Indie-pop quartet Humble Braggers have every right to the group name they chose. Following their formation in 2013, Tom Burtless (vocals), Thomas Stoklosa (synths), Bryan Zellis (bass) and Matt Chavanne (drums) have released some brilliant and memorable material, impressing thousands with their unique sound. Now, they're gearing up for the release of their new EP Cycle, so we caught up with the guys to find out all about that, and more.
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
Tom Burtless: I would say that we have a penchant for writing catchy, danceable songs with (mostly) large 80s-inspired synth tones and dramatic amounts of reverb - especially on my voice.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
Tom Burtless: I think it’s just been a general challenge of needing to become better songwriters, to write better songs and to be brutally honest with what we make. There’s a lot of good bands out there and you need to excel and push yourself if you want to cut through.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
Tom Burtless: I think there’s a lot of good sound musicians and bands out there and if you want to stand out you have to really push yourself to write better music, be a better musician and be more honest with what you’re creating. I think that all takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
Matt Chavanne: I think we all want autonomy on how we make music and produce a finished product but I also think we're pretty open to different ways people can use our music.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
Tom Burtless: Our sound is influenced by everything from Tears for Fears and Radiohead to Daft Punk and M83. All four of us have a wide variety of inspiration that we pull from that you can hear in every song. For the newest record I think I’ve tried to take the approach of writing a soundtrack to some specific moments in my life and having those moments inspire some of the tonalities and heaviness in these songs.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
Tom Burtless: Kevin Parker - everything I’ve heard him produce, Tame Impala or not, has a certain tonality that I love. Also I think working with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, At The Drive In) would be a dream come true. Everything he’s done has had a tremendous influence on me.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
Tom Stoklosa: I got shot in the eye with a BB gun as a kid and my iris is permanently scarred. Not fun.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
Tom Burtless: I think we would all love to be doing this full time but I as long as we’re all having fun in this project and loving what we’re creating we’re happy. That’s the primary concern for this project, always - that whatever we put out next we absolutely love.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
Tom Burtless: I’d love to be touring, if possible. We’ve never toured extensively and any short stints we’ve done of it have always had me wanting more.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
Tom Burtless: Our new album Cycle comes out on Admirable Traits on August 31 which contains, in my opinion, the best music we’ve created as a group yet. If you like to dance or cry or dance and cry I think you’ll enjoy it.