We've watched Brahms over the last year or so, first catching them at Brooklyn Bowl back in the summer of '10. When they stopped by our SXSW Showcase for a performance and a conversation this past Spring, it was immediately clear they're an ever evolving beast...in inspiration, in process, and in execution.
Two weeks. That's all BRAHMS had to come up with a support slot set for a sold-out Passion Pit show at Terminal 5 (capacity: 3,000). Never mind the fact that the Brooklyn-based trio officially formed a month prior, when rehearsals for Cale Parks' solo project turned into another band entirelyone that was destined to soundtrack dimly-lit dance floors and bad decisions that seem oh-so-right.
"We had no idea what was gonna happen at the Passion Pit show," says Parks, the band's beat conductor and singer. "We just did it."
And they haven't looked back since, as guitarist/singer/synth-slinger Drew Robinson and bassist/cleanup keyboardist/singer Eric Lodwick joined Parks in the pursuit of the perfect pop song. With a twist or two, of course, whether we're talking about the stuttering loops of "Subtext Is Deadly," the sly New Order sample of "Toward the Ghost," or the clanging chords of "Another Time." (All of which are available as part of a self-produced demo at www.brahmsband.com) And then there are the songs that'll eventually end up on BRAHMS debut LP. Believe it or not, they incorporate everything from manic piano house melodies to speaker-crushing dubstep loops.
"It's pop, but it's still grounded," explains Robinson. "The beats and rhythms of the recordings are getting fiercer for one thingjust blowing out of the speakers."
"Yep," adds Parks, "We're like Scott Walker plus an Electribe drum machine."
Which kinda makes sense when you consider where everyone's coming from. While Parks explored rich soundscapes with his solo records, Robinson is a Baltimore transplant who's really into Chuck Berry and Buddy Hollysongs you'll actually remember the next morningand Lodwick prefers heady hooks and sounds that'll make you smile up in the clubor basement show. Whatever works, really. After all, one of the reasons BRAHMS are so excited about their new material is that suffocating, intoxicating sense that anything can happen every time they step in the studio or on stage.
"As a drummer, I always found the rhythms in electronic music to be much more exciting than loud guitar noises," says Parks. "Like I'd use guitars on my solo stuff but I'd just sample them. I was never into rocking out or anything. Now when Drew and Eric play, I actually get excited about it. The way they apply their style to electronic music falls right in line with exactly how I'm usually thinking."