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INTERVIEW: Brass Box

L.A. based shoegaze band Brass Box recently released a video for their version of the song “Moonlight Desires.” The short film, directed by Joey Halter, plays with old school filming techniques and shows the band performing the song in dream-like scenarios.

From Vents we had a chance of catching up with the band, talk about their music and plans for the future. 

How would you classify your music?

Ammo: Dream Goth… is that a genre? We get lumped in with the shoegazers (Pablo likes to call it bootgaze) or goth rockers, maybe hints of dream pop- I really don’t care what box it’s placed into as long as it’s reaching people who like what we do.

Neil: Like having a root canal that you don’t want to end. Kinda like that euphoric feeling after waking up from getting your wisdom teeth pulled out but you crash your car on the way back from the dentist office.

Ammo: …or being lost at sea.

Pablo: Last breath gaze.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Ammo: The Damned are consistently at the top of my list… Dead Can Dance, Subhumans, TSOL, Cocteau Twins, Bryan Ferry & Brian Eno of Roxy Music, Beach Boys, Flock of Seagulls, INXS, Rowland S Howard, Love and Rockets, Natacha Atlas… I could go on and on, but who cares. We all have music that influenced us at different periods of our lives. I once went 3 months of only listening to Depeche Mode’s ‘Black Celebration’ in my car that it drove my boyfriend at the time completely insane. He retaliated by forcing me to listen to the entire discography of REM whenever we were at home. If I never hear REM for the rest of my life, fine by me.

Neil: Charles Manson (RIP), Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division.

Pablo: Mitch Mitchell, Abe Cunningham, Jon Theodore, Matt Cameron, and Greg Drudy.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

Ammo: A visceral experience that permeates ones imagination.

Neil: Take a long hard look in the mirror and tell themselves it’s all not going to be ok

Pablo: Nothing.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

Ammo: I have a hard time letting go of the first version of a song. There is something extremely magical about it. I’d love to release all the demos someday. But you need to leave room for evolution and exploration. Being stuck on the first version of a song is a form of control. Breaking that habit and letting ideas come and go and flourish. Songs will take on a life of their own if you give it space and then you’re presented with something outside of your personal scope. Also, writing without purpose can be freeing.

Neil: Stopped giving a shit about what people think’.

Pablo: Playing drums and touring.

What do you think about the current music scene in L.A?

Ammo: I’m really impressed by a few bands in LA at the moment. Sextile, Egrets on Ergot, POW!, Vowws, Magic Wands, Numb.er. For a while LA was a little sad and uninspiring, but I’m watching so many great bands popping up right now.

Neil: Not bad, but it has nothing on the music scene on the moon of Europa currently orbiting Jupiter.

Pablo: It’s alright.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

Ammo: The most memorable show would be Bahaus at the Glass House in Pomona. It was a secret show before their Coachella performance. Peter Murphy was hanging from the rafters upside down like a bat. It was insane.

My brain travels elsewhere during live shows, sometimes I black out and then the set’s over and I have no idea what happened. It’s a bit surreal, kind of like taking a psychedelic- so that’s always a positive.

Neil: Best concert = Nine Inch Nails, my favorite part of playing live is when I get to go do drugs after the show.

Pablo: Depeche Mode.

You just released a video for your version of “Moonlight Desires”, what’s the story behind the video?

Ammo: Our friend Joey Halter creates a fabulous one man web series show called ‘The Railroad Bill Show’ (which I highly recommend, especially if you’re into bizarre existential dark comedy). I was thinking about what to do with the ‘Moonlight Desires’ video and we thought that Joe would be perfect to direct it. So Joe and I got together and came up with the idea. He has great style and is a superb human. He’s super mellow to work with and a highly imaginative being.

Pablo: Not sure, Gowan is cool.

Why did you decide to cover this classic by Lawrence Gowan?

Ammo: Neil introduced me to this amazing song. I had been visiting Mexico City often over the last few years and fell in love. Neil played the video for ‘Moonlight Desires’ and there he is, this guy Gowan dancing on top of the Sun Pyramid complete with owls and charming dance moves! Teotihuacan is an extremely enchanting place. I had intense visions of an apocalyptic world while sitting on top of the Sun Pyramid- it was unreal. So it only seemed logical to cover the song.

Neil: It’s catchy and somewhat of a diamond in the ruff.

Pablo: Catchy tune.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be? 

Ammo: I’m hesitant to meet any of my idols. I think it takes away from the mystery. If anyone, I’d like to meet Leo Tolstoy and have a drink with him in St. Petersburg, Russia. The way he wrote and developed his characters has has a lasting impression on me. Although…one exception is Marylin Manson. I’ve always wanted to have dinner with him.

Neil: Lou Reed.

Pablo: Ian Curtis, song “Dead Souls”.

Any new releases or shows coming up soon? 

Ammo: We just played Part Time Punks at the end of November with our friends Glaare. We’ll be playing with Egrets on Ergot and Spirit in the Room January 4th at the Satellite in Silverlake. We’re maily focusing on releasing singles and a full length as well as some music videos for a few of our songs off of the ‘Ivory Skies’ EP, but a few shows seem to sneak their way in from time to time.

Neil: Yup.

Pablo: Refer to question 3.

Watch the video for “Moonlight Desires” here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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