Saturday, October 17, 2009

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Interview with: Marc Beatty and Eamon Hamilton of Brakesbrakesbrakes (Part 2)

Posted: 17 Oct 2009 08:37 AM PDT

In the second half of my interview with Brakesbrakesbrakes’s singer/guitarist Eamon Hamilton and bassist Marc Beatty , they talk to me about their new live album and tell me about their “hometown” of Brighton, England.

To catch up on part 1 of this interview, click here.

h-brakes1Mary Chang, PopWreckoning: “Don’t Take Me to Space (Man)” is a great song, loved it the first time I heard it on Steve Lamacq’s 6music programme. As a writer and poet, I can appreciate the rhyming use of “I don’t care if this world’s masonic” and “I’ve got a true love keeping me on it.” What was the inspiration behind it?
Eamon Hamilton (singer/guitarist for Brakesbrakesbrakes): I had seen some 2012 internet conspiracy theories, (in cheesy voice) “the world’s gonna end in 2012!” Anyway, it seems like these adult ghost stories, these conspiracy theories about the end of time. And I just didn’t care about this. I wrote it like, I don’t care whether the world ends or not.
MC: Do you feel that it’s a defining song on the album? The cover of Touchdown has the five UFOs.
Marc Beatty (bassist for Brakesbrakesbrakes): And it’s [the cover design] seems to have gone down really well. We were quite surprised how popular it’s been [with the fans].
EH: But it’s just a love song, innit? (grins)
MC: I was wondering if you’d had any alien encounters or something.(all laugh)
MB: Yes, we’ve all had them.
EH: Unfortunately, we can’t tell you.
MC: One of those “if we told you, you’d have to kill me” things?
MB: Right.
EH: One time I saw these weird lights coming up over Brighton. I couldn’t work out what these lights were. They were really close together, and then they shuttled away. Then it turned out it was just lasers. Disappointing.

MC: You will release a live album next month called Rock is Dodeljik. I have it on good authority from my best Dutch mate that I pronounced that right. She told me she read an article in a Dutch music magazine that the title had something to do with someone quitting smoking. Is this true?
EH: Yeah, I’ve quit smoking. The Netherlands, Holland, they have the best tobacco in the world, the Drum. It always was the tobacco center of Europe, what with Rotterdam and all the ports. So yeah, you can find it in all the cafes. So I thought, yeah, it was time to give it up really, and the album’s name is a reminder of this.
MB: And it’s a pun of “death” on the cigarette pack. Whenever we tour over there, we see it, and then you’ve got a picture in your mind.
EH: The health warning is “roken in dodeljik”.
MB: “Roken” means smoking, and we always thought it was funny, so we wanted to call our album “rock is deadly.”
EH: But there’s also the English phrase of a “doddle” – is that an American phrase as well? Or just British?
MC: No…not that I’m aware of.
EH: A doddle is something easy, “it’s a doddle, mate!” So yeah. And what else would you said…(begins jokey imitation of Mark Knopfler in Dire Straits) “that ain’t working, that’s the way you do it.” We’re all Dire Straits fans on the sly. (laughs) Or it could be, “rocking is dude-de-lik” like over here [in America] “hey dude!” But yeah, it [dodeljik] means lethal.

j-brakes3MC: So you blokes are from Brighton. Are you all originally from there, or do you have individual stories on what drew you to the seaside?
MB: Only [the brothers White] Alex [drums] and Tom [guitarist] were born in Brighton. I was born near London, moved to Brighton when I was about 3.
EH: Eh, you’re a Brighton boy!
MB: Yeah, Brighton boy. And Eamon is from Canada.
EH: From Northern B.C. [British Columbia] but moved away when I was about 2. I grew up in the West Country of Britain. I went back to Brighton for a band I was in before this because Brighton was a good epicenter of music. It’s an awesome place for music. There’s not much else there but music. But yeah, it was music that drew me to Brighton.

MC: I have been lucky to visit many places in England, mostly for gigs! But I’ve yet to stop in Brighton.
EH: Oh yeah?
MC: Yeah, but the pier and some of the venues are legendary. I’ve several friends who go down to Brighton from London regularly for gigs. Do you have any favorite venues, either playing yourselves or where you’ve seen memorable shows?
EH: My favorite one is the Pavilion Theatre. It’s a council venue. It’s so very expensive to put gigs on there. So not too many gigs get put on there.
MB: There used to be a lot of good gigs there, the promoter would promote [the bands], they would bring in their own sound systems. These days when people put on gigs there, they use the in-house sound system, which isn’t as good. And people don’t want to put on stuff there [for that reason]. Brighton’s had a bit of bad luck with venues, a lot of people buying the venues, doing them up, and getting it wrong. There’s one place, Freebar, the place where we grew up…I met Alex and Tom there when I was 15. I worked there, loads of my friends worked there, yeah, and the place has changed a lot over the years. And now it’s in a state that no one in the town likes. It was ripped out and redone.
EH: Out of towners…(scoffs)
MB: And the people who bought it recently, they changed it and had such bad business, now someone else has moved in…
EH: Really? Shit.
MB: And Brighton’s always had this changing venue scene.
EH: And we’ve always had the Concorde 2. Half of Rock is Dodeljik was recorded there.
MC: Okay. Is that shaped like an airplane or something?
MB: It’s called the Concorde 2 because there used to be a Concorde venue further towards the centre of town, near the seafront. They closed that down because the council wanted to turn it into this whole new development with a Burger King, an arcade, all that sort of shit. So they [the people who run the Concorde 2] bought a listed building slightly further down the road, a big old building.
EH: Yeah, and it’s a great venue. Brighton’s just a great town for music.

MC: How often do you go back [to Brighton] now that you’re on tour?
MB: Eamon lives in New York…Alex is in London. I lived in Glasgow for the last 2 and a half years, I’m just about to move back to Brighton. So yeah, we’ve got family and friends there.
EH: (begins Rod Stewart impression) “it’s in our heart, it’s in our soul…” Sorry! (laughs)

MC: I know you guys are needed at the sound check…so what it is like touring with your labelmates [ and the Twilight Sad]? Were you mates before? Did you know what their music was like?
EH: We did know their music, yeah.
MB: We’ve only been on this label for a year or so. And yeah, a year today, or a year a couple days ago. But this is the first Fat Cat-orientated tour that we’ve done. We did a show in Brighton at [a English music festival that takes place in May]. It’s sort of like a South by Southwest in Brighton. We did a gig, we headlined and they supported us. We kinda met them then, but it was a really busy time, we couldn’t make any relationships with them. And they live in . Surprisingly, I hadn’t even met them when I lived there, probably because I was away on tour and they were always on tour. So yeah, since last week, we’ve been starting to get to know everyone on the bus.
MC: Have you been enjoying the tour so far?
EH: Yeah, it’s been awesome.
MC: When did you guys start in America?
EH: A couple days ago, on Thursday in Chapel Hill.
MB: Just about recovering from jet lag now. Today. Today I feel normal. The thing is, we flew over and then went straight into it [gigging]…ughh! And you don’t get much sleep, it takes about a week to get used to sleeping on a bus.

Alex and Tom come out and say it’s time for their sound check.

MC: Thanks guys for this interview.
MB: Yeah, thank you.

Interview conducted and gig photos in this article by: Mary Chang

Brakesbrakesbrakes: website | myspace | BrakesBrakesBrakes Announces October North American Tour, Plans for Single and Live Album | Fat Cat Records Tour Featuring the Twilight Sad, Brakesbrakesbrakes, and We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Black Cat, Washington, DC | Interview with: Marc Beatty and Eamon Hamilton of Brakesbrakesbrakes (Part 1)

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