D//E Interviews: BIG|BRAVE

With a fantastic new album ready to come out next week, innovative heavy act, BIG|BRAVE, continue making a strong mark with each new creation of theirs. A Gaze Among Them is a solid record of expansive and forward thinking musicianship, and finds the band at their strongest yet.

Robin Wattie answers a few questions about BIG|BRAVE and the forthcoming LP, followed by the band's newest slow-burner, the single and video for Holding Pattern.

In relation to the creative process, how different is A Gaze Among Them from the previous three albums?

It had been quite different. For the previous albums, we would practice, perform and fine-tune each piece months sometimes years before the actual recording. With this latest record, we started writing the album four months before recording, spending every possible moment in the jam space writing.

Why did you choose to take an even quieter and more minimal approach for the new record?

It is interesting that you say quieter approach. I don’t know if we are in fact quieter as our live performances tend to usually be quite heavy and loud. The minimal approach is something we’ve always made an effort to practice and experiment with.

Being involved in the creation of the videos and the album’s artwork, you seem fully committed to your art. Is it deliberate that you want to do as much as possible on the album yourselves?

With regards to artwork, it is quite intended. Both Mathieu and I studied art in university (Photography, Painting and Drawing) and enjoy the process to create or find imagery that would best represent the album.

Concerning the videos, both Mathieu and I are heavily keen on learning about creating and editing video - so we jump at the opportunity to work with video.

The visual side to the album is very important. It can make an album more of an object - something to paw over and consume vs. just a means of protecting the format the music comes in.

Like your previous records, A Gaze Among Them, feels like a more impressive listen when experienced in its entirety rather than as individual tracks. How do you decide on which songs should represent the album as singles, and which should come with videos?

That’s a very good question. It’s more a feeling rather than careful thought. With A Gaze, we decided on Sibling because it felt right as well as even though it is a different listen compared to the rest of the album and previous albums in general, it still represents us and what we want to put out there at the present moment.

Genre-defying is a term thrown around a lot to describe your music. What are the styles that have influenced your sound the most?

Oh all kinds of styles and genres. I listen mostly to soul, r&b, old country and jazz. Mathieu listens to a variety of fantastic experimental musicians ranging from Tony Conrad to Steve Reich as well as greats like Blind Owl and Junior Kimbrough.

So perhaps this has influenced us in ways but we don’t quite use their soundscapes to inform ours, rather the idea of conceptualizing music and sound.

How would you describe your live act? How different is it from what we hear on the records?

Our live performance, I believe, is worlds apart from our recordings. For myself, recording is a difficult and stiff process in comparison to a live performance. Live music in general is something to experience and something that can be fully immersive. I’ve been told time and time again that to truly understand what we are trying to achieve, it is recommended to attend a live performance.

Do you feel like your sound is more of a good match or an exceptional addition to the roster of Southern Lord?

Oh this is an interesting question. I can safely say that Mathieu and I are still ecstatic that Greg took us on! We are amongst such a variety of heavyweights and their roots are in heavy, experimental music, so for us it feels like a great match!

What are you currently listening to mostly?

I am currently listening to Tirzah’s latest release Devotion, and a lot of sixties soul music.

What’s next for BIG|BRAVE?

We have a couple of tours booked in Europe/UK and the states! We are very excited to be back on the road performing!


16/05 DE Nurnberg Kantine
17/05 DE Berlin Urban Spree
18/05 PL Poznan LAS
19/05 CZ Prague Altenburg 1964
21/05 NL Haarlem Patronaat
22/05 BE Antwerp Kavka
23/05 FR Lille La Bulle Café
24/05 UK Bristol Rough Trade
25/05 UK London Raw Power
 26/05 UK Glasgow Stereo
27/05 UK Newcastle The Cluny
28/05 UK Brighton East Street Tap
29/05 FR Paris Instants Chavirés
30/05 BE Brussels Magasin 4
31/05 DE Mannheim JUZ
01/06 CH Winterthur Gaswerk
03/06 DE Wurzburg Cairo
04/06 DE Hamburg Schute
 05/06 SWE Malmo Plan B
07/06 SWE Gothenborg Skjul Fyra Sex
08/06 SWE Stockholm Slaktkyrkan

Photos by Rachel Cheng.

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