Friday, 11 February 2011


Viva Brother are one of the new crop of bands to be making waves in the pages of NME and on the live circuit with their own brand of guitar based rock and roll (or GRIT-Pop as they insist on calling it.) All music genre puns aside I spoke to front man Lee Newell about their mission, music and all things post Be Here Now.

Q)Grit POP! Explain and describe please.

A)That was something we came up with as a bit of fun. We knew we were going to be pigeonholed into some genre or another so we thought we may as well do it on our terms. I guess not many bands can say they have created a genre!

Q)Surely a revival of a Brit-POP culture/style is a bit too recent in people's memories to be taken seriously? For someone on the wrong side of 40 that feels that they've "seen it all" what would you say your ambitions are for the band?

A)We're not trying to revive any previous era. The Brit pop thing has been cast upon us by the media. We do listen to bands from the 90s but not exclusively. This band was created out of a desperation and a very real need for escape from where we were in our individual lives. For me, this band simply had to work. I didn't have any A-levels, I never went to university, I felt very very lost. I tried to get into the full time job thing, but it just never worked out. I needed to play music. There simply was no alternative. When the four of us first got together and started playing together we all had this united sense that we had something extraordinary. Something special. Yes we did all bond over mutual love of Manchester bands like The Stone Roses and The Smiths but we all have our own distinct tastes. Josh (Ward) and Frank (Colucci) are really into their dance music for instance. This band is just a culmination of that. We are what we are; and we know if we work hard that we can be remembered.

Q)Which side of the fence do you sit on concerning music progression and creativity? i.e When you make a follow up album will you consciously try and improve on the last one or do you have a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality to songs and the sound of the group?

A)Give us a chance, our debut isn't out until the summer! Of course we are going to progress! What would be the point otherwise? We're not the sort of band that will get so self indulgent that it becomes un-listenable. When we write our music, we do consciously keep the listener in mind. We like to please the listener. We like to keep a lot of texture and colour throughout our songs, they never get boring. We will grow with each album, and we are lucky that we write our songs quite quickly so each album will be a literal snapshot of the stage we are at, at that time.

Q)Do you think politics fit in with rock and roll music? Is it something you're interested in?

A)It can be. Right now it's not something I would get involved with. If you're going to talk about politics, it has to be truthful and it has to be for the right reasons. There are too many self righteous people out there trying to sell themselves more than solve any problems. Frank Turner that is aimed at you. Shame on you.

Q)What other bands do you listen to or you would say influence Viva Brother's music?

A)It really depends on the time of day. I mentioned The Smiths and The Stone Roses before, but there is no real pattern with what we like. We're into The Brian Jonestown Massacre, MIA, The Black Keys, Tame Impala to name a few. Everything Everything's new record is astonishing!

Q)For the last few years guitars and guitar playing has been taking a back seat to more programming and synths, do you feel Brother could be one of the forefront bands to bring loud guitars back to the mainstream?

A)Yeah of course and that is half the reason why this band exists. The last great era of guitar music was in the 90s. We need to have something like that again and we've self elected ourselves to be at the front of that.

Q)Bands like Oasis, as great as they were and as great records as they made, do you find it a help or hindrance when they are mentioned in every review when describing your sounds. They seem to be a name that raises eye brows from music magazines these days as being ”that old thing we used to like"..whats your opinion?

A)They did write two great records I agree. I don't think it's a hindrance at all. If they want us to fill that gap we are more than happy to step up, but understand that we are not alike. We sound nothing like each other. They have had an incredible career and we hope to have the same.

Q)What was it like working with producer Stephen Street considering his musical history?

A)It was an honour as he is a childhood hero of mind. He is so welcoming and kind that it didn't take long to get over the awe ha ha. He is an incredible producer and has helped us create a masterpiece of an album!

Q)What's next for Brother?

A)More love and hate in equal measures I'm sure. But literally we are just doing a whole lot of touring. Our headline tour is coming up, then we are touring with the streets, after that we're off to Texas from SXSW then New York, then Europe, then back to the UK, then back to USA, all the festivals etc. etc. etc. I can barely keep up!

Q)Have there been any other bands you've seen on the circuit or heard that you like currently?

A)Not really as we haven't really had a chance to play a great deal yet. We played with this band Wheels on NYE and they were good. Ask us in a years time and hopefully we will be able to give you a big list of guitar bands!

Viva Brother's first single "Darling Buds Of May" is released on the 28/02/11 before the Album is released later in the year.

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