Listen to yourself no matter what others say, as long as you know you are right. You can’t be wrong.
story by Garin Pirnia
photo by Gered Mankowitz
In 2001, garage rock bands came back in a big way with the likes of the Strokes and the White Stripes. Since then, new wave influences have permeated indie bands from Interpol to last year’s wunderkind the Killers. So far this year, there has been quite a bit of anticipation of long overdue follow ups from Beck to Spoon that probably will disappoint a few people because they sound different from their last releases.
That’s where the Bravery come in. They are a fresh, high-buzz band from New York City who look like some version of Oasis meets the Clash, sound like a more electro version of the Strokes and rely on heavy keyboard use, yet they aren’t your typical rock ‘n’ roll or dance rock band. With any sort of expectation comes pressure. There is the issue for the band to live up to the title of “Next Big Thing,” which can be a daunting task for a band that isn’t focused. A lot of times these so called “it” bands are fleeting and don’t last long, but the Bravery seem to have it together and remain unshaken thus far.
On the surface they may seem like everyone else, but they are actually quite unique. Lead singer Sam Endicott formed the band a couple of years ago in response to the fact that he wanted to do something with his life and not succumb to the mediocrity of a drudgery-filled office gig like many quarter-lifers he knew. He recruited his college friend to play keyboards then serendipitously found the drummer, guitarist and bassist. Mike H, the bass player, did not know how to play the bass before he joined the group, so he bought a bass from a homeless guy and learned to play the instrument in one week.
After finding the band members, the Bravery came to life. The name the Bravery comes from Endicott’s mantra of not being afraid to go after your dreams, not allowing oneself to be overcome with fear, hence being brave. To top it all off, the band recorded their debut album for $7,000 with the slim resources they had, a D.I.Y approach that seems to be working for these musical neophytes.
During a conversation with Chicago Innerview, Mike H comments on the band’s sound: “It’s rock ‘n’ roll that you can dance to…or dance music you can rock ‘n’ roll to.” He doesn’t think the Bravery falls into the new wave category that so many critics have placed them in. He states Endicott has been heavily influenced by Fugazi, especially the attitude Fugazi exudes – down to having a signature punk look. After the band recorded some songs, they posted the mp3s on their Web site for accessible downloading and started word of mouth promotion. They played as many gigs as they could in New York and eventually those shows started selling out. Within six months, the gods blessed the group with a major record label deal with Island, which released their self-titled debut just days ago.
Several publications have named them a “band to watch” including Spin, Rolling Stone and even MTV, and they plan on broadening their appeal with an appearance at this year’s Coachella music festival. Since the band was based on actively pursuing one goal, Mike offers some advice to struggling artists: “Listen to yourself no matter what others say, as long as you know you are right. You can’t be wrong. Don’t slack at it. Just do it. Don’t half-ass it.”
The Bravery :: with Ash :: Metro :: April 8.