an exciting time for Brand New at the moment. Not only have they created
two marvellous albums and grown in stature pretty much by word of mouth
(thanks to their excellent, energy packed live performances), but theyve
even had the legend that is Johnny Marr stalking them at their recent
shows! Lead singer Jesse Lacey took some time out to speak with Atomicduster
on the eve of their recent Leicester show.
AD: How was Brighton last night?
JL: It was perfect. The perfect start to our new tour. Its
the first time weve been over here since about a year ago when
we were opening for Finch, and its nice on your first night to
have that many kids go all out for you. It really sets the tone for
the rest of the tour.
AD: And there are quite a few queueing outside already here, even
though you only finished your soundcheck a few moments ago
JL: Apparently so. I havent been outside, but Im told
theyre already queueing around the corner.
AD: I wish I could have had that at some stage with the band I was
in. We were lucky if we had twelve people there by the time we broke
JL: Ha ha. We did that for years too! And you feel so much more
nervous if youre just playing to your mom and the sound guy too!
AD: So how did you make the transition from playing to one man and
his dog at the proverbial toilet venues to playing packed
venues all over?
JL: Honestly? I have NO IDEA! It just happened, and although most
bands would deny they had overnight success, Id have
to say thats exactly what happened with us. It really DID seem
like a case of playing to three people one week and then turning up
to see a full house everywhere. It kinda snowballed and its just
AD: Youve made two very diverse albums in Your Favourite
Weapon and Deja Entendu. How did the recording differ
this time around?
JL: It was kind of easier this time, because whereas the first time
we did EVERYTHING ourselves I mean, not just the writing but
the promotional stuff, marketing right down to selling our own
merchandise at the shows, this time we had the label behind us to do
AD: Is it true that you had problems with Steve Haigler? (Legendary
sound engineer best known for his work with Pixies)
JL: A little but, but you know, I dont wanna put the guy down
because he was just doing his job. And whilst we had several disagreements
with him, when it comes down to it all, hes done such a good job
with it, and I think thats reflected on the album.
AD: Hes done a fantastic job. Its a great record.
JL: Thank you.
AD: Just out of interest, knowing how deeply personal some of your
lyrics are (NB Guernica, for example, was written after
Jesses grandfather was diagnosed with cancer), do you ever feel
overcome with emotion while youre singing them? I mean, Deja
Entendu is for example a much sadder album in places than Your
Favourite Weapon was
JL: Sadder? Yeah I guess it WAS sadder. I mean, I was definitely
sadder when I was writing it, due to several circumstances and changes
in my life, and most of the songs I write ARE from experience so I guess
thats reflected in the lyrics. I do try to inject some humour
in there too though I dont think its a depressing
album in any way
AD: Well no, its not. And you certainly make me laugh every
time I hear the line I am paid to make girls panic while I sing
JL: Haha, that line makes me laugh every time I sing it too! I remember
when I first sang it, it just kinda came out. The first few times we
played it I was like Hmmm
do I REALLY want to keep that line?
but the more we played it, the more I liked it and I realised Yeah
that HAS to stay in!
AD: And you hardly ever mention the titles of your songs in the lyrics
JL: Yeah, I think thats half intentional and half coincidence
really. I think a lot of the time it sounds really corny and cheesy
if you sing the title too much in your songs, but most of the time its
just that I write the song and then think about the title afterwards.
Anyway, I think some of those tracks would sound ridiculous and ruin
the song completely if I sang the name of it.
AD: Play Crack the Sky probably wouldnt have quite
the same effect admittedly.
JL: Yeah Im glad you said that. Thats probably my favourite
track Ive ever written because its just so personal to me
and its quite a deep song too. I remember being at a friends
house and just recording it there and then on an acoustic guitar. I
dunno, I guess that one just means a lot to me.
AD: Have any of the band got any other artistic aspirations outside
the world of music?
JL: Lots. Well I have anyway. Ive always been fascinated with
the film industry, so Id like to do something relating to that.
And books, Ive read so many books since we went on the road its
AD: That must be why your lyrics are so good!
JL: Ha ha yeah thanks. What a lot of people dont realise though,
is that when youre writing songs, most of your inspiration comes
from OUTSIDE the music world anyway. I mean, I take an enormous amount
of inspiration from books and films as well as music and my own personal
AD: So which film character do you most closely identify with?
JL: Thats a tough question
(thinks for a while)
think Ill have to say Owen Wilsons character in The
Royal Tenenbaums. Im kind of like that myself someone
who fumbles his way through life. Before you go online with that though,
I ought to point out that I can only relate to that character BEFORE
he commits suicide! I have no intention of doing anything like that!
AD: Im glad to hear it! So how do you relate to the people
you were five years ago?
JL:Me personally, not very well! Im totally different now
and have only recently become happy with who I am. It always amazes
me how Ive met so many kids of 16 or 17 years old that seem to
be totally comfortable with themselves already! Im sure when I
was that age I was totally insecure and so, for that matter, were all
AD: I remember asking Johnny Marr that question a while back, and
he said that, although he still likes The Smiths music, he doesnt
really like, and cannot relate to, anything about the person he was
JL: Really? That must have been cool. Im glad you mentioned
him, because he followed us around for about three dates on our last
tour and we were really hoping to catch up with him because The Smiths
were one of my all time favourite bands, but unfortunately it never
(Side note for Johnny Marr If youre reading this, get in
touch with Jesse now! It would be fascinating to see Brand New and yourself
working together on a future project!)
AD: Last question then can you recommend a band that I (and
the readers of Atomicduster) have probably never heard of and should
JL: I would have to go with Mew. Its kinda rare these days
that you can buy an album and be blown away by every track, but thats
what these guys did for me. And theyre incredible live too. You
really should go check them out.
And so, after a brief melee in which I produced a copy of Deja
Entendu from my pocket for the band to autograph, but like a muppet
realised I hadnt actually bothered to bring a pen, Jesse was kind
enough to search for about 5 minutes until he found a permanent marker
with which he and the band were able to fulfil my request. Now thats
what I call fan friendly. Good luck guys. You deserve to
be huge (alhough, going by tonights turnout at the gig, you already
Interview; Tone E