There must be something magical about Leeds, England. I keep finding the best and brightest talent originating here.
The Brazen keep this trend going. Their anthemic, rock sounds rolls easily in the ears. Their first song, “Get High” has funky guitars and a rocking beat.
“Say Something” has a smooth groove and shows the band’s subtle harmonies.
“There Goes My Baby” is more of a slow burner, showing the band’s R&B leanings, with great hooks and even a string section.
“Burn it Down” lights it up with the rise and fall of guitars and vocals and great harmonies. It’s a big song, musically.
Led by vocalist Ryan Hobbs, the rest of the band is Matt Lucas on lead guitar, Rob Clayton on rhythm guitar, Trevor Phillips on bass and Adam Larner on drums.
After a recent practice, I was able to get Ryan, Trevor and Rob to chat about the band and the upcoming album.
How new are you? Is this your first band or have you done this before?
Ryan – We had a covers band which we still do from time to time to fund our works with The Brazen called Free Empire (same members as The Brazen). We did a charity track which sparked the original band.
Trev – Hi Rebecca, Trev here too. Adam and I were also in other bands prior to that too. As was Rob.
Hey Trev! OK, be sure to keep telling me who is who. So is “There Goes My Baby” your first original song?
Ryan – We had a track called “Get High,” which is on iTunes, and YouTube, that was our first release as The Brazen, written by our guitarist Rob.
Rob’s influences are heavily the 90s indie/Britpop scene and that track is very recognizable in that style.
Ok, I’ll give it a look. So you’ve known each other a long time then?
Ryan – Trev? You can field that one as you and Ads have known each other longest.
Trev – haha, yeah, Ads and I have known each other for about seven years, then I think we met Ry about four years ago at an open mic and we jammed out some songs.
We decided we should have a rehearsal together, where we were then introduced to Rob by our old guitarist. Matt came in to join us when our old guitarist Mark decided he wanted to spend more time with his family.
So its been this lineup since … When?
Ryan – This full line up for 12 months, and The Brazen has been going since November last year.
Trev – Yeah, just over a year and a little bit, we were really fortunate. Mark was a really talented and we were worried, but the first time Matt came in to practice, we knew we’d be alright.
What kind of musical influences does everyone bring?
Rob: 90s indie, Britpop — Charlatans, Stone Roses. A bit of Kasabian too.
Ryan – I’m a bit weird as I have a broad and eclectic range of influences as a vocalist. I have soul, R&B and Motown influences in the past and even some pop. Currently hugely into Amy Winehouse, plus the obvious band such as Kings of Leon, but my main vocal influence is Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics.
Trev – We’ve got a really eclectic taste in music. Everyone is different. I’ve come from a background of listening to classic rock and folk style music, Rob is very Britpop/indie influenced, Ads is really into his pop music but has played in rock and roll bands since he was young and Matt is a trained Jazz player.
Somehow it works really well for us as a band too though, and you’ll hear all of that on the album too.
Ryan, I can definitely hear that. And after hearing “There Goes My Baby” and “Burn it Down,” I definitely see the range of influences. It’s hard to pin a particular style on you.
Trev – Ed, our producer, did say something the other day that i thought was apt but i can’t remember what style he said. Can you remember Rob/Ry?
Ryan – I think we have a unique sound, we have 12 tracks on the upcoming album and there is a real mix. Ed said indie pop, but I say anthemic indie rock — The Brazen – inventing new genres!
Wow, 12 tracks! That’s very ambitious. Anthemic indie rock sounds about right. More old school …
Ryan – Yeah it’s a 12 track album, it’s completely recorded now aside from tweaks and mixing/mastering. It’s been a huge privilege to record it and work with some cool people. We have strings and trumpets, harmonies, guitars, finger clicks and hand clapping. It’s been amazing fun, and album two is already underway.
Ryan – It will be out on May 13, just need to name it, any suggestions taken — Rebecca?
Wow. I can’t wait to hear it all. Oh, a name? I’ll think on it. So harmonies you say … I love good harmonies. Lots?
Trev – Yeah I think that’s one of the strongest parts of our band.
Ryan – Yeah any suggestions will be taken. It has been a great experience. Yes, we are very much a harmony-based band, you can here some on “Burn It Down.” I agree Trev.
Yes, I did hear them on “Burn it Down” and really like it. Song tempos — fast, slow? Lots of variety?
Ryan – We have gone up beat, “There Goes My Baby” is the slowest and our next single will be a song called say something which is in a similar vein to “There Goes My Baby.”
The rest are very up tempo, even an 80s Bowie-style track which we recorded on Sunday.
Live shows — how often do you play? What are they like?
Ryan – Trev grab this one.
Trev – Will do. Our live shows tend to be a bit nutty. I think Ry’s delegated this to my because I’m known to wonder during gigs, haha.
I run a wireless bass rig so I can vanish off and dance with the crowds when I’m not doing harmonies. Invariably I’ll end up dancing on top of a table at some point during a show.
Ry loves it and does it too now, haha. We do gig quite a lot, but it’s what we love to do so you never get tired of it.
Ryan – He does! We have gigs in London and Manchester to announce soon, plus three date album launch, our next live show is a headline gig at the rainbow club in Birmingham.
So … It’s a very interactive show then, lol!
Ryan – It really is Rebecca, ha ha. I think having done 100 plus gigs as a covers band and being very successful really molded our performance style — it’s always a huge party.
Cool! I am also impressed you picked up The Dangerhounds (another Leeds band) for your release party.
Ryan – Great new band, I chose them based on your review. With Black Sonic Revolver and Edgar Duke, it’s a top line up. We’re really pleased.
Awe, thanks! I love when I can introduce great bands to each other. It makes me feel very satisfied! Yes, BSR is great too and I’ll need to check out Edgar Duke. It’s going to be a great night!
Trev – Yeah, it sounds daft but doing all those gigs means nowadays we’re really clear on what we want from the gigs. We want to have a good time and that rubs off on the people watching.
We were really impressed with the Dangerhounds, and with the other bands — it’s going to be phenomenal! We can certainly recommend Edgar Duke too, they’re a top bunch of lads.
Wonderful. I’m always looking to find great new bands to feature.
Ryan – They would be a good one, perhaps slightly behind Dangerhounds as they don’t have any released material but made a great impression live. Big future ahead. Leeds music scene is very strong in general to be fair.
Yes, I though Manchester was a hotbed and now I’m finding Leeds is too. The Barmines are tops too.
Trev – Actually Ry, Edgar Duke do have a tune on Soundcloud called “Psychedelic Spaghetti Western.”
Great, I will look for that.
A: Ryan – I didn’t find it when I looked, must try again.
Trev – Yeah, Machester traditionally has been a big hub for new music, but Leeds is really coming to the forefront at the moment.
The Barmines are great, and a really nice bunch of lads, Narcs are great, Neon Dolls too, Red Light Revival (The Leeds-based ones), The Rook. We’re really lucky to be playing with some brilliant up and coming bands. Chances are I’m missing a whole bunch of bands too, lol.
Ryan – Yeah Trev is right, great shoutout there, mate.
Be sure to make it out to these upcoming shows for The Brazen:
April 19 — Leeds United Football Club
April 23 — Primrose – Leeds
May 27 — Milo – Leeds (Album launch party)
June 3 — Maida Vale – Sheffield
July 23 — Actress & Bishop, Birmingham
Follow The Brazen on Twitter at @The_Brazen , on the web at http://thebrazenband.wix.com/thebrazen , on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/thebrazen , on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4-vLEvM5gNPRC37-_SXdoQ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheBrazenBand/timeline.