Edo Van Breemen, lead singer and keyboardist in Brasstronaut is en route to Cheakamus Lake for a camping trip when we chat. He's been back in Vancouver about a year, returning from New York where he was working on film scores, and, on the day that their third album Brasstronaut is released (on Hybridity), he's venturing into the wilderness.
The contrast between motion and remaining rooted is an accurate reflection of Brasstronaut's spirit — especially when it comes to their latest effort. After 2012's Mean Sun, the band took a breather — a "healthy" pause, Van Breemen says. Members were scattered and priorities changed. They worked on new music sporadically, emailing ideas and getting together in their Vancouver hometown mostly on holidays.
"The band is like an excuse to hang out," Van Breemen tells Exclaim! "It's not easy, logistically, to all work together. If we weren't friends, I don't think that would happen very easily."
Brasstronaut had planned to release another record though their UK counterpart, Tin Angel Records, and work was finished on it in 2014. But when Van Breemen dissolved Unfamiliar Records, the label he'd co-founded and was Brasstronaut's Canadian home, they forgot about the album.
It was only when Malcolm Levy, the founder of Vancouver/New York based electronic label Hybridity, heard that there was an unreleased Brasstronaut album and wanted to release it did the band finally reconvene.
"We had to get our shit together, basically, because nobody had been thinking about what that would mean," Van Breemen laughs, adding that now the band is right back where they left off four years ago.
"It was mostly motivation from the outside, because I think we didn't care. We were like, 'if nobody is going to release this, then we're just going to put it on, like, SoundCloud or something.' But it's nice when you have encouragement from people who are willing to do so much work.
"I like the idea of people coming together in a room," Van Breemen continues. "Especially right now, with all this dark shit happening in the world, I love being able to get as much from an audience as the audience is from us. Not like, 'Oh look at us, we're playing these cool songs and everybody likes us' — that, for me, is not really a factor anymore. But I think increasingly, with any kind of collective experience of arts, any opportunity where you can have any group of people who don't necessarily know each other in a room, that's a moment where you can affect a collective energy."
Check out the video for "Raveshadow" below.