Brand New

By paul

Chers to Ian for setting this up and to Brian and Indy for accomodating me before their Leeds gig on January 20, 2004.

PAUL: “So, England again, the second, no third time, is this the best time for Brand New?”
BRIAN: “Yeah, of course. It’s different, y’know, the first time was great for being the first time. This time we’re headlining, so…”
PAUL: “And every date on the tour is sold out.”
BRIAN: “Yeah and that’s a big surprise because we didn’t think people even knew who we were. How long has the record been out here, I mean it was late last year or something, and we’re very surprised. On the Finch tour quite a lot of people knew us but it wasn’t our tour.”
PAUL: “Aren’t the venues this time round a little bigger than the Finch tour?”
BRIAN: “The Finch tour was bigger, I think the venues were bigger, but I don’t know…maybe you’re right!”

PAUL: “Has the whole press thing surprised you? I mean we saw an article in the local free paper here in Leeds and there’s been this big Brand New explosion. Is that kinda daunting?”
BRIAN “Yeah I guess so, although we don’t get to see it quite as much in the States. We also got a new publicist and that has probably helped out a lot. But yeah, it’s great. We did an NME thing over here a few days ago and that’s huge. It’s very exciting.”

PAUL: “I know you’ve played with Straylight Run before, how’s it been with Moneen over here?”
BRIAN: “This is our fifth tour with Moneen. We are great friends with them so we try and tour with them as much as possible. It’s something we wanted to do. This is our first tour with Straylight. We did a headline tour in America and we put them on about four shows. They’ve just kinda taken off, I guess because of Taking Back Sunday – their first show ever they just sold it all out and it’s great, good for them. But John’s a good friend and he’s doing his own thing and that’s great.”

PAUL: “That was one thing I wanted to ask because there’s a lot of related friendships within the whole Long Island scene. Has that continued on tour, the fact you have John out here?”
BRIAN: “You mean as far as bringing someone we know out on tour?”
PAUL: “Yeah, but the scene is like…”
BRIAN: “Very incestual? Yeah, I guess so. We are psyched about that. Everyone we know, like Glassjaw, The Movielife, even though they broke up, The Reunion Show…but they broke up too, bands like…we have all been in bands together since we were like 15. It’s all worked out. It’s totally coool.”

PAUL: “While you talk about The Movielife, was that as much as a shock to you as it was to us when they called it a day?”
BRIAN: “No! We’ve known them for a long while and they have been a band for like eight years and they kept getting frustrated. They didn’t progress at all. The first record sold ‘x’ amount and the next one sold the same and I feel like it kinda got to them after a while. It was more of a relief that they broke up I think.”
PAUL: “Yeah? Because they came over here for the festivals…”
BRIAN: “Yeah, I heard it was just beginning to go for them over here. It sucks man, they were a good band.”
PAUL: “What do you think to Head Automatica and Brandon’s new band…have you heard them?”
BRIAN: “Yeah, I played drums on Nightmares Of You…so I’ve heard of them! They want me in the band so hopefully they will hire someone for a tour but I don’t know what is gonna happen yet. Head Automatica is gonna be great, I’ve heard a couple of songs. I hope kids like them. I think it’s amazing.”

PAUL: “You were supposed to be coming to the UK originally with Taking Back Sunday, when the tour collapsed was there any thought that you might come here on your own?”
BRIAN: “We wanted to, but it just turned out that they thought..I dunno who they is..but they decided it wouldnt be a good idea to go on our own. We wanted to, that’s why we headlined London and played Download and came for two days. It was still up in the air and we were looking for support.”

PAUL: “Dreamworks…the deal with the major – I understand they have been bought out by Universal, so how does that affect your deal?”
BRIAN: “Erm…it doesn’t affect Brand New at all. We wanted to sign to a major and then four days later they sell to Universal. It’s kinda worked to our advantage. The chairman of Interscope wanted to sign us so I know he likes us, so it’s not as much of a worry as some of the bands on Dreamworks.”
PAUL: “Do any of you have a stance on majors that may have delayed the deal? I mean we heard all kinds of rumours that The Movielife split may have been down to their move to Geffen…”
BRIAN: “As long as Richard and Stephanie from Drive Thru don’t read this…I think it had a lot to do with Drive Thru. As far as I know and as far as I can tell that is. That’s as far as I can say. With us and the major, we talk 6 months to a year to think of who we wanted to work with. Our A&R guy is there and so that’s exactly what we want to do.”

PAUL: “How do you look back on the deal with Fred and Triple Crown?”
BRIAN: “At the time we didn’t know any better so it was our first contract but they have become some of our best friends and now that I know the whole thing I can’t complain at all. If we could sign to Triple Crown for like, five records, then we would, but they don’t have the distribution and all that.”

PAUL: “I was reading the Alternative Press when you were on the cover and they called you heartcore…what do you think to that as a genre?”
BRIAN: “I dunno…I don’t care. I find it really weird. I guess it’s the new emocore. It bothers me when journalists have to classify you in a certain way. What are you going to do, it’s better than emo. There’s nothing I can do about it, I’ve nothing to say. The British press are worse. They have so many more classifications, like extremocore and extremo. I dunno, whatever.”
PAUL: “Do you not take it as a compliment though, I mean the Kings of Heartcore…”
BRIAN: “Yeah course, being called the King of anything is a compliment and it was our first real cover of a magazine.”

PAUL: “I just wanted to talk about the videos too, were they both your own concepts as a band?”
BRIAN:The first one was actually our manager who did the treatment for it. Jesse contributed a lot to it. The second was the director Mark Webb who did All American Rejects, a couple of AFI videos, and he said he had it for like four years but no band would touch it, which was fucking weird. Most bands wanted a performance video and they didn’t like the concept video. We are so excited because that video is good.”
PAUL: “Have you decided on the third single?”
BRIAN: “I heard a rumour it was going to be “I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light’, but it’s all kinda up in the air right now. We will do one more tour in America and then take four or five months off to record. But during that time off there might be one more single released here.”

PAUL: “So we could have a new record this year?”
BRIAN: “We’re shooting for October. I dunno if that’s here or if it will be actually happen. We are really gonna take our time with it too. There are ideas for some songs but I don’t know. I wrote four songs on piano that I think are great…yeah there will be a lot more stuff. We just grow with our instruments and we know where are limitations are. I think that’s great when bands do that, but yeah, there’s going to be a lot of piano and stuff. I hope the kids like it. Sometimes you can push the envelope but the kids don’t get it.”
PAUL: “Did you find that with the release of ‘Deja’ compared to the first album?”
BRIAN: “Yeah, the first record is really immature though. It’s good for what it is but we were all 17 when we wrote those songs. Now we’re 21/22 and you’ve gotta grow out of that. We’re never going to put out two records that sound the same. I don’t respect bands that do that. I mean sometimes they can be good but as musicians they are playing four power chords and people say it’s more mature but it’s really not.”

PAUL: “You must be pleased with the reaction and the reviews the record has got. I don’t think I’ve seen a negative review…”
BRIAN: “Of course. When we were recording we wanted to do better than the first one which had sold 20-30,000. I think within the next six months we will have gone gold in the States. (500,000 copies). It’s far surpassed any of our goals.”
PAUL: “Did you set any other specific goals for Brand New?”
BRIAN: “We keep setting goals but as soon as you hit them you set another.”

PAUL: “So for the rest of the year, any further UK tours lined up or the summer festivals?”
BRIAN: “Unfortunately I don’t think so. We wanna come back but we’re gonna record stuff. It’s that line when you stop touring. You keep getting offered tours and you don’t know when to stop. We are all ready to record. We are over touring, no offence. We got a month off before this tour for Christmas. We are tired. This is our first time in England so it’s exciting, but we are ready to write and record a new record.”

PAUL: “I was reading this article before we came in and they described Jesse as 50% Michael Stipe and 50% Mark Hoppus…”
BRIAN: “Hahaha, well I guess that’s cool because of Michael Stipe…”
PAUL:The other thing on the Blink angle was I interviewed Tom DeLonge a few months ago and he said you were one of his favourite bands…how does it feel to have your peers say things like that about you?”
BRIAN: “It’s exciting because they have been one of our favourite bands since, like, I don’t know. We are going to Australia and Japan with them, so it’s like the first time ever.”
PAUL: “Are there any other bands or people you’d like to work with?”
BRIAN: “Robert Smith for sure, Morrisey…Thom Yorke. British bands are amazing. I mean they don’t jump around like the Americans do, but the songwriting is amazing. It’s the lights as well. Coldplay. You go watch a band and the songwriting is amazing.”

*At this point Brian asks to leave to visit the toilet and the conversation resumes with tour manager Indy*

INDY: “This band fucking suck man…” *laughs*
PAUL: “How’s the tour being going generally then, I mean how are the kids and the hospitality and stuff?”
INDY: “It’s good, it’s just we had like a month break and coming back out and overseas, it’s just getting back into it. We fly back on the 29th, we have one show in February and then we leave for Japan in March. We met the Blink guys and to do Australia and Japan with them is like…”
PAUL: “Are they arena shows?”
INDY: “Yeah. It’s like you only have to sell 5,000 but still. I think Australia platinum is like 50,000…so a 5,000 capacity is like huge.”

*Brian walks back in*

BRIAN: “So Indy, what happened to those posters?”
INDY: “Those were some fucking cool posters. No-one has sent me anything. They say you’ll get them over there and there’s nothing. We paid $2,000 for posters…and maybe we will get them for one show.”
BRIAN: “Anyway, I apologise, I have a weak bladder. You can write that down. I just like beer. This beer (Carling) It’s proper beer. We played this show in Brighton and they gave us CoorsLight. And I don’t even drink that over at home, it’s awful!”

PAUL: “A couple of our readers wanted me to ask their questions, so here they are. Did ‘Sic Transit Gloria’ come from Rushmore?”
BRIAN: “Yes it did. We’re big fans, it’s a big influence. It’s amazing. That’s where Jesse got it from. Most of the references you think are movie references, probably are, yeah. That’s not as geeky as I thought you were gonna ask me. I’m surprised you knew it was from Rushmore. A lot of people just think we know Latin.”
PAUL: “Haha, I’m sorry! Another was someone wanted to know if ‘Mix Tape’s’ ending had anything to do with the Doors song at the end of Apocaylpse Now?”
BRIAN: “Which song? A Doors song? No. Wow, I have no idea but I’m interested to know now. Jesse wrote a verse and chorus and that’s all we had. We just decided to fuck it up, that’s what happened.”

PAUL: “Have you had any injuries on tour…I mean the DVD you had…”
BRIAN: “We do crazy shit all the time. Garrett threw his guitar and it nearly hit me in the head. I think it was the last show in New York that the bass came flying. There have been a lot of injuries since the DVD. I mean the DVD was like ages ago. I’m surprised you’ve even seen it, I haven’t seen it in so long.”
PAUL: “I got it from Ebay.”
BRIAN: “Aww shit man, you paid for it?”
PAUL: “Yeah, but it was well over a year ago and it was only a few pounds.”
BRIAN: “Ah thats cool. Since then Jese threw his guitar at the drums and I was laid out for a second. Indy freaked me out because he was like, ‘don’t go to sleep you might die!’…”
INDY: “That’s because you had a fucking gash in your head!”
BRIAN: “I need stitches…but there’s always shit like that. For the most part that’s our bad injuries.”

PAUL: “You got a favourite song to play live?”
BRIAN: “It changes. At the minute it’s ‘Spin Light’ because it’s about touring and we can relate to it. It’s about wanting to kill each other…”
PAUL: “Do you want to kill each other?”
BRIAN: “No. We’re great. It has a lot to do with the fact we don’t succumb to the things a lot of bands succumb to when they are on tour, like drugs. If anyone is outta line we check each other. Plus when we go home our families are all so close none of them would stand for that shit. We don’t argue that much.”

PAUL: “Does it scare you that webzines like literally hype the shit out of you?”
BRIAN: “Hey Indy, what do I think about”
INDY: “He’s always on that shit, man.”
BRIAN: “I love that shit, I love the gossip. I mean people keep fucking LiveJournals about us. Bad press is still good press no matter what it is. I mean if someone says ‘this record sucks’ it’s not like I disregard them altogether. Just ‘cos some rock journalist says it’s not good means jack. I fucking hate journalists.”
PAUL: *Laughs* “I’m a journalist.”
BRIAN: “Haha, well I like you. I just think, for the most part, in my opinion, I don’t understand them. I love you though.”
PAUL: “I kind of agree though, because most people don’t have a clue what they are talking about and they are in it for other reasons not the music.”
BRIAN: “You can tell though, the majority of them say ‘this band sucks’ and makes fun of them. There’s nothing constructive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I can’t take bad press, I think it’s funny. Bad press is still good press. I don’t take it personally.”

PAUL: “Last question I promise…”
BRIAN: “It’s cool man, this isn’t an interview, we’re just hanging out.”
PAUL: “Well it’s about Taking Back Sunday….”
BRIAN: “No comment!”
PAUL: “I wanted to know if the shirt, ‘Mics are for singing, not swinging’ was aimed at them?”
BRIAN: *Pause* “Yeah I guess so. Whatever.”
PAUL: “Do you regret the whole thing?”
BRIAN: “Y’know, it was more to do with Jesse than me. It’s him and John. I think it’s been over for a long time and it’s way over done. That’s it. It’s been three years. It’s ridiculous. For the most part we have all beenf riends throughout the whole thing. John left the band to start Straylight and it’s different. We just hang out.”
PAUL: “Will you play on the same bill as them again?”
BRIAN: “No. But not because they are Taking Back Sunday, it’s because we want to break away from them. We are trying to make our own name. Now we have the power to pick the bands we take on tour, we can choose the bands that we think should be heard, not those that draw more people.”

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

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