After releasing two, critically-acclaimed records, The Brothers Comatose return to the familiar Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco to get back to their Southwestern, broad-stroke Americana twinge in 'City Painted Gold'.
Hailed as one of the most anticipated Americana records of the year, the album is a homage to the desolate and displaced.You're heading to Australia soon to play at Dashville Skyline. What are you looking forward to most about the festival?
[Ben Morrison, singer-guitarist] This is our first visit to Australia and we can't wait. I've heard really good things about the festival. It's been making some waves even though it's only the second year. And I've seen a couple of the bands before as well. We're stoked to be part of it.You've recently released your third record 'City Painted Gold.' Tell me about the tracks.
The album is roughly based on a time when our home of San Francisco was (and is still) going through a lot of changes. Lots of tech companies moved in very quickly and rose rent prices so much that many of the artists were forced out. Lots of the tracks reflect those changes and talk about exploration of new and uncharted territories. There are also tracks about playing music with your siblings, unpredictable women and longing for nature.
Where did the inspiration come from?
We grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to the city about 14 years ago. Being in a touring band made it strange to return home to a seemingly different city after stretches of being on the road. We would come back from tour and there would be a boutique shop or restaurant where a mum and pop shoe repair place used to be.
It's still a great city... don't get me wrong. It's just been known for so long for its weirdos and musical history and it's quickly disappearing to make room for all the tech money. There was a lot of that frustration while writing and recording the album but really there are lots of influences in there. We were also coming off of a year where our original bass player left the band, but then returned right when we were headed into the studio to record the album. So that definitely had an effect on things as well.How did the band initially get together? I read your parents were influential and encouraged your love of music.
Alex (banjo) and I are brothers and our parents are musicians. Our mum was in a band when we were kids and used to have rehearsals and music parties around the house all the time. We eventually picked up instruments ourselves and tried joining in as soon as we could play a few chords. We were pretty terrible back then, but I consider that time my musical schooling. Our parents are huge supporters. I think our mum comments on our Facebook page more than anyone else.
The band features a variety of instruments that give it its unique style. Where did you get the idea to combine the sounds?
It's really just a combination of what our friends played at the time. The band started with my brother on banjo, myself on guitar, our friend Joe on mandolin and our high school buddy Gio on bass. We didn't add fiddle until about a year later. It's a pretty traditional bluegrass instrumentation, but we're definitely not traditional in our approach.Who are some of your influences?
We listen to a lot of stoner metal, classic rock, R&B and country. It's weird that we play the music we play when you consider that's a lot of what we listen to.
What can fans and newcomers expect from your show?
We aspire to bring a rowdy, good time to the shows we play. We like crowd participation, so we encourage clapping, stomping, dancing and singing-along. It's a group effort. What's next for The Brothers Comatose?
We're gonna hunker down and work on new music this fall [spring] so we can get going on our next album.
The Brothers Comatose Shows
Wed 28 Sep - Retreat Hotel (Melbourne)Thu 29 Sep - Django Bar (Sydney)Fri 30 Sep - Three Chimneys (Wollongong)Sat 1 Oct - Dashville Skyline (Hunter Valley)Sun 2 Oct - The Stag & Hunter (Newcastle)Mon 3 Oct - Flow Bar (Old Bar, NSW)