London-based quintet Brother & Bones have been steadily building their profile throughout 2014 on the back of a heavy touring schedule.
With their debut album (recorded in Los Angeles with Garbage/Muse producer Billy Bush) now complete, the band are looking to step up to the next level. As we premiere the album’s lead-off single Kerosene, we spoke with frontman Richard Thomas to get the B&B story so far…
Q. You’re a new name to the website: can you tell us how the band came together and what was your original vision for Brothers & Bones?
In essence, Cornwall gave birth to Brother & Bones. Myself and Rob (percussion/drums) had been playing music together for years in every bar that would have us. Pretty soon we decided we couldn’t make as much noise as we wanted to so we headed to London along with every other kid and his guitar. I wanted to write our songs for an orchestra to play, but soon realised that was a ridiculous idea. So we settled on 2 drummers and plugged the guitars in. Friends of friends became good friends and here we are.
We always wanted to have a broad canvas and experiment with how big we could make a small idea, with just our instruments. (We’ve got nothing against people that use backing tracks but hate backing tracks themselves.) So we’ve ended up with some delicate, acoustic moments in amongst tribal drums and big, dirty guitars. That was the vision.
Q. Who are the bands/writers/artists who’ve most informed your sound?
We’re into everything from John Martyn, Ray Lamontagne, Neil Young etc through all the great blues and rock bands of our time. QOTSA, Zeppelin, Rage etc. Big sounds, bold guitars, statement music.
Q. 2014 has seen the band make impressive strides in terms of profile: what have been some of the highlights of the year for you?
Making our debut album… It’s been the elephant in the room for so long and now it’s great to have it finished. We’ve held off for the right time and we’re really glad we did. Going to LA and recording in EastWest Studios with a great producer in Billy Bush (Garbage, Muse) was a real milestone.
Aside from that we’ve had our best headline tours ever this year, selling out shows in Europe and the UK. It’s taken us by surprise and we’ve been so grateful for the support all over the place. The fact that we grafted so much on the road and made enough money from playing to record an album was a really satisfying achievement. We also had the privilege of playing some shows with Bastille, The Temperance Movement and The Boxer Rebellion which was a huge opportunity. All genuinely humble and welcoming guys too.
Q. We’re previewing your new single Kerosene on the site: what can you tell us about the song?
It was the first song we recorded for the album and the take that we used is pretty much the first time we pressed record for the whole session. It’s about not wanting someone to make the same mistakes as you did.
Q. Is Kerosene a good indication of what we can expect from your forthcoming debut album? And when can we expect to hear the album?
Definitely. The album is a lot rockier than our previous recorded work, a lot more like our live show. We were pretty ambitious with it, especially as we recorded 13 tracks in 10 days. I think we managed to deliver some really good performances in that time, and that’s what was most important. The lack of time forced a real urgency into the record, and I think you can hear that energy in every note. Billy is still mixing the record and we’re hoping to put it out early 2015.
Q. Describe your current mind-set in just five words.
Can’t wait to start touring…
Brother & Bones will be showcasing songs from their forthcoming debut album at shows at London’s 100 Club on September 17 and October 1.