Interview: Braid

(this interview originally appeared in issue #40 of Modern Fix Magazine in 2004).


– interview by pr!


Before everyone had a white belt and played semi-pop indie rock, there was Braid. Emotional lyrics with technical music. And before I could even have a chance to really enjoy them, the Braid bubble popped and the band members moved on. Bob Nanna (vocalist/guitarist), Damon Atkinson (drummer) and Todd Bell (bassist) joined up with guitarist Mark Dawursk (shortly replaced by Michael Shumaker) to form Hey Mercedes, while Chris Broach teamed up with Andrew James Hawthorne, Benjamin Wilson and Steven J. Lamos, starting the Firebird Band. What’s easy to observe about each bands material is that they both sound like ½ of Braid, but both are good in their own way. And just as we all got used to not having our Braid and absorbing Hey Mercedes and The Firebird Band, now Braid is back on tour again.

So, why is Braid back together?
Well, we’re not really back together, as in, back together to do a bunch of albums or something. We just got together to do this one last tour and celebrate this DVD that’s coming out. And also to play for everyone we’ve met. Since Braid broke up, we’ve all been on tour non stop, for our various bands. We’ve met so many people, especially younger kids, that are big Braid fans but never got the chance to see us play.

I think it’s a good idea. Braid seems like one of those bands, like a Drive Like Jehu or something, that was innovate but a few years before it’s time. Do you feel that?
Yeah, I do. It’s just the way things go, timing wise.

It’s always the innovaters, man!
(laughs) It’s nothing that I lose sleep over. People wanna hear it, and that’s why we’re playing again. I’m hoping a lot of our old friends will come out for this tour.

Do you remember that show last year on the Avail tour, in San Diego, where they kept turning off and on the lights?
Yes, oh my God I do remember that. They were having problems. The lights kept turning off and on, and we thought it was the lighting guy fucking with us, but I guess they were having problems.


You seemed particularly jarred about it at the time.
Well.. I’m really really non-confrontational by nature, so you really have to push me to get me upset. I thought they were fucking with us.

It was a weird tour all together. Hey Mercedes and Avail?
Well… we were interested in playing with different people. It was a different crowd, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Now, you’re on tour with Saves The Day… again?
Yeah. We’re good friends with them. We hang out when we’re not touring, so… yeah.

You mentioned that this was the last hurrah for Braid with this upcoming tour. You don’t sound definite. Is there zero chance of any new material coming up from the temporary reunion of Braid?
Well, I’m not going to say one way or the other, ‘cuz we might be on tour and start writing stuff. We might go to Japan and tour… to Europe. It’s wide open, so while at this point in time we’re not into it, who knows?

The Firebird Band is very much alive, as well as Hey Mercedes?
Chris [Broach of The Firebird Band, and only Braid member that didn’t go onto Hey Mercedes] also runs a record label (Lucid) as well, so he’s way busy.

It sounds like you guys are on good enough terms to be in a band together, at least for a few months.
Oh definitely.

While I think you guys decided to break up because you weren’t all ‘feeling’ Braid like you used to, there is the perception of bad blood since three of the four members of Braid went into Hey Mercedes.
Right. Obviously, that’s how it looks and that’s kinda how it is. It wasn’t really a fight. Chris wanted to go back to school and wasn’t really into touring anymore, and we all still wanted to. It just ended up with everyone being unhappy, and not being happy on tour. It was the most natural thing for us to break up. We’ve seen so much since we’ve been together again, it’s great.

Talk to me about the DVD. From what I gather, as I haven’t seen it, is that it’s five live shows?
Well… it’s more or less a mini documentary. Charles from Bifocal did interviews with us all in January, and there’s footage of us fooling around…

So more ‘behind the scenes’ stuff?
Yeah. It’s not a live DVD. It’s not strictly shows.

Is it out now?
Yes. Well, the VHS version is. It has been for two years or so. The DVD, which has two hours more footage, is coming next week.

I heard something about you and Daniel G Harmann doing a split EP or something. What’s that about?
The label, Post436, are putting out my solo EP. I’ll be doing some shows in May to support it. Because whenever I’m home, I’m always writing… some of them are meant to be played acoustic.

You said you’re going to tour..
Four shows, in New York, when I get back.