Brisbane’s The Brave are the most recent signees to UNFD, and last Friday, the quintet released their debut album, ‘Epoch’. As such, we had a solid chit-chat with vocalist Nathan Toussaint about signing to UNFD, supporting Parkway Drive and Make Them Suffer, and on convincing schools to let a children’s choir sing on their album. Which as it turns out, was probably the hardest of those three things to sort out!
I assume that the recently finished tour with Dream On, Dreamer and Stepson went really well for you guys. Was that the first tour proper tour the band has done?
Well, we have played shows with Dreamer before, but this was really the tour that we got close to them and got a chance to really know them. But we did do a small headline tour a few months ago. Nothing too major, just Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. But yes, this was the longest tour we’ve done so far. It was full up. Brisbane was epic for us and a good way to finish it all off.
Right on. Now, I honestly hadn’t heard of you guys prior to signing with UNFD. I have a feeling I’m not the only one.
Yeah, you really aren’t dude! [Laughs]. We do get it a few times every show or so. We don’t take it as a bad thing, as it’s a cool compliment. People come up to us at shows and tell us they hadn’t heard of us until that night, until Searchlights or until we signed with UNFD. It’s pretty cool. It’s good to know you’re winning fans over in the live shows, as that’s where it’s the hardest to win people over.
Yeah, a live show can make it or break it for some people. Interestingly you say that about getting a positive response from the live shows, as you opened up for Parkway Drive and Make Them Suffer last month. Which was…interesting.
It was amazing, man. We all love Parkway and Make Them Suffer, but to open for them was so cool. Especially at The Gold Coast Convention Center. It was such a good experience.
Was it weird playing in front of that audience, as those two bands are much heavier than you guys, even with the heaviest songs off ‘Epoch’?
We embrace that. We play our older, softer stuff as well because both of those bands are so much heavier than us that we can’t really compete as another heavy band on that bill. So we figured we’d set ourselves apart so that we’d stick out in people’s minds more. Because we have heavy songs, when compared to Parkway and Make Them Suffer, it’s not even close. It definitely worked out and there was no booing either. We had such a great response too, so hopefully people were happy with it [laughs].
Nice! How did this partnership with UNFD come about? Did you just send off a couple tracks or did they come to you instead?
They hit us up off the back of our old EP, once that came out they contacted us via email and said they’d be listening to it and wanted to know more about us and our future plans. At that time, we were playing a few shows off the back of that release, but told them we were going to do a full-length. They actually helped us out with playing shows with In Hearts Wake and a couple others. But once the album was done, we sent it off to them they were happy to get it done!
I think that that’s a good sign of a label really enjoying a band’s music and seeing it more than just a monetary move; that they care for your music enough to contact you and start the conversation first.
Exactly! Their roster is full of so many great bands. When we first got the message from them, we asked them if they had the right band… [Laughs]. We were just so flattered that a label like them was hitting us up and wee interested. From there, we built that relationship and they’ve been great to us so far.
Sweet. And with UNFD… Marcus Bridge providing the guest vocals on ‘Dreamless’, did that come out by sending off a quick email or was there already a working relationship between yourselves and him and his own band already? As you’ve stated before that you had him in mind for that part in the song.
We were really keen to get a guest vocalist on the album and he was one of our top picks. Through the pre-production, we all thought that Marcus would fit it perfectly. We were already friends with Alex Milovic, who plays bass for Northlane and he put us in touch with him and he was totally down for it from the start. Marcus pretty much rocked up and killed it right away. He was lovely enough to do it, was amazing at it and we’ve become good friends with him. Kinda like the label; just built this little relationship up.
Good to hear. How did that feel for you to have this really well-known vocalist come in and smash out his own vocals on this song? Did that light a fire under your belly to strive harder for your own vocals and writing ?
After seeing the way he worked, it shed a new light on what a vocalist of his caliber can do. It made me want to push myself in my own abilities as a vocalist on the tracks we had left to finish after Dreamless. When we play that song live, I obviously can’t copy what Marcus does, but I have to lift my game as his parts are hard. It makes me not want to get slack.
Oh, of course. Now, where did you guys shoot the film clip for ‘Searchlights‘, because that was such a beautiful location to film in!
It was just in the bay of Brisbane, on North Stradbroke Island, and they have this great stretch of beach there where it’s very wide with massive sand dunes. That video clip was more based on the album’s artwork. Stradbroke worked out the best for our budget and was close with to us as well. We wanted this wasteland-like landscape, but in the clip, you can see the lush, greener parts and the ocean, so it’s cool that it had this mixture of the landscapes. It creates this other-worldly vibe, which is shown in the album’s artwork.
Yeah, it ties really nicely. With the artwork for ‘Epoch’, I got the feeling that three individuals on the front cover where the same person and that that each figure was that individual at a different time in his life. Maybe that is really obvious, I don’t’ know…
Yep, you’ve done very well, man! It’s a very weird idea that myself and Pat Fox. who did the artwork, had a lot of back and forth on. We let him have a lot of creative freedom over it as well. The idea of the three people being from three different points in time, and that there is this “hunt” going on; the past hunting the one from the future and the present one being caught up in the middle. It’s a hard to explain storyline. But I’m keen for people to see the artwork in the physical copies as well.
Glad to hear. Now, what was the significance of the song name ‘1945’? It’s a very emotional song and is that meant to be a reference to the end of World War II…?
Yeah, you’re bang on with it, man. At my girlfriend and I’s house, we have a letter from her grandfather, who served in the Navy back in World War II. He sent this letter back to his wife and daughter and it was written to them on the day that peace had been made with Japan. It’s got the old-school cursive writing, and that older style of language that’s all very cool to me. Ever since my girlfriend showed me the letter, I’ve always been interested in it. When that song came along during the album’s production, I felt really compelled to write about it. It’s just this really beautifully written letter that I’ve always been very infatuated with it.
Oh, that’s very cool, and very touching too. Finally Nate, with the end of ‘Slipping Away’, was that an actual choir that you recorded or just a few double takes with a bit of delay, reverb, and maybe throw a doubler over it?
No, we did go get a choir. We got a bunch of great kids from Gosford. It was actually a massive mission. We had the idea of getting a kids choir into record, which is an easy enough thing to talk about, but when you’re approaching children’s choirs and schools, it’s hard when they say ‘Cool, what type of music do you play?’ When you show them it’s heavy music, not everyone…agrees with that style. But Gosford Conservatorium of Music had a whole bunch of choirs and the group we found were just so stoked to be working with a band. It was such a cool experience to do, and that we could pull it off as for a while, it was looking like no one would want to sing on a heavy band’s album.
Well, I’m really glad that you locked that in as it was a cool way to end the album, and I didn’t expect it, personally.
Yeah, we thought it was a really nice way to end the album and not just have another heavy breakdown. It suited the album to end that way with the fade out, it worked out all perfectly.
That’s very cool man, and that may be the best place to end this interview, too. Thank you so much for your time tonight Nate, I wish nothing but the best for the release of the new album.
Thanks so much man. See ya later bud!
‘Epoch’ is out now via UNFD.