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Interview with The Brigantines

Interview with The Brigantines

For all of you who have fond memories of surfing back in the summer or relaxing on the warm(-ish) beaches; The Brigantines are the band to ensure that the summer feeling can go on into the cold depths of November. Sharing their name with colossal ships, the band are sure to be sailing the airwaves to our local stations in the next few years. I managed to pin them down to have a chat with the New Jersey band about their unique sound and how they created it. Here’s what bass player Aaron Leonovich had to say:


HOLDUPNOW: It’s a pleasure to talk to you, how are things? 

AL: Great! We just wrapped up a busy Summer of shows including one with surf legend Dick Dale! We’re working on new songs and are exited to release a new set of singles coming out later this year.

HOLDUPNOW:  To start at the beginning, how did you guys meet one another?

AL: Vincent and I met working at Apple about 6 years ago and we became good friends sharing an interest in britpop music. We soon discovered that it would be a lot of fun playing surf inspired music. Vincent was already playing in band with Scott at the time and I was doing the same with some other friends. Once those projects fizzled out we got together and Vincent put a tune together which we named ‘Next Summer’ and which became the title track to our first EP. We convinced Scott to come on board and we worked together as a three-piece seeking a drummer when we discovered that our mutual friend Dan plays drums. We recruited him on the spot and here we are now.

HOLDUPNOW: So where did the name The Brigantines come from?

AL: We stole the name from the town of Brigantine in our home state of New Jersey. Brigantine, NJ is a beautiful beach town and the name has a nice ring to it. Its suiting that with a surf-inspired band we decided to take on the name of a beach town. It is a tribute to our style of music and our home state.

HOLDUPNOW: What do you think defines your sound the most?

AL: I am a big fan of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. I think he is a musical genius but I wouldn’t say we are trying to sound like his band. What he did was take the pop music of his day with the likes of Phil Spector bands and combine it with a new trend in music at the time, surf. As for our band, we are attempting to take a modern approach to this by combining pop sensibilities with surf sounds. Although we have written classic surf songs, we would not consider us a surf band nor a pop band but instead one that meets somewhere in the middle – surf-pop. Interestingly enough some of the bands we personally admire and listen to comes out in the music as well. I’ve read reviews likening some of our songs to The Smiths and Joy Division yet as a whole they sound nothing like them, but some elements resonate.

HOLDUPNOW: What are your main influences when it comes to writing music and lyrics?

AL: In respect to bass lines and rhythms I have taken queues from The Lively Ones, walking bass lines heard in ska, some early Motown, Iggy Pop, and do my best to emulate Andy Rourke of The Smiths. Lyrics have been mostly inspired by real life occurrences or fictionalized takes on them. The song Ray-Bans came about while hanging out at the beach and fearing losing our favorite sunglasses in the surf! Verity is the name of a British girl we befriended in NYC. Next Summer is a pure romance while Take You Home is pure lust.

HOLDUPNOW:  Being based in New Jersey there must be many great influences surrounding you. Which band inspired you the most to play music professionally?

AL: Scott and I grew up in the NY/NJ hardcore and punk rock scene and we frequented countless shows. The culmination of all these bands have inspired us to play music. New Jersey has had a pretty big music scene for many years and has created many great bands.

HOLDUPNOW: Following the release of your first album Vacation! And your latest single Ocean Park, do you have any plans for a second album?

AL: We are planning on recording a bunch of singles and then eventually take our favorites and compile them on second album.

HOLDUPNOW: The artwork you use, particularly for Ocean Park is beautiful! Tell us how you guys design and create your covers.

AL: Glad you like it! I think this is just a matter of trying to capture the right scene that matches the music. When writing a song we try to capture a certain mood and designing artwork for a record is no different. The graphic elements are reminiscent of those used in 60′s albums.

Ocean Park

HOLDUPNOW: If you could choose one of your songs that you feel best sums up you as a band, which song would you choose?

AL: My personal favorite is ‘Next Summer.’ I feel it was created very innocently without trying hard to sound like anything in particular. It’s a beautiful heartfelt take on love and love lost and hope for it to return. It’s melancholy yet upbeat. I’m also very fond of ‘Ocean Park.’

HOLDUPNOW: Do you have any plans to play here in England in the future? We’d love to have you guys.

AL: No plans but definitely on my wish list of things to do! Book us some dates with Liam Fray!

HOLDUPNOW: If you could choose one place in the world to play, where would you play? And who would be your ideal band to play with?

AL: I’d love to play a show with Nick Waterhouse. Recently saw him and his band perform in Brooklyn and was blown away by the musicianship and style of 50′s Rhythm & Blues he plays. Location? Maybe in Japan. I heard they really dig the surf vibe.

HOLDUPNOW: If you could give any advice for aspiring artists, what would you say?

AL: Listen to the bands you like and learn about what bands they were inspired by. Research the origins of their music and use that to build upon to create something new. Have an appreciation for all types of music!

If anything you have read today has piqued your interest. You can listen to The Brigantines at their YouTube channel, and give them a like at their Facebook page.


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