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"We Admit To The Truth - We Are The Best At What We Do"

(Interview with Vinnie Accardi taken from Black Velvet 40 - May 2004)

By David Jackson

No-one seemed quite ready for how successful BRAND NEW's follow up to their 1998 debut album 'Your New Favourite Weapon' would prove, least of all the band. Equally astonishing was the rate at which tickets for their first full tour of the UK were seized upon - before long selling out at venues across the country. With a queue already stretching well towards Leicester city centre guitarist Vinnie Accardi is happy to begin reflecting on the rollercoaster ride that Brand New has been.



"I guess one huge difference between the two records is that the first came out close to three years ago - at the time of that recording we were all younger and the songs that we recorded had been around with us for six or seven years," he begins. One of the younger members of Brand New, Vinnie was barely 18 during the recording of their first album. "We'd been writing from our teens, I guess this time around we were closer to the ages we are now. You're so different writing in your teens than in your early twenties, there's so much music that we started to listen to since and so many different experiences being on the road together we've been through."
Pausing for thought, Vinnie begins reciting a list of artists that were on rotation during the writing of current album 'Deja Entendu'. A range of music from Hatebread to The Police, The Smiths to The Blood Brothers and Coheed And Cambria all are mentioned.
"I don't think anything was on my mind but I know at that time we were all listening to so much," he explains. "I don't really think it was new music influencing us but using the music we had there already and realising how to make it a part of us."

The gulf between 'Your New Favourite Weapon' and 'Deja Entendu' is staggering. At times comparisons are almost impossible. The band are happy to admit there were elements of their debut they felt it was time to leave behind. "It wasn't anything conscious but the first record was more up in-your-face, super-catchy - a very friendly kind of music," Vinnie explains. "We had done that already, that was easy for us, we know how to make songs like that. It seemed more challenging to try to explore new ways for us to make music."
One of the immediate differences between the albums is the melancholic stripped back feel to much of 'Deja Entendu'. As explained gone is the super catchy in-your-face the music anthems, replaced by much deeper music and more reflective lyrics. "We didn't really have any expectations, most of the record was written in the studio," he continues. "We had a collection of songs which were just ideas, bits and pieces of melody. A lot of the elements that the album puts forward are our feelings of chaos and anxiety that were going on at the time. It was really strange because the first record was so successful and rather unexpected. All of a sudden there was a possibility that people actually liked us. One of the things people say all the time is that it took them a while before they realised they liked it. I had the album a month before I was finally happy with it."

Looking back over 2003 Vinnie continues to explain how important the release of their second album was to the band. "It was such a huge step for us," he admits. "We realised we had the ability to transfer our same energy into songs that may not be so easy to understand."
If 2003 was to prove a hectic year 2004 was to begin no differently. "This is the first thing we've done this year," remarks Vinnie. "It's pretty wild to see all the UK shows sold out. It's strange because people don't realise we've been touring the states for close to four years now. We've been playing to rooms of 500 for years and it's just the same thing, it's so exciting to be playing venues this small again."

Brand New first came to the attention of many UK fans supporting Finch on their last UK tour. Vinnie is quick to explain how much they learnt from touring with the band. "Finch are always great to watch live. One thing we know about them is that we've toured with them enough and seen them all have a bad day. Despite this they always go out on stage and maintain the same show every night. It's great to be able to see a band do that. That's one thing that a lot of people don't really see - at the end of the day we're people too. It's hard to always give 110 per cent but we've developed the ability to put on our own show and do what we need to do."

The second single to be released from 'Deja Entendu' was the excellent 'Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades.' Built around an excellent powerful bass riff, layered lyrics and a huge chorus the track shines through as one of the best from the album. Equally impressive, working hand-in-hand with the track was its dark thought provoking video. Set in a gloomy bar vocalist Jesse Lacey experiences the ability to control the actions of others through his own movements. "It's about the abuse of power and the repercussions of it," explains Vinnie. "We met with the director who'd had the idea for four or five years and everyone he presented it to didn't like it. The moment he put the storyboard to us we fell in love with it. He'd had four years to perfect it. It made so much sense, if you're going to make a video you may as well make it a short story."

The unexpected levels of success both albums have received have brought new levels of pressure on the band. Vinnie is quick to explain the effects these have had. "One of the most important things is just trying to keep my sanity," he admits. "Brand New has become so big and taken up so much time when I'm home I just spend it with my family. It's robbed me of my time with them for the last four years. You don't even realise how much you miss them. I have a younger brother and sister and every time I see them they're becoming real people. It's sad that I'm missing that."
Conversation shifts to life outside Brand New and growing up in America. "My parents always had music on," begins Vinnie, recollecting his earliest memories of music. "My dad was the Earth Wind And Fire 70s disco dude and my mum was all about Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. There was always a huge mix even though I lived at my grandparents' house when I was younger. There was always someone playing music after dinner. I remember being about ten and deciding not to play baseball any more and guitar stuck with me ever since."
Another key recollection was the impact witnessing Nirvana had on Vinnie. "Seeing Kurt Cobain for the fist time was a huge inspiration, it must have been on their In Utero tour. I knew then there was something about playing the guitar that I had to do."
Brand New's second album, 'Deja Entendu' is out now. Visit www.brandnewrock.com for more info.


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