"BRAIDS is a band that lost to a Red Hot Chili's cover band in high
school. This is how we met. Raphie knew Austin since Junior High.
Austin used to sleep beside his Dad's bass drum. Austin and Taylor
were in a Jazz combo in High School. Raphie met Katie in Theatre
class. Katie dropped out of certain classes so she could stay in
Theatre and play Piano. Katie met Taylor through a trip to Greece.
They stole music from volunteering at their favorite local radio
station. Raphie broke her leg and took up Guitar. They all decided to
start a band.
However, the name did not change until the move to Montreal. This
signified a shift in how the band was being run at the time - songs
written in a collective setting and each member growing with each
other. Thus the name BRAIDS - an entirely collective unit with each
strand being an important part to the whole."
However early in the year it is to say this, Native Speaker will probably be my favorite album of 2011. Canadian four-piece Braids create both slower, emotional anthems led by Ralphaelle's ravishing voice, and upbeat, eclectic, melody-driven songs that often deviate from pop tradition with refreshing twists in rhythm, lush tremelo/delay textures, and as opposed to full fledged ambience, tamed euphoria created soley by guitar and keyboard cooperation. With songs that average seven minutes in length, you'd expect maybe more drone or meditative instrumentals; instead Braids create ever-progressing arrangements with lyrical basis that more than alludes to sexual desire. In a time where there is an increasing split and difference between the art of a bands' record and live performance, Braids' recordings sound like the performance and the performance feels like the record.
What has changed from Set Pieces to Native Speaker?
The focal point that is the basis of our band now - collective writing. Set pieces was recorded at our local radio station and was a documentation of what we were doing at the time. At that point , we were still writing as individuals.
Baths just this past November toured around Europe, and you guys are on are on a month-long tour around the U.S., how do you all know each other, if at all? Do you foresee this tour being different than the ones you've done in the past?
On Gobble Gobble's infinitetour they met Will and since have become musical lovers. We were already part of Gobble Gobble's love circle and so it was inevitible that we would meet. We have never toured the states so we expect to pick up accents on the road and hopefully bring them back to Montreal.
What's the best parts of being on tour, and what are the worst?
Food you can't find in Montreal, like Chipotle wraps. One thing we don't like about being on tour is the large amounts of damage we do to our bodies: weird sleep schedules, weird roadside foods, and weird thoughts.
Have you begun recording new material, if so, how would you describe it in reference to what you all have created up until this point?
Sort of. We're experimenting with trying to write through the computer rather than write live (which Native Speaker was). So there is a basis of a recording there but it won't be finalized until we actually sit down and do it. We're going to be recording/writing on the road and Raphaelle had mentioned writing words that celebrate rather than struggle.
What impacts your music making process?
Being able to experience things - that is very general but really if it comes down to the route of things it's the ability to feel emotions and react to impulses and environments. Especially as a collective - our move to Montreal was a huge influence on Native Speaker.
Is there a certain way you guys go about making each song, or is it different every time?
Someone usually brings an idea or a concept and we all play with it; adding parts until it becomes a big wall of sound and then we strip it down.
What's your set up, in terms of equipment and the way you use it?
Guitar, guitar, keyboard, drums, line 6 pedals, boss reverbs and delays, and mixers: for native speaker the instruments stayed true but all the effects were used on logic. Next album, will be written entirely on the computer.
Do you guys have any side-projects we should know about? How do you guys feel about collaborating with people outside of the band?
Yes, Raphaelle is in a band called Blue Hawaii and they released an album last year called Blooming Summer. It is pure pop. Katie has collaborated with Landon Speers of Headaches and they will be releasing something soon. Collaborating with other people is great, but trying to find the time to do it all is the difficult part. BRAIDS take up so much of our time it's difficult to collaborate with other busy bodies.
What are your plans for 2011?
2011: tour tour tour and tour
Braids' Native Speaker is out now through Kanine Records, your choice of Vinyl or CD through Insound.