On May 23, 2015 – BRAIDS performed live at Stubbs Amphitheater in Austin, TX. Vinylmnky had the opportunity to interview the band that’s fresh off of their latest release, Deep in the Iris; before the show.
Vinylmnky is excited to welcome Raphaelle, Austin, and Taylor from BRAIDS. Thanks for being here with us today, we are excited about your tour stop here in Austin!
First off, congratulations on the success of Deep in the Iris! It is a fantastic album, I’ve had it on constant rotation for a few weeks now, and your sound has certainly evolved over time. Tell me a little bit about how the recording process was this time around?
- A: It was completely different. We uprooted ourselves and went on these big recording retreats. It’s how we decided to write and record the record; in isolated areas in the middle of the forests or deserts. It was really beautiful. We b-lined straight to Arizona and we went to the high desert in Prescott and set up there in a cabin for seven weeks and started.
- R: It was a lot more immersive than our last record. We just spent day and night working on it, whether from a house or working on it on a hike, as it calmed our minds. The whole process was devoted to feeling good and then recording.
Talk to us the process by which you guys create music together and how it’s morphed from the beginning to now?
- A: A lot has stayed the same. Our musical process is 100% collaborative. Raph writes the lyrics, and the song writing is amorphous – we all play an equal part in it. We all have our strengths that complement each other, but the biggest thing is how it’s such a mash up of the three of our individual styles. It’s not just one person’s product, but a collective.
- T: We branched out too in this record. Like I discovered the piano – and that adjusted our music into writing in the piano. It allowed us to do something we’ve never had before, adding a huge melodic contribution.
My favorite track is “Miniskirt”. It’s a really raw song; can you tell us more about it?
- R: It was a very intense instrument musical jam for like three weeks. It was very intense, to the point that our ears would be ringing over it. And we would be just like screaming over instruments. And then, I didn’t have lyrics and I didn’t know what I was going to sing over it. When we went to Vermont, it just demanded something that was really forward, confrontational, confident and aggression to a degree, and that’s how it came about. It’s a reflection of my experiences as a woman and observations that I’ve had of being a female musician and observations I have had being a part of society.
So, what are some of your favorite tracks to play live?
- A: Warm like Summer
- R: I really like Blondie, Miniskirt, and Warm like Summer
- T: All of them really, this is the first time where live songs have really spoken to us, so we’re really having a good time playing all of them. Usually by this point of the tour for records we would get tired of playing the songs over and over live, but that’s not at all the case with this one. And we still have a lot to discover playing them live, which is really exciting.
- A: We were also finding out our certain strengths and malleability within the songs and how they translate live. Our last record teetered on the specific production while this was more focused on the song writing, and as a result, we could change the song to a live environment and still have them stand strong.
One of you mentioned that the band’s name spoke about the interwoven and interlaced style of music you make. That describes the band name better than any other band name I’ve heard. So how did that come about?
- T: We really wanted to emphasize the collaborative process of the band and wanting to be really equal in the process.
- A: The symbol and idea of the braid is very important. Equal in strength and stronger as a whole than the individual parts.
What about influences? Who are your biggest influences on this record?
- A: Discovering Joni Mitchell, we all dove in heavy into the blues just a month prior to recording the record. It was a huge thing – her openness, vulnerability, storytelling and her song writing is beautiful.
- R: Alanis Morissette
- A: From an instrumental emotion perspective, there’s a lot of influence from drum and bass music. Especially from a live perspective.
What if you weren’t pursuing music…what would you guys be doing?
- R: I think I would probably be doing something with children, maybe teaching or something where I could spend a lot of time with them and I feel the beginning of a child’s life is very important in ensuring they have a strong foundation of love and care. Or something with food…and kids? Yep.
- A: Photographer or Chef. Those are two of my biggest passions. The cover is and the lyric book within the album are all photos I took out there while recording.
- T: I was studying philosophy, so I’d probably go back to that, even though I’m not quite sure where that would go.
So, at Vinylmnky, we have been very excited about the resurgence of vinyl in the marketplace.
- A: Oh, yeah! We are too.
Well perfect – that’s my question. What’s your take on it?
- A: It’s great. It’s the best format to listen to music.
- R: It’s nice to listen to the whole thing and not skip around tracks – it causes you to listen to the whole album.
- A: It’s such an immersive way to listen to music. It’s a community thing too – we’d have people come over and sit down on the floor together, pull out some records – which totally shaped how we made our music. They’re big pieces of musical art that are tangible, that you can hold, pass around, and discuss them. It’s a way more enjoyable way to listen to music and incredibly social.
- R: For sure.
- A: I actually listened to the test pressings of Deep in the Iris on vinyl and I cried. It sounded excellent.
Deep in the Iris is considered a Breakthrough Album on Vinylmnky.com – how does that feel to specifically recognize BRAIDS?
- A: Feels amazing that you would get behind it, it’s very cool to have the desire to share what you’ve done with your subscribers. It’s an honor. It’s a compliment.
- R: I think a lot of our fans and our audience are deep music appreciators and it seems like you guys are as well, so it just a really great fit. We love music so much and that’s why we do it.
That’s all we’ve got the time for before BRAIDS goes on stage. Thank you guys and Best of Luck!
Give Miniskirt a listen to, now that you’ve got the back story
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