“The” being the operative word in this equation. The Brass is: Jakob Lips on vocals, Devo on bass, Claz on guitar and Trev on drums. As for the name, Jakob and Claz moved toward a paramilitary vibe, choosing military jargon for “the people in charge.” With two other bands in town using ‘brass’ in their name, it is probably a good time to dispel any confusion and dissect this band’s sound. The story goes that Claz and Trevor starting jamming with old school hardcore and Oi influences, then Devo met Claz through a mutual friend. Their demo was recorded by the fifth practice, “Psychopath” was written that same day, which incidentally was Devo’s fifth time playing bass.
BeatRoute: I saw you promoted as street punk, so what’s up here: ’77 era, working class, pub band tradition?
Jakob: I thought that getting billed as a street punk band was sort of weird. We don’t sound like the Casualties and we all have fixed addresses.
BR: Why dip into the past? It’s 2014; this whole punk thing has spread so wide.
J: Because it’s still tiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Devo: Because the old school influences need to make a comeback for the punks.
J: And the hardcore scene.
Trev: The ‘80s were the best.
J: I think “hardcore” in Vancouver and the Northwest has a much different connotation than anywhere else. The general perception of it here seems to revolve around like, Youth Crew, 90s and bro-y bands. In the early 2000s the scene here was huge and the bands at the epicentre drew more from those influences rather than ones that we have. Such as, Chain of Strength or Cro-Mags vs. Negative Approach and SS Decontrol. Its a pretty broad genre and were taking more from the punk spectrum. We like to pretend the ’90s didn’t happen and we don’t “throw down” but we “slam.”
D: And pogo.
Claz: 2010 and 2011 were good years.
J: Tempe SS, Avon Ladies, Nomos, Hoax, Culo, Creem, Crazy Spirit and Warthog dropped sick material around then and the “trends” shifted more towards old school weird influences and it’s been carrying along in really cool ways ever since. Except for here in Vancouver, which is super frustrating.
C: People just don’t get it, man.
BR: You mentioned Oi and hardcore, these are stylistically two different directions – can you explain your choice?
J: I don’t think mixing [these] is unusual. Judge covered Blitz, John Brannon was obsessed with 4-Skins (with Hodges), even J Mascis loved the south end sound. We’re influenced by oi, hardcore, and some UK82 stuff. Negative Approach, the 4-Skins, Cock Sparrer, the Partisans, Camera Silens – classics. We’re inspired by other newer bands that are doing cool stuff with similar influences [like] Hired Goons from Toronto, the Sentenced from Austin, Creem from New York, Grimace (RIP) from Olympia, and Vacant State from Vancouver, they are all killing it.
BR: What went down with the demo?
J: The demo started when Claz and Trevor jammed and wrote the music for “Can’t” and “Damaged Goods” then Devo started jamming with us and everything else came together really smoothly. The lyrics were either older ones I’d been sitting on for awhile or written the day before I recorded them during an 18-hour workday. It’s gotten a good response. It feels really good when people who play in bands you really dig dig your band.
BR: Other recordings?
J: Yup, the only thing set in stone is a split with another Vancouver band Snøb. We’re recording two or three songs and a cover for that one. There’s also a new song on a comp of northwest bands that Tyler from Lifeform is putting out. We have about five new songs written though, the tentative plan is to record an LP and get that out in the next year or so, but we’ll see what happens.
Catch The Brass at The Astoria, March 25th.
By More Betty
Photos: Bubba Hamilton