INTERVIEW: Longford band Brave Giant on a breakthrough year, Beyonce and their 2017 plans
Brought to you by Le Crunch Apples from France.
Brave Giant enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2016 and their upward trajectory looks set to continue into 2017.
Last year saw them win the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest, release their debut EP Lordy, Lordy and enjoy a huge viral hit with their mashup ‘Is this Digital Love?’ They also had two sell out shows in Whelan's and performed at festivals like Indiependence and Electric Picnic.
All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for the five-piece from Longford.
JOE spoke to the band’s guitarist/vocalist Podge Gill to see what the coming year holds for the band.
JOE: It’s been a big year for you. What’s been the biggest change that the band has experienced?
Podge: It's been a huge year for us! We're still coming to terms with some of the things we've accomplished in 2016. Christmas time was the first time we really got time to look back on everything we did because, when you're in the middle of it, you're always looking ahead to the next big festival or next big show.
I suppose the biggest change for us was cementing our place on the festival circuit. It's something we would have had little experience of in previous years, so to be in the thick of some of those festivals was something else.
JOE: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard you?
Podge: The genre we'd go under would be Indie/Folk but it wouldn't be that stereotypical. We've been compared to the likes of The Frames and The Pogues and Mumford & Sons before. When you're getting those kind of comparisons, it can't be too bad!
JOE: How good did it feel to release your debut EP?
Podge: It felt great initially to finally release it after having it recorded for nearly a year. Our fan base wasn't that big at that time though so we spent the next few months building up our name until we thought the time was right to release it.
When we did release it, we never thought it would get the acclaim that it did - going to number two in the iTunes charts behind Beyonce and above Prince, who had passed away that week. It was probably the biggest highlight of the year for me personally.
JOE: How much did winning the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest help the band?
Podge: Winning the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest was massive for us, on a personal level and as regards the publicity we got from it. Everyone really got behind us and it really set the tone for 2016 for us. It's a great opportunity for any band trying to get their foot in the door of the Irish music scene.
JOE: You enjoyed a viral hit with 'Is This Digital Love?' How important is that kind of boost when you’re trying to get your name out there?
Podge: We never envisaged the type of reaction it got. It was crazy. Money couldn't buy the boost it gave, as regards getting our name out there. Our Facebook page jumped from about 3,000 likes to 12,000 likes in the space of about four days.
We were at a lull at the time too. We had very few gigs coming up and we felt that things were going a bit stale, so we decided to do something productive about it. In hindsight, it's probably the smartest thing we did last year!
JOE: What was your highlight of the last year?
Podge: There were so many. It's hard to choose one outright! As I said already, our debut EP getting to number two in the iTunes charts was unbelievable. To wake up with Beyonce on top of us is something every man dreams of!
Playing at Indiependence and Electric Picnic was unbelievable and to read back on some of the reviews from those gigs - it was really overwhelming to get such critical acclaim.
Playing to a full house at our home town festival, The Marquee In Drumlish, was a very surreal feeling too. The first time we played there was two years ago and we played to about 100 people. This year we were playing to 1700 people shouting our songs back at us. It really hit home with us then that we could be on to something and that the hard work was paying off after so many years.
JOE: What’s your approach to writing new music?
Podge: Up to now, it was a fairly typical process of myself or one of the lads writing a song in their own time then showing it to the rest of the band and we'd work something from there. At the minute, we have a batch of songs ready to record but down the line I can see us taking a more collaborative way of writing songs, like locking ourselves away for a couple of weeks solely to write songs and new music, and see what the end result will be.
JOE: Can your fans look forward to a new LP in the near future?
Podge: We're heading back into the studio this weekend actually to finish off the new EP, which we hope to have out by March. We're more excited about the next few songs being released as we are less green around the ears in relation to the recording process. We feel the songs themselves are better than the ones of the first EP. Famous last words, I know!
JOE: You’ve now played at some major summer festivals and venues. What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?
Podge: Probably Electric Picnic, because of the institution that it is. We played at a festival in the UK too called Into The Wild. It was brilliant because literally nobody at the festival had heard of us and the reception we got was immense. For a small festival, the atmosphere at it was one of the best we played at this year.
JOE: What’s been the strangest experience you’ve had at a gig?
Podge: Nothing too out of the ordinary. We've seen a massive increase in the amount of underwear thrown up at us during gigs, mainly female thankfully!
JOE: Has your success changed you in any way? Have any of the band members started getting “notions”!?
Podge: I don't think so. Being from Longford, our friends are always quick to keep us grounded and we're never let get ahead of ourselves! I wouldn't have it any other way really. Even when we're out and about at home, people don't treat us any differently which is great. Over the Christmas, I did notice a lot more people were liable to buy me a drink, which is always a good thing!
JOE: What can your fans look forward to in the coming months?
Podge: A new EP, some new music videos, playing the Main Room in Whelan's on the 22 April (which is on the brink of selling out already). There are a lot more things in the pipeline. I already know it's going to be even busier than last year, which both scares and excites me.
JOE: What are your ambitions for 2017?
Podge: To hopefully become one of the biggest bands in the country. Also, that our next EP will go down well with fans and critics alike. Of course, to get back into the swing of the festival circuit again - That's what we do this for.
Tickets for Brave Giant's gig at Whelan's on the 22 April can be bought through wavtickets.ie.
Entries are currently being accepted for the 2017 Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest and JOE is also holding auditions in UCD on 8 February. It's a great chance for talented singers or bands to get their name out there and emulate the success of Brave Giant.
The Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest is proudly sponsored by Le Crunch Apples from France. The healthy apples are available nationwide in a number of different varieties - Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Granny Smith and Red Delicious! Check them out on Twitter @, Facebook and YouTube.
Brought to you by Le Crunch Apples from France.