INTERVIEW: The Brummies // Sloss Fest

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The Brummies have had an impressive 2018 with the release of their debut album Eternal Reach. The album (featuring a catchy, high-profile collaboration with country singer Kacey Musgraves) has brought the band success around the world with its cinematic, easy-going sound that harkens back to the 60s pop stylings of Elton John and ELO. With a touring schedule that will take them overseas in the coming months, look for the Brummies to sneak onto your playlists as they take over the world. The band was kind enough to sit down with Melodic for an interview at this year’s Sloss Fest:

Melodic (Jones): I remember knowing you as John and Jacob and seeing you play Seasick Records here in Birmingham. Now you’re back in Birmingham with a new name and a new sound; at what point did you realize it was time to make the change and become The Brummies?

Jacob Bryant: So, you’ve got to go back to the very beginning to figure out where The Brummies came from. John and I scored a publishing deal with our first band when we started in Alabama, which required us to relocate to Nashville. We started writing songs every day and had some success with writing songs for country artists (such as the Band Perry with their song “Done”). That endeared us to the sound of country music and we latched onto the duo name John and Jacob because of that publishing deal. We toured England and every time we would go over and play, they’d call us a “brummie” — slang for anyone from Birmingham, England. Eventually we decided we wanted to ditch the duo name; Trevor has been playing with us from the start, so we adopted that name, changed management, and here we are.

Melodic (Jones): The album that you released this year has picked up a ton of great press, and it’s led to slots like at this year’s Bonnaroo where I caught you—

Jacob: Oh nice! Did you like that? What’d you like better, Roo or Sloss?

Melodic (Jones): Well, today’s set was better for me because you can see the hometown draw that you have on Birmingham.

Jacob: It blows my mind looking out there and seeing people we don’t know singing and feeling the music. We can do so much on stage, but if the crowd isn’t into it, then—
John Davidson: We feed off of them and they feed off us. We’re like—
Trevor Davis: Cannibals, I guess.

Melodic (Jones): You guys have successfully what so many bands have failed to do — changing a name and sound and still finding new fans who don’t hold you fiercely to your older material. What’s next for the Brummies now that you’ve made the change?

John: Yeah, we’re gonna tour the hell out of this album. We’re headed to Europe soon, coming back and playing Red Rocks, and in between we’re going to be writing like we always do.
Jacob: We’re already trying to get back into the studio — ideally, we’d love to have an album out every year.

Melodic (Jones): What are some records that you are digging this year? Anything new that the world should hear?
Jacob: Well, we love music. And so each of us when we’re not on the road are kind of dying to get back on the road, so we’re constantly hitting up shows in either Nashville or Birmingham to find new bands and hear new sounds.
John: We’re suckers for the Vista Kicks boys and Lucie Silvas.
Jacob: The Lemon Twigs — saw them at Saturn last year and they were just impressive because of how young they are. I feel like we’re going to be talking about them ten years from now as a band that was way ahead of everyone else.

Melodic (Jones): What was it like making the move from Birmingham to Nashville? Was it as radical of a shift as I’m thinking it was?
Jacob: It was a huge shift. We moved to Nashville not knowing anything.
John: You walk down Broadway and you hear hundreds of musicians that are just as good as you are, skill-wise, so to be successful it really just comes down to who is the better songwriter. The best of the best are in Nashville right now.
Trevor: Nashville really opened the door for us when it came to touring around. We played so many shows once we came up to Nashville. It really put us in touch with folks who can connect with us all around the world.
Jacob: With that being said, Birmingham is truly home. It doesn’t matter how long we live in Nashville or what happens there, we can always come back to Birmingham and see one of the coolest music scenes in the country. We were a part of the initial emo/screamo shows in Birmingham at Cave 9 and The Forge, and to see that grow with The Bottletree and venues like Saturn now is unbelievable.
John: Birmingham is sort of that dark horse music hub of the country, and we’re so lucky to have started our careers there.

//

A big thank you to The Brummies for chatting with us! Check out our coverage from Sloss Fest here and some portraits from our interview below:

Learn more about The Brummies at their website, and listen to Eternal Reach on Spotify.

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