The Braves are a local outfit of misfit outliers haling from the dips and rolls of the Rock N Roll Ranges.
Before they leave this city that takes too many of us for granted, I gave each of them a call to talk about Life, Music and their European tour.
*This is a long article*
So give the people a low down on The Braves, who are you guys? when did you get started? who are inspired you?
Ethan - We're three boys who happened upon the chance meeting in Belgrave or surrounding suburbs. Not too specific on the start date. they were looking for someone to play drums and so we started a band.
All things beautiful, we all share a similar understanding of what music should be to us and what gets us moving and jiving. It spawns from the blues, it spawns from rock n roll, it spawns from your Mother's dirty socks. All things familiar, right?
Jesse - The Braves are three individual Artists working to inspire themselves and other people around them and people that listen to their music. Thats the way I would describe it. That's how it is man. Who inspired me to get into music? Uh, Hmm that's a tough question. Music is always around you as a kid, I can't sorta remember that far back dude.
Kelly - We got started like five years ago. you know this story. We got together five years ago and started playing out our own vehemence. Ryan Dickinson inspired us, Ryan Anderson, most of the Ryans in town. We thought Fuck we gotta get out of this town huh? It was just a mutual thing.
Well within the band we had everything under our belt. I was proud of the first early years it was always within us cause we never really went like "Let's do something like how these guys do" the obvious wasn't mentioned, the influences and the things what we wanted it to sound like weren't mentioned and so it didn't infiltrate or dilute the waters. Which was something completely our own. I could mention everyone from like Elvis or - Anyone who has ever been on any kids wall since 1950 is who we take influence from but I mean it all came from separate places hey?
So besides the single launching on the 17th, (Another seven inch?) What else do you guys have planned for release this year? (only asked one of the guys, thinking that it would be redundant to ask them all)
Ethan - 17th we're launching the, what are the songs? what are the songs? Roll In and Lifting Of The Veil - on a sweet little seven inch, which is the same night we are doing a Europe fair well, not saying bye to Europe, saying bye before we go to Europe.
So we'll be there for three and a half weeks more or less, no releases during that though we're gunna try and do a few little cheeky things but when we get back we will be releasing Carry On The Con, which is the third album of that which is these three brothers. It's a general release date, we're going to see how we're doing after we get back.
I remember gigs at IDGAF and now you're about to leave on a European tour - What are your feelings about it? is there interest for Australian Music? is that even a factor in your considerations for the tour? What are some of the countries you are playing?
Ethan - It's exciting man, what a great way to see the world. A bit of purpose, a bit of intention behind your travels, you can find some very interesting things. As far as Australian bands we are recording this album with Spooky Records with Lachy Lockwood and there is a king of sister company called Beast Records in France. They got a lot of Australian bands - they got Cash Savage, they got Digger and the Pussycats, they got Sun God Replica maybe don't quote me on that one *They are part of Spooky not Beast*. There's a bit of a hub around France for Australian Bands.
So we're flying into Berlin, Berlin loves rock and roll I hear. then we are moving onto France to do stuff with the Beast Record guys. Yeah, there's interest It's very fucking exciting. Cause like you said coming from IDGAF and going to the other side of the world, how far can you take yourself in this situation, lets find out hey? So flying to Germany then France, then flying out of Barcelona, playing a few gigs in Basque country. And how cools Spain right?
Jesse - I guess my feelings could be excitement. because of experience You know the learning experience and how very interpersonally the band will grow as a collective from that experience of being in Europe the culture and the people there and the playing comfortably and all that and overall I would say excitement. it's gunna a pretty big thing for the band and for us three as a group, a big stepping stone I think. As for interest in Australian music, I have heard the French love Rock N Roll, that's all I really know.
Kelly - IDGAF the ever changing IDGAF. We use to get paid by a guy who would open up the till give himself half the cash and just throw us a bunch of change. He wouldn't do it on the sly he was open about it and that was always funny he wasn't ashamed about it he'd just throw it but at least we got paid huh? There's massive interest for Australian bands in Europe so we're told, in particular places. A lot of France which is where we're going. Where we got signed, well we got a fucking contract, out with beast records in France, in Rennes on the east coast, they're putting out our record.
But they're label is filled up with Australian icons, I think their putting out the album.
I think the big swing, the big swing and hit was having Spencer P Jones playing on this album, a fucking legend in Australian music. I think that was big for them and if you look at their roster - I mean I have to be honest, we just got fucking shafted by a French booking agency. They were originally interested in us because of Lachy our producer and the head of our label. But he had sent them messages and said "hey we're in the same racket we're doing the same thing" because half their roster was Australian and he'd worked with most of them. The French love it, they love especially rock n roll. I don't know how people will view this if it's a too left of center or what not. In Spain in Basque, there's apparently a big feel for it if you're an Australian artist and you come over here they're right into it especially if your playing guitar music. So there massive interest, it just depends on what your playing and what people expect. Like we always call our music rock n roll and its for a lack of better term. Its always shifted and shafted in our idiosyncrasies. It's exciting we just gotta push and push it and make it life, we just gotta make it life.
Does it feel like you guys are becoming tighter and more talented as a band and as individuals over the years?
Ethan - It's always feeling more cohesive, the more you do something with a small amount of people the more there is this over compassing understanding, this shroud of intelligence that heats up the mainframe of our - exhale - cigarettes smoke. I guess, there's only so tight you can get. But yeah it's a one minded collective.
Jesse - Definitely. When you've been in a band for over five years and playing with the same two people as well playing with other people who jam every night and yeah you definitely grow together and learn together with your playing and with your technique and everything. Ethan is a very talented musician all round and Kelly is a very talented guitarist and so those two are always pushing you. And so you try and out do them or try to do something to complement their beautiful playing. Definitely growing and always getting tighter I believe.
Kelly - Yeah. the tightness comes from a consistency, more than anything. More than from the longevity of playing I think it comes from the consistency of practice and rehearsing. I mean if you don't keep it up your bound to fuck up, its all about keeping it in the pocket. Of course we grow as musicians. I mean that's another thing about influence, what you listen to, you get your head around the whole idea of writing and composing music and to some degree that's a detriment because the more you have to convey to the other band members or the more sound you want to get which is straying further away from an instrument sound if you are listening to Brahms your instrumentation changes drastically as it would when listening to a Lobby Loyde record. So to be able to go from , I think some of our charm is to go into different areas. The more we change that up, the more inconsistencies come, so to really hit them on the head you have to harmonise with each part and that can only come from practice playing together.
ive us some thoughts on the Melbourne music scene. Favourite venues to play? favourite local bands? criticisms? lessons learnt? etc.
Ethan - I like the Retreat Hotel, they have a huge Beer Garden, they treat their bands well, they pay well. We try be more than hospitable toward them. Always a crowd, love the place. The totes sweet, which happens to be where our single launch is. Melbourne music is bit confused at the moment, I think, it's hard to find the truth in the over saturated market. Too much separation in the bands. Too many bands diving into all of those corners. There's so much going on, so many ideas that people are trying to convey. It's great, it's always the birth of new things, start with a bit of turmoil and a bit of something.
Jesse - Ofcourse Melbourne has an amazing music scene, it's very colourful. and there's all different types shapes and sizes a lot of them are very very talented and quite a few of them are quite shit. But you're going to get that anywhere aren't you. I believe people are working very hard and some of them get the attention they deserve, a classical example is RVG because they are an amazing band and their song writing is something else and they definitely deserve the attention and who else there just a few bands that are just nothing. playing around Melbourne is great because you do have so many venues on option and you got the standard like the old bar, the tote, grace darling and every time you go there you're gonna see a familiar face and we're supporting one another it's a beautiful thing.
Definitely, every gig is different I guess and yeah you always have to predict the unpredictable and yeah I dunno there's a lot of really nice people out there and theres definitely a lot more people out there waiting to meet you and one thing I always appreciated is you can go to almost any gig and you can feel safe and secure. And if someone is acting irrationally or irresponsibly they will be told and probably kicked out and it's a good thing for people to know and a good thing for anyone to feel safe
Kelly - Well i always stray away from this term 'scene' because it always seems ephemeral, which is somewhat good and somewhat bad you want to champion these fleeting moments. So I try and call it a circuit. As much as we want to think there is a sound going on and there is a sound going on but no one is hanging onto each others coat tails too much. It took awhile but sooner or later you play with the same people on the circuit playing for the same common cause and same common interest and that's a lot more important than the sound. I think if you have a sound and create a theme and it becomes insular, that's where it becomes detrimental. The beauty of Melbourne, a place like the tote, its playing electronic acts now. Where as before it was all hard rock if you weren't playing the cramps you weren't playing. You know MC5 and all that shit.
Its not so insular, if you are vying for the right thing, the topics that are being approached, the topics being approached is what creates the whole. There's people doing a lot of work. This is all over Australia though it's indicative of what Melbourne is about. there's a big push for women to be at the forefront and they should be, their time is now its some sort of revolt against what has come before. And you gotta champion those things because they're tried and true and they're beautiful and a lot of the bands are not necessarily pushing against these tides they're just, those things are becoming outdated and its cringey to hear. There's still bands singing about spreading legs and these grotesque things and its not in this beautiful way and that's poisonous I guess. And that's being weeded out and that's good and there's a huge trans-movement, well I wouldn't say huge, and the women. And it was once called riot girl, its not riot girl we're just fucking sick and are women and have a voice that has been overshadowed and people are taking it serious enough to call it Art even though its four chord rock n roll.
Because its emulating, imitating whats round and whats at the fore front. I always say if you got the microphone you got the talking stick and better say something good and if you ain't saying something worthwhile then i dunno. I mean you can be having fun but never pushing an agenda, never something hidden. Anything that is revealed is no longer obscene, once its been seen once its been spoken its never an ulterior motive its forthright.
There's a great premise behind a lot of the stuff that's happening in Melbourne, if your looking in the right spots. I mean you can critique a lot of things and you can be insulted by a lot the things going on. I mean its beautiful, a lot of beautiful things happen. A lot of people go and see it and are inspired that's the whole point the point is to cite and inspire emotion or a feeling through this music and give people a good time because a lot of people aren't having a good time and that's empowering someone. Making someone feeling happy you know.
I mean even Shrimpwitch, they were doing a tour of the northern suburbs but they were just doing a place where you could eat cheaply you know it wasn't about going somewhere and getting pissed it was like hey come out and listen to some music and its at dinner time. so you don't have to go out and get blasted and have some stigma attached its just like um real cruiser. Which is a perfect example of people trying to break boundaries as much as you want to have a good time you don't wanna be a party bro boy that gets around that still gets a heap of air time on triple j, the jun rats and the bullshit. Not explicitly that but there's people making art and it's a fucking thin surface once you duck dive into it you can see a lot of shit going on. Its cool.
There could be a lot more community. But I mean i'm only doing my one thing, my extra curricula shit here. Some people are playing a lot heavier stuff and they seem to have more of a thing and support for each other but its an ability to get along with people doing completely different shit but are willing to do gigs with you and share the space. And say something that other people whether they want to hear it or not they hear it. Once again the talking stick people saying some things. it doesn't mean you have to be the most righteous person about, it just means you should be trying to empower people in some way IE making people feel good or inciting an emotion or some words they haven't heard. Being lingual you know lingual is one of the biggest things in the world the most important ways to convey a message so just having someone who can speak forthrightly and honestly it plays a big part in someones good night out it plays a lot more than yeah, get down! have a good time brooo. I don't know if you can write sarcasm into text.
What are some ways you can think of for utilising the internet and related technologies for the expression and development of Music? Do you think the internet has had a net benefit for independent artists?
Ethan - Yeah very much so, it is beneficial. Like all good things we get distracted and crush them, like the internet is on its way to being. the internet is beneficial in the sense that any mother fucker can make a Bandcamp or Soundcloud page, record his music in his room and market himself, herself or them self in any direction - it helps but no more do you really need a benefactor, someone to stand in front of you to talk the talk and help you through the crowd I mean that still goes on but i mean its very beneficial that you can sit on your arse and create yourself and show the world that.
But also the downfall of the internet is that everything is so accessible like pirated music, digital downloads, no ones making any money. Even Spotify, no ones making any money on those commodities and that devalues the interests in the art.
Jesse - I guess put our music on there, thats one thing. The internet is a fucking shit hole isnt it?
Both, I think there's always going to be a positive and negative to any scenario. Its now something you have to do as a band. You have to post stuff on Facebook and all this shit and jump through hoops of fire. And you know Facebook is a shit thing for bands its changed the whole thing of people liking music and having their own opinions to where people are goin' on a website and seeing how many likes a band has and that sort of dictates their opinion a little bit I believe anyway . That's a horrible thing.
At the same time its exposure to anyone in the world, Like I said it was always going to be positives and negatives to it. And you know the internet can be a good thing, you can hear about something and find it on vinyl and find it on youtube and download it for and you know it goes on and on and on. I think most of all I think, things like facebook and all those sorts of social media websites are complete trash for music anyway a waste of time but unfortunately is apart of being a band now.
Kelly - By destroying it all together. Burning its bases to the ground. I think its quite frivolous I mean you can pump money into things that don't need money and get advertising and have people see it but it doesn't mean that people care. The Internet's greatest thing is like people using Twitter to get their messages from oppression across.
What can you do as a band but shameless self promotion? You can reach out to people but it doesn't make it any easier. Booking this tour, you'd think it would be easy as hell but it's still stress you can shoot someone an email but it's still a fuck around. We're so over exposed to it even if someone is speaking to you I mean its like the sarcasm thing you cant just write sarcasm how can you write in so many words to get your message out. I mean how can you get your music out, there all those places to hear it and what not. I don't know.
I don't know, I'm not pre-internet days,. We were the guinea pigs of this whole social experiment. I don't know how many bands were around before the internet who no one has heard of and I dunno, maybe its a better thing because every band can be heard every band has a platform. If your riding on the coattails of a saturated thing then yeah but if your doing your own thing its just an outlet for people to find ya. It doesn't have as much an effect, maybe it does have an affect on making money but it doesn't on making music.
Even the making of music is more accessible now anyone can record music and anyone can put it out but is that a good thing for the people who want to make money on music probably not. But is it a good thing to want to make money on music? Its not the foremost thing but its also a means to an end you know, you just want to sustain. It's trying to sustain doing what you Love.
Do you have any habits or practices that you have learned or developed that help you maintain creative output?
Ethan - Cigarettes. Lack of sleep. Deranged focus.
Jesse - The main thing is to just don't stop. Constantly try and work on something associated with what your doing writing music writing lyrics, taking photos, to get you through the next day. Constantly doing something just cant stop. Once you lag everything sort of goes out the window. Always feed off the last thing no matter how shit it was it's putting pen to paper it may be complete gibberish but you can try and take something from the gibberish even if it is a complete mess.
Kelly - Exposing yourself to it all, exposing yourself to anything its like we've always said, the awareness of whats goin on around you and the more your willing to input. I mean there's as much good dialogue on a train ride as there is in a good movie but you just gotta keep your senses open so you can translate them. Translate what you have just reciprocated from the world and input/output, so the more you can have of it, the better.
Practices is just being aware of how to utilise that how to translate these things. It's all a language you have to learn and you're never quite fluent in it. Developing a fluency on, on how to repeat what you have heard? How to repeat a sense? how to repeat what was heard, whatever that may be but its all just, what's the word, immersion. Stay immersed. Stay immersed, the moment you leave that, is the moment you start losing that skill, i guess.
What does Community mean to you?
Ethan - Positively enabling your surroundings.
Jesse - It's funny I read that question, its the one I thought about the most, the more i thought about it the more I didn't want to answer it. I was kind of dreading that question.
Community is a beautiful thing, a great thing no matter how small or large. That is if there is an overall sense of harmony within that community. when that community is sort of set up and you know it can bring out the shitter side of things - You know it was a hard question. I kind of sat on it for too long.
But yeah overall I think Community is a beautiful thing.
Kelly - Community means championing the moment. Every moment is fleeting and all those around you are trying to do something great and the more you champion that and rally around and say "this is good we can get behind this" that's the moment you create a community. Especially when you put on a gig and people start championing this fleeting thing, it gives it the winds in the sails. Community is the winds in the sail of a championed, something fleeting and when that happens great things happen, that's the empowerment. And when you have something and people aren't just standing around people are happy and incited in someway to feel something well you have people saying "lets work together to make something work" and whether that's directly the topic at hand within the forum and space you provided, if you are providing it, and it's about keeping it there. Great things can happen from that.
I want to thank The Braves for their time and individual voices, it was a real treat!
Get their records, digital or physical, from their bandcamp or Facebook Page.
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- Ryan Dickinson