Escape, hope, love and freedom

By Kerri Lacey

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Grimsby-based four-piece The Brookes have no complaints about their local music scene, largely thanks to the locals they have encountered at their gigs. Frontman Benjamin says, “I don’t think you can really compare to the warmth that hometown fans provide.” Plus, the grassroots venues are tough to beat: “There are so many new venues offering their different take on helping the industry blossom.” These venues take on even greater importance when considering the uncertain state of the current music scene: “It’s swinging between the various pressures of local music venues being put under heavy strain, modern technology offering alternative ways of listening to music, as well as the reaction from up and coming bands, promoters and avid gig goers who keep the scene alive… I just hope that the scene is kept afloat by more people getting involved.”

For Benjamin, songwriting involves drawing upon real emotions to inject authenticity into the tracks: “I create a story, a world and a conception of which I want to be excelled through the eyes and ears of music.” Societal issues also bleed into the songs, particularly the circus surrounding Brexit, which Benjamin describes as “a shambolic show which we’ve all got front row seats for.” As someone who stays informed about politics, he admits he is frustrated with current affairs and can see why there is mass confusion: “Brexit has torn every single constitution and party apart sevenfold. I think us as the foot soldiers really need to dig deep and find empathy for one another in these confusing times. We are trapped between the media twisting tongues and the politicians twisting fate for their own pockets.” It’s not all doom and gloom, though: “I often write about my girlfriend as she fills a lot of my heart in which the songs are summoned.”

Benjamin takes an optimistic approach to being in a band, as well as experiencing the music scene, but admits there are downfalls: “Making money through music today is just so tough, unless you break through the thousands and make the hits.” He sees a correlation here with the increase in online music sites, encouraging underground bands to succumb to pressure to conform to mainstream expectations. The Brookes have no interest in that: “The important thing is to just write what really makes you happy and forget about trying to push yourself to impersonate someone you are not.”

Authenticity has gained the band positive reactions on the gig circuit, impressing new crowds wherever the road takes them, yet they remain humble and grateful for all the connections they have formed: “The fans have such enjoyment in their faces and share such kind words after. We have met so many lovely people in this industry, which has all stemmed from gigging.” The band have been fortunate to play alongside an impressive roster of acts, such as Reverend and The Makers and The Strypes, but Benjamin feels more inspired playing with bands that he’s watched take their career to the next level: “It is always an eye opener seeing them from the start and then watching them blossom into full bloom… Strange Bones, Calva Louise, False Heads and The Blinders all deserve everything they are getting in the industry and we would love to join them on tours.”

To Benjamin, music is vital: “It’s escape, hope, love, freedom, closure, creativity and awakening. Music is literally the most fundamental therapy that we are offered.” It’s no surprise then that the band is forever evolving as they delve deeper into their music to uncover new sounds. “We have written punk rock/indie since we started, but now we have really stripped back our sound to create something totally different.” Benjamin sees the change as positive: “It’s enabled us to dig deeper and pull out something which could really express and resonate what we all felt was right.”

The Brookes ring in the changes with their new single Constellations of You, which offers up a real dreamy space vibe to lose yourself in. You can also see them on the road this year, starting with shows in London, Manchester and Grimsby.

See The Brookes live:

FRI 03 MAR @ 229 The Venue – London

SAT 09 MAR @ The Castle Hotel – Manchester

FRI 19 APR @ Yardbirds Rock – Grimsby

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