Brine is a post-punk/indie band based out of Seattle, Washington, that's getting ready to release its debut album Kill the Ill. Musical Notes Global talked to Brine's singer and bassist Daniel Keating about how the band got its start, inspirations, and the new album.
Influenced by a variety of sounds, which include Morrissey, The Cure, Nirvana, David Bowie and everything in between, this four-piece band—comprised of Chris Haller (guitar), Travis Bingaman (guitar), Joe Benson (drums), and Daniel Keating (bass, vocals)—has only been known as Brine since 2014, but its members knew each other long before that. Keating and Benson met in high school and have been playing together since 2000. Haller joined in 2004, whose arrival was followed by Bingaman's in 2012.
The sounds we hear early in life often have an extremely profound effect on us. Daniel, who attributes his interest in music to his father, shared with MNGBlog: "my first musical memory [was] us listening to Billy Joel's An Innocent Man album a lot when I was little. But my first favorite band was Tears For Fears when Songs From The Big Chair was getting tons of airplay in 1985. I was in the first grade then, and music has been my primary interest ever since. Then, when I was 15, a friend brought me to my first punk rock basement show, and that really started everything for me. That was probably the most important event." Chris, who didn’t start playing guitar until he was in high school, added: "I've been interested in music ever since I can remember. I went over to a friend’s house, and his brother was jamming with his band in their garage. They were playing ‘Enter Sandman,’ and at that moment I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
Together, Brine is bringing their guitar-driven alt rock to the world. Their debut album Kill the Ill drops December 2 and has a running theme of mental illness, a very important yet still taboo topic in our society. “I think insanity in general represents a wealth of topical material for art and music…basically endless, you know?” Keating told MNGBlog. “About 5 years ago I had my own troubles and had to recover, equip myself and learn about how to deal with some of these kinds of issues. I needed to confront some problems regarding my own well-being, and in doing so have become much more familiar with some of the demons that plague many of us. When I write lyrics, I find that words come pretty easy when thinking about some of these darker topics.”
With intriguing, thought-provoking lyrics in every track, Kill the Ill makes a strong statement and an excellent debut for the band. Going along with the album's theme, the title track discusses schizophrenia, an illness that also hits home for Daniel. When asked about the story behind the song, Keating said: “It’s about trying to cope with those phantom beings, how to beat them, how to shut them up. I am not a schizophrenic, thank god. But I do have one in my family and have learned a bit about the disorder.” Musically, though, the track developed out of the bass line, which he said “was the cornerstone of the song. The other parts were written around that section, and it fleshed out into a pretty good song.”
Keating also revealed to MNGBlog how the band develops its music: “I do the bulk of the writing at home with guitars and a drum machine," he said, "then I’ll present the song to the rest of the band. We will then iron out the structure and tweak any parts to finalize the song in rehearsal. Some of the songs come from Chris or Travis writing a riff or two, and we jam them in rehearsal, writing the song as we go." For Kill the Ill, “We recorded the drums, bass, and guitars live and then overdubbed additional instruments, layers, and vocals," Keating said. Recorded over the course of six days, the album was mixed in a couple of different studios in Seattle. "All said and done," he said, "the album took about 6 months to make and finish.”
Chris and Daniel's top picks on Kill the Ill are “Lies Atone,” “Kill the Ill,” and “Rats Asleep.” In addition to the title track, Musical Notes Global suggests “Graveyards” as a must-listen. A haunting song with a catchy opening riff, it will stick with you long after it ends.
The band is planning an album release show at the Rondezvous in Seattle on Saturday, January 21. Pre-order Kill the Ill now via Bandcamp.
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