Feature: Jack Foley
AT A time when another hot new act seems to be emerging from
New York each week, it takes something a little bit special to
The Strokes managed
it. As did StellaStarr*. But
now we have The Bravery.
Ever since the release of their Unconditional EP last year (2004),
tongues have been wagging about this exciting new outfit.
Their HQ is on the corner of Mott and Broome, on the edge of
New York’s Chinatown.
Push through the graffiti-ed door, clamber up the rotten stairs,
past the sweatshops and you’ll find the place. It’s
where The Bravery have spent the past two years planning operations,
obsessively working up their wirey garage-electronics and occasionally
venturing out into the city to play the results.
Their first gig was in The Stinger Club in Brooklyn in 2003.
Twelve months later, their name was plastered all over the Lower
East Side to celebrate a sold-out residency at Arlene Grocery
In that time, The Bravery (and that’s singer/guitarist
Sam Endicott, guitarist Michael Zakarin, bassist Mike H, keyboardist
John Conway and drummer Anthony Burulcich) had honed their sound
to a dark garage-electro and made sure everyone knew what they
were all about.
"We’re called The Bravery because that’s the
mindset I was in when I was writing the songs," explains
"Everyone in my age group wants to know what they’re
going to do with their lives.
"They all think that they’re worth nothing and they’re
"People are drowning in these thoughts and I just got sick
of it. I didn’t want to be like that.
"The name is also connected
with living in New York in this really weird time.
"People are constantly waiting for something bad to happen.
I wrote these songs and formed this band to make sure I didn't
get overcome by that sense of fear.
"That’s what this band is about standing tall
and not being afraid."
Sam has no time for excuses. He grew up in Maryland, in the DC
suburbs, and was heavily influenced by the area’s intense
He’d go and see bands like Fugazi and Jawbox and be impressed
by their DIY ethic. He quickly adopted it as his own philosophy
and it’s something that feeds directly into The Bravery.
They do everything they make the records, the artwork,
the videos, everything.
They know what they want and how they want to do it.
"I don’t really like mainstream music at all,"
admits Sam. "When I listen to the radio or watch MTV, 99%
of it is like listening to an air-conditioner or a hair-dryer.
"Sometimes, though, something comes along that jolts you.
When I was growing up, it was bands like Nirvana and Jane’s
Addiction. Those bands elevate culture.
"I don’t think there’s any point in aiming for
One thing that sometimes puzzles people about The Bravery is
why they sound electronic when all the bands they like are punk
Sam doesn’t know why they sound like they do. He just wanted
to do something different. Of course, the circumstances in which
they recorded their album (most of it was constructed in a friend’s
bedroom with Radio Shack mics and an old iMac) and the fact that
Sam’s best friend, John Conway, is totally obsessed with
analogue keyboards obviously helped shape their sound.
"People always say we sound like New Order and Duran Duran,"
laughs Sam. "It's funny, because I don't really know those
bands that well.
"I’ve listened to a few of their songs recently, though,
and they sound cool just not like us."