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ISSUE 119 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/7/2005

Exclusive interview: The Bravery

By Peter Farrell
Executive Editor

Friday, October 7, 2005

Earlier last year, the New Musical Express called The Bravery "America’'s answer to Franz Ferdinand." At that time, the band was still unsigned, but the buzz surrounding the New York City based quintet had grown louder and louder after their month-long residency at Arlene'’s Grocery in lower Manhattan. Executives at Island Def Jam took notice: The Bravery were quickly signed to the label and released their eponymous debut album shortly thereafter.

In the time since, The Bravery have experienced many of the typical "young, successful rock band" growing pains. Exposure on MTV2 and commercial radio caused many former fans to denounce the group as a bunch of "sell-outs," while critics cooled off considerably towards the band after the record was actually released. Furthermore, a conflict developed between The Bravery and Las Vegas’' The Killers, another dance-rock band with a penchant for mascara and the color black.

Despite the scattered lows, The Bravery remain a popular and promising band. The group will make a stop in Northfield to headline St. Olaf'’s Fall Concert at Skoglund Auditorium on Oct. 8. The Manitou Messenger recently spoke to John Conway, the group’'s keyboardist and electronic maestro, about their current national tour, critics and The Killers, of course.

Q: Where are you right now?

We’'re in the Kansas area right now, heading towards Kansas City.

Q: This is your first headlining tour, right?

It’'s our first major tour in the U.S. We’'ve done a few headlining tours in the UK already. It’'s been really great so far.

Q: Any moment that stands out so far?

Well, we’'re actually in a bit of a daze right now. We just got back from Mexico and had a few interesting experiences with Tequila that erased most of our memories I'’m pretty sure. We’'re going to be touring for the rest of the year in support of the first record, so things should get pretty crazy.

Q: "An Honest Mistake" was a surprising success, and since that success, you guys have been subject to some critical backlash. Many have pegged you as just another "80s rip-off band." Why do you think critics have directed their ire towards you?

Well, I actually think we'’re a very forward-looking band. What we wanted to do with this last record was take organic rock 'n’' roll and mix it with modern technologies. A lot of bands get caught up in one sound, or one style, or one groove, and we wanted to avoid that. I think we get compared to 80s bands a lot because a lot of 80s bands pushed the technology of the time forward, whether it was good or bad. Bands like Duran Duran and Depeche Mode, they took a lot of risks and a lot of bands just used synthesizers because the technology was evolving quickly. We'’re not intentionally 80s, but I think since we'’re looking to push modern technologies into the rock mix we end up getting compared to a lot of those bands. I mean, I'’ve been playing keyboards for eight or nine years, these sounds are a part of my life.

Q: Are you guys looking forward to touring with Depeche Mode?

We’'ve never met the guys in the band, and we'’re really looking forward to it. We'’re going to be playing a few shows on their American tour. I'’ve loved those guys since I was a kid.

Q: What direction do you see the band heading as you get ready to record a follow-up to your debut?

Well, we'’re always recording. We recorded the first album in my apartment in Manhattan and Sam'’s apartment in Brooklyn. My apartment was on top of a sweatshop and Sam’'s was on top of a bar, so we’re used to recording wherever we are and in whatever conditions. Now we use laptops and we'’ve been writing on the bus, but like I said before, we’'re going to be spending most of the year touring and focusing on that.

Q: Finally, I have to ask… - - what'’s the deal between you and the Killers?

(Laughs). There is no deal with the Killers and us. It’'s a media thing. They'’re busy, and I know we'’re really busy, too. It'’s just been manufactured.

Q: Are you guys looking forward to coming to St. Olaf?


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