Lolla Artist Interview: Brick + Mortar

Indie rock duo Brick + Mortar performed on day one of Lollapalooza, and drew in quite the crowd with their concrete, psychedelic sounds. Additionally, they did a pre-festival performance with Icona Pop and Imagine Dragons, demonstrating their performative prowess and potential for wide appeal and an inviting return to rock essentials. We sat down for a few minutes with the the band members John Tacon and Brandon Asraf to discuss their Lolla set as well as their recent EP release.

The Friday of Lollapalooza 2013 was one of the first times the band played in Chicago. Both Asraf and Tacon felt a positive response from the crowd. “People at festivals want to be a part of something,” said Asraf, the bassist and lead vocalist of the band. “When [people] enter those gates, they are in another place.” John Tacon, the drummer half of the Brick + Mortar who also blends in samples and vocals to the band’s beat-heavy tracks, added that their performance drew in a diverse and decent-sized crowd of festival-goers. an impressive feat for an early afternoon band.

Brandon Asraf and John Tacon are from New Jersey and claimed that that the garden state’s music scene can have some tough crowds. They found the Lolla scene to be pleasantly open to their cinematic music. Asraf added that a positive of playing festivals is that they “do a lot of work for the bands” when it comes to setting up and getting people exposed to their music. And Brick + Mortar certainly takes care to give great live performances. On the band’s Facebook page, they claim their sound is “not for the faint of heart.Our brash, gritty, whip-smart sound foregoes guitar in favor of bass, drums, and electronic samples. At our shows, the audience is part of the band.”

When discussing their newest EP, Bangs, which was released just a few days before Lolla began, Brandon Asraf describes the piece as “atmospheric and nostalgic”. Bangs is Brick + Mortar’s first ‘big’ label release. After putting out a few EPs, including one limited-edition vinyl, they caught the attention of producers (and of Vice and NPR) and got their record deal. The EP includes songs from from previous releases as well as a few new tracks. A few songs have already premiered on various outlets, such as the kickass tracks “Locked in a Cage” and “Terrible Things.”

“Each song [on the album] has its own character,” said percussionist John Tacon. “At least,” he laughed, “that’s what we were going for.”

Stream Brick + Mortar’s EP Bangs here!

Check out the video for the title track “Bangs”