Browns is that rare local
act that truly exceeds expectations. Although only nineteen lucky
customers have been smart enough to buy it, their debut EP totally
kicked my ass, leading to
this interview right here. Plus, the band's name is Browns! Read on, take
a listen, and welcome Browns to your listening repertoire.
Family History, Browns' lone EP
1. Dare I ask: What is the significance of
the name Browns?
The name started with the concept of a
seven-inch collection... one seven-inch being red, one blue, one yellow,
mixing the three together would make your Browns. That one sank, but we
decided to keep the name. It's fun. Code for shit, name of an NFL
franchise, a racial slur...
2. Introduce each band member, naming one
interesting fact about them.
On drums, I present Santos Montano. Santos
captains an adult recreational soccer league team named team Santos.
Slapping the funky ones, Austin Davilla. Austin's best dish is enchiladas.
Ryan McReynolds plays guitar and yells. He provides shelter to the worst
pet known to man, a cat named Burt McReynolds.
3. How did Browns come together? What was
the mission statement from the outset?
It came together with myself recording a few
songs on cassette tape. That first song, "For the Saints," actually is me
playing drums with Matt and Matty from the Soft Pack on guitar and bass,
then my overdubbed vocals. From there I got Austin to join, then
craigslisted Pete Langway who played drums on these recordings. Eventually
we enlisted the services of Santos, at which point we had to buy new amps.
4. How has the band fit into the Brooklyn
music scene? Are there many kindred spirits?
We don't fit in at all. We recently played
with the Obits, which would be the first band with which I felt there was
a genuine mutual respect involved, but for the most part people don't
really care about us.
5. Are the Feelies and Beat Happening
references simply a figment of my imagination?
Maybe. To be honest, I'd never really
listened to either band before I read your review. Just a few songs. Thats
the exciting part about music I think.
6. How has the response to the Family
History EP been so far?
The nineteen people who have purchased it
7. Do you pay attention to music
criticism? How important are reviews?
I pay attention to it, but don't get excited
about it one way or the other. In a certain sense, it's never been more
important in that a majority of people buying records these days do so
based on online reviews. At the same time, there is nothing to really
mediate these responses... some of the worst records I've heard get 10's
on Pitchfork, and some of the most insightful reviews have come from small
blogs most people will never see.
8. Lyrics have different significances to
different songwriters. How important are the words to your songs - are
they simply produced to fit the music, or are they important on their own?
I've always valued lyrics. Writing music is a
piece of cake, writing a song is what seperates the men from the boys.
I've never performed a song in which I didn't feel each word needed to be
where it was, and I've always wanted each component to stand on its own,
meaning the drums by themselves would be enough to keep your attention,
9. What has been the band's most memorable
There are a few... opening for the Obits was
unforgettable, so was the 1928 CMJ showcase at Union Pool with the Soft
10. What has been the band's least
We recently played a show in which the
promoter forgot to promote. I think we we're even listed on the bill as
The Clean Browns. Three people were in the room.
11. What are the band members' day jobs?
Austin is a professional food server. Santos
is a carpenter, like Jesus. I run 1928 Recordings and bartend.
12. Was Family History a
single-based approach, or an attempt at making a more cohesive record? How
long did it take the record the songs?
It was a concept from the start, so
definitely aimed at being cohesive. We recorded and mixed over the course
of a week.
13. I find the Family History EP makes for
good road trip music. In that spirit, name your top five road trip albums.
Thats interesting. I just drove from New
York, to Montreal, to Canada and back. I don't have an iPod, my CDs are
dated, and I never convert my records to tape. Lets make this hypothetical
then. Pavement is great road music. I think anything Dylan goes good on a
drive. Paul Simon's Graceland should be on there. The Velvet
Underground's self-titled. Baseball on the AM radio.
14. Create a haiku.
I keep what I call a poop log, basically
something to write/draw in while taking the browns to the Super Bowl. This
recent entry isn't a haiku, but it's close:
Poopin with the door open
Kitty don't care
Jenny at the Gym?
Two shirts I wear
15. If you could create the score for the
new film by any director of your choice (alive or not), who would it be?
[I envisage Larry Clark myself.]
I wouldn't want to see the music made
by this band in a film, just wouldn't fit.
16. Who would win in a fight - Browns or
The Muslims? Why?
Lot of wildcards involved there. I don't
know, but I think it would be close, which says a lot considering it would
be three on four. Can they include their manager?
17. Describe the ultimate on-the-cheap
Stuffed green peppers with a brown rice goat
cheese risotto, side of black beans. Costs maybe ten bucks, feeds four,
you can eat the left over risotto and beans the next day.
18. What is the most absolutely wretched
thing on this Earth?
19. What is your favourite colour? Justify
PURPLE! Just kidding, its brown.
20. What's on the horizon for Browns?
More of the same, just bigger.
conducted by Michael Tau
published May 2009