Viva Brother Talks "Famous First Words" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Tue, 22 Nov 2011 09:49:51
"Touring in America has been nothing short of fabulous," smiles Viva Brother frontman Leonard Newell. "However, the food is of large quantities!"
Suffice it to say, Viva Brother have been eating well since crossing the pond in support of their A&M/Octone debut, Famous First Words.
They've also been satiating this starved country's appetite for quality rock 'n' roll in the process. Famous First Words rings out with a grunge grit and Britpop majesty—that's quite a magical combination by the way. Viva Brother's musical genealogy traces back to The Pixies and The Smiths, while veering down an evolutionary path all their own. As a result, Famous First Words is one of the most potent and powerful debuts of 2011.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino, Viva Brother talks Famous First Words and so much more…
Did you approach Famous First Words with one complete vision?
In a way, yes. It wasn't massively intentional though. I think it was because all of the songs were written around the same time. It just worked out that way anyway. If the songs were written over a long period of time, maybe it wouldn't have flowed as well as it does. Obviously, we wanted it to sound cohesive, but we didn't purposefully put it all together. It just sort of worked, and we were quite happy with it.
What's the story behind "Time Machine"?
"Time Machine" is our darkest track. The album takes a dark turn at the end with "Otherside", "False Alarm", and "Time Machine". It's about losing someone but them still being quite close all the time. We knew it would end the album. We'd been playing the song for about six months before we recorded, and we always used to end on it. It just felt natural, and that's why we put it at the end.
Where did "Electric Daydream" come from?
That's basically about how we lose ourselves in the songs. This is our truest form of expression in a way. It's not about one particular thing that happened; it's more of a celebration of us being in a band.
Is it important for you to tell stories lyrically?
Yeah, we do in some songs. Some songs are more obvious than others. "David" is quite obvious for instance, while "Darling Buds of May" is quite ambiguous. We throw in a few words to get your mind on the right track. There is a certainly a storytelling to our music.
Is Slough particularly musical?
No, the closest thing to music is the beeping of car horns outside of your bedroom window. Personally, none of my family is musical whatsoever. I know Frank's family is. I believe Sam's dad can play the haddock [Laughs]. Slough is not very musical.
Which artists shaped you?
I got into music quite late actually. The coolest memory I have is listening to Nirvana with my dad. Really, it was drowned in terrible music on the radio, pretty cheap pop music. That was fine. When I got to about 14, I began to get into other music. The Smiths are probably the band who stuck with me the longest. My favorite album is probably Strange Ways, Here We Come, which is their last one. It's got "William It Was Really Nothing" which is one of my favorite tracks. There's that pop element with those really serious lyrics. It's a great song. I'd also say The Beatles.
If Famous First Words were a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question! I'd say Ferris Bueller's Day Off because it's rebellious and it was written by kids [Laughs].
Have you heard Viva Brother yet?