I had the pleasure of meeting up with band The Britanys ahead of their opening slot for Splashh and Public Access T.V. at Great Scott in Allston, MA. Singer Lucas Long, drummer Steele Kratt, bassist Lucas Carpenter, and guitarist Jake Williams sat on some bar stools and shot the breeze with me for awhile after soundcheck.
Can we talk about the band name for those who aren’t familiar with your music?
Lucas: The band name. I had just met Steele and we had never played before…
Steele: Spring break freshman year of college…
Lucas: And before asking him, I had decided that we were going to be in a band, so I kind of forced him into it. I’ve never really been good at naming things and I somehow stumbled upon just…regular names and figured that was a territory that hadn’t been conquered. ‘Britany’ came about because I thought that if we picked a male name for a band with four guys that it wouldn’t be as interesting. It’d just be more interesting if it was flipped. Britany was a popular name when we were growing up
Steele: Not anymore… we’re talking ’94.
Britney Spears was ruling the charts.
Steele: (laughter) Yeah, we had posters of her all over our house.
Lucas: Yeah we started out as a Britney Spears Tribute band! (Pause) No we didn’t. That would probably be a more interesting story though.
Still a cool story! You can’t hate on that. So you two met in college, but did all of you meet the same way?
Steele: Nope, just the two of us and then we knew Jake from playing around the city. I met Lucas in the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college and we became friends on Facebook. Then, we were both playing a show in the city – he was playing with another band, ‘Triathalon’ in town – and we were walking to the venue and made eye contact and I was like, “Youuuu.”
Lucas: And then we fell in love.
Steele: Yeah, then we fell in love. We fell in love for the second time.
Jake: Was it a hopeless place…where you fell in love?
Steele: Then he moved into the basement… we all live in the same house.
Where did you guys go to school?
Steele: New School for Jazz and Lucas went to Parson’s.
We’re really close to Berklee and interact with so many of those artists so it’s cool to bridge those gaps and see where or if people made their music the center of their secondary education.
Steele: That’s sick, yeah.
Jake: I’m sure you guys are constantly collaborating and stuff. That’s cool.
Steele: John Mayer…
Lucas: I did their 5 or 6 week summer progam. It was fun.
Steele: I did their 1-week program when I was 15…but I missed home too much.
Steele: It was a precussion intensive…no it was really stupid. They didn’t even have like real teachers it was just dude’s who couldn’t get jobs and were showing us.
Jake: Shit, we should do that! We should give back to the youth.
There you go. You’re missing a market there.
Jake: I don’t think they’d let me anywhere near a school.
We’re really close to where I go to school and you haven’t burst into flames yet but that might be due to age.
Lucas: My mom went to B.U. She lived right down the block.
I live right down the block!
Lucas: Maybe you live in the same place.
Steele: Maybe you’re the same person!
Aerosmith actually formed down the street….about three doors down.
Jake: (laughter) THREE DOORS DOWN!!!
Oh no I didn’t even mean to plug three doors.
Steele: WHERE ARE WE?!
Fuck Aerosmith, Three Doors Down formed (not) here.
Lucas: This is a place legends are born.
Jake: So who formed upstairs?
Lucas: I knew that Aerosmith used to practice in the Berklee Auditorium. Steele’s first album he bought was Aerosmith.
Steele: It was. It was Nine Lives (1997). I really liked that song ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’. I went to the FYE in Idaho to visit my grandparents and I didn’t get the record with that song on it. This one has a cat, which is super punk rock (laughter). I was 8 and remember listening to it like…this was a bad choice.
Jake: I bet you remember the record though, if we threw it on.
Steele: Honestly, I put it on and got through one song and was like…mmm, nope.
Lucas: “This is not N’Sync!”
This doesn’t slap like the Backstreet Boys!
Jake: Spice Girls is my first record. Spice World, ugh!
I went to Catholic School for a really long time and I remember hearing Spice Girls blare though my friend’s radio and was like, “This is satanic!”
Jake: I’m sorry. Were you confirmed and all that?
This was pre-confirmation, but yeah man. Were you?
Jake: No, luckily I was able to skip Catholicism but unfortunately my parents did not so I know all about it. What are you, Irish?
Yeah. Did we just connect here?
Jake: I think we did.
You guys keep getting heralded as the young Strokes by publications like NME – what do you think of magazine likes that? Hat’s off to you, by the way.
Jake: Cheers! Love it.
Steele: We all grew up reading NME, we like it.
Lucas: We love them and appreciate it, for sure but they also called Public Access T.V. the new Strokes.
Lucas C.: Oh, fuck them!
Steele: They love calling people The Strokes.
Lucas: Yeah, they call a lot of bands The Strokes, but my theory is…I don’t think it’s a bad thing, we grew up loving The Strokes, but it’s a very broad category to be placed in and it’s easy to get pigeonholed. It’s a double-edged sword. It’s nice but it’s just a tag that gets used a lot so it’s like… what’s next?
What bands were influential to you growing up? The soundtrack to your youth!
Steele: Oh, the soundtrack to my youth.
Jake: Ohhh, daddy! I can’t wait to go on this one.
Steele: I mean when I was in high school I really liked Modest Mouse. When I was younger, like 10, the B-52s were my favorite band ever. Yeah, I don’t know. Stuff like that, rock shit. Whatever my parents were playing in the car. I liked the thought of music more than one band when I was younger, I think.
Jake: I was gonna go on a 20 minute rant about Emo on Long Island but…
I’m from New Jersey so…
Jake: Oh shit! What part?
Do you know New Jersey?
Jake: No…well like Northern? Bergen? Montclair?
Yes! Montclair isn’t my town but I’m like 20 minutes from there. Pinegrove is from there.
Jake: Is Thursday? I always forget because all those bands are either from Jersey or Long Island.
Cold Fronts is from Philly and people pool those bands in a lot with Jersey bands.
Jake: Oh, we’re going to Philly in two days I’m gonna tell them you think Jersey and Philly are the same.
Hey there’s nothing wrong with New Jersey!
Jake: I have you on record now.
Lucas: I was more of an Usher fan…Confessions. I’m actually not joking.
Steele: Smash Mouth was my shit.
Lucas: It was Beyoncé, Usher, R. Kelly, 50 Cent was a big one for me…Eminem, for sure.
Lucas C: I’ve been spacing out…I was always a big fan of The Libertines. I went through a hip-hop phase and in 9th grade I was doing a lot of graffiti –
Steele: Did you have frosted tips too?
Lucas C: I skateboarded.
Steele: He’s actually a sick skateboarder. He always brings the heat. He’s retired now.
Lucas C.: Well, I just don’t have money for a new board. But, as soon as I do…but yeah, I don’t know kind of a combination of all of their answers for me.
Who are some bands that I haven’t heard of and who college kids in Boston might now know, that you think should have no recognition?
Steele: I really like a band called Navy Gangs, also Jake’s brother plays in a band called Ex-Mothers that’s really good.
Jake: Wow, shout out to my brother.
Steele: And then favorite band of all time, from Brooklyn, is a band called Larry & the Babes. They don’t play anymore but their music is still online. Long live!