Interview: The Brilliant ThingsTweet
The last few years have seen The Brilliant Things causing a stir on the Irish music scene, from The Music Show in the R.D.S. to Oxegen, they have been hailed as a complete success story. Originally a duo, the now foursome create a rock/ pop union. They may be relatively new as a band but each has impressive credentials giving them rightful status as experienced musicians. Individually they have worked alongside the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Taio Cruz, Pixie Lott, The Corrs, Bono and Van Morrison to name a few, lead singer Marie also had a top 40 Irish hit under the name Sweet T. Not bad for a band just about to release their debut album. I caught up with the band to discuss iPhone solos, Arthur’s day, and a synth based rock pop fusion.
I’m brought into the intimate setting of the basement floor of Accents coffee and tea lounge, couches and beanbags spread across the room, there is an immediate sense of home. The interviews are broken in two, guitarist Greg and bassist Mia are upstairs. While here I am introduced to the lovely lead singer Maria and drummer Geoff as they playfully argue over what kind of hot chocolate he should order, white, or regular. Once the dispute is resolved, he went for regular, I tell them I’m from Goldenplec and things get under way as Geoff remarks ‘that is a great name, it makes me think of a picture of a big shiny golden plec’, and he wouldn’t be too far wrong. Already it is apparent these guys are funny and down to earth, they are serious about what they do, without taking themselves too seriously.
Marie is a beautiful blonde with a rocky edge, she is wearing a funky black dress donned with safety pins ‘I was never going to wear the hot pants and bra’ she claims, ‘I have a girl in London who makes all my clothes, they are different lengths and variations of the same thing, and it’s just me.’ She is chatty and confident with a friendly nature. Geoff is laid back and witty, he seems like a regular guy with a great attitude, he also won an under 14’s all Ireland medal, an interesting fact even Marie didn’t know about him.
Maybe we should change our name to The Beautiful Things, Marie laughs as I ask where their name came from; a lot of people keep making that mistake. Laughing in agreement as I have made the same mistake myself, she explains that they had a list of names they couldn’t decide on and a friend in London gave them the idea for The Brilliant things. ‘It’s not because we think we’re brilliant’ Geoff joins in; it is more brilliant like light and colour, and everything good in the world’.
Maria and Greg were the original members of the band, as they developed their sound, Geoff, who is Greg’s cousin, joined. ‘We soon realised being a duo wouldn’t work, unless you’re in the Pet Shop Boys’, says Maria, ‘Then we decided we wanted a bass player, and Greg already knew Mia, it’s cool having a girl bass player, having a female singer too makes us different, it’s usually a boy band or a girl band’.
They describe themselves as rock mixed with pop and synth, music you can dance to, with a few slow tracks mixed in. ‘Greg writes all the songs’, they both agree, ‘then he will play them at rehearsal, and we will say what we think and Geoff might add something in’, it is a group effort I concede. This band are very much a family unit, and as with all families I have to ask how does their close personal relationships affect the group, ‘I would worry if there was no arguing’, Geoff states. ‘It is more like we will have an argument and then it is left, nothing is dragged on’, Marie adds, ‘but we are all in love’, she laughs.
Not new to a live stage, The Brilliant Things have played The Isle of Wight Festival, Oxegen and The Music Show, which they list as some of their best gigs, ‘one gig people were actually dancing up on tables’, they remember. When I ask will they be playing The Music Show again this year, Marie pipes up ‘I hope so, they haven’t asked us yet, That is always a great show because everyone is so positive, they are all there to hear new bands, it is very strange though when kids come up asking for your autograph’. Speaking of reactions from crowds I have to revert back to Oxegen 2010, and the iPhone solo. The band played the Vodafone stage and came up with the concept of playing on an iPhone because of the stage they were on. ‘Greg gets an idea in his head and has to run with it’, explains Marie, ‘there were negative comments on the YouTube video, but I tend not to look at those’. Greg agrees saying ‘Some people criticise for the sake of it, I don’t think they understood what we were trying to do, They said it was us being lazy, but it took a lot of work, Greg spent a lot of time practicing that’, he finishes.
So top forty solo singles and all Ireland medals aside, not mentioning the many other claims to fame these young musicians have, I asked what their greatest achievement to date is, to which they both replied ‘The album’, ‘We are very excited about it’, Marie tells me, ‘It is scary now to think it is out of our control and in the hands of the public, it is up to them to decide’ . Their single ‘Something to Say’ has started getting a lot of air play, ‘When I first heard it, I was in my car’, Geoff remembers with amusement, ‘I was bopping along to it for a few seconds until I realised it was our song on the radio, it was cool’.
‘Oh, nobody has asked us that yet’, they retort as I ask what is their favourite song on the album. ‘Revolution, rise’, Marie starts to list out the songs, ‘Read The Signs’, they both agree, even though it is not on the album. ‘It is one of our favourite songs to play live’, Geoff explains ‘but we weren’t happy with how it sounded recorded, it didn’t give off the same energy’, So why not record a live track I ask ‘We thought about that’, he continues ‘but it never went ahead, maybe some time in the future, but a lot of bands have songs they play live that never get recorded’.
So with the Album ready for release, what is next in line for The Brilliant Things? ‘More interviews, and a tour’ they tell me, ‘hopefully we will start to gig in October.’ And finally being an Irish band I have to ask, what are their plans for Arthur’s day? ‘Oh I’m going out, definitely, but I don’t know where yet’, Marie says with enthusiasm, ‘I’m not sure yet’, Geoff replies, ‘That day started off small and has just exploded, I’m from Galway though and all the good stuff is in Dublin’, Marie didn’t seem to agree though saying she would get him out.
So it is not all work no play in the world of The Brilliant Things, a hard working band that deserve the recognition, not only because they are all extremely talented musicians, but great people also. It is hard to find a fault and pretty clear that brilliant things (UH, sorry for the pun), are set to happen for this exciting Irish quartet.
The Brilliant Things self titled debut album will be released alongside the single ‘Something To Say’ on October 7th 2011.