Interview With Brigade - 24th April 2010
Photo Of Will From Brigade © Copyright BrigadeBen caught up with Will Simpson in Manchester before Brigades headline show to talk about the struggle Brigade have had proving themselves, what the future holds for them and much more.

Things have been a little quiet recently, what have you guys been up to?
Will Simpson: Well, it’s a bit of a long story. We finished the tour in 2008 a bit early, we had to cancel some dates because my voice completely went and it was a really shit time. We were completely gutted; we were following an album campaign, so we’d built up quite a bit of momentum. So I spent the best part of a year trying to get my voice back on track and in the meantime we were writing and working our full time jobs. So I would say in the last six months we’ve been finishing off the initial stages of the third album, we’ve got about eleven tracks written so far, we went and recorded an EP a week ago which we’re hoping to put out in July/August, we got our shit together and geared up for the tour – so it’s been a slow build up being able to come back out on tour.

Do you find it difficult to juggle full time jobs with being in a band?
Massively. I’ve always wondered where the band would be if we were able to go on and do this for a living. It’s weird having to fit it in around weekends. So yeah, it’s a bit of a struggle but I’m sure most bands this day in age are struggling with the same things.

The new album is due to be released this year, what can fans expect?
You get so many clichés when you talk about your new album, but it definitely feels the most cohesive work we’ve done and I guess it’s the album I’m most proud of. I love both our albums, but there are moments on them where I can see clearly what I was listening to at that point but this album sounds more like the sound that would describe Brigade. We haven’t gone too far in one direction, there are some really heavy, big riffs which we love to write but then there’s also a pop/rock element that we go for, but more cleverly thought out. It’s more mature in a less wankier description! I think it’s an album that is going to take a couple of listens as opposed to immediate, which can be a bad thing, but I know the hooks are there. There are some songs that are immediate, but others aren’t and I think often those are the ones that stick with you.

Have there been any different musical influences throughout the writing of this record?
I think I’ve been listening to less. I feel lame in a sense because when I was at Uni I used to trawl the record shops every day, digesting as much new music as possible. I don’t know whether it’s my age now, I’ve just turned thirty, but it’s like I’m not taking so much new stuff in but going back to what I’ve got. But new bands that really got me last year were Frightened Rabbit and Band of Horses. I’m hoping that it’s going to be more subtle this time, you’re not going to hear those influences, we’re not going to suddenly become a country band but at the same time it’s just rock music with our stamp on it!

You’ve said that you recently recorded an EP, is this going to be a taster of what’s to come?
I think it is, with the exception that it’s focusing on the heavier side. We thought that because we’re coming back we don’t want to alienate anyone, we thought we’d try to pick up where we left off, so we’re targeting the rock fans.

Will any of the songs from the EP make the next album?
In my head at the moment I’d like a couple of them to go on the album, one of them in particular is really strong and I’d be disappointed not to see it get on there, maybe half and half.

Does the news of an EP mean that people will have to wait a bit longer to hear the full length?
Yeah, unfortunately. It’s having a full time job and having no money. Leaving where we did last time we spent everything that we had on keeping going as a band and now because of where we are we’re thinking of self-releasing, and that means we’ve got to find the cash.

So are you still with your record label?
Will: Not really, the option is possibly open to maybe revisit the label, but as we are right now we are unsigned and it doesn’t seem in this climate that labels are so important.

Do you think releasing your own stuff will be better for Brigade?
Yes, I think to have that total creative control is best. We feel like we’ve been giving money out to everyone else all our career, we’ve never actually made any money ourselves and it would be nice to put and album out and try to start making a living out of it ourselves without having to rely on other people, that’s how I think it will benefit the band.

A lot of bands do prefer the hands on approach, for example, getting involved with artwork, is that something you’d like to do?
Completely. The guy that’s done our artwork for the first two albums is a great friend of ours and he’s actually been working on the latest stuff. We’ve got some limited edition signed prints that he’s done of some new artwork and it just feels so exciting because every aspect of what we’re doing, we’re doing ourselves at the moment. The EP recording we did was with one of the guys who did the first album, so we just went in and got it done and we’ll think how we’re going to release it later. It’s quite liberating.

This is quite a short tour (5 dates), is this so you can get back into the swing of things after a bit of a break from touring?
To be honest, I think it’s my voice. It’s taken me such a long time, I almost had to totally relearn how to sing again. I’d gone to rock bottom, my technique was awful, my confidence was shot and I didn’t release just how much mentally it affects your singing. If you’re feeling positive, it makes you sing better and so it took me a long time to get the confidence back up. So we thought we’d come and play the big cities, have a bit of a taster, check that people out there still want to listen to us and then we’ll take it from there. Also, with no release if you go and play the tiny places you aren’t likely to pull many people when there’s not much promotion around.

So did you handpick these venues? Are these some of your favourite places to play?
Will: Definitely, we love Manchester, the Roadhouse we’ve played a few times. Glasgow is fantastic and London Barfly is a staple for us. It was our agent that suggested these places, but yeah, they’re great.

You did a special deal for those that bought tickets for these shows, is this something that you think bands should do more of to engage with their fans?
It’s massively important, I think people are more skeptical nowadays, people just don’t have as much cash to go and spend. Because gig prices are going up and because records labels are trying to find new ways to make money merchandise is going up. I think it’s harder, though fans can get music for free, to try and connect with fans with Myspace feeling quite dead at the moment, it almost feels like you’ve got to find new ways to reach to your audience, so if they’re going to buy a ticket it’s almost like saying, “we appreciate the effort you’re going to, what can we do in return to show that we appreciate your loyalty?”

You have been teamed up with Jagermeister for some time now, how would you say they help you and other bands within the music industry?
We actually had Jager come to Birmingham last night to come watch and hang out with us. Many corporations and sponsors are all very commercial, Jager are a family, it almost feels like you’ve got mum and dad taking you under their wing and nurturing and supporting you by helping you get out there and promoting you, and also giving you Jager which is great to have on tour! They’re really good for music because they’re a brand which you respect, they’ve done it the right way, they’re growing gradually and getting bigger and it’s nice in terms that if you want a sponsor, say if you had Coke sponsoring you, you’d feel like a sell-out wouldn’t you? But Jager are just awesome people who are into their music, they’ve got a deadly but brilliant drink and it’s great to be a part of them, and I’m glad that they support us.

Do you find yourself having Jagermeister parties often during long tours?
We’ve calmed down a bit over the years, we used to be terrible, we’d always have Jager hangovers! But nowadays it’s a bit more kept in check. There will definitely be a Jager party on the last night, those test-tubes will be out!

You obviously come from a very musical family, is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Absolutely, I fell in love with Michael Jackson and Guns ‘n’ Roses unhealthily, music was everything to me. When I was at school I was watching a band onstage just doing some covers and I remember just being literally knocked over, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Obviously as I’ve gotten older I’ve questioned whether realistically I can make a living out of music but music has always been my number one focus.

What does Brigade have planned for the rest of the year?
Your guess is as good as mine! Hopefully get the EP out in July or August, try and find a way of recording the album and then it’s a case of seeing what people think. I guess this album is really important because it’s really going to show whether there’s a future for this band, we’ve built it slowly but I really want to see whether people genuinely have the belief in us.

Do you find it strange that after six years you still have to prove yourselves?
Completely, but talking about my family, what my brother did was such a fucking weird thing and so totally unexpected that it’s kind of tipped all my beliefs and expectations upside down, ever since that I’ve never known what to expect. Every time you think you know what’s going to happen, it doesn’t work out that way. It is strange to be in that position, but I never really expected it to be any different. I believe that we’re a brilliant band but I never believed we fitted into a scene, I don’t believe that half the kids who read Kerrang! Magazine will like our band because I look at the bands that are featured and I don’t relate to any of them. We’re always going to be the underdogs, but I’m hoping that we’re going to be a name that sticks around for a while.

Interview by Ben Connell
 Band Members

Will Simpson (Vocals, Guitar)
James Plant (Guitar, Vocals)
Naoto Hori (Bass)
Andrew Kearton (Drums)
 Latest Releases
Brigade - Come Morning We Fight
Release Date - 12th May 2008
1. What Are You Waiting For
2. Pilot
3. Together Apart
4. Res Head
5. Stunning
6. Slow Dives & Alibis
7. Four Kids to Glockenspeil
8. Come Morning We Fight
9. Shortcuts
10. Vice to Versa
11. Asinine
12. Sink Sink Swim
13. Boundaries
 Band Related Links
Brigade Myspace
Brigade Official Site