After a summer spent recording new music and learning about relevant, complicated topics, the self-described indie folk trio The Brazen Youth caught up with COLLiDE to reminisce about last year’s EP 15 Billion Eyes around the time of its one year release anniversary.
The band is comprised of Nicholas Lussier, Charles Dahlke and Micah Rubin.
How would you describe your band’s sound? Do you limit yourselves to one genre?
Nicholas: We’d call ourselves, like, indie rock. But in the world of indie rock, we’re not that indie rock.
Charles: Maybe unpredictable folk? We have a lot of natural elements to our music and that kind of ties us to folk. A lot of people compare us to folk bands, but we’re not a folk band! When you see us live, we’re rock n roll. 15 Billion Eyes was a little bit of rock, but none of our other albums have rock in them.
15 Billion Eyes has been out for a year now, will we be seeing any new music from you guys soon?
C: We’ve thought about retiring! But, I think we’d like to get another album out of the way. Nick probably wrote 30 songs this year, I wrote maybe ten, Micah wrote a few, and we’ve just been in the studio trying whatever. We recorded 15 songs this summer, but I think we’re gonna record probably another 10, then look through that and see if we have an album.
N: We were kind of just f***ing around this summer, recording stuff but it’s very loose still. We figured it was a good time to just try to get some tracking done with some of our newer songs.
Your last EP, to me at least, feels a little heavier both in terms of lyrics and sound. Can we expect more of that in the future?
C: Honestly, with 15 Billion Eyes it wasn’t even an album. It was more like, “alright we haven’t put out music in a while, let’s take our six best songs and do a band cut of them.” We did a lot of them with live-ish feels, like skeleton live tracks we could build off of. It was just that, just a collection of songs. This next album is a body of art, it’s like a thing. It exists as one entity, not as six tracks. It’s more cohesive and bigger, there’s going to be a wider sound pallet. 15 Billion Eyes in an EP, the only thing that’s going to carry over is maybe just little things.
M: Also the timeframe, too. 15 Billion Eyes was cut pretty quickly. We’re not even sure when we’re going to release the songs we’ve been recording this summer.
How has the pandemic influenced the way you create? Has it changed your perspective on the world or your daily routine at all?
N: For me at least, I’m at school right now, so it’s definitely affecting my social life, which definitely affects my creative life, you know? We were all spending a lot of time together this summer at Charlie’s family farm and it was just the best possible excuse to devote over a month of 12 hours a day of just recording. None of us had many other responsibilities at the time.
Given the past few months where we’ve seen really heavy topics come back into the collective conscious—national protests in defense of Black lives being one and rampant abuse allegations within the music scene being another—what are your stances on these things? Once concerts are back, what do you plan to do to ensure that women, non-binary people, trans people, and people of color feel both protected and welcome at your shows?
N: Conversations need to be had. Especially bands that are all cisgender males, like, there’s a weird toxicity that sometimes can exist. Those types of walls need to be broken, those conversations need to be had. But at the same time, I think every band that has a platform, it’s their responsibility to use that to promote inclusive ideas and anti-racist ideas, to really hold venues and other bands accountable. It’s so easy to just not hold other bands accountable. And also just actively admitting to ourselves that there’s a lot of stuff we will never understand fully as men! Stuff that we need to continue to educate ourselves about to the best of our ability.
M: Yeah, what Nick said but also trying to put ourselves in the perspective of women and everyone else. Being like, we really need to understand that we’ll never understand what other people go through on a daily basis.
C: We’ve seen how important it is for bands that have a platform to use their voice now. Since May or so, and since we’ve been taking it more seriously, we post about things that actually f***ing matter, not just stupid band sh*t. There are people who are not interested in hearing that. It’s like, let them go! Filter out the sh*tty people! We’re a band of three cis dudes and we don’t want toxic people, toxic men, showing up at our shows. I don’t think we’re the kind of band that has toxic fans, but like, it happens, and we want our shows to be full of better people, good people. We want to cut the seedy people.
What’s something you’re looking forward to?
M: I haven’t been asked that question! That’s crazy.
N: I’m looking forward to if Trump loses, that would be cool. I’m not excited about Biden but I’ll take him over Trump any day.
C: There’s very little to be excited about right now. I think that’s the most positive outlook I can have on everything going on right now. There’s just a lot of institutions being brought to the ground floor and now we get to do a lot of rebuilding from here. So I hope this is a step for America, and the world, in the right direction. I hope in the music scene that venues can find ways to open up and be anticipating these long closures. I hope everything is rebuilt with a little more anticipation for chaos.
Stream 15 Billion Eyes today:
Photo by: Justin Briasco