"It brings bile up from the back of your throat" - Brasher on new music and politics in punk

Photo: Kate Feast Photography

Exactly one year ago to this day, it seemed like nothing could impede the rise of Bristolian hardcore punks Brasher. Born out of a shared resentment for inherently oppressive conservatism, the group threw out the rulebook with renegade ambition immediately following their inception and chose to record a full length before they had even played a number of shows in the double digits. Despite such a reckless approach, the self-released Everything showed that Brasher were unlike the rest of the herd. Capturing the fury of modern youth and articulated with homegrown hardcore battery in the key of The Bronx, Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats at their most youthful, Everything was poised to be the starting pistol that would signifying Brasher’s ravaging of the land. Then of course everything went to Hell in a handbasket.

With the live circuit out of action, the group was left with no firsthand way to promote the record themselves. A plethora of previously announced shows where cancelled and festival slots where left unveiled. Still, stories regarding their bombastic live presence drifted through social media throughout the year, and as 2020 drew to a miserable close, the group returned with two new singles in the form of ‘Death Is Temporary, Class Is Permanent’ and ‘Omnidirectional Filth Machine’. Recorded live at Wells’ Axe And Trap instead of in singular isolation, the two track single encapsulated everything brilliant about the Brasher. Shivering with anxious animation, the double-tap release was an explosive barrage of DIY punk that saw the band release a year’s worth of flammable energy within 6 minutes and served as a punk molotov cocktail straight to the cranium

With Live At The Axe And Trap out now via Bandcamp, we got in touch the band to discuss the single, surviving 2020, the combative nature of punk and what to expect next from a band that refuse to follow a predictable path.

Talk to us about the two new tracks, what were the primary inspirations behind the tracks, what kind of energy were you guys channeling when recording the songs?

Mel (Guitars, percussion, vocals): "I guess with everything that’s happened this year our energy was really pent up. We’d had dozens of shows lined up that we obviously had to cancel so we really wanted to try and capture some of what the shows would be like by doing a live recording. Musically, I’ve been inspired by the old we’ve been in recently and my lack of respect for many people in power, but feeling powerless to do anything about it. I wanted these songs to be my voice in the face of oppression and regression, ‘Death is Temporary…’ is specifically anti-right wing because I’m so sick of our government and wanted to voice that."

You recorded the tracks live instead of in a studio, what was that experience like?

Max (Vocals): "So we got offered the opportunity to test out some new gear at our friends’ studio - Axe and Trap. It was the day after we’d actually played a (seated) show that wasn't cancelled and we were all still riding that adrenaline high. I think there was a lot of pent up energy we needed to get out. I was originally going to do guide vocals in the booth next door but we ended up using those guides as they were pretty gnarly, I'd set up strobing LED's in the dark and got really into it."

Léa (Drums): "The session just felt amazing. It was great to be together, focused and playing together, especially after not playing for so long. Everyone was so happy about the whole day, and the results as well. And everyone put so much energy into this, it was like destroying a punching bag."

It's been an incredibly turbulent year, what's been your thoughts regarding the events of 2020?

Max: "It's taken its toll on all of our mental health, that's something I've seen across the board and is important to recognise - this really is a time to look after your friends and family, check in and see if they're ok. There's been a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, especially among those who run venues, work around the entertainment industry and need it for the self validation - like us, haha. It's not just the financial instability but that they've been told that their skills are worthless by the government and that they should re-train - it brings bile up from the back of your throat."

What would you say to people to claim punk isn't political?

Max: "Punk is a platform like anything else, punk doesn't have to be overtly political but anything that makes a statement about the self and the state of the world around you is bringing politics into the equation whether you like it or not. And that's a good thing. We wanted our music and community to be a part of something, to stand for something. Whether it's being who you are in a world that rejects you, not tolerating bullshit towards others or just making it through from day to day."

How can people use music and punk to combat systematic oppression in society?

Stu (Bass): "Music and particularly punk give a brilliant platform to raise awareness and fight oppression and equality. This doesn't just include lyrics about these subjects, but publicly standing against oppression on social media, on stage, and in your personal actions are all important in using your platform, however small, for the better. You can also use this platform to raise money for worthy causes locally or globally. Representation matters, and it's possible to use your voice to make a difference."

Going forward into the new year, what can we expect from the band?

Mel: "New music, with any luck. I’ve been sitting on almost an albums worth of material that I’m itching to bring to the Jam room so the four of us can actually start creating another album."

Max: "This new year is going to be a time for everything we've missed. There's obviously going to be a transition period since this pandemic isn't over - but we want to play as many shows as possible, release that second album and continue doing what we love in a safe and ridiculously noisy way. Expect many riffs."

Live At The Axe And Trap and Everything is out now independently via Bandcamp.

Purchase the record here.