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Interview: Brunga’s Band

24 May 2016

I’d taken two wrong trams, hit my head on the door on the way in and, slightly concussed, had a few pots of beer. But I still vividly remember the first time I saw Brunga’s Band play live at the Evelyn Hotel. Recently, I asked them some questions now that they’re starting to make a name for themselves in the Melbourne music scene.

For those who don’t know, Brunga’s Band is an emerging Melbourne-based band made up of four guys currently on their gap year. Their gigs consist of dirt-cheap bevvies, interesting venues a shirtless song or two and maybe a violin solo. I’ve been listening to these guys for two years and thought they were too much of a musical gem not to share.

Lach, Alec, Rehn and Charlie have been playing since 2014, while still studying at high school. The story of how they came together has humble origins and when I asked how they came to be, vocalist Lach said, “Me, Alec and Rehn were all in the same math class, and being the non-listening types we were, Rehn was tapping on his pencil case when I asked if he played drums. He said yes then I proceeded to ask him to come to a rehearsal at Charlie’s place. Rehn said yes, and from then on we’ve been the notorious Brungas”.

They’ve since brought their “bit heavier than surfy” sound to various venues across Melbourne, including the Toff in Town, Arcadia Hotel, the Penny Black and the Prince of Wales. Their most recent gig was at a new Hawthorn nightclub called Untz Untz, which hosted 300 people.

Drummer Rehn said, “Obviously we were all a bit nervous but once we got into it we loved every second and it got reallll sweaty”.

If you haven’t listened to their music before, it’s very Strokesesque with “smooth riffs and harmonies” that essentially make you nostalgic about summer. They instantly have you longing to go to the beach despite Melbourne’s moody weather and the fact you have three tutes today (sigh).

The band uses both Soundcloud and Triple J Unearthed to post their music (completely free to listen to by the way, hint hint). Their influences include the delicious likes of The Strokes, Violent Soho, Interpol, The Beatles and Nirvana. When comparing the two music sites the band explains that “with Soundcloud it’s much easier to share your music because it’s more of a well-known music site. With Unearthed it’s very handy once you’ve been played on air, the real challenge is getting enough rep to be played in the first place.” They’ll keep posting to Triple J Unearthed where artists like The Rubens, Mosquito Coast and Meg Mac gained recognition.

By far their biggest hit is ‘Weekend Darter’ which has over fourteen thousand listens on Soundcloud. When I asked about how they wrote this catchy tune, bassist Alec also known as ‘Brungas’ explains: “It was a long time ago, but [I’m] pretty sure Charl or Lach gave us a riff, Lach supplied the lyrics and that was that”.

The simplicity in how the band composes their music encompasses the chill, easy-going vibe you get when listening to them both live and online.

As well as originals, Brunga’s Band plays covers at their gigs too. Guitarist Charlie says: “We’ve done a few covers over our time, the most popular one would have to be ‘Send Me on My Way’ by Rusted Root which we played when we performed in Croydon, and got an unreal reception so we stuck with it and have actually mixed it into a medley with three other covers. The crowd always loves it so we love to play it”. They believe that “being able to connect with the crowd” and to “provide a show that makes people jump and dance and have a good time” is definitely the best part about playing live.

They’re also engage in other media, a music video for their ripper tune ‘Saw You At The Bar’ (which has an unreal trombone solo) is available on their Youtube channel and the band explains that “half the fun of writing songs is adding other elements of creativity to them such as a video”.

They all work day jobs and are “slotting in practices and gigs” between them. But a word to the wise, get in quick and start listening to Brunga’s Band now, with a new EP in the works (“just quietly”), being set to play the Rabbit Hole festival in December, and with numerous gigs around Melbourne until then, it would be advantageous for any music-lover to come along to one of their shows. The beers are cheap and the vibes almost certainly able to keep you grooving all night long.