Dropping this baby onto the virtual deck and what leaps out in opener “Stop everything” is a sound grounded in the underground, hinting at punk, fuzzed-up rock “ala” the MC5. Does it move towards the new genre that I seem to hearing about everywhere “Action Rock”, I don’t think so, even though this will appeal to anyone with more than an affiliation to the underground. No, it draws on a much richer musical tapestry, but ultimately pinning your ears back and screaming “LISTEN TO ME!!!!!”
Next up “No Money, No Peace”, moves up the intensity, there’s a hint of the much-missed Stiv Bator’s sneer, but blink and you’ll miss it, this ain’t prog in any way shape or form. Moving into “How much will this affect us” and things get a darker heavier feel, that bass run holds you, before the guitar demands your attention, I really like this track it’s a real burner. “Worlds within a world” hits the raw fuzzed up psychedelia of the fuzztones, while at the same time kicking it up the arse, with that incessant punk underpinning. “Language Lesson” comes tearing out of the speakers, that iggy and the stooges madness taking centre stage, this is a blinder, but for once I’d have liked it a bit longer!!, “Slow Shadow”, moves to a very different beat, more commercial? Dare I say? Yup, it would make a cracking single, this just drips fuzzed-out psychedelia, dropping into 13th-floor elevators territory, complete with the space rock exit!
“The Process” kicks in with a tasty Tribal drummed intro, before it takes off and moves you on a very different path, this is rapidly becoming a fave for yours truly. “Strange Melody” again revisits the psychedelic sounds of the sixties, but with an added pop sensibility reminiscent of The Only Ones.
It’s at this point you begin to realize how good an LP this is, crammed full of ideas, honing a musical heritage, taking hints of the past, reimaging them for a current listening audience. I’m starting to drift here but I’m as always thinking about how this will play out live and smiling to myself. Maybe these years Camden Rocks?
“Shark Bait” again grabs you from the start, holding that crossover vibe, hinting at a more commercial line, there’s an almost gothic Guitar underpinning and extra to this track. “Some Colours”, “No Barriers” and “The People I see” maintain the power and intensity, “No Barriers” in particular mixing up the vocal style and again rapidly becoming a favourite, while “The People I see” moving into territories held up by The Ruts.
Finishing up with “For Barbara Dane” an acoustic gem with an underlying message, think The Kinks meet the Subways!!! Before the lp plays out with “The American Empire”, I love this Hardcore blast and what a way to finish up a powerful LP from a band that I’ll look forward to picking up on the live scene, and definitely an LP I’ll be investing in.
the people who bring you Camden Rocks have been busy setting up a host of club nights in The English Capital at Camdens Monarch through September and beyond. Bringing the best of the bands who recently blew crowds away at the Camden Rocks Festival this past summer .
September 7th at The Monarch
The Dirty Strangers + Angerland + 10 Gauge + Black Lightning + White Raven Down
The band has been around since 2012. Tell us who you are and how you came together.
Sol: Hi, my name’s Sol. We’re a London band, and I joined the group in 2012 –
Minky: You started the band, you nut.
Sol: Nah, you had a name for the band before I joined. You called it Bandwagon. I joined that
Minky: Different band. Shit name.
Sol: Well anyway, I’ve been the bass player ever since. Through all of its ups and downs.
Minky: You’re fifty percent of the DNA of this band.
Jamie: Well anyway, I’m Jamie and I joined Brain Ape on drums in 2018 and then we played our
first show together in Paris.
Minky: And I’m Minky. I’m responsible for this mess, and I’ve been in the band for far too long.
You’ve released a couple of albums. How has the sound changed if at all and what are the plans for album number three?
Sol: Album number three might or might not be coming. We don’t know yet.
Minky: Album three cannot be confirmed.
Sol: Or denied.
Minky: Or confirmed.
Jamie: I hope we have a third album.
Sol: Same, but it cannot be confirmed nor denied at this point in time. But as for our previous
albums, our sound has grown with us as we’ve grown up and become more confident and better
in our abilities.
Minky: We did one album, loved the sound, then played it for so many years, got bored. Did
another album, loved the sound, have played it for so many years, now bored. So we’ll see.
Sol: If we do a third album, we’ll take it into a new and unique direction. Our sound evolves with
us, and incorporates all of the different influences that we take with us.
Minky: But we’ll never forget the ‘Mudhoney sound’. They’ll always be legends.
Sol: Personally, I like Nirvana.
Minky: I hate you.
Sol: Can’t deny it.
Minky: I prefer the Melvins. You know we’ve had a lot of people recently compare us to the
Melvins? I am A-OK with that comparison. If I could grow a ‘fro like King Buzzo –
Sol: Except the Melvins didn’t really go anywhere –
Minky: Ouch, yes they did man.
Sol: Whereas their baby brother, Nirvana, went far farther.
Minky: You’re a cynic. And that’s coming from me.
You recently released a DVD which is a bold idea. What’s the idea behind the DVD so early on?
Sol: We had the opportunity and we took it.
Minky: It showed itself, we smacked it in the face and took it hostage, and now we’re selling it for
a minimal price at our merchandise stands.
Sol: It was for the fans who can’t see us live, mainly. We wanted to show off how far we’ve come
and show people what we could do, even if they’re not in the same room as us. It’s a chance for
them so see us play our tunes.
Minky: Do you know how many messages I’ve had on social media of people telling me how glad
they are that we released a DVD, because finally they got to see what we do and they weren’t
Sol: That’s why we do what we do.
Minky: It’s been very humbling, somehow. And that’s the best feedback you can get. They had
expectations, and they weren’t disappointed? What could top that?
Minky: ’You changed my life’?
Sol: Why not?
Minky: With a DVD? Can a DVD really change your life?
Jamie: Yeah, it can do.
Minky: Well was it the Decisive Video of a Decade?
What bands and songwriters have influenced Brain Ape?
Sol: Bowie, Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies –
Minky: It gets really boring naming the same people over and over again, but there’s no denying
who they are. Although, I disagree with the Pixies. I’d lean more towards Flipper.
Sol: Yeah, Flipper’s a good one.
Minky: Scratch Acid?
Sol: We took a lot from them in the early days, but one of our most influential artists has actually
been a band called Coffee. I live by Coffee. Every day. Eight times a day, even.
Minky: Eight times? Mate, you’re going to fucking kill yourself.
Sol: I need my daily Coffee.
Minky: Veruca Salt?
Sol: Veruca Salt are awesome. Love their harmonies.
Minky: And their tone is great, especially on that EP they did with Steven Albini.
Sol: Mantra? Minky: Fu Manchu.
Jamie: They’re playing Download, actually.
Minky: I know, I saw them on the poster and instantly considered buying a ticket to the festival.
Sol: Alice in Chains? Avenged Sevenfold?
Minky: I think we’ve said Alice in Chains in previous interviews.
Sol: Blood Red Shoes?
Minky: I don’t know them.
Jamie: Blood Red Shoes are good.
Sol: Royal Blood?
Minky: Nah, fuck them.
Sol: I love Royal Blood.
Minky: Yeah, I know you do. I don’t.
Sol: I saw them back in the day, in a room with about twenty other people before they got
Minky: You love that story.
Sol: Yeah, I do.
Jamie: I saw them the first time they played Reading. I walked past the tent and just had to check
Sol: Soundgarden are good.
Jamie: I like them.
Sol: Pearl Jam.
Minky: Nice guy.
Sol: The big four are just solid.
Minky: AnnenMayKantereit? They’ve influenced the band a lot.
You appeared on our radar with the booking for Camden Rocks. Are there plans to play other UK wide shows? Why should people come see you at the festival? It’s a great festival and a cool concept with it being such a unique place to be able to do such a festival. Are there any bands playing you’ll like to catch?
Sol: False Heads. Go see them.
Minky: To be fair, I’ll probably be at their show. But that’s no surprise to anyone, I don’t think.
Sol: We are actually playing a festival called Alice’s Wicked Tea Party the day before Camden
Minky: Correct. We’re going to have a wild time. We’ll still probably be hungover the next day.
And for Camden Rocks we’re playing at the Fiddler’s Elbow at 1:30 in the afternoon, so we’re
kicking things off nice and sweaty for the rest of the festival. But we’ll be hanging around for the
rest of the event. Why not? It’s a good excuse to drink beer and see some good bands.
Sol: This year’s Camden Rocks will be a bit special for us anyway, because it’s the first year that
we’re on the bill.
Minky: I’ve just come back from The Alternative Escape down in Brighton –
Jamie: I’d like to play that festival.
Minky: – and there are a lot of events like that popping up in towns and cities at the moment. The
Hanwell Hootie has just happened too, and I would have liked to have gone to that but obviously
I was in Brighton.
Jamie: The Hootie’s a good one.
Minky: There are plenty of day-festivals now, and I think it’s pretty good for punters. It’s quite a
cheap experience for a whole day or two.
Jamie: Camden Rocks is good because it’s a local London festival.
Minky: Camden’s a special place on earth, really.
Sol: And as a band, we’re really looking forward to it. We’ve played other festivals in our history,
but Camden Rocks will be a very nice addition to our trophy case.
Minky: We actually keep a trophy cabinet.
Sol: We reflect upon it every now and again.
Minky: We keep all of our platinum records in there, and we’ve also managed to keep a couple of
bits and pieces of memorabilia that we’ve collected over the years.
Sol: We keep loads of posters in there, too. Anything with our name on it, really.
Finally, What next for Brain Ape?
Minky: Sell out, make loads of money, move to L.A., forget about London, forget all of the people
we’ve met here, all of the people who’ve helped out. We can just completely leave them behind.
Use as many people as possible.
Sol: We have a new single coming out with its own music video, and it’s going to be the last
‘hurrah’ of Auslander. That record has been a really good album for us, and this single will
bookend this chapter nicely.
Jamie: A good old firework display for the end.
Sol: And from there, where do we go? We’ve had an undercurrent of people asking, nay,
demanding a new album –
Minky: But we’re not ready for a new album. I’m sorry. It’s going to come out in the next four
Sol: Four years? I can neither confirm nor deny that the number given by Minky is true.
Minky: Actually, you know what? It’s coming out in four days’ time.
Sol: While Minky throws alternative facts at the wind, come down to Alice’s Wicked Tea Party and
Camden Rocks and watch us do our thing. We’ll have plenty of merch there, too. People keep
asking for more of that.
Jamie: Just send us a message, and I’m sure we can work something out.
Sol: And if you want us to play anywhere in the world, just get in touch.
Minky: If you’re in the EU, you’d better hurry up and ask us to come play before Theresa May
fucks everything up for everybody.