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Conversation With: The Britanys Brooklyn’s lo-fi garage band that’ll remind you of the Strokes

In case you were wondering why Brooklyn band The Britanys have a missing T in their name, blame frontman Lucas Long. “I’m a really bad speller,” he told me before their show at the Satellite in Los Angeles last month. Together with Steele Kratt on drums, Jake Williams on guitar, and Lucas Carpenter on bass, the Britanys are pulling through with some serious momentum. Their blend of lo-fi, surf-inspired garage licks have a very clear and present Strokes vibe. “We’ve heard that before,” they said, though they’re not opposed to the comparison. “We all like the Strokes.” 

After releasing their first tape through Lolipop Records last year, as well as their debut EP produced by Gordon Raphael, the Britanys are heading back to the studio for their followup with Jonathan Schenke of Parquet Courts fame. If my guessing goes, these Brooklyn babes have a lot more glitter to throw at the wall, and a lot more sound to bring to our ears. Read my interview with the band below, and listen to them. It’ll do you good. –Maya Eslami 

WHAT YOUTH: Are you guys doing this tour for the EP?

THE BRITANYS: Not yet. In January. This is just a week of shows. We’re just getting the lay of the land. Going to Trader Joes a lot. We thought we’d really hate it here, but it’s been really nice. And we played the Ace Hotel on election night, which was super weird and depressing.

The one downtown?

Yeah. It really hit us hard. Or harder than I thought we’d get hit by it. It’s kind of nice being here though, it’s just far enough away from New York that I’m not putting it in my mind. But when we get home, it’s gonna be like, “Oh fuck. This is real.”

Where do you guys live in New York?

 In Brooklyn. We just found out we’re playing Washington D.C. on inauguration day.

That seems hectic.

Yeah. I was like, “It’s January, I know we’re playing D.C., it can’t be the same day.” It is the same day.

You guys still have time to bail.

I wanna do it.

Tell me about the band name. You all have the name “Brittany” around your neck. But you spell your band name differently.

We do. Good catch. This is the cheap version. Nine dollars on a whim. Steele bought them for everyone.

What’s the story behind the different spelling?

I’m a really bad speller. I bought a domain name, and I accidentally spelled it with one T. And I guess we’re stuck now.

Is that the first thing your name went on, a domain name?

I guess so, yeah. This isn’t the greatest story. We should probably change that. We started playing together, the two of us [Lucas and Steele], a couple weeks before Spring Break, and we were just jamming, and during Spring Break he was like, “Okay I booked a show.” And I was like, “Oh, we don’t have any songs. But whatever.” And he’s like, “And the band name is the Britanys.” And then he sent me a picture of “The Britanys” he’d graffitied somewhere on the street.

So, technically it was on a wall first.

I don’t know how I spelled it on the wall, though.

So the EPs coming out soon. Do you have any other recorded music floating around?

We have a demo tape on Spotify. Just different singles we did over the past year.

Do you guys have a label behind you?

We’ve been taking meetings while being out here, but the plan is to hopefully self-release the EP. And hopefully when we do that, kind of use that as leverage. I think if we got a label behind us now, it would slow down the whole process. So we’re just trying to get the first EP out and then see what happens. That’s our game plan.

When does the EP come out?

Hopefully in February, with a single in January.

Where do you guys record? And where are you recording the EP?

We did a session in Brooklyn at this studio called Seaside. We’re working with a producer, Johnny [Schenke], he’s kind of a famed Brooklyn guy. He did all the Parquet Courts stuff, and a lot of other up-and-coming Brooklyn bands. We did some of the recording there, and when we go back we’re gonna record more in our basement with him. So we’ll probably have two songs from the basement, two songs from the studio. I’m kinda glad that- I mean we’ll see how it turns out, but I’m glad that we’ll have a couple songs recorded in our basement. We’ve done all the other recordings in there [for the demo], and it’s mainly for our practice.

Well, and you guys have a very lo-fi vibe, so it works coming from a basement.

Yeah. Enough to keep it in the realm. But being in a nice studio is definitely a change for us. It was a treat.

Did it freak you out?

I think the first day, it took a couple takes to sink into it, but I think we fell in. We liked it. But there’s nothing that beats being at home.

Do you guys like your sound better in a studio?

I guess we’ll see after we record this next one, but the basement’s nice. It’s cool because you’re not paying for anything so you don’t have to work around a clock. But also as long as it’s all cohesive, you know, like if it’s a set of songs, and they all sound like they’re in the same room, that’s so much better. I think the funny thing too is that when we did go into the studio, we were trying to make it sound like we were in the basement, trying to make it lo-fi and stuff like that, so I think it’ll be nice too. You don’t have to put that extra work in, and we’re comfortable there.

Do you guys know you sound like the Strokes?

 [Laughter]. We’ve heard that before.

Do you hate that?

No, we don’t hate it. We all like the Strokes a lot. We got shredded once though. NME did our last video, and they said that we’re the “Next Strokes!” And all the comments were like, “Go fuck yourselves.” It was entertaining. I liked it a lot.

I mean you’re gonna be compared to something.

It’s true. There was another comment that said, “Nice try sweaty”, instead of “Nice try sweety”, and it took us a day to figure out what that meant. We were also recording that same week, it wasn’t good timing.

Did it fuck you guys up?

No way. Haters fuel us. It’s nice to be mentioned, regardless.

Maybe you guys should do a Strokes cover album.

We’ll do a Strokes Christmas album.

Yes. 

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