Being compared to the likes of The Strokes, New Order and The Killers isn't a bad thing but it can wrap a band into a genre box that doesn't leave much room for creativity or newcomers. The Bravery has battled everyone from the critics questioning their originality to fellow label mate, Brandon Flowers spewing out comments about the genuineness of the band.
The Bravery is singer/guitarist Sam Endicott, guitarist Michael Zakarin, bassist Mike Hindert, keyboardist John Conway and drummer Anthony Burulcich. "We're all based in New York City. A few of us were born and raised here. We kind of met up in pairs; two of us went to school in (Washington) DC together and two of us went to school in upstate New York together. I guess about four years ago we paired up through mutual friends," recaps Zakarin. "We started to play little clubs around NY like 'Lit' and 'Arlene's Grocery and we slowly built a fan base. We didn't really gain any sort of recognition until we finally did a record and had a regular gig at Arlene's Grocery and that's when we really started to get a fan base."
Their debut self titled album, sprung grassroots out of their NY city apartment, where the band created, recorded and produced it. "We made the first album with zero intention of anyone hearing it, besides us. It was really a project that was completely intended to just satisfy what we wanted to hear and what we wanted to do musically. It wasn't 'till it came on accidentally at a little house party we were throwing when someone asked us what was playing that we realized we really had something, "Zakarin recalls. Promoting the album themselves via the internet was a pivotal move: "There's no question that MySpace and the internet helped us a ton when we first started. I would say we were one of ten, at the most, bands that existed on MySpace when we first used it. I remember sitting down and discovering MySpace with the rest of the guys and not seeing a single band other than us using it." With the explosion of MySpace music, Michael adds "It's still a great avenue for promotion for us. We still have a close connection with MySpace because we were one of the first to use it. We do little secret shows for them and they're nice about promoting our stuff on their website. We actually just completed a song for their first MySpace Concert Compilation with the Smashing Pumpkins which was really cool." All that self promoting paid off as "The Bravery" CD landed a top ten spot on the UK charts with the single "Honest Mistake" and the band signed to Loog (UK) and Island Def Jam in America.
With the recent release of their sophomore project, The Sun and The Moon, Zakarin and the rest of the band quietly await the reaction of fans and critics alike. "We couldn't be more excited than we are now. We were waiting and waiting and anticipating. But it is quite different than the last, more dance one (album). We veered off a little bit from all the disco rhythms and the really high tempo songs. This one has a wider variety on songs. We traded in a lot of the electronic sounds for more organic instruments; so less synths and more organic organ. There are some acoustic songs and everyone's singing. That was a big thing for us; so there are more vocal harmonies. If someone didn't sing before, we learned how to sing. So it's kind of nice, especially live."
The Sun and The Moon had a much more traditional musical birth, being made in studio with a producer; something Zakarin says "was a much more professional experience for us. At the very least it pushed us to just play better, perform better, write better and not settle. Especially working with a producer that we just admired so much as an absolute genius musically, Brendan O'Brien (Rage Against The Machine). He's just so knowledgeable about producing, about getting the right sounds. He's a multi-instrumentalist. He's so animated and so energetic. He just won't let you settle on a take or a vocal. He definitely pushed us and I don't think this record would have been the same without him."
Their growth as musicians has led to creative and innovative arrangements that include pump organs ("Believe"), mellotrons ("Time Won't Let Me Go") and even a string quartet ("The Ocean"). All of this combined with their original zest and energy results in an album that blasts "The Bravery" straight out of the box, leaving critics and any wilted "Flowers" behind.
"The Bravery" is currently on tour supporting The Sun and The Moon. Check out tour info at www.thebravery.com .
Writer: Lisa Kerr