Interview: Brother

Image credit: Ollie Turvey

Brother’s debut EP The Exhibition is a tremendously rich, maximalist masterpiece. It draws inspiration from a range of musical genres, from late ‘90s alternative rock to ‘70s disco and free jazz. Such variety could overwhelm the sound of a single, twenty-four minute extended play, but Brother manage to seamlessly link the vastly differently sounding sections of The Exhibition EP to produce an exquisite musical exposition. I was fortunate enough to talk to two of the members of Brother, Isaac Squires (Trinity Hall) and Ollie Turvey (Sidney Sussex), about the origins of their band, their musical influences and future ambitions they have.

Tell me about the origins of Brother; when and where did you start playing?

IS: When I was 12, me and my very good friend Louis decided we were going to start a band. I had been playing guitar for a little bit, Louis had been playing bass. It was not very serious at all, we had three or four practices in a year. Ollie and George did a performance and played “A Message” by Coldplay, and I fell in love with George’s voice.

OT: We started playing in secondary school; George and I had done some stuff together when we were 12 and 13, we played at Stars in the Rise [a talent competition]. Isaac set up the band first, we weren’t originally in it. Isaac, George, Owen and Louis.

IS: At this point I hadn’t actually spotted how good Ollie actually was, so I went to George and asked if he wanted to be in a band. Me, Louis and George said we had to find a drummer, and that’s how we found Owen. It was us four in the band, we started writing our own songs. We were called Feverpitch. We wrote our first song, called “Creators”, well known amongst the school Brother fans.

On Facebook you list your musical influences as Coldplay, Faithless, Jeff Buckley, U2, Dire Straits, Jungle and Pink Floyd. Do you still consider them to be your greatest influences musically?

OT: I’m always scared of answering that question because I’m scared of saying Coldplay! Also because it’s hard to pin down a specific influence; we listen to a lot of music, Pink Floyd, older bands… we’re heavily into disco, but also Laura Mvula. To try and pin down our influence to a specific group is hard; we like good music basically.

IS: Obviously our music is affected by what we’re listening to at the time, but there are certain sounds and certain atmospheres that we always tend to use. We have an idea and we make it our sound. We do a style of song with our own take on it… That’s what happened with “Sea Spray”, we were all super into disco and wanted to do something funky and upbeat, but we did our own take on it. The soft rock wall of sound, we use that a lot; three out of six of our influences listed on Facebook use the wall of sound technique. We try to work out what’s wrong; we’re thinking about the space in the music, what it’s like having too much and too little and the space between it. We like dropping out and coming back in.

OT: We like the songs to have a narrative, not only in the lyrics but in the sound.

What are your favourite songs on the EP?

OT: My favourite is “Eli”, because we wrote the song over a period of time, and gigged with it. We added bits and bits to it. We got to the stage to record it, we got to the studio, and completely changed the ending. I quite enjoyed the fact that we finished the last bit of writing in the studio. If we could, we would rehearse in a studio, and be continually recording. Using a studio is quite a privilege. Our writing process is sort of, instead of right, this is the structure, and how we’re gonna play it, it sort of grows; eg in the studio recording sax or violin, we loop a section, playing round and see what we like, pick out the good parts, that’s an element of how we write our songs

IS: When I first listened to it all the way through it was ”Want”. I’m gonna have to go with “Eli” as well, it’s just got good memories for me.

What sort of ambitions do you have? Are you going to continue playing together in the foreseeable future? Do you have any further releases planned?

OT: The main thing we want to do is gig, and give our music to as many new people as possible. Hopefully were going to be gigging in London, back home in Brighton, maybe in Bristol.

IS: I think where the bands going is we are currently at a stage that’s probably the most difficult we’re gonna be at, we’re all dispersed across the nation and we’re trying to keep the music going. Also we’re trying to organise playing live but it’s very difficult living in different places, so we have a gig planned in Brighton in December. Whether we ever become a commercial band or just continue on the side of whatever else we’re doing at the moment, it’ll never finish.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest