This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
LAist Interview: Bracken
Bracken's profile page on Anticon says it best:
Bracken is a musical project spinning in a loose and ill-defined orbit around founder member Chris Adams. In another life, Chris, along with his brother Richard are known as co-captains of the good ship Hood. In this latest incarnation we see a side-step/stumble into a puzzling soundworld of future pop, analogue tape trickery, avant drone, loose dub flourishes, hip hop pacing and clattering drums.
So we emailed him all the way in the UK and asked some tired-ass questions.
How did you hook up with Anticon?
I recorded the album, sent the album to anticon and emailed them, waited around a bit and wondered why they weren't replying, checked that the internet connection was definately working, peered nervously at the computer, rang friends to make sure the phone was working, shook the computer about a bit, hassled the postman, paced around, got emailed back asking if i wanted to release the record on anticon. Said yes before they sobered up.
What influenced your departure from the style of Hood?
Restless nights fiddling about with computers and samplers. Hood is more "band" orientated whereas i wanted to really mess up some stuff and make something more dense than Hood which you can't really do with a live band. The tracks that made the final cut are definately the most palatable of my experiments, I'd originally intended to make something very,very difficult but it slowly developed into something with, you know, hooks and stuff (albeit obscure ones).
Are there any plans to play a Los Angeles show?
I'd certainly love to but I'm not sure when it will be. I was amazed by the response the Anticon artists got in LA when Hood played there with Dosh and Sole, incredible. I'd also like to see if the guy who kept trying to climb on stage is as drunk this time.
Whats up with British people's teeth?
Oh the whole situation is a nightmare, we're a laughing stock and I'm as guilty as anyone. I just don't think we see them as something that can be kept white or straight. It's like, you're eating with these damn things all day, they're getting stained and they weren't straight to start with so just run a brush over them twice a day and just don't smile. I think it's why we make so much moody music over here, we're scared to smile in case people see our teeth.
Are the Anticon guys really as weird as they appear?
Yep, it's awful, they're all proper freaky guys, each weirder than the next. The entire operation is like a self help group and there's just no need for it. Like, I've put a few Anticon shows on in my hometown of Leeds and it's only when they stay with you at your home, you realise exactly how bad the problem is. For example, Yoni Wolf has to shave his entire body hourly, Adam Drucker spends the entire day with a sleeping mask on and then when it's time to go to bed, takes it off and sleeps with his eyes wide open, and Odd Nosdam, well, i'd better not speak about him.
What non-hip-hop influences do you draw upon?
I'd say my influences are pretty much entirely non-hip hop. That's not to say I'm not a fan of hip hop, i'm just saying that it's a genre I'm happy to leave to people who can make it well. I might steal the odd tempo or beat or some of the programming ideas but then I'm back forging my own path. I think i have a very different perspective on hip hop being that i'm from the UK. It's taken a long, long time for the UK rappers and producers to find a voice but it is happening and it's exciting and I'll probably draw influence from it in the future when it finds it's own direction. So until then I'll be happy listening to obscure experimental records
What sucks about commercial hip-hop (the shit we hear on big radio stations)??
Oh God, are you trying to get me to make some enemies? again, my perspective is a little warped as the big US hip hop that filters over to the UK really is the hip hop by numbers stuff. That said, i'd just say that there seems to be, like, a lot of elder statesman rappers who just churn the same old tired lyrics out over and over again. When rock (for want of a better word) got so bland and pompous and run by the same old faces, punk came along and buried them all, perhaps it's time for some new blood? i dunno, you're asking the wrong person.
Whats the best/worst thing about being a rapper?
I've heard that it's having to hustle every day. Every day is a grind and you're hustling to survive (so it's a bad thing). Although, of course, once you've made it, you sort of miss the hustle (so it becomes a good thing) but then you remember you're still hustling, because, well, every day is a hustle (so it's good and bad at the same time, because you're hustling but it's good hustling now). But then you remember the old hustle (bad hustle) and how things were so simple (good) and you sort of miss the hustle again (you miss the good hustle but you might just remember it good, because you didn't used to like it), but you wouldn't want to go back, but, in order to go back you need to hustle again, until you're tired of hustling.
How is Bracken different from Hood?
Well, um, the name of the band is different, that's the biggie. Then i suppose you've got the band members, they're different also. Moving on we have the song titles...they differ between the projects, oh, and the music, which i guess you could consider a key issue...that's different. But, apart from that, there's absolutely no difference.
What final words can you give to LAist.com's readers?
Ignore everything i've just said and be sure to clean your teeth every day or you'll end up like me.