BRNS. BOUND to REPEAT NON STOP? Yes, that too. But I’m talking ’bout the BRNS band, to be pronounced “brains”. Or however you want, actually, provided you listen to them. And better yet: see them live. It’s so powerful it’ll haunt you. I had “My head is into you” looping in my brain for days. Their cd in my car, braving the city’s traffic jams thinking: let the jam last forever, I’m good.
Four consonants. One for each member of the Brussels-based band. Young and uber-talented, they have two records and hundreds of concerts under the belt. Wounded (2012) featured the broadly acclaimed Mexico-hit. Platine (2014) has 12 song high on contrasts exploring dark topics with incredible bright compos. In Belgium, you can catch them in one of this summer’s festivals like Grensrock, Les Ardentes, Dour or Ronquières. And they’re touring abroad big time too. They’ll be in Luxembourg’s Rock a Field, Germany’s Pure and Crafted and they’ll play in France with progressive rock giant Archive in October.
I met Tim (drums, vocals) and Antoine (bass, keyboard) at Les Nuits du Botanique for an interview and a concert. Fun, generous and humble. Here’s what they had to tell us.
A: Hi guys, how are you? What’s on your schedule right now?
Tim: We’re doing pretty great. We’ve been touring for a long time now and I think after the Patine tour around October, we’re finally going to be able to sit down for a while and compose the new album.
A: What is your creative process like?
Antoine: It has varied a lot over the years and we’re constantly rethinking the way we compose. When we started BRNS we were two, Tim and me. But very soon Diego (guitar) joined us, and we’d do everything together. For the second album we were four and we tried to compose everything the four of us in the same room which wasn’t easy. Recently we’ve rethought the whole process through and we’re trying to send each other ideas and work on that basis together. It’s faster and less frustrating.
A: Can you remember one particular song that has a good or funny story behind?
Tim: Void. The song was supposed to be for a collab’ with the band ‘Carl et les hommes boîtes’. We had two ideas, Void and another one that we actually liked a little less. And they decided to go for the second song which turned out to be great for us ’cause we got to keep Void. It’s actually a song with a very strong personality.
Antoine: Void marks a gap with the previous album. It’s coherent and de-structured at the same time.
A: What three words would you use to describe your music?
Deconstructed Un-pop Pop.
A: If you could go on any music concert (past or present), which one would it be?
Tim: A Nirvana concert, with Kurt Cobain breaking his guitar and everything. Wow, that would have been something.
Antoine: Morphine, a band from the 90’s that had a kickass bass player who died tragically. And Nirvana, too.
A: You’ve been touring a lot. You’ve even been in Russia. Although not yet to Mexico… Can you name a memorable concert abroad?
Antoine: Paleo was great. But actually…Russia, yeah. Perm in June 2014. An alcohol-free daytime concert in the middle of nowhere where people looked at us like we were aliens. For them, we were totally exotic.
Tim: The guy who invited us wanted to show the Russians different cultures and different lifestyles with many western bands. I remember that before the concert started, he kneeled and gave this speech about us and people stood gaping. Not all our concerts in Russia were rosy but this one was awesome.
A: The live is super important for you. Especially in terms of the energy that exists among you and with the public. In that sense, what is the difference between small concerts and big scenes?
Antoine: At the beginning we were not all that comfortable in big scenes. Now we manage them alright but they’re not what we like best. We’re all about the music and setting an intimate atmosphere with the public. And that is harder to do in big scenes. In small places people are more involved. We did 4 concerts in Belgium where we played right in the middle of the public and that was great. We’ll do that again this fall for the end of our tour.
A: Any fun story from behind the scenes?
Tim: There is this myth that the backstage is wild but it’s actually more boring than people think. And in big festivals with big shots like Marilyn Manson for example, we get kicked out because we’re not famous enough to hang out!
Antoine: Ok, there are some funny stories but not all of them can be shared…
A: I don’t know if you’ve seen it but Le soir’s review from your gig at Pias nites wasn’t so great. How do the media echoes affect you?
Antoine: We had one hit: Mexico. It was cool and we played it a million times. Many were expecting us to make more singles like that. And we didn’t. So we knew that some people wouldn’t follow us beyond that “easy” hit.
Tim: We often have very good reviews. And when we don’t, that’s ok too.
A: Can you name one special or strange talent that one of you has that we don’t know about?
Tim: Diego sands tables. True story!
A: A cool bar in Brussels?
Both: Supra Bailly. That’s actually where we ended up yesterday.
A: So….Brusselsprouts…. How do you have yours?
Tim: I hate them so I don’t.
Antoine: Plain and hot.
(All Pictures of BRNS are mine and should be properly credited if used elsewhere. thanks.)