Brawlers: “We’ve spent the last year accidentally being a pop-punk band”

If you’re looking for a band that lack inhibitions and possess the frank ability to be anything less than honest, look no further than Leeds four-piece, Brawlers.

Having released The Black EP earlier this month, we caught up with frontman Harry Johns to talk about the record, festival season and life for the band right now.

You released The Black EP earlier this month, what’s the plan from here?

“It’s a mystery that will make sense in March next year [2017]. We’ve got a lot planned – we just want to do things differently and shake things up a bit, and surprise some people. Because everything is boring as f**k isn’t it? Let’s be honest. Even when you find a band you love, it’s like ‘here’s a single and here’s an album…’ boring! Yet we’re surrounded by the Internet and all these opportunities to do things differently, so we thought we’d do something that we would think another band was cool for doing.”

Sounds cool! So how is life in Brawlers right now?

“We’ve spent the last year accidentally being a pop-punk band! I don’t give a f**k about pop-punk. I don’t think it was decisions we made, I think it was [the tours went on] because we love touring. But now it’s got to a point where we need to think about what we’re doing, really find our audience and find an audience that gets it. We tour a lot, we f**k up all the time, we drink a bit too much and it’s worth writing some songs that are honest and thus relate to that. I want to be 50-years-old and be able to listen to the record and remember all those little stories because that’s what the songs are about. I’d rather just be honest.”


How important are festival slots to Brawlers?

“I’ll be honest, it’s a nice bonus. When we were a new band, you could just turn up, play and it wouldn’t really matter; people were just interested because you were new. Even a few years ago, people [thought] ‘I like Alcopop! [records] so let’s see what Brawlers are about’, but we don’t sound like anything else on Alcopop! Records. Now we’ve gone out and lived in the van for a few years, we can come back to these festivals that we loved and we’re here to do business now. We love playing festivals. I like that we’re not a particularly conscious band, we take opportunities and do the best we can with them.”

What records have helped you to develop and own that ‘Brawlers sound’?

“The second Fidlar record [Too]; we all listen to totally different music but someone turned us on to that and we all remember specifically the time we put it on. We didn’t know anything about them, we listened to the record and thought ‘here’s another band that wants to say the stuff that we want to say. Painfully honest stories about being a f**k up that we can relate to pretty well, so that’s a big influence for us. But rather than being one record influencing us, it was us realising that we could take influences from all different things. Oasis are a big influence for us, people think it’s funny but they’re a band we all love. That big British, four-chord chorus thing, we all love. And also not being afraid to put more of ourselves into the songs. The whole point of writing a song, is writing a song about what’s happening in your life that day and I think when you lose that, it’s not real, it’s not genuine and we don’t want to do that.”