LA/NY trio, BRAEVES
started in New York with childhood friends, Ryan Colt Levy and Derek Tramont. After building up some momentum by gigging around New York, they moved out to Los Angeles about a year ago and are already crawling up the ladder of music (bad metaphor, I know). Since their move to the sunnier coast, they produced their single, "Bitter Sea," with Raymond Richards (Local Natives: Gorilla Manor) and Dave Trumfio (Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Built to Spill). The track undoubtedly sounds west coast-inspired with surfy, washed-out guitars and calm vocals. It brings a sense of clarity. Vocalist/guitarist Ryan Colt Levy talks about the song, "'Bitter Sea' is about being in love with our city, but knowing the more we tried the more we found ourselves forcing something that wasn't there. It's a strange thing being so deeply connected to a place and at the same time it feeling so alien to us. We knew even though we love New York, leaving was our only way of finding clarity and Brooklyn was personified into a relationship. That being said, it's the city that will always hold our hearts."
BRAEVES manage to make music flooded with guitars while keeping a stunningly clean sound, which is an impressive feat. After hearing their latest single, we asked if they'd be down to talk to us about how they get that pure sound. Usually we only have one member from the band talk about a piece, but frontman Levy and bassist Derek Tramont were both super excited to tell us about their instruments.
Levy on his guitar, "ever since we were teenagers, we've loved older gear, specifically fender guitars from the 60's/70's. There's something elemental about how the instruments react more organically to the nature of your playing. I've always had a fondness for the fringe Fender's (Mustang/Jaguar) and Derek loves the P-bass. We've always had to sell one guitar to get the next in a weird graduation of tone and understanding of what we were searching for so we don't have a collection more like a wealth of experimentation that's informed our vibe. I play an early 70's Mustang that gives me the perfect balance of punch and atmosphere out of any guitar I've had yet, and I marry it with my death by audio "interstellar overdriver." It's essentially Neil Young in a box, capable of the most subtle clean to gnarly shredder tone you've ever heard. The character of the song is paramount, and to find it you have to mix tone and intuition, the constant search is the best part.
Bassist Tramont on his Fender P-bass, "For me, I have been through the gauntlet as it relates to the different types of bass guitars I've bought and tried over the years. Ranging from a 76' Gibson G-3 Grabber to a 78' Rickenbacker 4001. After 15 years of playing, I finally landed on the bass I felt I have always been looking for - a 67' Fender P-Bass. I grew up admiring the tones of bass players like Sting and John Paul Jones and there is something so pure about flat strings that give you the punch you need in a rock band while still keeping a smooth, almost jazz-like ground floor for the rest of the instruments to sit on top of. I started to emulate this tone as my playing progressed and started to use a pick with the right dynamic to get the most out of my bass and my amp. I've been using a vintage Ampeg SVT Classic through an early 70's Ampeg 4x12 Cabinet which is an absolute beast, the tubes of this amp help create a warmth that is really unparalleled to any other amp I've used before. Another tool I have found extremely helpful to create different tones in our set is the Full Tone Bass Driver pedal. Specifically for live shows, I can reach distorted/overdrive sounds or just a subtle boost to create more depth and diversity within the confines of the instrument. Ryan and I have always tried to find instruments that work well with each other, on a sonic level I don't know if we've ever felt more comfortable than the set up we have now using vintage fender guitars."