May 2008 - THE BROUGHT LOW
Cosmic Lava caught up with Ben and got the latest on the band's news with an interview between Ben and Gideon Smith. I thank Gid so much for this interview, because it was really necessary to present this powerful group. 'Right On Time', their latest album, is still an amazing work of blues-driven, rock 'n' roll-infected 70's Hardrock. This three guys are talented musicians and their work should be familiar to more people. New York artists THE BROUGHT LOW feature singer/guitarist and songwriter Benjamin Howard Smith, Nick Heller on drums, and bassist Robert Russel.
Hey Ben- how have you been man? What's going on with you, Nick Heller and THE BROUGHT LOW these days and what can fans of your group look forward to this year?
Me, Nick Heller and Bob Russell are currently working on writing new material for record number 3. Originally we were gonna call it 'Triceratops' but now I think it's gonna be called 'Slow Your Roll' since we all think it sounds cool hahahaha. We also got a bunch of cool shows planned for the next couple months, you know, the usual band shit.
What influences inspired you when you were growing up to start a band and make you want to go out and make it happen?
Well, I grew up surrounded by music. My older brothers were teenagers when I was growing up in the early 70s and they had bands in the basement playing 'Smoke on the Water' and that shit so it's sort of no wonder I ended up playing this kind of music. I also went to church and sang in the choir and whatnot. My brother bought me Hot Rocks by The Stones for my 8th birthday so I was force fed rock n'roll and always loved it. As far as getting out and playing in bands, punk rock and hardcore made me realize I could actually do it. I mean, I remember looking at pictures of Jimmy Page and thinking 'I'll never be that dude' but then when I got into Minor Threat and Black Flag and saw pictures of them I thought 'Hey, they look just like me!'
In the history of the band thus far, what are some of your favorite moments?
You know, I pretty much like it all. I like the life; the music, the friends, gear, playing shows, road trips, etc. Most of the recording sessions have been fun though 'Right On Time' took forever and you know, we've have played tons of great shows over the years and made great friends. I guess the Emissions From the Monolith shows always stand out.
How would you describe a Brought Low live show from the stage looking out?
Well there's this big dude with glasses jumping around and screaming and then there's this guy with an Al Qaeda beard holding down the bass and looking intense and then in the back there's this bald dude with a boxer's nose hitting things and looking angry. We're a very different beast live than on record. The records are pretty crafted though not over-produced but live it's a lot louder and looser and violent. We had a second guitarist for awhile and once we went back to being a power trio I said to the boys 'It's time to find out inner Live At Leeds' so that's the basic intent; leave it all on the floor.
What is your favorite recording of the band or song and why?
I'm generally happy with all our recordings and there's little nuances here and there that I always enjoy hearing whether it be the piano on the last record or the guitar solos on the first though once the record is recorded and released I don't listen to it much. There are certain songs that mean a lot to me because their very personal like 'A Better Life' and 'Kings & Queens' and then others which are just always great to play live 'Blues For Cubby' and 'Vernon Jackson' so, all of those I guess hahaha.
What are some of your favorite records these days?
I mostly listen to old shit, whether it be classic rock, old punk, blues, soul or country. This week I've been on a big Misfits kick but before that it was Cali hardcore: Black Flag, Adolescents, etc., and before that it was The Groundhogs and the more obscure 70s hard rock shit. As far as more current bands, I love that Earthless record from last year, I like Black Mountain, RPG and Shame Club are great and good friends of ours. The new Shame Club record is great and the new RPG record is gonna rule too.
As a musician and rock artist, how would you describe or classify the band to someone who hasnt heard you yet?
To me, it's just rock 'n' roll. We get the southern rock tag a lot, which is fine - I love plenty of 'southern rock' and southern music whether it be blues or soul or old school rockabilly and country, but to me it's just rock. And we do rock.
How is the (new/next) LP a representation of the band compared to the past ones or do you find them similar along the lines as your sound, traditional or changing?
It'll definitely be different from the last record but still coming from the same basic place. We've got 3 finished and complete rock 'n' roll songs and then a weird epic instrumental and then a bunch of unfinished acoustic jams. It's funny, originally I wanted the new record to be like Led Zeppelin III and half acoustic but the last two songs we wrote are way punk rock so I guess there goes that idea hahaha. But you know, the 1st record and 'Right On Time' sound different so I think it's a good thing. I don't want to just keep putting out the same record over and over.