Meet: Mattie of Brave The Sea as their new album ”Lady Death” just set sail last week

Words Abigael Paquet – Photos press images:

Brave the Sea is described as a band with similarities to Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. However, for those who aren’t familiar with those artists, Matt has a way of describing the band’s music genre which seems to get people’s attention. He presents it as “punk rock with an accordion”. The band’s new album “Lady Death” was released on April 28th, and they are getting ready to go on their Uk/Ireland tour this summer ! Finally, we discovered how much Matt loves Pokemon, along with the band’s worst moment on stage.

Abby: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself ? How did you all meet and how was the band formed ?

Matt: Hey this is Mattie ! I play mandolin and sing a bit. The half of us that started the band (Matt B, Will, and myself) used to play Magic The Gathering together for years before starting the band. I grew up with Vito and Chris and met Dennis through work. When we first started the band, the idea was to do some Celtic Punk covers but with a pirate theme. Sort of like a Punk-Rock version of Lagerstein but as we started writing more originals, we sort of put the pirate thing on the back burner and focused on just doing what felt natural.

Abby: Your new album “Lady Death” has just been released, how do you feel about it ?

Matt: So excited ! We’ve been working on this album for about two years at this point so having it finally getting released after listening to it myself for several months just feels so fulfilling. I think with this being our third album, we really understood what the Brave The Sea sound was and made every song on the album something really unique. 

Abby: Could you tell us a bit more about this new album ? How does it compare to your previous ones ?

Matt: There’s always a debate with artists whether to stick to what works or experiment when it comes to new material and with this album I think we did both. When you listen to it, it’s what you would expect a Brave The Sea album to sound like but every song incorporates things we’ve never done before and overall just sounds more polished and mature than the last albums.

Abby: Has covid impacted the way you work, write, create music, or your music itself ? If so, how ?

Matt: On the creative end I don’t think much has been impacted. A lot of the writing starts with me writing the arrangement for a song and then collaborating for each members’ parts and lyrics and that’s mostly gone unchanged post-pandemic. The pandemic did allow me to have time to assemble a more robust practice space at my house. Instead of doing everything acoustically and having to shout over amp feedback, we now go through a digital interface and practice on an electric drum kit. It’s still effective sonically but so much more convenient and efficient to actually practice songs instead of just playing through them.

Abby: How would you convince people who aren’t familiar with your band to listen to your music ?

Matt: When people find out I’m in a band and ask what it’s like I typically say we’re sort of like Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. A lot of times, people also aren’t familiar with those artists so I default to punk rock with an accordion and that usually immediately makes them interested.

Abby: What can people expect from your shows ?

Matt: Lots of energy. We love interacting with the crowd and making a show out of our music. I personally am bouncing around the stage the entire set. Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello really left an impact on me when I caught them live 9 or 10 years ago. Just the second he ran on stage, everything went electric and he kept up this unbelievable energy for their whole set. That’s what I want people to feel at our shows, even when we’re playing much smaller clubs than Gogol Bordello.

Abby: What was your worst moment on stage ?

Matt: I think it was our third show ever we were playing a bar in a small town called Lancaster near where we live in Ohio. I was still the singer at the time since Vito didn’t actually join until maybe our 5th or 6th show or something. But this funeral party comes in about half way through our set and all of them, dressed in their mourning suits and dresses, are already blitzed. The best friend of the deceased comes up to the stage after we finished a song and is trying to yell something to me. He’s drunk, it’s loud, and I was able to piece together that he wanted us to dedicate our next song to his friend whose name I couldn’t make out but was 90% sure he said: “Tom”. So I say “Next song’s for Tom rest in peace !” and the dude just starts screaming: “HIS NAME WAS BILL ! BILL !!!” obviously very angry. Anyways, the next song was the first time we ever played the song, Barbossa from our first album, live which is already a weird song to dedicate to a dead guy but equally bad that we fell completely apart halfway through and had to just move onto the next song. 

Abby: Which artists inspired you to become musicians ?

Matt: I’m personally a huge metal head so what I’m about to say may risk me losing my “metal card” but the first time I wanted to actually play and make music was when I heard Hybrid Theory from Linkin Park. Those first two Linkin Park records really resonated with me as a kid/early-teen and that led me into more extreme music. From there I discovered bands like At The Gates, Children Of Bodom, and got into the New England metalcore bands that were taking off at the time like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall. It’s honestly really odd that I ended up starting and writing for a punk band that uses folk instruments but I also like punk music too, it’s just not what I really listen to in my free time and I just have a lot more fun writing and playing it than I do metal.

Abby: Are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with ? Why ?

Matt: We were really fortunate to be able to collaborate with Vincent Jackson Jones of Aether Realm and Kayla Dixon of Witch Mountain on Lady Death. We’re all fans of both of those bands so for us, we really want to continue collaborating with other artists of similar size to us. We’re all firm believers of the “high tide raises all ships” mentality and as cool as it would be to get a huge name to sing on a song or something, there’s just something about being able to build that camaraderie with other artists like you. 

Abby: Are there any questions you wish journalists would ask you but never or rarely do ?

Matt: I could talk about Pokemon for days so I’m always chomping at the bit for someone to ask me about anything Pokemon related. A question that’s never come up but I love talking about are my top 3 Pokemon (main series) games which are (in order) Gold/Silver, Sword/Shield, and Ruby/Sapphire. Gold & Silver were the first games I was old enough to be invested in the release-day hype for. I remember going to Toys R Us the day they came out and buying Gold with the money I had been specifically saving for months and playing it non-stop for weeks. To me those games are still unbeatable despite how well or poorly people think they’ve aged. For a time, though, I wasn’t really invested in Pokemon. I didn’t care much for the DS/3DS as consoles and sort of lost interest between generations 5 – 7. I even dragged my feet to get a Switch and play Sword & Shield for quite a while. When I eventually did get a Switch and Sword version, I couldn’t believe how amazing that game was compared to where I had stopped playing. For me, this was so close to the game me and my friends would dream up as kids as the “perfect Pokemon game”. I’m still more likely to go back and play Sword than the newer games because I like it so much. With Ruby & Sapphire, I think this was just the natural continuation of the hype I had around Gold & Silver. It was a new GameBoy console, a new Pokemon game, better graphics, more capabilities, there was just nothing to not be excited about as a kid when these games came out. I think playability-wise, these games definitely hold up better than Gold & Silver, but they don’t quite scratch the nostalgia itch quite as hard for me.

Abby: What would you dream venue/city/country to play live be, and why ?

Matt: We were really fortunate to play some shows in Ireland and Scotland back in 2021 and I may or may not have a 10 year plan to move to Edinburgh, Scotland now. There’s something about the city being so rustic, walkable, and still modern that I really fell in love with. I think just being able to play there as often as I can would be my answer and luckily we’ll be back this August as part of our UK/Ireland tour !

Abby: What is the most useless talent you have ?

Matt: I can name all 1,010 Pokemon in order from memory.

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