Introducing...The Bronze Medal
We love our readers to be first with knowledge of sparkly new bands, so with The Bronze Medal's debut single 'Milk' gathering a fair amount of buzz, from most importantly us of course, we thought we'd better introduce you.
Formed in Bristol in 2009 after a six week busking-funded backpacking trip through Southern Europe and Scandinavia taken by singer-songwriters Chris Hillier (vocals/guitar/piano/noise) and Robin Southwell (vocals/guitar/piano), The Bronze Medal took shape once they were joined by friends from the local music scene Rory O’Gorman (drums/percussion/vocals) and Mike Barnett (bass/vocals). Their debut summer schedule saw them Dot To Dot festival, several sessions for BBC Bristol and support slots with Chapel Club and the band formerly known as Brother, Viva Brother.
With 'Milk' out today, we caught up with lead singer Chris Hillier to find out just how The Bronze Medal are planning to take the musical gold.
What's your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory is being asked what pop songs we knew in assembly at my school and me singing 'The 59th Street Bridge Song' by Simon And Garfunkel. I grew up on my parents' gangly folk and country tastes.
If you could hold a recording session with any five artists, who would you choose?
I'm not sure how I'd go on about collaborating so I'd be gravitated towards people with amazing voices that could sing with us: Sharon Van Etten, James Blake, Justin Vernon. Or I'd love to work on some crazy string arrangements with Nico Muhley or Johnny Greenwood.
You want to describe your music to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?
Tricky question, because the term rock band can paint a pretty inaccurate picture for us, but it's difficult to avoid with our setup. I usually say we're a loud folk-enthused "rock band" with a lot of drones and an emphasis on vocal harmonies.
You are going to live on a desert island for a year, which three albums do you take with you?
This is a horrible decision. I'd try take stuff that would occupy me for a while. I'd take Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me because it's three disks of music and it's so dense and detailed that you can explore new corners of it and find new gems every time you listen. I'd want to take something with a range of different moods in the songs, maybe Tom Waits' Mule Variations which is a great colourful record. And I'd probably have to take the new Bon Iver album because I've been unable to ween myself off of that since it was released.
Everyone has a defining music moment, one that lives on in the memory, what is yours?
There'd be a few, but busking with Robin in Scandanavia in 2009, when it was going well, and we were playing in the Old Town in Stockholm and easily earning the money to eat and sleep and meeting nice people along the way. There's a big mutual love and appreciation of music - whatever it is, between the busker and the passer which can be quite poignant.
What is the best gig you've ever been to and why?
Not sure if I could crown the best gig, but I remember being a broken man after I saw Peter Broderick play at Green Man Festival in 2009. He blew me away, he was just so talented and endearing and he had the songs - he was touring his album Home. He was looping piano, guitar, violin and a saw and a lot of harmony, overlapping his voice and made this massive euphoric climax in the tent, everyone was singing with him and there was this fantastic atmosphere that was simultaneously raucously appreciative and very intimate. It was beautiful.
If we were to look at your MP3 player, what is the most embarrassing track or album that we'd find?
Umm, I've got Robyn and Justin Timberlake. It's good music though, it's not embarrassing. I have The Starting Line? That's bad.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I don't have a detailed plan. Hopefully living happily somewhere with the people I love.
How would you describe your debut single 'Milk' to us?
It's a slow-burning, finger-picked song about feeling isolated and questioning the direction your life is going in.
What's next for The Bronze Medal?
Until recently we've had a big obstacle in our way, with one of our members living in Holland. That has very recently changed so this summer we are playing as much as we can together. We're just finished a tour now and we're going back out in August/September, but mostly we're focusing on writing a bulk of new material to be recorded in August. We feel like we've come a long way since we last had the opportunity to record, so we're eager for people to hear the new material and get some new recordings out there.
'Milk' is out now on East City Records. You can find out more about The Bronze Medal by visiting their Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bronze-Medal or their MySpace - www.myspace.com/thebronzemedalmusic.