THEY boast a powerful Indie-Folk sound…
and differ to any other band out there. Imbued with subtle Gospel tomes and hymnal strands – their storytelling abilities have been compared to the likes of Fleet Foxes. I catch up with Speak, Brother about their new single, Magnificent, and what it is all about. The guys have played throughout the U.K. and been featured on BBC Radio 2. The Midlands band are preparing for a U.K. tour in November that will see them build hype and tease ahead of the album, Young & Brave – expected sometime in spring of next year.
The boys talk about their formation and who their idols are; what they get up to in their spare time – and how it feels knowing their music is being championed and applauded around the country.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. Cracking, thank you!
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We're a group of five friends based in the Midlands.
Can I ask why the band is called ‘Speak, Brother’? Is there a special meaning/story behind that?
Many of our songs are story-based with an inclusive message that communicates value. The name, I guess, comes from desire to connect and share these stories (and hear yours).
Magnificent is the new single. What is the tale behind the song? How did the track come about?
Have you seen the recent film, Fences, with Denzel Washington?
Well, without giving away too many spoilers, right at the end of the film – it shows the main character's daughter whose birth came in a dark place. You couldn't help but feel compassion, hope and love for that girl. That, even though three generations of pain, hurt and mistrust came before her - there was a beauty and innocence in her eyes.
It's like looking at the pure unadulterated beauty of a new-born baby. So small and fragile, yet so full of potential and purpose - and completely unaware of its own Magnificence.
There are Gospel and harmonic touches that recall Fleet Foxes. Are bands like that – Kodaline and Of Monsters, too – important to you?
Others (also) like Elbow, Bon Iver; Kate Rusby and Peter Gabriel inspire us consistently too.
Young & Brave, your upcoming album, is out next year. What can you tell us about the L.P. and the kind of songs we will see?
It's our debut-album for which we've worked a long, long time on. It's stretched us creatively, musically and how we work as a band together - and for that, I'm really proud.
The album will feature a wide range of styles and dynamics: from Gospel/Soul vibes to Rock energy to stripped-back Folk storytelling.
It explores themes like the innocence and wild tendencies of childhood that are beaten out of us - along with stories of love; value, brotherhood and togetherness.
Are you excited knowing the album will be out in a few months? Has it been quite tough recording or was it quite a learning-curve?
We can't wait!
It's been a MASSIVE learning-curve. It all felt like a process of letting go of what felt comfortable; to just exploring new things and jumping in with two-feet-first. At times, it was so hard leaving the safe and familiar of where we were before.
From the off, we knew we didn't want it to sound like any other Indie-Folk band: we wanted it to be us. Gavin Monaghan, who produced it along with his partner-in-crime Joe Murray, helped us leave…or rather, pushed us off the edge!
Are there going to be more singles from the album – before the official release?
We have another single in November and another in February - just before its release in April.
Stations like BBC Radio 2 are fans of your work. Is that kind of backing encouraging to the band? Does that give you the drive to keep recording and pushing high?
We're so honoured for our music to have reached national airplay.
It’s the purpose of any song to be heard, so we're thrilled. Although, regardless of who plays our songs, it'd be our hope to never stop writing music.
What tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we come and see you play?
We have a tour coming up in November for which tickets are now available:
03/11 - Big Comfy Bookshop, Coventry
04/11 - The Globe, Hay-on-Wye
05/11 - Costa Coffee, Barrow-in-Furness
08/11 - Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
09/11 - The Cavendish Arms, London
Can you explain what touring is like for you guys? How much of a kick do you get seeing the fans react to your music? How important is it taking music to the people?
We all seek to connect, right? It's in our D.N.A.
When we achieve a real connection at gigs with people, it really sticks with us for a while. It's so fun and you learn a little more about the world and the people within it.
How do all of you spend time away from music? Do you all have hobbies or spend your downtime taking it easy?
We all have jobs still so most spare time goes to music! Other than that, it's reading, walking; seeing family and friends.
IN THIS PHOTO: Wildwood Kin
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
We'd certainly recommend our friends Wildwood Kin.
If you each had to select the album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
I don't think there is a single album, but....
Awkward Annie - Kate Rusby
Enema of the State – Blink-182
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Joy of Nothing - Foy Vance
To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Try your best to not compare yourself to another - it really doesn't help.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Ah brilliant! Any song? How about:
Matt: Strangest Thing - The War on Drugs
James: Lost Worker Bee – Elbow
Dan: Kids - OneRepublic
Sam: Burden - Foy Vance
Nath: Lionhearted - Billie Marten
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