…just because a computer made it, that doesn’t mean the human being behind it doesn’t have a heart.
story by Cliff Berru
The 21st Century has succeeded in presenting a reintroduction to electronic-influenced music. Now more than ever, the DJ and producer are both in the forefront of the mainstream music industry. From the nightclub circuit all around the world to the samples backing up Kanye West in “Jesus Walks,” the DJ/engineer/producer is dominating an industry once composed of organic intentions.
The problem is the market has become so saturated with artificial purpose that a musical genius like Prince is beat out by a teen derelict like Ashlee Simpson on the Billboard charts. Simpson does nothing more than recite a few lines, while her production team climbs mountains to make her album sound produced to a fine hair. The result is a number one slot on the Billboard charts.
Technology will never cease to exist. Fortunately for society, it will become more refined and readily accessible. Unfortunately for music, at least in the mainstream, it will become more and more synthetic until many artists will become completely subtracted from the musical equation. There are artists however, such as RJD2 and Prefuse 73, that purify their electronic compositions with magnificent talent and devotion, bringing more of an eclectic revolutionary sound to the table.
The tremendous popularity of electronic music has also applied itself to the rock scene, more so now than ever. Philadelphia-based electronic art rock quartet Brothers Past is a fearless example of a successful blending of electronics submerged within a musical rock dynamic.
“It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it,” said Brothers Past guitarist Tom Hamilton during an in-depth interview with Chicago Innerview. “It’s getting more acceptable now to play with electronics in rock music. It’s not overly acceptable and it’s not like we are doing it to be unacceptable,” continues Hamilton, “it’s something new and different and we want to bring it to the broader audience.” When asked about the relevancy of electronics within rock music, Hamilton genuinely notes, “we want to express what electronic music can do. Show that it is meaningful and beautiful and just because a computer made it, that doesn’t mean the human being behind it doesn’t have a heart.”
Brothers Past and their fans alike rely heavily on the live music circuit for generating that ideal Brothers Past sound. The fans are spoiled with the pleasure of capturing alternating set lists within any show they attend. The focus is completely central on the music and what is happening at each individual moment.
Despite such a heavy focus on electronics, Brothers Past balances their interest in composing actual songs within an improvisational approach. “The purpose of music is to communicate,” mentions Hamilton when being asked about the importance of structure within his music. “A song is how you communicate. It’s what you take home into that space that no one else gets into. It’s the thing that makes you realize you are not alone. You hold onto it for dear life and let it get you through the next day.”
A delicious new EP entitled, StatEPolice, is slated for release on September 7 – acting as an “introduction” to the current path Brothers Past is on. “We have grown a lot since A Wonderful Day,” mentions Hamilton while discussing their second release – an infectious concept album highlighting emotions of anxiety through sleep deprivation. “This EP is bridging the gap between Wonderful Day and our next record. We cover a lot of ground with it. Nice chunky guitars which transcend rock songs, with a tinge of the electronic thing going on. As the EP progresses, it gets more electronic and digitalized and less analog.”
This whole approach toward music reflects the original concept of Brothers Past. “Brothers Past is embracing everything that came before you,” noted Hamilton while revealing the meaning of his band’s name. “Brothers Past is constantly paying respect and tipping your hat to those influences from your past, living and dead.”
Brothers Past’s unique approach toward rock music is welcoming in the sense that it sounds fantastic but daunting, in a way that challenges tradition. “Many of our inspirations did something new and the best way to honor your influences is not to rip them off,” said Hamilton. “I think it’s necessary for us to approach music with the same attitude and passion of trying to do something new, and to bring the listeners to somewhere they haven’t been before.”
Brothers Past :: Abbey Pub :: September 11.