Why ‘master of misery’ Jonathan Bree is smiling behind the mask


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“Once I made Sleepwalking I by no means considered it as something greater than a report undertaking,”  Bree, now in his late 30s, says.

Time Out New York named his self-directed video clip You’re So Cool from Sleepwalking as the most effective music video of 2017. Filmed in black and white inside a highschool corridor, it channels an early `60s atmosphere – the place bowl cuts and angular dance strikes prevail.

Bree’s newest album is about love and heartbreak. There are many references to courting within the fashionable world, the place texting and emojis take priority over telephone calls. His songs are darkish and stressed, however there’s loads of hope in  issues of the guts too.

“My songs are private and at all times check with both myself, pals going by way of issues in relationships and typically they function a premonition of what’s to occur in my world of relationships,” he says.

Sleepwalking comes with a classic ’60s and ’70s sound too, but it surely’s the filmic qualities that drive its horror-like drama dwelling for bleeding hearts.

Valentine is a bleak pop thriller whereas Say You Love Me Too sees him duet with Catalan singer Clara Vinals. Common collaborator Princess Chelsea lends her voice to a couple of monitor, together with Static.

“I didn’t have a burning ambition to tour,” Bree says of being again on the street, “however with the success of the You’re So Cool video clip, my plan shortly modified and it’s been nice.”

It was that very same video clip that helped carry on this renaissance. Curiosity within the singer, songwriter and producer led to tour presents  and he is not had time to look again. Bree and his band have simply come off an in depth European tour, will play Australia this summer season and head to the vastly fashionable South By South West music convention in addition to having reveals booked in New York subsequent March.

Bree’s earliest initiation into music started in Auckland by way of his cousin Mark Lyons, who’s 4 years older and in addition the frontman of indie band the Nude Fits. Between the ages of 9 and 13, the musically curious Bree performed with Lyons within the Plaster Saints.

Bree then moved to Australia at 13 to reside together with his father in Brisbane. They relocated to Byron Bay for 4 years and returned to Brisbane when Bree was 18.

“Whereas I used to be in Brisbane I used to be making an attempt to start out a band however didn’t have a lot luck.

“That’s after I determined to maneuver again to New Zealand and began the Brunettes with Heather [Mansfield, his then-girlfriend] in 1998.”

In 2002 they launched Holding Fingers, Feeding Geese – the identical yr he launched his report label Lil Chief Data. The pair met co-founder of Sub Pop Data Jonathan Poneman in 2004 whereas opening for the Postal Service at a present in London, which led to the Brunettes’ 2007 album Constructions & Cosmetics getting a launch in America.

The Shins, who’re amongst New Zealand’s best-known musical exports, have been equally impressed by the Brunettes’ indie pop, taking them on tour within the US and New Zealand.

“The years of touring with the Brunettes have been a variety of enjoyable, but it surely’s solely since I’ve develop into a solo artist that I’m extra comfy with myself,” Bree says.

“Performing with masks has so much to do with that. I’ve restricted imaginative and prescient, however I discover I don’t get as distracted by issues. And my resting face isn’t the most effective face,” he says with amusing. “I used to be painfully conscious of individuals taking a look at me after I was within the Brunettes.”

Jonathan Bree, enjoying the buzz around him.

Jonathan Bree, having fun with the excitement round him.Credit score:Coco Campbell

4 years in the past, Bree experimented with masks within the Bizarre Hardcore video clip. He has had a protracted fascination with them. On stage, his bass participant Joshua Worthington-Church performs blindfolded. “I’ve supplied quite a few instances to chop small openings in his masks however he refuses,” Bree says.  ”He’s a real technique actor.”

Bree, who launched 9 albums with the Brunettes earlier than switching to solo mode, is  content material with the brand new buzz surrounding him.

“I’m at all times fairly excited by the prospect of taking this band on the street,” he says. “I’m not as younger as I used to be within the Brunettes, however in fact I’m open to the brand new method. For the time being there’s good curiosity and I’m rolling with it.”

Jonathan Bree performs on the Sydney Pageant, Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, on January 17; The Curtain in Melbourne on January 18; and at Mona Foma in Launceston on January 19.

Jane lives in Melbourne, spends her time accumulating vinyl information, outlets at Victoria Market and spends an excessive amount of on footwear. She’s huge on leopard print equipment, has been writing about trend, music and way of life over 20 years.

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