager to display the honesty in their sound, something critics haven’t acknowledged yet.
Your debut comes out in a few months. You played South By Southwest a few weeks ago in March and now you’re touring heavily into the summer. How is the band feeling these days?
We’re really excited about everything. We feel privileged to be playing shows and going out on tours. The whole experience has been a set-up of what we are about to do. We know we have to prove ourselves and show people how much hard work we’ve put into our music. Playing live shows is a big part of being in a band.
Did you think all of this publicity would happen so quickly?
Yes and no. It is weird. Two years ago, we came together and set out a task to create the biggest band in the world. When you’re a young band, you want to kick off in a big way. The group of us just started writing and writing and we wouldn’t show anyone anything until we were finished. Once that happened, we just started playing at different places and making films in our hometown so people could see who we are. It is odd and sort of bizarre it’s picked up but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We want to be loud because we are loud.
Even though the career hasn’t lifted off yet, you have come a long way from working in offices and writing tracks as a group in a barn.
It’s really weird how everything has come together. When you start, you have a plan to play shows, make sure people are hearing you and then sign to a record label. We are just a bit lucky but part of it is due to our hard work. It’s surreal in a sense, really.
“Our tunes aren’t about fairy tales; it’s honest. It is mainstream but mainstream doesn’t have to be fake and something
true rock n’ roll fans don’t like.”
There’s Oasis references and Blur comparisons; but in your mind, do you think people are quickly judging the music you guys are creating?
Yeah, definitely. We expected the comparisons. To be honest, we don’t listen to Oasis and we never have. We do listen to Blur the odd time but not all the time. Journalists like to compare because it’s easy but it’s their job so you have to let them do things like that.
Just looking at the songs you’ve released, the melodies aren’t the same and the tracks don’t all sound like generic Britpop.
Exactly. You’re right; the songs sound modern because it’s the music we wrote that we want to hear now; songs we want to play now. It sounds like what people in the year we live in want to listen to.
What would you say Famous First Words is about from a lyrical standpoint?
There are a lot of different topics but there is a major theme of escapism; escaping from our hometown, our day to day jobs and issues we have to deal with. It is a bit rebellious when you think about it. There is that punk element where it’s like, “f*ck you, we don’t care what you think”. Not all songs are about having fun and having that attitude though. There are some sad songs on the record that are about losing people and realizing where you don’t want to be. It’s honest music in every possible way.
Why is it that you guys want to get “guitar music” back on the radio?
It’s because we grew up with it. We listened to “guitar music” when we were younger and it’s disappeared within the last five to ten years. We created a band to bring that type of music back. Our tunes aren’t about fairy tales; it’s honest. It is mainstream but mainstream doesn’t have to be fake and something true rock n’ roll fans don’t like.
Do you think rock n’ roll has that lost its edge?
Yeah, a bit. It has and it hasn’t because it’s become harder to stand out. The music has almost become hidden away in everything. Then again, who are we to say what rock n’ roll is? We think our music is rock and people may feel the same way.
Is that why you guys aren’t afraid of being outspoken? Not many young acts come out talking about headlining Glastonbury or starting a revolution.
That is true (laughs). But we say that because that’s what we want to do. We’re not joking around or just being loud when we say that. Playing Glastonbury and things like that are ultimate dreams of ours. They are things we hope to make happen.
What do you hope people realize about Brother this summer?
People know we can talk the talk but we want to make sure they know we can walk the walk. We want them to see we’re a good live band and that we just don’t say things. We also hope to support other artists, sort of push them and have them speak out. Maybe even make other big bands out there exist and start playing real music again.
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