Mod­ern band

Bre­ton are a band in the old style – their em­pha­sis is on the artistry, not the cool fac­tor, as front­man Ro­man Rap­pak tells Jim Car­roll

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

IT’S AL­WAYS AN in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to see a rel­a­tively new band play on a big stage. While bands are al­ways will­ing to talk the talk about want­ing to take their mu­sic to the masses, it’s of­ten the case that they only war­rant such an el­e­va­tion much later in their ca­reer.

Then, there are bands like Bre­ton. At last De­cem­ber’s Trans­mu­si­cales fes­ti­val in Rennes, the London-based band pe­formed on the main stage in a huge ware­house as if they did this kind of gig all the time. The vi­su­als, the pro­duc­tion and, most of all, the tunes worked like gang­busters in that im­pres­sive set­ting. It’s a far cry from the shoddy, crummy down-at-heel venues they’re used to play­ing.

Front­man Ro­man Rap­pak re­mem­bers that Trans­mu­si­cales show with sat­is­fac­tion.

“The idea be­hind the band was al­ways to do some­thing on as big a scale as pos­si­ble,” he says. “We grew up around the in­die cir­cuit and play­ing squat par­ties. The vi­su­als for the early gigs were pro­jected onto a piece of cloth pinned to a wall from a crap pro­jec­tor.

“But the idea was the same. We wanted to respond to peo­ple com­plain­ing about downloads and how freemu­sic was de­valu­ing mu­sic it­self by say­ing that this put more of an onus on a band to put on a great live show.

“A show like the one at Trans was the kind we want to play. It works so much bet­ter when you’re in a room with 2,000 peo­ple and big screens and it’s part cinema, part club and part gig. That show was a big step in hav­ing the stage to put on the kind of am­bi­tious show we were al­ways talk­ing about.”

Rap­pak is an ar­tic­u­late front­man, well able to de­con­struct the am­bi­tions be­hind the band. Those am­bi­tions have al­ready pro­duced an ex­cel­lent de­but al­bum, Other Peo­ple’s Prob­lems. Its rich, evoca­tive, chal­leng­ing suite of ac­ci­den­tal pop tunes, way­ward elec­tronic grooves and enig­matic twists and turns work on ev­ery level.

To Rap­pak, the idea of re­leas­ing a record and in­ter­act­ing with what he calls the “un­pleas­ant” mu­sic busi­ness is a bizarre no­tion to be­gin with. “You can’t talk about mu­sic cul­ture and the role of the mu­si­cian with­out go­ing back 75 years to this weird thing called the mu­sic in­dus-

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