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March 29, 2010 | by  | in Music | [ssba]



Brains, Wellington-via-Dunedin racketeers, are on the verge of releasing their mini-album Constant Love Forever, possibly on an increasingly prominent Auckland label. Salient’s Daniel Hewitt got intimate with Matt and Hugh of Brains. With sexy results. Here’s what happened:

Daniel: What do you expect to get out of Wellington, if anything?

Matt: I don’t expect the experience to really be all too different. It’s nice to be in a place with cool venues that aren’t 20 minutes drive away, and there are lots of cool bands here that I’m looking forward to playing with, but we didn’t move up to ‘make it’. That would be great though. Please give us money.

Daniel: I’ve noticed a large difference in crowd reactions between Christchurch and Wellington. How important is this to you? How does Dunedin compare?

Matt: Yeah, standing and staring seems to be relatively prevalent here. But it kind of is in most places in New Zealand. I don’t really dance to bands anymore, so I don’t want to call people out for it too much. When we played in Lyttelton recently everyone went outside and smoked. But we played in Dunedin a couple nights later and the crowd was great. It varies I guess.

Hugh: It’s nice to play to receptive audiences, ones who are interested and appreciative. You can find audiences like that anywhere, really. Dunedin was a fine place to play, hometown.

Daniel: How do you feel you’ve grown as a band between your first recordings and Constant Love Forever?

Matt: We’re way fucking better. Better at our instruments, better at writing songs, better at telling wicked jokes to the audience, better at dancing, better at cooking. I don’t drink much before we play these days. I think Will drinks more.

Hugh: We got better at playing our instruments. And the songs came easier and were more interesting. Just got better in general I think.

Daniel: Your new recordings are not as lo-fi as previous tracks—there is a definite change in the level of distortion on Matt’s vocals. Is this change in taste or were you not happy with the old ones?

Matt: We weren’t really happy with them, and being lo-fi was never really a conscious choice. We just didn’t play very well, the setup was pretty bad, and a couple of the songs aren’t that great. But when you’re poor and don’t have much time, hi-fi recordings are nigh on impossible. It’s fun self-recording, and we’ll keep doing it, but we wanted to try doing something a little more advanced fidelity-wise. And though it was pretty expensive, it’s something I’m really happy with and excited about eventually getting out.

Hugh: We didn’t really know what we were doing on the first ones. The new ones are our attempt at a proper recording—we re-recorded a few tracks off the EP again to get them sounding right. No change in taste, just a change in ability to get them sounding good—we had nice equipment and plenty of time to record. We wanted to get something we were happy with rather than just trying to get through the song without messing it up too badly, which was the approach for our first recordings.

Daniel: How important is the image of your band? Is your minimalist aesthetic/approach overly intentional, or is it something you don’t think about too much?

Matt: It’s pretty intentional. It’s not something I often think about, and I think Will and Hugh care less than I do, but I do like most of our stuff to be monochromatic. I don’t think we could ever take it seriously enough to start dressing the same or anything.

Hugh: I like repetition. And simple repetition. Like Wire and The Dead C and Spoon (hard out cool rock band), who don’t write simple songs at all, or sound much alike, but fit together for me because of how they seem to strip songs back. I don’t think we intentionally write with any minimalist outcome in mind, that’s just what we like to play,

Daniel: Last one—do you have any particular goal, musical or otherwise? Plans to alter musical and cultural history irrevocably, perhaps?

Hugh: Not really. Write and record songs we like and are proud of. Keep going and playing. That’s the main one for me. Playing music in a band is fun.

Matt: Get more YouTube hits. I made a video that I thought was really great, but it only has a 2.5 star rating at the moment, and the one comment is “lol”. YouTube is no place for high art. Other than that, get featured on some shitty blog that no one reads. Lose some money making physical copies of our records in a digital age. Play an unsuccessful homecoming show in Dunedin. Fade away.


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  1. RALPHE says:

    Hey guys nice read, hear good things about Wellington. Dunedin sounds like it’d be a great place to play.

    RALPHE (Originals/Pop/Lounge/Alt-Rock)

  2. kelvin says:

    you fucking capitalist ralph

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