Interview: Brat

While the lyrical themes are very serious, we as people put a good time at the forefront of what we want to put out there.

Brat have just brought out their debut album Social Grace and it is a pure statement of intent from the New Orleans heavy hitters to launch their immense sound that incorporates powerviolence, death metal and grindcore. Gavin Brown caught up with Brat guitarist Brenner Moate to all about Social Grace and how Brat started as a band as well as various other topics like the New Orleans heavy music scene, cool merch, the Barbie movie and Stephen King.

E&D: Your debut album Social Grace is now. How excited are you to have it out there and how did the making of the album go?

Brenner: We’re extremely ready for it to be out – these songs were recorded over the course of a year and a half, with the first recorded song, ‘Human Offense’, being recorded in mid-2022. So we’ve been working on this for a while now and we couldn’t be more antsy to get it out there.

E&D: Since this is your debut album, did you want to make a massive impact with the songs on it? Having listened to it, I’d say you definitely have!

Brenner: Of course. There’s that cheesy saying of “you have your whole life to put out your debut album” which is pretty true.

E&D: Did you feel any pressure making this album as it is your first?

Brenner: Not particularly, at least not for me. No more pressure than anything else we’ve done. I want everything we do to be good so it feels much the same.

E&D: What subjects do the songs on Social Grace deal with?

Brenner: There’s a bit of a range, but the typical theme being topics of despair, hopelessness, and general anti-human sentiment. There’s a few variations such as some environmental topics, but for the most part it’s the former three.

E&D: Did you always want to add an element of lighthearted humour with your music as well, as you have mentioned barbiegrind and bimboviolence as descriptions for it?

Brenner: Absolutely. While the lyrical themes are very serious, we as people put a good time at the forefront of what we want to put out there.

E&D: What did you think of the Barbie movie?

Brenner: Personally, I thought it was great. Would definitely watch again.

 

E&D: Can you tell us about the cover photo you chose for Social Grace and how it relates to the album?

Brenner: The album art is actually a family photo of Liz when she was little. We were going through some family photos at her parents one day and saw it, and we just immediately knew it had to be the cover. She was wearing a frilly little pink dress and had a devious, almost possessed look in her eyes, as if she knew what this was going to be used for one day.

E&D: Have you had any thoughts about new music and where you will go next with your sound?

Brenner: We’ve already started writing for the next release, with the first drafts of a couple songs being written already. The writing continues to feel more and more fleshed out, but genre wise it’s much the same as we’ve been doing.

E&D: Who are the biggest influences on Social Grace and the music of Brat in general?

Brenner: I can’t speak for everyone else, but the bands that have influenced me the most would be Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip, Regional Justice Center, and Wound Man.

E&D: How is life on Prosthetic Records and how did you come to sign to the label?

Brenner: So far, so great! They hit us up pretty early on while we were in the midst of our second tour in summer 2022, but being such a new band we didn’t feel ready to sign to a label yet. After the album was completed a year later, we followed back up with them to see if the offer was still on the table and sure enough it was.

E&D: How did Brat start as a band in the first place?

Brenner: Liz and I were doing karaoke for my birthday party at a friend’s house in February 2020. She opted to sing an A Day To Remember song and surprised everyone with a low growl that seemed to come out of nowhere, so we decided to start a band. Covid lockdown started a few weeks after that so we had nothing but time to write the first two EPs.

E&D: Are you looking forward to the Social Grace album release show?

Brenner: 100%, we want to make it a big party and not just a regular show, so I’m expecting one hell of a hootenanny.

E&D: What are your touring plans when the album comes out and will you be making it over to the UK and Europe?

Brenner: We have a month-long tour being announced for April and May. For the rest of the year there are some tentative fests that we’ll build tours around should they pan out, but either way I’m sure we’ll be getting out there a lot. As for making it over to the UK and Europe, we’re hoping to go by next year at the latest.

E&D: What have been your favourite Brat live shows to date?

Brenner: This is always a really hard question because the ones that stick out to me are always from whatever the most recent tour we did. Portland, Maine is a top tier city for us. Playing a super DIY show in LA’s Skid Row was also very memorable. Playing the big stage at Reggie’s in Chicago was also very badass. Playing Creepy Fest in New Orleans every summer is also a highlight. There’s really too many to name.

E&D: What is the heavy music scene like in your New Orleans hometown like currently and what bands would you recommend for us to check out?

Brenner: Things are going well in New Orleans. Like any town there’s always an ebb and flow in the music scene but things seem to be on the come up again. Some of my favorite locals are Swampgrave, Herakleion, Cemetery Frost, Slab, Dracula, Torture Garden, D.Sablu, Slowhole, and Sounding.

E&D: What New Orleans spots would you recommend for fans of extreme music?

Brenner: The best spot has always been Siberia. There’s also The Goat, Santos, Poor Boys, The Free Store, and Parisite Skate Park.

E&D: Who are your favourite ever New Orleans artists and albums?

Brenner: Eyehategod’s Take As Needed.., Exhorder’s Slaughter in the Vatican, Down’s NOLA and Acid Bath’s When the Kite String Pops.

E&D: How did your recent tour with Escuela Grind and Take Offense go and what were some of the highlights?

Brenner: It was amazing! Probably the best tour we’ve done yet. The biggest highlight being that most of the shows were sold out, and the ones that weren’t were very close. We also sold out a couple of the shows that we headlined around the tour package, so that was really incredible. Other than that, eating lobster rolls in Maine and sledding in Massachusetts were some standout moments.

E&D: Are you looking forward to playing shows with MDC and D.I. in May?

Brenner: Of course! Those shows should be really badass – it’s always cool to play punk shows as a metal band because people are usually pretty wild.

E&D: Brat have played shows with the likes of Cro-Mags, Eyehategod and ACxDC. Who have you loved playing shows with the most and who would you love to play with and tour with in the future?

Brenner: It’s hard to say, each and everyone one of those tours was awesome in its own way. We love everyone we’ve been out on the road with and would do it all again in a heartbeat. As for the future? Metallica.

E&D: What have been some of your favourite live shows you’ve ever seen?

Brenner: Power Trip in Dallas a handful of months before Riley passed. I’d seen them a bunch before that. but that show just hit different.

E&D: Brat brought out some fucking awesome merch with Pabst Blue Ribbon. How did that collaboration come about?

Brenner: One of their marketing guys was at our show in Seattle a couple months ago and came up to us after wanting to do the collab. So it just happened naturally.

E&D: Are you big fans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and what else do you love to drink on tour and at home?

Brenner: We are definitely not opposed to Pabst Blue Ribbon! In general, there’s many more beers that we would be fine with drinking than ones we wouldn’t. Personally, I’m really a big fan of cervezas. Modelo, Tecate, Pacifico, Valentina – I’m always excited anytime a place we’re playing has one of these.

E&D: If you could make a Brat cocktail, what would be in it?

Brenner: Definitely Pink Whitney with some kind of bright fruit and sugar on the rim.

E&D: What music are you currently jamming to at the moment?

Brenner: I’ve been listening to a dungeon synth record by an artist called Book of Skelos. Hennessey picked up their tape while we were in Portland Maine a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to put it down.

E&D: What are your favourite Stephen King books and movie adaptations?

Brenner: The first one that always comes to mind is Cujo. I love both the book and the movie. The one that got me into his work was Pet Sematary though. The movie first, and then the book later. After that I couldn’t put down his books until I had read a dozen of them. Then after I’d finish the book I’d find the film adaptation. Some other favorites are Needful Things, The Stand, It, and 1922.

Photo by Greta Gresner

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