ROCK MUSIC'S NEWEST MESSIAHS - THE BREW
UK Blues Rockers Return with 'CONTROL'
Interview by The Dedicated Rocker Society
Though often named a modern Blues rock band, The Brew have evolved far beyond the restrictions of The Blues to become one of Europe's most prominent rock bands. Hailing from Grimsby (UK) this powerhouse trio draws inspiration from a wide range of influences, from the experimental psychedelic tunes of the '60s, to more contemporary artists on the rock scene.
The Brew's extensive European tours have resulted in a massive underground following, which is just beginning to break into the mainstream as their fan-base rapidly increases. Appearances across national television and radio stations in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Holland have confirmed the band as one of Britain’s better known musical exports.
In early July 2007, The Brew headlined the Maasboulevard Festival in Holland and were invited back to perform in 2008. They were described there at the end of the gig by their Dutch hosts as ‘The father, the son and holy spirit!’ for their sensational performance.
In 2006, The Brew were such a success at The Rock ‘n’ Blues Custom Show at Pentrich, Derbyshire, they were asked not only to do a second gig by the organizers on the following day on the Centre Stage, something not heard of in this events 25 year history, they were then booked to return in 2007. Pentrich, Rock ’n’ Blues regularly attracts some 45,000 people every year and Saturday, July 28, 2007, The Brew headlined on the Cross Piston Stage and were an outstanding success, taking a double encore from the audience. The Brew, in August 2007, performed on The British Stage at the UK’s biggest R’n’B festival in Colne, and once again on the day were the only band to receive double encores. In 2008 they headlined the festival on the Sunday, on the British stage. They have played alongside some of the Worlds leading Rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Chickenfoot and continue to tour extensively across the world.
Recently The Brew completed a 2hour Live Set for the national Belgium Radio Station, Classic 21 and were filmed by National France TV 2, for their performance at this year's Festival in France, Le Blues Autour Du Zinc. They have performed at the National Classic 21 Radio Station, RTBF Showcase Festival in Brussels,one Belgium’s Premier festivals. Reaching number two in the USA iTunes Blues Download Chart in August 2007 provided even more evidence that the world is ready for the band.
If there were ever a rock band ready to break it big in America, it would be The Brew. Next month will see the release of the band's fourth studio recording, 'Control'. A recording recorded live in studio capturing the band's explosive power and passion. The Brew have not only created a great rock album, they have done it without ripping off other bands. They have their own sound and made classic rock modern. This is old-school, power rock trio, rock-n-soul played the way it was meant to be played.
The Rocker and I wanted to get the lowdown behind this tour de force Blues rock trio and to find out what makes them click. Here's what The Brew bassist Tim Smith shared with us.
How long have you been together as a band?
"The Brew started out in 2004 so it looks like this is our anniversary of 10 years on the road!"
Who are your musical influences?
"The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Wolfmother, Free, Kula Shaker, basically the list is endless, we listen to and have such a wide range of musical influences."
Let's talk about the new album, 'Control'. How did you guys approach this recording versus with your previous releases?
"The last albums reflected our musical point at that time. We have always tried to keep pushing our limits, both musically and lyrically. We want to keep fresh and interesting with each new release. So we wiped the slate, so to speak, and looked around at who we would like to work with and how we wanted the next album to “feel” and sound. We all agreed though that we definitely wanted a more live and raw feel. So we got in touch with Producer Toby Jepson, (ex Little Angels, Fastway) Toby has a rising profile in the musical Production, with a wealth of playing experience over many years, he’s been a the very top of the game to say the least, so we met with him and immediately we were all on the same platform! Toby loves to record live, for us this, as everyone knows, is where The Brew is happiest, so from the very start it was an exciting prospect having Toby produce. He let things roll naturally, guitar solos in one or two takes, Vocals the same, to give it a real live feel. I think he was right, The Brew have never been as happy in a studio as this last album, I believe this shows and we achieved what we hoped for. We were introduced to Steve Harris to mix the tracks. Steve has a formidable reputation as both mixer and producer, mixing albums such as Santana's album Supernatural, U2 (Beautiful day and Sweetest thing), the Kula Shaker album K, Kaiser Chiefs, Kodaline, the list is endless! So Steve brought a great understanding and wealth of experience to the mix and what The Brew were about and what we wanted to achieve."
All the songs on 'Control' with the exception of "Fast Forward", are one word titles. What was the concept behind that and who came up with the idea?
"Well it was me that came up with the concept of the idea of “Control” for the new album title and concept. I had been thinking about the lyrics for sometime. As always, collecting ideas right from the very end of the 'Third Floor' album and also using some things that did not fit with that album and still wanting to find a place for them in future projects. The more I started to right down these ideas and lyrics for the tunes we had, I noticed a theme running through them. Not by conscious design, I certainly didn't set out to write this way, but this idea began to grow. When you read the lyrics the idea of control in different aspects of your life and at different points of our life seemed to fit this concept. Hence I put this idea to the lads and they bought into it straight away! The titles are taken from the control unit you find on any CD player or TV remote for example, the idea that you can press the button to control your life. To say its a concept album for me is a little strong. When I think of a concept album I immediately think of Tommy by The Who, Albums like Tubular Bells and the great Prog Rock bands of the past, Well it certainly is not that, but if a running theme in the lyrics tied in with the title of the songs is a concept then I guess it must be!!! To me its more like 'Quadrophenia', although that was more about the psychological and musical happenings from a teenage life, “Control” is a person looking at their life from different view points and at different periods during their life, and how these events effect them. .. It all sounds very deep doesn't it! But it really isn't. Each song stands up by itself without the need to know about or hear the other songs. But they also work great together which ever way you hear them!"
Can you share any memorable moments in the making of 'Control' (good or bad) that you'd care to share with us?
"The making of t 'Control' was quite honestly our happiest time in the studio ever! We remember it for being a totally relaxed and enjoyable experience no pressure just good fun. And the fact that there was a local pub two minutes walk from the studio! Which saw plenty of action during the three weeks that we were there! Listening back to The instrumental tracks the first time without vocals etc. was certainly very memorable. We all looked at each other in disbelief at how good we thought that the tracks sounded at such an early stage. And seemingly without any stress put into the recording of them."
How long did actually take to record 'Control'? How many songs did you actually write for the album?
"The physical recording took three weeks, the mix took another 10 days, but the actual writing of the album took place over the preceding 12 months."
What was it like working with your producer, Toby Jepson? Did you find it easier getting your ideas across on how you wanted the album to sound, being that Toby is recording artist himself?
"Working with Toby was a great experience. Toby has been there seen it and done it, he has worked in all the major studios across the world, working with some of the greatest names you can imagine. In both his playing career and as a producer. But there was no ego involved, Toby was totally understanding from the off of what we wanted to achieve. At our pre-recording meetings we had spent a lot of time discussing how we were to record and the ideas we had. Toby was in there from the start with us. Being a performer, as well as a producer certainly helped in this case. He understood that the band had a reputation as a live act and producing a great amount of energy on the stage, And this was one of the main criteria that we wanted to reproduce on the next album. We didn't have to labour this point with him because he was totally on the same planet."
What do you guys bring to the Rock music scene that separates you from the other rock bands that are out right now?
"Hopefully certainly a live show that will stay in the memory of the person seeing us for the first time for the rest of their life. We given 110% every night we play, and we want that to come across to the audience when they see us whether it's the first time or the 20th time! The show reminiscent of the legendary days of The Who and the Led Zepplin performances. Can only try to aspire to achieve this. But as a small three-piece band we're very fortunate in that Jason is such a talent on the guitar and recognized as such. He has won many awards across Europe for his ability. And likewise Kurt on the drums who is such a powerhouse on the drums reminiscent of Keith Moon and Bonham. Not our words but those of critics and the like. Even down to the 10 minute Drum solo including hands and all! Classic rock from the 60s and 70s but with the 21st-century edge. No future without the past!"
From what we've read, your LIVE shows are a MUST SEE. Do you consider yourselves a studio band or a Live band?
"A LIVE band! But with the new album "Control", we hope we managed to bring that live energy into the studio."
What goals have you set for yourselves for 2014? Any plans on coming to America to do any shows? When you do (notice We said "When" not "If") come over, who would like to tour with? Any particular venue(s) you'd like to play?
"We would love to do some shows in the USA. Its top of our "To Do" list! We have been fortunate enough to have toured with the likes of Lynryd Skynyrd and ZZ Top, Chickenfoot in Europe, and maybe we can hook up with these guys in the USA? We don't mind too much what venues we play as long as it allows the band to give justice to its performance and the people coming to see us. There isnt really any point in coming to America to play where people are not going to get the chance to see The Brew at its best. So we'll wait for the right opportunity."
Any parting comments or message you like pass along?
"It's truly humbling that people like you take the time out to seek out bands like The Brew and show your support. It's why bands exist, without the fans they are nothing. We are only here because of you. A point that can get forgotten. And after 10 years my Best advice can only be, keep the faith."
For more info on The Brew: