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Among Brothers

  • By MisterCharlie Author Avatar
  • 19 October 2012
   We're utterly taken with the intricate, intelligent orchestral pop Cardiff based collective Among Brothers have been honing for the last couple of years. They seem intent on packing as many ideas as feasibly possible into 4 minute explosions, and the end result are tracks that chop from movement to movement, condensed concertos that dazzle the listener without ever becoming obtuse. Fans of Clock Opera, Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective are probably going to find plenty to love in their cerebral sound, but we'd suggest that AB are far to unique to be tethered by lazy comparisons. So far they've had records released by Young & Lost Club and Too Pure, and their star is most definitely in the ascendent... We fired over a few questions to introduce the band to the SupaJam community-- 
Can you tell us who you are and who does what?

The core band consists of 5 of us and we are:
Alex: vocals and arrangements
John: piano and vocals
Matt: bass
Adam: drums 
Isaac: guitar
Although, we don't tend to stick to one instrument too much, we do a lot of changing round from song to song, and everyone contributes to vocals. We also have extra members for our live shows: Sophia on violin and Lewis on trombone.

And how did you get together?

We all met at Cardiff university, and started writing songs shortly after, we were in another band before Among Brothers that wasn't evolving musically the way we wanted it to, and that eventually fell apart. It wasn't until we all lived together that we started trying out different ways of writing and AB was born out of that. We practiced for about a year in our living room until we played our first show at the end of 2010.

The songs we've heard are very intricately structured, multi part affairs- are they written as a group effort? Or does one of you bring a complete idea to the rest of the band?

Usually, I (Alex) will arrange the foundations of the song on the computer, this will usually involve the electronic elements and some of the traditional instrumentation. We email the songs around and everyone records their instruments bit by bit until we have a rough demo. We then take the song into the practice room  tweaking it as we go a long to make sure all the parts work equally as well in a live setting. We usually have a theme or narrative that we're following whilst writing the songs which helps us work out new sections and dynamics.

You've come from a Welsh scene that seems like its producing some great new psychedelic sounds- how much do you think you're surroundings and contemporaries have influenced you?

I don't think our surroundings have influenced us as much as our contemporaries. The scene in Cardiff is extremely varied and in a way its just one big group of friends. Everyone supports each other and attends each other's gigs. Seeing some of our friends achieve amazing things has really spurred us on.

Your latest single titles have literary titles, can you tell us a bit about the source?

When we were writing the songs we had a clear narrative theme we wanted to base it on, Matt was reading 'We' by Zamyatin at the time and pointed out that there were a lot of similarities between our narrative and that of 'We' so we decided to incorporate some of those elements into the music and story of the song, as well as making both track titles relate to the novel.

And finally, we try and help out new bands as much as possible on the site- is there any advice you'd like to offer for people on their (or wanting to be!) up?

To play as many shows as possible in as many different settings as possible. At some shows you'll have a great venue with top of the line equipment and at others you'll be playing in a pub with no monitors. Practicing will make you good at practicing, playing gigs will make you good at playing gigs.


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