Levittown’s late 90s music scene played a big role in the origins of famed alt-rockers Brand New. Although they attended different high schools, singer/guitarist Jesse Lacey, drummer Brian Lane and bassist Garrett Tierney met while attending hardcore shows at venues like Deja One, Detour and PWAC.
“PWAC was a huge warehouse run by kids that were in bands,” recalls Lane. “There was a big sense of community when you started going to places like that. All the bands were friends and that’s what’s missing now.”
After their melodic hardcore band, The Rookie Lot, disbanded in 1999, Lacey, Lane and Tierney went on to form Brand New, with the addition of guitarist Vin Accardi, who was only 17 at the time.
Not just another emo band, the Long Island quartet are virtually genre defying, having released four distinct records spanning everything from punk-pop and emo, to indie rock, post-hardcore and grunge. But the band doesn’t like to put labels on their music.
“Everyone has a different view of what should go under a certain label, and some make up their own labels,” remarks Lane. “I mean it can be heavier or ambient, but overall it pretty much falls under rock n’ roll.”
However it’s described, Brand New’s music generates more buzz with each record they create. Rolling Stone deemed their second album, Deja Entendu, “an emo masterpiece,” and it went gold in 2003. Then 2006’s The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me sold 60,000 copies in its first week, and the band supported it with a sold-out tour. Their latest disc, Daisy, recently debuted at number six on the Billboard 200—their highest debut ever.
While not lyrically as deep as The Devil, Daisy is more lively and just as dark—with numerous references to fire, train tracks and forests, set to elements of blues, grunge, post-hardcore distortion and feedback. Long-time friend and producer, Mike Sapone, describes Daisy’s sound as “primal,” and recalls watching Eraserhead and Godzilla films with the guys in between recordings.
“Mike is very influential for all of us,” notes Lane. “He’s a secret fifth member… Recording at his place has a big advantage because you can mention David Lynch, and he’ll pull out the whole collection…He definitely sparks [our creativity].”
Recording locally in Sapone’s basement studio took some pressure off the band, with Daisy being their most collaborative work to date. While Lacey normally pens a majority of the lyrics, Accardi wrote more this time, and all the members were involved musically. The title track is a poetic song about renewal set to colossal backbeats, while leadoff track “Vices” begins with a 1920’s gospel hymn and segues into what could be their loudest, most menacing song yet—one the band can’t wait to play live.
“We always end up adding parts because we feel it’s a lot more fun to play certain things live,” says Lane. “So this time around when we were recording, we tried to picture ourselves playing on stage to make sure it’s what we’d want to play.”
Known for their energetic shows, the band is looking forward to headlining a nearly sold-out homecoming show at the massive Nassau Coliseum on the 28th, with guests Manchester Orchestra and fellow Long Islanders, Glassjaw. And Lacey’s cousin, Derrick Sherman, will once again be a touring guitarist. Lane says the experience will be “daunting, yet exciting,” and he foresees some added production and other surprises.
For more info on Brand New tour dates go to http://www.myspace.com/brandnew.