'Welcome to the Unfiltered Evolution'
The New York-based band Brookville has confirmed the release of their third full-length release, 'Broken Lights' this September 29 on Unfiltered Records/ILG.
Unfiltered is the six-year old record label run by Brookville’s Andy Chase and is the second release under a new agreement with Warner Music Group’s Independent Label Group (ILG) to distribute his label.
Brookville’s Andy Chase (founding member of the band Ivy) also announced that the band would head out on the road with Trashcan Sinatras with whom he has a long relationship, having produced their latest release.
Andy Chase wears many hats – label co-owner (Unfiltered), producer (Juliana Hatfield, Tahiti 80), film composer (The Farrelly Brothers Shallow Hal), recording studio owner (Stratosphere Sound with James Iha and Adam Schlesinger) and musician (Ivy, Paco).
For Broken Lights, however, Chase for the first time handed over his producer hat to good friend Pedro Resende of the band Tahiti 80. The project took on an unexpected direction, with Resende coaxing the nuance out of Chase’s vocals giving Broken Lights much more of a singer-songwriter sensibility than earlier Brookville efforts.
So different, in fact, that Chase considered releasing it under another band name. Eventually it became clear that Broken Lights is merely the next evolution in sound for Brookville.
Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of chatting with Andy Chase about this band, Ivy, the new CD, Thomas Dolby, ... and, of course, penguins!
As you're a many of many talents, wearing many hats, who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "Thomas Dolby for me embodied for me the perfect marriage between producer & artist. He was a pretty interesting artist in his own right. He always flew under the radar with his own music, before establishing himself as a producer. I became aware of him as a producer as his career as an artist peaked and then petered off with Blinded me With Science and a great album called Flat Earth. But he took off then with another career as a producer."
"My favorite band in the world is a band called PreFab Sprout. They did 3 or 4 records in the mid 80s to 90s with Thomas Dolby producing, and absolutely wouldn’t have sounded the same without his production. So to me he was an inspiration because each hat he wore was pushing the envelope and each was interesting. I strive for that in everything I do – to keep everything fresh and interesting."
And with regard those many industry hats - label co-owner, producer, film composer, etc. - which one fits the most comfortably these days for you? "I think “singer/songwriter”. I mean, when I’m producing a band, I just work with a mindset of me being a band member and my comments are only coming from a place of “a guy in the band” who’s trying to make the song as good as possible. Ultimately, I think of myself as a singer, songwriter and musician. That’s where I’m most comfortable. Even within my label, I’m coming from a place of operating as a musician, as in “how would I want to be treated by a label? Am I treating my bands that way?”
And what's with this interestingly-titled third album, 'Broken Lights' - does it pertain to anything in particular, perhaps? "Broken Lights seemed an appropriate title. I’d felt like I’d come close to a nervous breakdown and I’d likened the lack of creative energy I had to batteries running out. I felt like a battery which was used up and thrown in the garbage. And, as if the lights I’d been connected to and powering had gone dark. I just had an image of the sun going dark, the lights going out, lighbulbs being broken. The period of life in which I wrote the album recharged my batteries. But until they were recharged, I had this image of all the lights being broken."
With the vocal sound of this album different to the previous Brookville albums, it was mentioned that you nearly released it under another band name! If you had done, what band name would it have come out under - and what stopped you?" "I was trying for The Rolling Stones, but we kept getting this legal letter from their lawyer."
"I think it would’ve been Andy Chase. The producer (Pedro Resende of the band Tahiti 80) was telling me I shouldn’t worry about names and put it out as Brookville. But it didn’t seem logical, because it was so different, more singer/songwriter. But calling it Andy Chase just seemed a little dorky. I‘m not a fan of the singer/songwriter genre, and with all the other projects I had, I just didn’t have the energy to explain yet another incarnation. This is just another chapter in the life of Brookville and I can accept that."
You're known for having some star collaborators on your Brookville albums - James Iha, Danny Wienkauf, etc. - so are there any to pay note to here on 'Broken Lights'? "With this album I was conscious of not trying to repeat myself and one of the things was not asking my whole troupe of friends with some name recognition to contribute. I wanted this to be different, to keep it more insulated. In the end I did ask some friends to contribute, none of whom had high name recognition value, but I thought they had plenty to add. So I asked Tim from The Postmarks to contribute and Ukraine singer Lana Mir who sang on “Goodbye” - both are on my label. But for the most part I stayed away from my usual cast of characters."
Indeed, how easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "These are things I never think about. They’re just not in my realm of consciousness."
"My dilemma is worrying if I’ll have inspiration enough for another album; and when I get it I’m so grateful I don’t even stop to think what the public will thinks about it. It’s all just tunnel-visioned into my anxieties and insecurities."
If you had to recount one regret in life, what would it be - and in reflection, how would you have handled it differently today? "I think I would have pushed my band Ivy to tour more. During the early days there was a lot of momentum and we became very disinfatuated with the whole touring climate. And we just assumed we could keep making our records and people who loved us would still be there four years later when we finally made our next album. In retrospect, I feel that was a mistake and if I could do it all over I would put more emphasis on touring."
"That and selling my Apple stock a year or two earlier."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "The Fixx “Stand or Fall”. Because there was no one cooler than The Fixx and there was no cooler song and I had no idea what they were talking about but that would be a great song to cover."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins ...do you? "I love Penguins - they are my favorite exotic bird to eat. With a little bit of oregano and rosemary, and slow roasted they taste like quail. Delicious!"
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
09/29 @ Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA
10/02 @ Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA
10/05 @ Hi Dive, Denver, CO
10/06 @ The B Side Lounge, Boulder CO
10/08 @ Emo's Inside, Austin, TX
10/09 @ Mink, Houston, TX.
10/13 @ Double Door, Chicago, IL
10/15 @ Radio Radio, Indianapolis IN
10/16 @ Southgate House, Newport, KY
10/17 @ Rex Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
10/20 @ The North Star, Philadelphia PA
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