Clamorous Histrionic Apparatus
Br’er initially began as the solo recording project of Philadelphia native Benjamin Schurr as a means of completing several unfinished songs he began for another project. From these meager beginnings Br’er quickly became its own entity, growing into an ever shifting lineup of musicians (including Christian Mirande, Darian Scatton, Roger Alejandro Martinez, Gabrielle Smith, Shaina Kapeluck, Jordin Goff and Hyden Weiner-Grossman) culled from across the Philadelphia area to help bring Schurr’s dense experimental pop compositions to life. After several manic recording sessions with borrowed equipment, broken keyboards and a shifting scene of partners and cohorts, Br’er’s first album “Of Shemales and Kissaboos” was born, and finally emerging as a functional live outfit in July of 2007. Since its initial inception, Br’er has been an ever evolving project, changing shape and sound as both a live band and as a recording project.
Hello, how are you?
Great! Currently in the midst of a month long tour.
What are you currently listening to?
Some Shostakovich cello pieces, Cocetau Twins' 'Victorialand', Debussy's 'Sonata For Harp, Flute, & Viola', early Swans, and 'Wu-Tang Forever'.
Whats the story with the band name?
It actually came from two places. First was the fact that my dad read me the Uncle Remus Br'er Rabbit stories when I was younger and the second was from a comic called the Maxx. What I really liked about the Uncle Remus stories was that Br'er Rabbit utilized his wits and trickery to get himself out of life or death situations, which paralleled my life in many ways when I started the band!
Whom are your biggest influences when it comes to sculpting your sounds?
There's a lot of different sources. When I started the band I had this idea of it being split between super harsh noise/early industrial stuff like Merzbow, Einstruzende Neubauten, and Swans and really colorful, lush 60's pop type stuff. As time went on I found that most of our ideas just came from a combination of exploring different instruments, trying to create sounds that were unique and unknown to us, and city sounds.
Is there a theme on your latest full length?
'City Of Ice's' main themes are displacement, gender, abuse, confusion, love, catharsis and Septa. Shaina (our violinist) described the album to me once as "a breakup album for you home town" which seems to sum it up nicely. So it has a lot to do with the myriad of conflicting emotions that come with living in Philadelphia (or any large city for that matter).
Do you have a favorite track from said album?
"Oestrus". I can't believe how well that summed up the sensation I was trying to express. Whenever I hear it I still have no idea how that came from me.
Got any side projects/collabs coming up?
After we're done with this tour I'm going to start working on the new Eskimeaux record and I'm in the process of finishing an Ep with A Stick and A Stone. Somewhere down the line I'll be starting a project called "Our Lady Of The Flowers." I'm always working on two or three projects at a time.
What the most embarrassing record you own?
I would like to go on record saying that I AM NOT EMBARRASSED TO LOVE THIS RECORD but it's the only thing I can think of that may fall into that terrain because Ross Lipton doesn't like it. Everclear "So Much For The Afterglow". I think it's just a really great pop record that affected me strongly when I was really young and still has that power.
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
Shucks, that's a hard one... Swans 'Greed/Holy Money'.
Are you living your dream?
Depends on the dream.
Br'er is currently wrapping up his US tour, after that more recording I'm sure, as this artist is quite prolific...