They’re exiting. They’re really exiting. The multi-talented, multi-formatted 4-piece signed to Fat Cat are rapidly stamping a unique, genre-melting show of musical and technical bravura onto the music scene. Breton are a collection of hugely dynamic guys; they came to attention as award winning indie filmmakers, but then got into the industry making music videos. Before long they developed a hunger for more and, exploiting a database of collected sounds stored at their London HQ, bretonLABS, Breton’s experimentation spilled onto the stage. Musically they manipulate instruments, create sounds and even build their own synths to produce an amalgam of danceable, downbeat electronica that often bleeds into experimental hip-hop. Having supported Ghostpoet and Tom Vek in 2011, their implosive live shows are multi-medium, playing out like an assembly of gathered ideas, experiences and influences, and incorporate edgy, self-shot footage projected over them whilst they perform. I got the chance to chat with frontman, Roman Rappak to talk about their forthcoming album, and the history behind the film.
“We had a lot of friends in bands, it was a natural progression really.” Roman begins, discussing the transition from film and sound, to video and music. “We started off as filmmakers, putting on films and soundtracks, and gradually it made sense for us to start doing live soundtracks. We’d use samplers and dialogue, you know, and eventually we just started to play everything.” People have started to really appreciate what they’re doing, not just because it’s great musically, but because it’s interesting, it’s original. “It felt like our different sides were all colliding together.” He concludes.
I’ve been listening to their upcoming album, Other People’s Problems, and I haven’t enjoyed a record this much in such a long time, there’s so much to it. Each song digresses from the last and establishes itself a different platform, whilst still sounding wholly like Breton. I ask, what’s the concept behind the album?
“Well we began by trying to detach ourselves from normal habits.” Roman explains. “You know, of sitting down and going ‘right, how do we write this song?’ ‘What timing shall we use?’ So we each brought a book we liked, picked one at random, then picked a random page, and then a random sentence. We fell upon a story about Andy Warhol where he watches two straight days of 60’s TV: Game shows, chat shows, news. Anyway he ends up getting so obsessed with everyone else’s problems, that he forgets his own.
“We liked the idea of being overwhelmed with information.” He continues. “Everyone always complains that we’re so exposed to everyone else’s stuff, but I think it’s an exiting time to be living in, it’s nice to be bombarded with everyone’s ideas. You can’t outthink 60 years of music history and try and blow everyone’s mind with a better this or a better that. So we just thought at least we could make it something that’s our own, which is, from the starting point, a bit detached from what people might be used to.”
There’s that notion of the End of Originality, which occasionally raises its head, and I always try to disagree with, but I suppose it kind of is unfathomable to think that you can create something new without the influence of what’s come before it, and I suppose Roman’s thought of being detached is a nice spin on that. Other People’s Problems manages it, it feels different, but how did they do it?
“We really subscribed to the idea that if you lock yourself away and you just completely obsess over what your doing it will always have your stamp on it.” Roman tells me. “If you play in one band, then record with another, or go an see a band everyone is into and make some tracks with them, that’s cool way of making music but there’s the possibility you will dilute your own personality. When I go through our tracks its like a diary, I know what noises came where and how I felt when I made each one. If you invest a lot of life into it, whether you’re a photographer, or a journalist writing an article, the more of you in it, the more consistent it will be.”
Breton are heading out to the US for a series of shows in the coming months and Other People’s Problems is released on the 26th of March. I seriously suggest checking it out. Earlier EPs and videos are all available free online as well, so find them, look and listen.