Interview with Vincent Accardi & Brian Lane of Brand New: Heeding The Call

Deja Entendu suggested it back in 2003, 2006’s The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me announced it loud and clear, and this year Daisy removed any doubts that may have still lingered: Brand New is not the same band it used to be. In their almost decade-long career together, the Long Island natives have greatly evolved from their adolescent pop-punk beginnings and are now operating on a more somber and contemplative level at the alternative and experimental end of the rock spectrum.

The September release of Daisy brought forth not only another bout of touring—which has brought the band home this weekend for a concert at Nassau Coliseum with Thrice, Glassjaw, Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine—but also, according to guitarist and vocalist Vincent Accardi and drummer Brian Lane, a lot of new questions about what Brand New means to its members. Accardi and Lane spoke to The Aquarian about Brand New’s latest album, the band’s future and of course their favorite ice cream.

Because you guys surprised a lot of listeners with The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, I feel like a lot of people didn’t know what to expect from you next. Was that a positive thing for you in that it gave you room to experiment or did it actually add more pressure to not repeat yourselves?

Lane: I don’t think we ever feel pressured to not repeat ourselves, I think we get bored. When you put out a record, you record a record for a year-and-a-half and then you go on tour playing those songs for another two years. I think you end up getting bored of playing what you created at some point. When we go in to record another record, it always ends up not being a product of trying to release another record, but a product of us being bored with what we have or used to what we have written or what we’ve been playing. We challenge ourselves to try and just come up with something different, or maybe it’s just a subconscious thing where we’re bored with what we have been doing so we try to change it up.

Accardi: It goes for each person individually as far as their musicianship as well. When you get so filed into playing the songs you’ve been playing for a year, three years, 10 years, whatever it may be, I hope that—I mean, I feel like it is this way with us—but I think with every record, everybody plays their instrument a bit differently. In our time apart, in-between touring and a record, I think everybody’s musical influences are starting to show up in their own personal styles a bit more, which helps them grow as well.

Getting into the studio immediately after being on tour, you don’t want to play the guitar the way you played it for the last year on tour, you don’t want to play drums or you don’t want to hear things the same you did prior to that. Getting into the studio is always sort of refreshing in that way, where you’re eager to challenge yourself, you’re eager to challenge your band mate and you hope that they do the same for you. I think that that adds to the evolution or experimenting that this band may do as far as going in to make a record.

Lane: I think we all feel pressure from each other a lot more than we do from people that listen to the record. I think we challenge each other a lot more when we’re in the studio than anything else.

And do you guys still enjoy playing songs from your first two albums at shows now?

Accardi: It’s just different. It’s different for a lot of reasons. As a musician, those things are a bit simpler than you’re used to playing. You may personally not agree with a lyric in a song that maybe you did a few years ago. Playing older songs is for us at this point—or at least I can say for me personally—just for getting a rise out of the audience and letting them enjoy something that you know they will enjoy and that they’re probably waiting to see. Playing those songs has less to do with us being passionate or enjoying it personally as just being able to watch a crowd of however many kids sing along to it.

It’s tough too when you’re on your first tour right after finishing a record that you’ve been working on for a year and now you want to bring these new songs out, you want to play them for people, you’ve practiced them, you’re trying to get better at playing them. Those are your stress points every night, you’re hoping that those are standing out in some way or another in the set, and I guess playing older songs sort of takes pressure of that a bit. It’s kind of like taking a breath of fresh air in the set and just going back to what you know, sort of coasting through part of the set, just seeing how you can relate to an older song versus trying to figure out what a new song is to you. They play very different roles in any evening.

Lane: It’s also interesting because now we have four record’s, or almost more than that, worth of songs that we are able to pick from, so it’s interesting to try and put older songs…

Accardi: Make four record’s worth of material work together, yeah.

Lane: Yeah, to make everything work together as far as old songs and new songs. It’s kind of a puzzle.