We talk to alt-rock band Brigade about their first album in 11 years, life in the music industry and much more
It’s safe to say it’s been a while since the rock band Brigade has released any music out into the wild, to be specific it’s 4 years. Their last body of work was their ‘This Is Not For You’ EP, which followed the 2011 LP ‘Will Be Will Be’, both dancing masterfully in the alt-rock genre. Now the band return with the mammoth new LP ‘Dissonance’, an album that sees the band at their most mature, tackling the feelings around growing older.
We caught up with Brigade to talk through their new album, life in the music industry and how it’s changed, and much more!
Kieran: Hey! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, how has 2022 been treating you so far?
Brigade: Very well thanks, we’re chuffed to put out our 4th album 19 years after starting the band and still lucky enough to be playing music together after all this time. Also, it’s great to get back to a bit of normality back after the last couple of years, but I appreciate it’s also been a horrific year so far for so many.
Kieran: So, let’s jump right into it! It’s been 11 years since your last album, why has it taken you so long to release the new album?
Brigade: After finishing touring our third album ‘Will Be Will Be’, we felt pretty burned out and jaded with the music industry in general and so decided to take a break from Brigade for a while. It was rejuvenating to start a brand new project with 3 original members of Brigade and two friends, getting back to grass roots in a rehearsal space with a blank canvas and the fire to write new music was reignited. We messed around and tried things we never had the confidence to do in Brigade and found a heavier, more aggressive sound that was so much fun to play. We decided to put out an EP very quietly under ‘More Dangerous Animal’, and then after doing some Brigade anniversary shows it felt natural to transition the MDA line up into a new 5-piece version of the band. We played some shows, wrote more music, and released the ‘This is Not For You’ EP in 2018. Then the pandemic hit which slowed down the writing process, but thankfully here we are with the record finally complete.
Kieran: Did you do anything different with this album in comparison with previous releases?
Brigade: Definitely, mainly because we wrote it in 2 parts with the second part done by working remotely, which is totally different to the previous albums where everything was developed in our rehearsal space. Two additional songwriters in the band has also added to the new collective sound! Some of the songs written since the 2018 EP we’ve never properly played together in a room and created them simply by sending music software sessions back and forth to each other (hence the ridiculous amount of guitar parts on this album!) So re-learning these for when we play them live for the first time will be very special, finally hearing them in the room all together.
Kieran: Can you talk us through the recording process of ‘Dissonance’?
Brigade: We’d recorded the TINFY EP with Jim Pinder at Treehouse Studio so knew what to expect and how he liked to work when we returned to record the next 5 songs. We had limited time so made sure we turned up prepared with every single part that needed recording listed in a chart which was crossed off as we went along. We laid down the drums first and then moved onto guitars, bass, more guitars, vocals and yet more guitars! Once all the main tracks were recorded we spent some time adding percussion, some synths, electronics and screaming guitar feedback. For the first time, we recorded the majority of instruments through a Kemper amp which allowed us to effortlessly switch between different saved Brigade profiles and not have to worry about spending loads of valuable time on mic placement. We’d rented a cottage in one of the nearby towns so retreated back their each night to grab some dinner and visit the local craft beer bar, so it was a really relaxing and enjoyable time on all fronts! Jim has the patience of a saint and was brilliant helping us find all the sounds we were after, exploring ideas such as vocal harmonies and getting the best performances out of us. Once the recorded it was mixed by Jim Pinder and Carl Brown and then mastered by Steven Kerry.
Kieran: Do you have any particular track that you feel stands out? If so which ones and why?
Brigade: I think One Day At A Time perfectly encapsulates everything we love about being in a band and where we are as a band right now, being one of the most dynamic songs we’ve ever written. Also, the opening track Exit off the Bend feels like a stand out track for us. It was pretty much the first one of the last 5 we finished and for me certainly ticks all the boxes of what a Brigade songs tries to encompass…big riffs, groove and huge melodies! We knew it was a gamble opening an album with a 7 minute tune but thankfully so far that appears to have paid off!
Kieran: Was there any particular influence behind the new album?
Brigade: Musically, there wasn’t anything specific, it was influenced more by the changes to us as people over these past 11 years, the way the last couple of years has shaped everyone’s lives, and just the desire to make a record that we’re truly proud of. The main idea was just to do exactly what wanted musically and write what made us happy, rather than writing what people might like to hear. We have nobody to answer to and just wore our hearts on our sleeves. The album title itself suggests how out of sync and detached we feel from the music industry and some of the people around us, whilst trying to find harmony between and within ourselves and our music.
“The main idea was just to do exactly what wanted musically and write what made us happy, rather than writing what people might like to hear.”Brigade
Kieran: You’ve been in the music industry for a while now, is there anything that’s changed and how has that affected you?
Brigade: Yes it used to be far simpler!!! Gig your butt off, try to get a record deal, manager and press agent etc but now with the use of social media you can reach a lot of folk far quicker (if you have the stamina) and the whole thing has a more DIY approach these days. On the one hand this is fantastic for new artists but at the same time it means the market is heavily saturated and so it’s harder and harder to stand out. So for us as a band who were active 15 years ago it’s a whole new way of thinking about releasing music. It’s far harder now to make money out of playing music so I really feel for artists trying to do this for a living.
Kieran: Are you heading out on tour with this album? If so, where can we see you and what can we expect?
Brigade: We are delighted to be supporting Bush at their first London show in 5 years on Monday 13th June at Shepherd’s Bush Empire! We were big fans growing up so it’s awesome to get the chance to play with them, one from the bucket list to be able to tick off!
Kieran: Lastly, what’s in the pipeline for 2022 and beyond?
Brigade: Hopefully some more shows as we can’t wait to get to play these new songs live and then we’ll see what the future brings. We’ll always make the most of every opportunity that comes our way and hope to keep writing music together for the next 11 years at least!