Uber-hip electro-rock merchants The Bravery are brewing up a storm on the UK indie scene thanks to their blindingly inventive records and raw and energetic live shows. Interview by Hannah Hamilton.
It’s 2pm in Camden’s Lush Bar and a group of journalists, four of the five members of New York’s latest rock revolutionaries The Bravery, a nervous-looking tour manager and I are awaiting the arrival of frontman and (as of now) missing person Sam Endicott. Only 12 hours before, he and the band had been propping up the bar at the nearby Koko club following an explosive gig that saw the culmination of their UK tour. Now though, as the rest of the group get cracking with the press, it transpires that Mr Endicott rounded off last night’s revelries by sleeping somewhere other than his hotel room and is most likely lost, somewhere in London, without the aid of a mobile phone.
Despite the odds, an hour later a pale and forlorn Sam is spotted trudging wearily past the bar’s window. His hair – which had been poofed and quiffed with geometric precision the night before – has now wilted across his forehead and a trail of post-sleep eyeliner has converged under his tired eyes. It’s a far cry from the slick punk image and turbo charged onstage antics of the previous evening, but as I’m sure he’s secretly aware, it’s a hangover worth having.
See, last night’s celebrations officially marked The Bravery’s shift into the epicentre of a swelling media storm that, with the end of said tour, the associated exposure and the impending release of their eponymous debut album, should see them quickly catapulted into the realm of dancefloor-friendly rock á la Franz Ferdinand. Or at least that’s the plan.
Theirs is a smelting of spiky rock and glam electro, or “noisy metal with groove”, as Sam opines, that fuses traditional DIY punk with NY electroclash: “It was electronic music in a totally amateurish basement way, and that was inspiring, but they couldn’t write any actual songs,” says Sam of his local scene. “We tried to take elements of what they did, but combine it with organic rock'n'roll and some good songs.”
The formula has certainly worked. The Bravery – having played their first gig little over a year ago – are already poised for the top 10 and heading music critics’ lists as the most likely to hit it big in 2005.
“It’s been a quick rise alright, but it probably feels less so from inside the bubble,” admits keyboard whizz John Conway. “Time moves slower when you’re travelling at the speed of light.”
The band was initially conceived as a recording project for Sam’s first venture into songwriting and frontmanship.
“I’d messed around with writing songs, but I’d always been reliant on someone else to interpret them. No one ever did it right. I was afraid of doing it myself, but I realised that the anxiety was just a stupid burden that I was imposing upon myself, so I thought, ‘Fuck it. Maybe I’ll suck, but it’s worth a shot’."
Three line up additions, an EP and several tours later, the result is the bedroom-recorded, self-produced The Bravery – a glittering 40 minute digi pop extravaganza with a dark distorted underbelly that grows on you with each spin.
“It was recorded before we had a label,” says Sam. “It sounded really different, it was so homemade and completely unpolished. Records should be about subtlety and layers and hearing new things the fifth time you listen to it.”
Live however is a different story altogether: subtlely takes a back seat and the band’s edgier, rockier side is brought to the fore – a rough and ready, loud, sweaty assault that gobs all over the meticulous gleam they crafted in the studio.
“It’s a totally different creative medium, and that should be acknowledged in the sound," Sam concludes. Gigs are about a visceral punch in the gut and that’s what we try and get across. Energy, violence and passion. ”
The Bravery is out this month on Loog.