Brooklyn indie rock band The Britanys have been wowing audiences and critics alike since the release of their debut EP It’s Alright in 2014. Comprised of Steele Kratt (drums), Lucas Long (vocals/guitar), Lucas Carpenter (Bass) and Jake Williams (guitar), the band burst onto the scene with a sound reminiscent of The Strokes, The Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop (circa 1977). Having started out playing parties for friends, the band has since toured the world and amassed an impressive fan base along the way. They have been praised by the likes of NME, DIY, Interview Magazine and Rolling Stone, impressed crowds at SXSW and have been well-received by the London music scene. Lately the band has been forging a new sound, one that is less indebted to their heroes and more of a sound that is unique to them. The band released their EP Five A Side in 2017, which was praised for it’s no-frills indie attitude and polished sound, with their latest release, a mixtape entitled 1-833-IDK-HTBA (I Don’t Know How To Be Alone) functioning as an actual hotline that fans can call. The band has learned that despite the rise in technological dependence and addiction that human interaction is the most important thing. With a full length album due out next year and some more shows coming up, the band shows no signs of slowing down. Staff writer Emily May spoke recently by phone with singer Lucas Long about the new mixtape, the bands new sound and what’s next for them. You can stay up-to-date with the band, their music and all upcoming tour dates, as well as where to stream and purchase their music via the following links- Website|Facebook|Instagram|Twitter|Spotify|SoundCloud|Bandcamp|Apple Music/iTunes|Deezer. Check out their videos for “When I’m With You” and “Yer Out Of Control” below!
Your debut EP has been described by you guys as more unfocused, whereas now you have a more tailored sound and know what you want your sound to be as a band. How has that transition been for you guys?
I think it’s been good because I think it was kind-of a hitting of rock bottom. It was one of those moments I guess, in hindsight…it’s what you do with them that matters. I think what we were able to do with that moment, we really fought for it. We spent so much time just like fighting with each other over ideas. I think it was just a process that molded itself. It’s definitely less anxiety filled now. We’re all able to share that vision now, which is a great thing.
You guys started out playing and hosting parties and didn’t really have an idea of the background work that gores into being a band. What do you feel you have learned about being a band since you started? Do you feel that was a necessary stage to go through to get to where you are now?
I still think there’s something to be said for that kind of show. I think it’s our preferred dynamic really for a show (laughs). It’s a more inclusive environment. I’d still prefer to play a party to a show at a venue with a stage. I think it’s definitely something that’s in our DNA. I do wanna keep going in terms of our live performances.
You guys have mentioned that so many bands have moved to NY in recent years and it’s resulted, at times, in an audience that’s a bit harder to reach. Do you feel like your band has come to a point where you’ve been able to carve out a space for yourselves in the scene in NY?
I think the area that we’re living in right now is just starting to see daylight in a lot of ways and is coming more together in the community. I think NY in general will always drop people from everywhere. You get kids from everywhere. I think Bushwick is a place that people are going to definitely hear amazing bands, like Native Son, Muckers…Triathalon is killing it right now. There’s amazing painters, writers and artists here right now. It’s important to cultivate that community.
You guys have said that it’s harder for rock bands to be represented on the charts and festival line-ups then pop or hip-hop artists, but the band has a pretty big audience in the UK. What do you think it is about the scene there that maybe appreciates/supports guitar music more then the US scene right now?
I think it comes down to computer-based music compared to guitar driven music. I think the band is kind-of an archaic sort-of form, or at least it feels that way right now. I think rap artists have just embraced technology in great ways and has been at the forefront of that. I think there is definitely space for that with guitar-driven music. I think the guitar is an amazing instrument. There just needs to be an approval of some sort with something involving a guitar and once that happens I’m sure…I don’t know. I’m not an expert at this. That’s just my observation.
What can you tell me about your recently released mixed tape? What was the inspiration behind the songs and the idea behind it?
I think we started writing it around this time last year and only finished writing the last songs a couple of months ago. It was based on the progression of the songs written over the span of the last year and what those different moments were. We tried as hard as we could to just be really organic with the different moments we were in to see what kind of music came about. I think we really did try to stay true to letting the music explain itself.
What can you tell me about your single “I Don’t Know How To Be Alone”? What are your thoughts on the rise of technological dependence and addiction? How did the idea come about to form an actual working hotline?
That song started out as a demo. I was recording late one night and had my computer in my room and I wasn’t sleeping that much. It’s kind-of hard to sleep when you have a desktop computer that close to your bed. Something had fallen on my keyboard and there was this weird loop of this sound, like when you press the space bar…that weird click click click. I had that and I recorded that and then I had a Casio keyboard and just played the keyboard along which was where the melody came from and then was built into the formed song. Once the song was done it was more like “If I were to listen to a song, how would I want to listen to it?”. I originally wanted to make an app where you could go into different libraries and read different books and listen to different songs and have it be more of a social space. We just didn’t have the money for that. We asked ourselves what else we could do and decided we could do a 1-800 number. Jake at the time was making a bunch of 800 numbers for the company that he works for and threw it together.
You guys worked with Joe Van Moyland, whom you met through mutual friends, on songwriting. What was it like working with him and what do you feel you learned from the process?
He’s just a friend. I think he met the bass player or something and they were working on some recordings together. There was a time when he was just, like, at our apartment all the time and had pretty much moved in. He’s more of just a friend then anything.
What’s next for you guys? What do you have coming up?
We’re going to start recording a full length and also, in Bushwick, starting these Happenings to bring together the local and friend’s bands and have it be more of an experience. It won’t necessarily be a show…I don’t know. We’re still trying to figure it out. We definitely want to start doing those in Bushwick. We’ll probably play some support shows and get on support tours and hopefully have an album by early next year.
Thanks for your time today!