Spotlight: Brontide

In an ideal world, most artists would achieve success with their first outing. But of course that just isn’t the case. Most artists tend to go through a succession of bands or side projects before experiencing even a modicum of most musician’s dreams. La Roux’s drummer Will Bowerman is no exception.

However, unlike most bands, Will’s original band Brontide, complete with guitarist Tim Hancock and bassist Nathan Fairweather, have stuck with it, competing against the pop maestro’s hectic schedule.

Although it’s Bowerman in the spotlight, it’s guitarist Tim Hancock that’s the driving force behind the band, providing the guitar loops that Brontide’s instrumental sound is centred around.

“It’s pretty experimental, dare I say a bit progressive,” says Tim, “but with an emphasis on looping and being a bit heavier as well.”


Brontide are known for their progressive music without vocals. | Photo: Lucy Bridger

Brontide have a sound that no other act can match. Their melodic sections soothe like the calmest tide, while their brutal riffs would be enough to break ships apart. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is that this sound is achieved without vocals and without repetition.

In their decision to avoid vocals, the band has set themselves quite a challenge. “I don’t know whether it was a totally conscious decision,” says Hancock.

“When we were first writing songs we were just jamming and playing around with ideas, riffs, and loops, so when stuff came together we never thought ‘let’s get singing involved’.”

For most the vocals provide the initial hook. In Brontide’s case that vocal hook is replaced with an instrumental one. It works, although Hancock admits “some people need that lead vocal line”.

That said, finding a killer hook is possible, but finding multiple ones is difficult. How does a band go about writing music knowing that vocals won’t be a factor? “We write more, in the sense of we’ll write lots of different sections and then we’ll piece them together.”

Of course, it’s not that simple, and as Hancock knows, there is a trick to it: “It’s trying to find things that we can do that are interesting and different to keep the listener’s interest within that. Never using an idea in a song, if we can avoid it, more than once”.

With drummer Will’s jet-setting, Brontide’s plans have been put on the back burner somewhat. “Brontide’s always been like that, the fact is Nathan lives in Brighton, I live in Nottingham, and Will now lives in London.”

But Hancock sees the bright side: “It’s fun, in a way, to have it as our little hobby project.”

The future is indeed bright for Brontide. The band have tours with Shapes and Oceansize under their belts, and a ferocious set-list that is just gasping to be added too. There’s more to come from these instrumental behemoths, much more.

Brontide means “to produce sounds like thunder”, in which case no band name has been more fitting, and with Brontide a storm is coming. Expect a full-length release sometime in the not too distant future.

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