You may have heard of BRÅVES. Then again, you may have not. The trio are a band that work very hard to maintain an air of anonymity and mystery around themselves and their work. They want their work to speak for itself, and over the course of three EPs they have achieved just that, creating an internet buzz without relying on their faces. Their penchant for creating art about often uncomfortable subjects, as well as their somewhat controversial visuals, have got the blogs talking and it’s high time we did to. Take a listen to their latest EP below, as we tracked down producer Johnny What in an attempt to lift the veil on the band…
You recently released your EP III. It was your third EP of 2016; you must constantly be creating music, do you have any difficulties in staying inspired?
The only difficulty these days is finding time to get the three of us in a room together with the intention of writing. Once that is accomplished, there is no shortage of inspiration.
You have stated in the past that BRÅVES is an “artistic social experiment that observes human subjects in their real world situations for the purpose of better understanding our actions as a species.” In the process of working on BRÅVES, have you been forced to confront some uncomfortable truths or realisations in regards to human nature?
Absolutely. For example, I just finished shooting the video for the first single off our upcoming self-titled LP and I am still wrestling with what I shot. But every time I think about it I ask myself, “Johnny, why are you uncomfortable with this?” And ultimately it leads me to getting to know myself better which I believe is a key to a happier humanity.
The video for your single ‘Lovely Bones’, which was taken from EP II earlier this year, shows twelve year olds training for pole dancing world championships. They are clearly athletes, but due to the connotations of pole dancing it raises questions of whether the girls are able to escape being overtly sexualised despite what they are doing not being “sexual”. Did you come to any conclusions of your own on the matter after creating the video?
When we first found the girls from our video we were all very uncomfortable watching the footage. But again, we asked, “Why?” and the conclusions we came to were: “This is athleticism. We only perceive it as sexual because there is a program running in our culture that tells us so.” We wanted to share that same feeling with as many people as we could and hoped they came to the same conclusion. Based on the comments section, particularly on Facebook, some did and some did not. Either way, we’re glad we did it.
The proceeds of the sales of ‘Lovely Bones’ went directly to Covenant House, an anti child trafficking charity, whilst ‘Crush’ was featured in Kristin Davis’ documentary Gardeners of Eden that dealt with the illegal poaching of elephants. Many bands wouldn’t take the time to bring attention to such matters, but how important is it to you to highlight these causes with your creative output?
It’s so important that is seems unimportant – and by that I mean assumed or natural. It’s part of BRÅVES constitution to help where we can. And it’s easy; we get to do something we love and affect people in a positive way. Why wouldn’t we?
Your most recent single ‘Me The Thief’ discusses all-encompassing love, regardless of race, gender, age and species. Much of your music deals with love and heartache, what draws you back to it as a topic time and again? Is it possible to get tired about writing about it?
I think you’re associating our singles with our entire catalog, but we write a lot more than just love songs. That will be evidenced further on our LP but if you look at songs off EP III such as, ‘Monsters In The Steeple’ and ‘Kingdom Come’, you will see we are inspired by other topics. Even the verse lyrics in ‘Me The Thief’ deal with a broader spectrum of issues. I suppose the reason our singles have been about love is because, in general, that’s what people relate to the most personally.
You actively try to conceal your identities so as to keep attention on your music and videos and not yourselves, which is refreshing in this day and age. Do you feel that this has worked in your benefit so far?
I’d say so, but in some ways maybe it’s hindered us too. People expect so much from the artists they love these days. Maybe if we showed our faces fans would latch on more, but we’re not ready for that yet.
Your music is deliciously dark electro-pop. What drew you to using electronica for this project? What did it have to offer that other genres didn’t?
We’re all multi-instrumentalists who are bored with our instruments. I wanted to create a new sound. Ultimately that’s what keeps pushing music forward – new sounds. And electronic music enables us to do that. The possibilities are virtually limitless and that’s very exciting. I get bored pretty easily as a producer and am always pushing to discover new territory.
What are you planning next for BRÅVES? Are there any topics that you feel still need to be covered? Is there a tour in the works?
We have some very exciting things in the works. A full length record is on the way and we’re working on our live show now. It’s a bit outside the box. In fact it takes place in a sphere…
BRÅVES’ latest EP III is available to buy now. Listen to it in full below.