As Pete and Carl once crooned, “they twist and they scream and they shout, only for the boys in the band.” The Britanys certainly live by that rule, and they’re about to burst out of the rock ‘n’ roll bubble they’ve been honing, to deliver you a perfect set.
Having formed in their freshman year of college these four – previously three – cut their teeth on the New York scene, ripping up venues across town. Following in the well trodden footsteps of a carpe diem New York musical canon consisting of the likes of The Strokes, The Ramones, The Voidoids – bands who translated the hard streets and warm characters into their own DIY sound – The Britany’s are positioned on a proven trajectory.
Unaffected by the music trends around them, they utilise their difference to create a timeless sound, one that touches a nerve. With a sharp wit and unaffected charm – buzzing with the excitement of making music, and charged with unashamed ambition – they’re reaching for the top. Exuding a youthful zest – just tap into their latest video for City Boys, showing the guys up to their usual antics on the NYC streets – they beckon you in and drag you on stage.
Lola Young: So, I gather Jake [Williams, guitar] recently joined and the band started to kick off.
Steele Kratt: Yeah, it gave us more body when we performed live, a fourth member just beefs everything up.
Lucas Long: Three pieces are hard to pull off.
LY: Where are you at right now?
LL: We’ve been working hard on these two songs that we’re perfecting. They’re coming out on Flying Vinyl in February, and we’re talking to Gordon Raphael who did all the Strokes stuff, he’s going to mix and master them.
LY: Your sound is great, but I’m really struggling to find stuff from you online.
Jake Williams: That’s Lucas, he likes to erase everything.
LY: Are you waiting until it’s all perfected and ready?
LL: Yes, plus we like it short and sweet. We now play six song sets and keep it to the cream of the crop. We’re fixing up all old songs, making sure it’s the best it can be before it’s out there, rather than just putting up random stuff.
SK: We take it one song at a time. We’ve been through this transitional period adding Jake etc, so it’s about to really amp up now.
LY: You sound like quite the perfectionists and also super hardworking.
SK: None of us want to do anything else and we’re at the age where we’re all about to be real adults, so it’s time to make our career.
JW: You’ve got to want to be the top of the pops man or else why fucking do it?
LL: We’re really competitive.
SK: We all used to play sports so we’re all psycho.
LY: There are a lot of Brooklyn bands around at the moment that share that commitment and energy, especially young bands. Do they influence you at all?
SK: You’ve got to go out to see shows all the time, you’ve got to be a part of that.
LL: But we don’t actually really fit in, our style. It’s all very psych rock right now and we’re not that at all. We just play what we want to play.
LY: So how would you sum up what your energy’s about?
LL: For us it’s about creating the atmosphere with the songs. That feeling you get when you’re with your friends on a Friday night getting ready to go out. It’s nostalgic, everything’s working out, nothing else really fucking matters. A space where people can live in the song. That’s what we’re shooting for.
LY: And where does that magic come from?
SK: The emotion we bring when we play.
LL: You can tell when a song has that feeling to it, it’s not technical, it’s just there.
JW: Do you think we’re better live or recorded?
SK: I think as a band you should always be as good as each other. The recording should be great, concise, easy to replicate. You should be able to do it exactly as it is on the record.
L: Listen to this Strokes song man.. It’s so simple, two chords, but it gets the message across and it creates that feeling.
LY: I feel you’re striving for a similar purity.
LL: Yeah strip everything down. People get so lost in five guitar over dubs, a million pedals and distortion.
SK: And we record everything full band to hold onto that energy.
LY: I imagine you play super tight live.
SK: We get so pissed off if its sloppy.
JW: We can be high energy, but always tight.
LL: The song will speak for itself if it’s good enough. Just play the song and let people relate to it.
LY: The best gigs are the ones where from the first note you play, everyone’s just so into it.
SK: Absolutely, having fun and letting loose.
LY: What are you writing about in the songs?
LL: Our song City Boys, is about if we ever go out of town and stop at gas stations in like Pennsylvania, people just look at you funny and can tell you’re not from around there. You’re a city kid.
JW: We’re obsessed with New York.
LY: You have big ambitions?
SK: I just want to raise my children without having to work a job.
JW: I play out of revenge, to make people feel bad about what they’ve done to me over the years, by living better than them.
LL: We all have ambitions and an idea in our minds about where we want to be and what we want to do. But I don’t think we want to define it, you know? Just let the natural course take place, there’s much more freedom that way.
LY: Do you think you’re developing in any different directions?
SK: It’s so different from the beginning, we’re constantly refining. Now we’ve found exactly what we want to do, this year’s just about running with it.
JW: Lucas has a five year game plan, in terms of the dream, he’s focused. And we’ve just turned a corner.
The Britanys Play at Brooklyn’s Alphaville on February 12th