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AN EXCLUSIVE AMF INTERVIEW WITH:
BROTHER WOLF & THE CARNIVORES
Who is Brother Wolf? Who are the carnivores? Is anyone in this band a vegetarian?
Funnily enough, “Who is Brother Wolf?” was our first promotion campaign. But for the question itself: Brother Wolf is more an idea than a person. Brother Wolf is the guy pouring poison in the ear of the monster than lingers under your bed, teaching her how to be naughty. Brother Wolf is that whisper in the back of your mind when you’re about to do something stupid that says “why not?” The Carnivores? They’re the ones who clean up afterwards… and they’re definitely not vegetarians.
You just celebrated the release of your new EP titled “Life is War”. Is this your first EP? If not, what makes this piece of work different from your other releases?
This is our first EP and, frankly, we’ve learned a lot from it. We’ll be re-recording some of these songs. They’re all great – they sound amazing. Somehow, though, amazing isn’t what we’re looking for. Next time, in true Carnivore style, they’ll be a little more raw.
What themes does this EP contain? Where did you draw your inspiration from? What message are you sending out to listeners?
Sex and Death – the two big ones. Brother Wolf was originally the touring act Brother/Wolf and the tension is still there. Why separate that which hungers from that which feeds? The message, if there is one that can be named explicitly, is about the dangers of temptation – and its rewards.
Your music is very lyric-oriented with powerful refrains. Is there just one person writing or do several partake in the writing process?
The lead singer is also the primary songwriter. It’s hard to staple down exactly how it changes during rehearsal, though. The songs as they were written originally will often be unrecognizable if your only reference is the songs as they’re played now.
What have you learned from the writing, recording, and releasing experience? Is there anything you would do different?
Next time we’ll be a lot harder on ourselves. We’ve already got plans, and a space, for a full-length with real studio-quality gear in a low-stress environment. Next time we’ll be spending more on the production, pushing ourselves harder, and really trying to make a set of songs that sound different live than they do in the studio. We’re going to take our time, basically. This last EP was the product of 40+ hours of almost non-stop recording and editing, thanks to producers Chris Gutierrez and Aaron Willman. Next time, though, we’re going to make sure we’re cognizant of when to do five more takes and when to call it a day
AN EXCLUSIVE AMF INTERVIEW WITH AUSTIN’S KEEPER
Our very own Taylor Brandeger caught up with Austin’s up-and-coming synth-soul group, KEEPER and dug a little more into what inspires their refreshingly hot sound and latest October release Moonhigh.
Over the past few years, there has been an R&B resurgence you can find in artists like Jessy Lanza, D’Angelo, and Frank Ocean, among others. Keeper’s sweet harmonies and vocal style takes me back to 90s/00s R&B. Is that era influential to you as artists? What other musicians influence you that we may not have guessed?
YADIRA BROWN: I’ve been influenced by Portishead, hip hop from the mid 90s to early 2ks (wordplay, cadences, use of samples), Ella Fitzgerald, Nirvana, Erykah Badu, Bjork (weirdness, dissonance), Mariah Carey.
ERIN JANTZEN: The 90’s/00’s are definitely a strong influence for me, as an artist. I have such vivid memories of driving around listening to female groups and to be able to sing in a group with two other talented women is a great feeling. I’m personally inspired by a vast array of music that there are too many artists to list, honestly. That’s part of what I love about Keeper; We are all coming from different places musically, and that has had a great impact on the shaping of our sound, but there are enough common musical threads that it always seems to make sense.
Are there any collaborations & experiences that have shaped your sound?
LANI TOMISON: 90’s r&b is hugely influential for me. I grew up listening to every kind of music really, in the middle of nowhere Hutto Texas, and for some reason that genre really resonated with me. I assume it’s because I also grew up singing in choir/church from a very young age, and my mom raised me on motown. My mom is actually a huge musical influence to me, as she was just always singing, she taught me to harmonize, introduced me to piano, woke me up by ‘playing’ on every surface in the kitchen with whatever utensil she was using to make breakfast… Other musicians that made a huge impact on me, and opened me up to feel comfortable with the musician/ performer that I was would be Bjork, Portishead, Thom Yorke, seeing Bjork at ACL back in the day was an experience I’ll never forget. She is kind of everything to me, She let me know it was ok to be weird.
What individual talents and vocal styles do each of you bring to Keeper?
LT: Individual talents, Erin is always on top of things on the backend, I don’t know how we’d get anything done without her. Yadira is always arranging incredible a capellas to then marry a beat to. We all contribute to the song writing, and we all have creative successful friends to bring to the table. We like to keep things in the family. That way we all win.
What is “synth-soul” and when did you adopt that as Keeper’s style?
Synth Soul was derived by our dear friend, and close collaborator (erin’s boyfriend/ Yadira’s cousin) Orion Garcia. We aren’t necessarily R&B, and we aren’t necessarily electronic, and we don’t want to pigeon hole ourselves into anything that forces us to write and sing a certain way, so Synth-Soul gives us that description without compromising our creative freedom.
EJ: I personally feel that I have more of a pop-sensibility when writing, so I think that’s my contribution/perspective. To me, Synth-Soul speaks to the harmonic element that we bring to electronic based music. We can’t necessarily fit into any specific catergory or genre, but there’s soul and feeling in everything that we do, so I think it fits.
YB: We each have a unique sound and different ranges that compliment each other’s vocal abilities. I rap as well as sing, and tend to bring some of that style into the harmonies that I write. “Synth soul” was coined by DJ Orion, after a conversation about Keeper not fitting into any previously named genres.
How do you collaborate with producers?
YB: For the most part, we don’t produce. we all dabble but we know so many incredible producers and having the opportunity to work with them relieves us of the task. We write either to beats/ideas from a producer, or we write full arrangements to drum loops/bass lines that we create and then have the song produced around that structure.
Do you participate in the production of the music as well as the writing?
EJ: The process of working with producers varies. The first couple of songs we released were written to drum loops and then produced using an acapella. Moonhigh was definitely more of a collaboration in the sense that we were given beats that we wrote to, but MoonDoctoR used our vocal to flip them and make them something new. It’s interesting to see how each producer works and experiencing the collaborations themselves is definitely the best part of the process, for me.
LT: Lyrics are big for me, and I think it’s safe to say for Keeper. Someone either sends us a beat we then write to, which requires listening to what the beat is saying and merge that with what you’re writing. There are also times where we will just construct an acapella or a drum loop to write to because we have written something that doesn’t fit with a beat yet. Then that gets sent to producers who construct the beat around it. Moondoctor, our producer for this album was really great at coming at it from both sides.
Can you name a few of your favorite local Austin artists right now?
EJ: Tough question! A lot of music that I go out for is electronic based and there are a lot of great producers in town; BoomBaptist, Bames, Bird Peterson, Osiris & Payton Long (the homies). I also love seeing Emily Wolfe, Wild Child & Shakey Graves.
LT: Magna Carda, Emily Wolfe, Letting Up Despite Great Faults.
YB: Jazz Mills, Boombaptist. Wild Child. LOEGz. Eagle Claw. For more on KEEPER and upcoming live performances go to www.keepermusic.com
ALSO CHECK OUT KEEPER’S FULL AND IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH JOHNNY GOUDIE ON “HOW DID I GET HERE?” RIGHT HERE!