Californian indie folk/rock four piece, Brolly are definitely one band that have made a big impression on us here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies, and we’re not the only ones, they are already being championed by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, pretty big deal right? They released their début EP, Hollow Home Rd, last year, which has in turn gained them a solid fanbase and caught the eyes of the media respectively. What more can I say about Brolly than please do have a listen to them, undoubtedly they will mesmerise you and you’ll fall in love with their music.
I caught up with Jake Ithurburn from Brolly to discuss everything from their songwriting process, their upcoming second EP, the possibility of a UK tour and much, much more.
Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for this interview. What’s one thing that we should all know about Brolly that we might not know about you now?
We are best friends before bandmates. Our relationships with one another are more important to us than our musical aspirations.
One question I have to ask is: what’s the story behind your band name and how long did it take you to settle on it?
There really is no story behind it. We just wanted something short and sweet. Easy to say and easy to remember. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon the word Brolly, but I do remember thinking it looked good on paper. Our band name is fairly shallow and meaningless.
For all the people that may be new to your band, could you give them a little summary of what the Hollow Home Rd EP is all about, a little teaser to what they can expect from it?
Hollow Home Rd is our first recorded set of songs. I would say, listen to it with absolutely no expectations. We believe music is a powerful thing and that our songs should connect with its listeners in some sort of emotional way. Other than that, we hope the songs get stuck in your head.
Can you give us an insight into your songwriting process. Where do you start and how do you put a song together?
I just mess around on a guitar or piano and if I play something that stands out to me, I experiment with it a bit. It usually starts with a melody. I still don’t really understand (and probably never will) why certain melodies stick out to me more than others, but there are definitely moments when I play something and I instantly know its going to turn into a song. Not to sound weird, but I believe it’s all a spiritual kind of process. For me, songs are always spontaneous; never pre meditated.
You released your début EP, Hollow Home Rd, in 2013 and you’re currently working on your follow up to that. What can we be expecting from the new EP, and is Hollow Home Rd a good introduction to your new material?
The lyrical themes of the new EP are very similar to the first, so I would say HHR is a good introduction in that sense. Musically, we just hope that our songwriting and producing of the songs has matured a bit. I think the new stuff has more of an “erie” vibe to it.
Your music is very moving and deep rooted in emotion, is this the feeling that you wanted to create with your music and what do you want the listener to take away with them after listening to your music?
Totally. I think music is one of the most effective ways to evoke emotion. In many songs, there’s often that part that gives me chills, makes me cry, or helps me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. Whether it’s the melody or the words, it’s like there is a greater depth of beauty or power for that brief moment. It’s difficult to explain. Kristen (our drummer) likes to refer to those parts as “heaven bits”. Music translates differently to everyone. There’s no specific thing we want people to take from it. We’d actually like people to not take enough of anything, that way they have to go back and listen more.
Here in the UK, Huw Stephens has been championing you on his show on Radio 1 and in NME. It’s nice to see that you’re getting some well deserved attention internationally. What’s it like to know that your music is going worldwide?
It’s really exciting! We’re still a very small band. I would imagine that Huw is constantly listening to new artists, so it’s an honor that he would play our music and write a segment about our band.
It seems like the question on everyone’s lips and mine also these days, is when are you coming to the UK to play some shows? But to twist the question a little, I would like to know where’s the one place that you would most like to visit when you come to the UK?
We don’t have a set date yet, but hopefully very soon! We’ve never been to the UK, so it would be very exciting for us all. The one place I would most like to visit would be anywhere that Emma Watson is present… Lol. But seriously, I’d probably just want to see the beautiful English countryside as well as some typical touristy stuff.
What are your thoughts on the music scene around Sacramento? Is there quite a buzz around the city surrounding the music scene, and are there any venues you’d recommend checking out?
The Sacramento music scene is a little dead in my opinion. Besides to see bigger artists, not many people go out to shows these days. It’s hard to get any sort of buzz going on about local talent. It doesn’t host a very tight knit music community like some of the surrounding bay area cities. San Francisco is where it’s at.
We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?
I’m not sure how new they are, but we’ve been really into a couple bands lately. One is Night Beds. They’re really rad. Very beautiful music. The other is Half Moon Run. I think they’re a bit more popular though. We saw them play live in SF. Ridiculous. Probably the most talented new band I’ve heard. Other than that, our close friends Golden Youth and From Indian Lakes write really awesome music.
What was your highlight of 2013 and what’s next for Brolly in 2014?
The highlight of 2013 was, of course, getting plays on BBC Radio 1! Our plans for 2014 are to release new music, play lots of shows, and hopefully come to visit the beautiful country of England!
A special thanks to Brolly for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.