Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Braveyoung (Zack Jones)

Braveyoung (formerly known as Giant) hail from Greensboro, NC and compose beautifully lush and complex instrumental music for your aural pleasure. Their latest, We Are Lonely Animals and their preceding EP Song found release through the mighty The End Records (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Ulver, Goes Cube, etc).

They've had a busy 2011 so far with the release of their latest LP and a pending collaboration with The Body. Up next the troop is about to launch on a Northeast US/Canadian tour with our friends in Rosetta. On their way back home, Ithaca Underground is presenting an absolutely FREE show with this fantastic five-piece in celebration of Bubba (IU main-man) Crumrine's birthday and the final performance of local favorites, Beach Parade. BY bassist and co-founding member Zack Jones takes a few minutes before they hit the road for some quick Q&A.

IU: For the uninitiated, could you give our readers a bit of background on how you, your brother, and Kyle (and Derrek at the time) all met and started writing music together as what would become Braveyoung?

Zack: Isaac and I have been playing together since we were children. We grew up in a small farmtown in rural NC, fortunately immersed in a very musical family. Kyle and Derrick were living in greensboro when Isaac and approached them about working with us on some stuff. We had already written what would become the red opus, and some other stuff we later discarded.

IU: When did Ben come into the picture?

Zack: Rodney, who had been working with us during the recording of 'song' and some tours following that, decided to have a family.  Ben is a long time friend, and he was over what he was involved in musically at the time, so after continuing for quite some time as a four piece, we asked him to help us flesh out some bigger ideas.

IU: Earlier this spring the band released "We Are Lonely Animals" What are some of your favorite moments of the LP - ether of the process or the composition itself? 

Zack: There have always been long drags of time between records with braveyoung, mainly because it is expensive to produce a record the way we feel like a record should be produced. We had been stuck on a collection of recordings that over 2 years of production, had thousands and thousands of dollars invested in it, only to be discarded. It was an intensely confusing time for us, and when Derrick decided to leave the band after 5 weeks in Europe, it gave us the opportunity to just completely move on from that material. The writing was, personally, one of the most intimate and favorable experiences of my life. We also got to record live, which is something we always felt would benefit us. We were very excited to finally be able to put to record what we had been doing live for the past few years. Trying to compose some pieces that had a severe amount of weight to them without being "heavy", in a common sense of the word. I really like how quiet the record is.

IU: Also earlier in the year, you all collaborated with The Body on a studio project - any updates on when the world might get to hear what came of the sessions?

Zack: This fall if all goes as planned. We are doing a full US tour with them in September.

IU: How does the collaboration compare with each bands recent works?

Zack: It is different, but those familiar with each band will be able to pick up on the things we do. I am really excited to get that out.

IU: How did the dates with The Body and the Assembly of Light Choir go?

Zack: Those are the kinds of shows we aspire to do.

IU: Any particular aspect or dates of the upcoming Canadian tour with Rosetta you're particularly stoked on?

Zack: We have never been to Canada. We've consistently denied at the border. If we get in, every show can be complete shit and it will be better than ever before.

IU: Back in '08, the band connected up with The End Records, which have issued both of your subsequent releases. How did you guys get hooked up with those folks?

Zack: They approached us in the midst of a few other labels trying to get us to sign ridiculous contracts. They appealed to us because of the diversity of bands on the label, and they were the only ones genuinely interested in what we were wanting to do creatively.

IU: Shortly afterwards came the name change from Giant to Braveyoung - probably a dated question, but still one I'm curious about - why the change? 

Zack: To be perfectly honest, we didnt much care for the name Giant. people took it too literally, and it just eventually seemed silly. We were contacted by a representative of Dan Huff of the 80's rock ballad jammers, and we used it as an opportunity to move on from that moniker.

IU: At times, there seems to be a plethora of instrumental bands playing with ambient and rock elements - what do you feel sets Braveyoung apart? 

Zack: We are all fairly terrible at keeping up with whats currently happening in the musical world. Im not sure anything sets us apart from anyone. We are just doing what we want to do.

IU: Online, you list Braveyoung as "a punk band" in part of your biography. What does being a punk band mean to you in this era?

Zack: I think I can only explain this to someone that already gets it. There are no sets of rules or guidelines to being whatever you want to be. We just do our thing and try to be real, and i feel like we have a tendency to backlash on the constant attempts at categorizing and adding labels to musical projects.

IU: In addition to the release of the effort w/ The Body, what's coming next for Braveyoung? Tours, new material, etc?

Zack: We have a film score that we are working on for Chris Bernsten, and a few things after that - I don't want to get ahead of myself though.

IU: Any final words to those coming out on 8/13?

Zack: Make sure to show your appreciation for the folks that are doing IU, and anyone else involved in keeping DIY culture alive in your community. Its not easy.

Don't miss Braveyoung performing live at The Haunt, 702 Willow Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850 with Beach Parade, Crime Pays, Mouth To Mouth To Mouth, and Doll Eyes - 5PM doors, 6PM start, all ages and 100% FREE!  BY will perform around 8:30.