New Music UnCOVered – BRØR

BRØR one syllable, two brothers and countless hooks.

Many revelers involved in the Northern Irish music scene will be familiar with Ben and Johno Whittington, formally apart of the band HOW.  BRØR are two brothers from Armagh, that have been making music together in several incarnations over the years but have now settled on a style that they find most comfortable and fitting.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Ben & Johno Whittington to discuss their latest track, the creative process behind the music and their ambitions going foreword with the band.


We are with rising Northern Irish band BRØR, you guys are brothers and you have played music together for many years now in a variety of different incarnations. Previously you both were in the band HOW, and you were taking massive strides, making a name for yourselves in the NI music scene, you won The Guinness Versus Battle of the bands and were invited over to play gigs in London.
Why the change of pace, can you talk us through why you decided to leave HOW behind and become BRØR?

Johno: ‘Well probably the short answer is, the reason we changed our name is just because we used to be in a band called HOW that was a four-piece with two other guys (Maxl Walmsley Pledl and Peter Kerr) and we kind of thought, that we enjoyed the music we put out, but we weren’t thrilled with it’s artist output and we just wanted to make something different, something that we were really invested in.”

So, as I said you both enjoyed success with HOW, what will you need to do to make BRØR more of a success?

Ben: “That’s a good question, make better songs, that’s the aim anyway. Plus, the stuff that we record, it is exactly the sort of stuff we want to make, it’s easier to push it and get behind it if you’re 100% confident in at least the fact that I can say that I like it. It doesn’t matter if someone else doesn’t like it, I know it’s good, at least for me.”

Johno: “Yes, it’s much easier to push a product that you wholeheartedly believe in, rather than you know, something that you’re not as thrilled about.”

Yeah, that’s fair comment, I completely understand where you are coming from there. Okay, your latest single, ‘SOMETHING NEW’. Could you talk us through it’s meaning, if it has one at all or is it a combination abstract thought and notions?

Ben: ‘ It does have a meaning, I wrote it after hearing about a friend, someone they new years and years ago, they had a home invasion. Now I’m not sure about the ins and outs of it but I can imagine various things, but their family got tied up and all this stuff. I was like, fuck that kind of stuff, no matter if nothing really bad had happened like no one got hurt or nothing terrible, but it’s always going to leave something behind.

The psychological damage done?

Ben:” Yes, there is a lyric in a Brand New (band) song, ‘It’s not what they took, it’s what they left behind’ if you know what I mean so I took that to mean, that if someone robbed your house it’s not actually the stuff they took it, it’s the fact that they invaded your space and now you are consistently afraid that someone is going to come and rob you again.
Pretty much, that’s where the son started off and the song is kind of about that and then the ‘Why don’t you feel like something new?’, is about about you know if you’re always living in that bubble of worry and fear about stuff that has happened before nothing feels new or exciting. Which is kind of depressing, but hopefully it’s quite an upbeat song.”

Johno: “Ahaha! Yes, there’s a duality about it, yes the lyrical content is fairly quite depressing but the music to it is rather upbeat and hopefully uplifting to a certain degree.”

Yes, well that seems to be quite of a hallmark of a lot of your work, even previously with HOW, your songs, although quite upbeat deal with some really dark subject matters. The complexities of human interactions and relationships and just really the dark side of the human condition.
There is a line in ‘Something New’, that goes like ‘I dream of Africa and killing all my fiends’.

Johno: ‘Yes everybody mentions that!’

Could you maybe talk us through the creative process with the lyrics because a lot of them are very abstract and they bring about violent imagery. Could you talk us through the creative process of writing?

Ben: ” It’s kind of strange, because that just came to me out of nowhere pretty much, which for me at least they lyrics that I like the most come from nowhere. So it’s more of a subconscious thing going on, it comes from something, but I’m not entirely sure where but I have dreamed of killing my friends. Not really though, for me ‘I dream of Africa and killing all my fiends’, I don’t know it says something but I’m not sure what it says.”

Johno: “Again what I really like about it is the duality where you are doing something, like somebody who dreams of Africa that’s quite a romantic, what most people would consider idealistic scene. Then you are coupling that with killing all your friends, so it’s a complete contrast.

Yeah, there’s a dichotomy in the lyrics, I get what you’re saying.

Ben; ‘Yes,that’s what I found interesting about it, and yeah it’s odd, I don’t know where it came from. I was playing football on Sunday there and I was in nets and it just came out of nowhere. I was like ‘Oh fuck that’s interesting!’

Okay, do you guys have any live shows coming up anytime soon?

Johno; ‘We have one this Friday, which we are very excited about, It’s our first official gig as BRØR it’s supporting band we really like called RoboCobra Quartet. They just released their new L.P and that’s their launch night so we are supporting them at Redeemer’s Central in Belfast. The venue used to be an old church so the ambiance will be spectacular.”

Do you have any plans for further releases at all?

Ben: “Yes we do, we have plans for release of other stuff, we have six other tracks, and what we are going to make out of that we’re not entirely sure yet. We will be releasing them over the next few months,hopefully coupled with videos and several other creative stuff.”

Johno: “So yes we have essentially another five songs that we’re going gradually release over the next few months.”

Are there any plans for UK / Ireland tour in the framework at all?

Johno:”For a tour, well a the moment we are focusing on this online single campaign were we are going to release these six songs gradually but there probably will be a tour by the end of it in some capacity. As it’s just something we would be interested in doing, but as of yet, there are no plans set in stone. ”

Ben “We haven’t looked at a tour as of yet, but it will happen eventually”

Finally, Is there anything you would like to tell our iCov readers?

Johno; “Listen to the songs, on good speakers, not through your iphone and that’s all we can ask really”

Ben; “Listen to the song, if you like it, listen to it until you hate it.”

Johno ‘Show it to your friends, show it to their friends parents grandparents absolutely everyone!’

Check out BRØR on Facebook here!

David Aston

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