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The last time we spoke to Brigade they were in the middle of a small UK tour...

Posted 1st March 2007 in Interviews, Brigade | By Chris Leonard

The last time we spoke to Brigade they were in the middle of a small UK tour, debut 'Lights' had received great critical acclaim, they'd been nominated for a Kerrang! award, and although they didn't win, got ridiculously drunk! So what have they been doing since? We caught up with the four lads; frontman Will Simpson, guitarist James Plant, drummer Fim, and the silent assassin and bass player Naoto Hori at their Aberdeen show on the Hell Is For Heroes Tour to find out!

The last time you guys were up here was on the tour with Disco Ensemble back in August. Since then you've been on tour with InMe and been writing and demoing for the album. How have those sessions been going?
James - Good, we haven't had as many as we would have liked to have had, but what we've done so far has been really good, and we're all very, very pleased I think.
Fim - Yeah, we had a very productive one week when we were just really going at it and we produced nine songs. There's still loads of ideas, but we've come away with nine complete songs so far.
James - We try to be as productive as possible with the time we have, as we still have the day jobs.
Will - I love the idea of doing the Biffy thing and doing an album every fifteen months, and most bands you don't hear of for three or four months and that's because they're in the studio doing the next album. But with having the day jobs we just don't get the time to write. If we had had all this time since the Disco Ensemble tour we'd have no excuse, we'd have a second album ready to go right now, but it doesn't work that way. We're just trying to get as much done as we can in the time we've got available and we've got another week booked off in March, so we'll be looking to be as productive as possible in that time, and hope that what we come out with at the other end is good enough to go with.

So what can Brigade fans expect? More of the same, or are you trying to do something a bit different from 'Lights'?
James - I think it's a little bit wiser, not being a cliche, but 'Lights' was certainly a batch of songs we got together over three years, where as this is intense writing, and we're all chomping the bit to do writing. So it's now a little bit more thought about in terms of structure, and in terms of riffage! I think perhaps it's a little more grown up.
Fim - I think we've found something that works between the four of us, as soon as someone comes up with a riff or an idea, we soon know if its going to work or not, and it'll suddenly click. We're finding more and more that that's the way we tick and we work.
Will - I think it's really nice to able to say it's bigger. We were quite pleased at the time how big 'Lights' sounded, and now these songs are way huger, and I'm thinking a lot more about leading them vocally now and use my voice allot more so there's allot more vocal ideas going around.

You'll be hard pushed to beat 'Queenie' for huge-ness!
Will - Yeah they're on that level, there's four new ones we'll be playing tonight ('Yes It Is', 'Res Head', 'Asinine' and a re-worked version of 'Shortcuts'), and three are as big as 'Queenie'.

You mentioned time off to do more writing and demoing, what's the next step after that towards the album?
James - We've done some very, very rough demos and then did five on Pro-Tools. So next we want to use that week off to do some more rough demos, get another ten or so tracks, then properly demo those to a higher standard and really keep going until we're really happy with the songs we've got.
Will - It's quite scary because at some point we've got to stop and say, right we've got fifteen songs, that'll do, lets get into the studio and get it done. But we're not quite there yet.

Do you have any ideas when you'd hope to release a single and the album?
Will - Our manager's definitely got a plan for us to release a single in the next two or three months, which would be great, but who knows whether that'll happen, and then ideally we'd love to have an album out by the end of the year.

How have you enjoyed touring with HIFH? I imagine your music has suited their crowds quite well?
Will - Yeah it's been brilliant, those guys are fantastic, they've always been a band I've certainly liked, and the crowds have been superb to us which is great.

You said you'd been playing a few new songs, how have they been going down?
James - Really well.
Will - It's restored all our confidence as well.
James - It's been great for us because we'd been playing the older songs for so long, that playing new stuff has been absolutely amazing, it's been a breath of fresh air really. That enhances the live show, so we've just been going out and really going for it, no holes barred. And they've been going down as well as the old stuff.
Fim - It's nice to look out and see the crowd sometimes, although I can't see too much from behind the kit, and see people's reactions at the end of the song, and knowing that it went down really well. Or not as the case may be!

You said yourselves that you still have the day jobs, is that becoming more and more difficult to juggle now that you're spending more time on the road and doing sessions for the new album?
James - It's getting ridiculous, it's something that's got to give eventually. We've said that to ourselves that this has to be the year that we'll start to make a living from this. It has to be.
Will - I think we're all expecting to have to still work, but it'd be nice to do what a lot of bands have to do, and just get part time jobs, you're always going to have to earn a bit of money unless you're on a big label, and I can't see that happening. But it'd be nice to have the band as the forefront and work everything else around it. That's the frustrating thing about it, 'what could we be achieving if we had all the time we're working to write and demo'? I don't want to sound like I'm moaning, very few bands can do it without getting a job, but it is frustrating.

Have you found yourselves chopping and changing a lot between employers?
James - Yes a lot. I used to be a bar manager, but last year I had to give that up, so now I do a bit of painting and decorating for various employers.

Do you hope to do a headline tour before the album is released?
James - If we have a release, then we'd like something to coincide with it and a small headline tour could be on the cards for sure, but we need to time it right, that's the most important thing.
Will - We definitely don't want to have eight months not doing anything, so whether it's an album tour or otherwise is another matter.

Any plans for festival appearances this summer?
Will - I hope so, I'm so sorry man, this is a bit dull isn't it?! I certainly hope so, it's case of I hope we get fucking booked! I'd love to play 'Download', but it's whether we get picked or not.

You mentioned earlier that you felt your song writing and the way you worked together had changed over the last year. Is there any other way you think you've changed as a band?
James - As a unit we've become closer, we've now formed a crew around us. So we've really become tighter and probably more professional about things. We really give 110% now, we know what's required, we're a lot wiser when it comes to touring, and the etiquette towards other bands and so on.
Will - We feel we can take bands under our wing now, like 'This Girl' did when we toured with Biffy. We didn't know what the fuck we were doing, and they really helped us out. I think we're all much closer now, and we know each other inside out, and I for one, am having the most fun I've had now.
Fim - Just for the record, I don't know Will inside!

So apart from getting the album out, do you have any goals for the rest of 2007?
James - We certainly would like to be a full time band by the end of the year, and actually earning ourselves a decent living from doing it. Also to write an amazing second album.
Will - I also hope a lot of the very shitty bands dominating the mainstream right now have gone, The View, I don't think I've hated a band so much in a long time! Sorry we haven't got much to tell you, but we're really in limbo right now, sorry!