I remember the first time I saw Brontide live like it was yesterday. On a balmy Summer’s day in 2011, I travelled to the lovely town of Sheffield for a pretty rad Tramlines Festival. Playing on the ‘New Bands’ stage alongside such daddies as Shapes and The Xcerts, Brontide played an absolutely blistering set. The whole jaw on the floor scenario come true, the tunes were rad and they totally looked the part – Handsome bastards who weren’t even breaking a sweat. Their debut album ‘Sans Souci‘ was soon acquired, and I was away.
Three years on and they’re back with their highly anticipated sophomore record ‘Artery‘, announced to the world on 14 April 2014 via this video. I fucking lost my shit. Much in the same way as when Tall Ships dropped this heartwarming video, the Brontide teaser trailer got me so excited! Perks of the job got me a copy of the album before release – it’s absolutely terrific. First listen, I shut myself away from the outside world and just whacked the headphones in. ‘Tonitro‘ opens it up, and the build is just incredible – I was a mess by the time it got round to THAT RIFF in ‘Knives‘ five tracks in. ‘Red Gold‘ is a lovely album closer, with a real optimistic, uplifting feel to it.
It’s like Sans Souci, and yet completely different at the same time. You can tell it’s a Brontide record, but it’s just incredibly fresh. I cannot wait to hear it live.
With the album’s release imminent, the handsome devils that make up Brontide – William, Tim, Nathan – were kind enough to answer a few questions for Birthday Cake for Breakfast.
Brontide: ‘Artery’ is the name of your new record out in June, what can you tell us about it?
Brontide: “It’s been three years since our first record and a lot has happened to us, both in our personal lives and how our music tastes have changed, so we wanted to build upon what we started but reflect more of what has influenced us recently. The new album feels more energetic, with a greater sense of emotion and musicality. It wasn’t easy at first to write, but with time we got more and more sure of how we wanted it to turn out. We recently posted a new song ‘Cabin’ as I think it embodies best where we are at now as a band, so the best answer would be to go listen to that.”
How was the recording process?
“We recorded it with David Oversby-Powell, who we worked with on ‘Coloured Tongues’ and the illuminé Beatcast session (A fantastic performance which you can watch in its entirety here) He is a superb producer with a tremendous ear for detail, but more importantly had the same passion to get it right that we did. There is more electronic instrumentation on this album running alongside the guitar loops, so mixing was a challenge. Making sure everything played its part but didn’t become overbearing was crucial, but I think the finished product sounds incredible. It is bright but with a lot of depth. Recording can be a tedious process, particularly when tracking the hundreds of different guitar tracks, however we were fortunate to have some really great moments too. There is an interlude between tracks five and six which wasn’t really finished yet, but the take we used was a quick experiment that worked so well and seemed to just tie everything together. Moments like that are pretty special.”
The record sounds quite similar to Sans Souci in parts – I got a bit of ‘Jura’ from ‘Kith and Kin’, for instance. How do you feel this new record stands next to your debut album?
“It’s very hard to answer this question without reeling off a stream of cliches about how we’ve matured and developed as a band, but ultimately there is several sections of this album where we almost had to ask ourselves permission to include them in the worry they weren’t Brontide enough. It’s odd talking about an instrumental album like ours, but far more of the influence as far as structure and rhythm goes, came from pop music and I do think we have been able to take strides from what we did with Sans, whilst not straying too far. The band has always been about making music we enjoy and it took a while of writing before the ideas we were having felt like the album, but it formed gradually and I think we have bettered anything we have done before by taking on new influence.”
Have you got a favourite track from the new album?
“Pretty impossible to say, everything has its place so this could change depending on what mood we’re in. The final track, ‘Red Gold’ makes us very happy and we can’t wait for people to hear it and play it live, but equally ‘Bare my Bones’ is going to be a fun one too!”
Leading up to the news of its release, you uploaded some incredibly stylish shots – They seemed pretty fun, How was the response to those, and the news about the new album?
“It was great! We first hinted at a new record a long time ago and as these things often go, it took a lot longer to record then expected, so we couldn’t wait to get going. The reaction from people once we started announcing things was bigger and better then ever before, so it was incredibly humbling to hear so many cared. The photo’s were great too, we are all such fans of albums that we want the release to have a real crisp aesthetic too it, so wanted those photos to reflect that and be a little different to the usual band mug shot. Our friend Jade Sukiya took them, who is incredibly talented but shoots a lot more fashion, so she was a perfect choice.”
You’ve all got different things going on outside of Brontide; how does it feel coming back together and producing this new record?
“It’s the best! We’ve all been friends a long time and regardless of our other projects, this is our baby where we all get to basically do what we want ,so it feels great to be doing it again. It’s essentially our hobby and, as a hobby should, it makes us very happy!”
You strike me as quite a DIY band, would you say that’s accurate? Is that an important aspect for you as a band?
“Like mentioned above, Brontide is our baby and we want to look after that. I think the DIY aspect comes from wanting to be closely involved with every element of what the band entails. It’s all part of the fun and putting that work in can be hugely rewarding.”
Seeing you DJing at the ArcTanGent Silent Disco was one of the many highlights of that festival for me, are you on any festival line-ups this year? Will we see a return to the DJ booth?
“Currently I can tell you we are playing Camden Crawl and that’s about it, but I have no doubt you will see us blazing another DJ booth. That was such a fun night and a great festival, kudos to the ArcTan guys and the guy that gave me a mic, hype hype.”
The band have released a few tunes from the new record to much fanfare, with ‘Bare My Bones‘ receiving Radio 1 airplay. A big knees up at Oslo in Hackney has been planned for the release of ‘Artery‘, with support in the form of Tangled Hair and Algiers. All this for the mighty sum of FIVE POUNDS!! You’d be mad to miss out! Event details here.
‘Artery’ is officially released June 30th available for pre-orders now!