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28 October 2014

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Raging without the bull

There’s always been something of a musical link between Manchester and New York. Take Morrissey’s love of the New York Dolls for example. So it’s not surprising to find that Brand New are returning that love and finding inspiration in old Mozzer.

Brand New's Jesse Lacey
Brand New's Jesse Lacey

As they rolled into town to start their UK tour, Emma Robson went down to have a chat with lead singer Jesse Lacey about his influences, the new album Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me and what Manchester means to him.

How does playing in Manchester compare to other cities?

"So many of our favourite bands are Manchester bands, though I don’t really think of the cities in which bands are from, as it’s just as good as everywhere else. You can get caught up in the stigma of Manchester, but when it comes down to it, kids are just as special here as they are everywhere, I’m just glad to be here."

You love the Smiths and Morrissey, which other Manchester music has influenced you other the years?

"You can get caught up in the stigma of Manchester, but when it comes down to it, kids are just as special here as they are everywhere."
Jesse Lacey on seeing Manchester from the outside

"Possibly the Stone Roses; as far as British music, bands like Ride, Morrissey, The Smiths, and The Beatles are favourites of ours. It’s funny when you enjoy music, and realise it all comes from one specific spot, as British pop and rock have had their way with us."

The new album is called Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me. What does it mean?

"I don’t think the title was meant specifically for one idea, but more that it touched on the band and also certain things that were evident when you listen to it. It really came from a conversation I was having with a friend about a musician who got an illness which has a certain level of paranoia and schizophrenia, and it leans towards a spiritual thing, a battle between good and evil which is intriguing.

Brand New's Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me
Brand New's Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me

"The phrase itself was pretty cool, and reading it somewhere else would be striking, so that was what drew me to it, but listening back to the album I realised how much it represents  quiet and loud, the good and evil, but it also has a lot to do with faith and some spiritual aspects of the band."

The artwork is pretty striking. What’s the idea behind it?

"I think it has a level of creepiness for sure, but it is a definite photograph that has an insight for everyone, and it makes people think. Every time I look at it, I think of something new.

"I think the little girl is the scariest; I feel the place of power resides with the two people in the mask, but the girl seemed oddly calm in that situation. The way she holds her arm and sleeve seem strange, like she does not know what’s round the corner."

Lyrically, what are your influences?

Brand New
Brand New

"I get ideas from books, and also one of my best friend’s Kevin Devine. I asked him what he wanted to hear about, as I like to find out what he is writing about too. Some of the lyrics are simply direct responses to some of the questions he asked me. Others are from events. One song on the new album is written about a young girl who died in a horrific car accident, so there’s important stuff too."

Your new album is a change from Deja Entendu. Are you trying to head in a completely different direction?

"I don’t think that in our short recording career we have followed a path. It’s whatever come’s out at that point. A song is never pushed into a direction. In ways, I think this is a record apart from the last record, but there are still certain aspects that they have in common. It’s always surprising to us, as we don’t know how it’s going to sound until we’ve written a few songs."

Where do you go from here?

"We’re definitely making another album and hopefully soon. However, I have no idea what we’re doing! People think we have a plan and ask why we do things, but we don’t know. We woke up and played something we didn’t know was going to happen. I feel irresponsible, so I think the best answer is I am sure it’s going to be noisy!"

last updated: 12/02/07
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