Catching Up with The Britanys
Photographed by David Weiner
Illustration by Peter Hopkins
It's been a while since we last hung out with the Brooklyn boy band, The Britanys. Since first meeting back in December when we did our first feature with them and they did their first feature with us, Lucas, Steele, and Gabe have opened up for breaking hip hop artist Shamir, released their second single, "It's What It Is," and have been voted The Deli's NYC Artist of the Month.
Being each other's firsts, we already knew each other in ways others didn't, and got more intimate, spending the afternoon at their Bushwick pad before their show at Baby's All Right, co-hosted by Cult Records & Alt Citizen, that night. We lounged around, finding out things that they were even surprised to learn about each other. But while the boys' success has skyrocketed within the past ten months, beneath their rocker exterior and laid back 'tude, they've remained your same Brooklyn boys still trying to decide which episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to watch over a breakfast of eggs.
LUCAS: In third grade I told my mom I didn’t want to take guitar lessons anymore. I was like, “Guitar sucks man, I’m not taking lessons again. [But] when I was in 7th or 8th grade I started getting back into guitar again. In high school I started a band. I knew I wanted to go to New York and the only way I could go is if I went to school. I go to Parsons and study graphic design. I intern for Cult Records. They’ve never really heard our stuff. Yesterday they said “You better not suck tonight. If you do we’ll have to fire you."
STEELE: I was studying jazz drums at the New School, but I don’t like jazz music at all. It’s a really competitive school and it was just like why am I paying all this money to try some shit that I don’t like at all. It wasn’t worth it. The second week of school I realized that it wasn't right for me. I was sitting next to these two drum majors who were talking about their favorite rudiments. They were playing sheet music together and jizzing their pants over it.
GABE: I taught two classes my senior year [of high school], but it was because the music department was so understaffed there that they were able to give me a slot. I got credits for school. I dropped out of math and physics and shit. I wasn’t bad at it, but I didn’t take anything seriously academically in high school. I would skip class a lot and didn’t really get good grades.
LUCAS: He’s secretly the most badass person in the band.
STEELE: It’s true. He was called Papi by all the kids at his high school.
STEELE: He stabbed a kid (joking)
GABE: I pulled a knife on a kid
STEELE: Wait. You really did?! I was just making a joke! When did you pull a knife on a kid?!
GABE: I used to play in this other band in high school and I brought the keyboardist to this party at my friends house and he had this really nice knife and he left it there and then my friend Peter stole it basically and he kept lying to me about it. He kept lying to me about it and then my other friend told me that he had it in his car and he’d been fucking with me. So one time I was like, “Hey let’s go to lunch” and I knew where it was in his car and the whole time we were at lunch I was smoking cigarettes in like the backseat and then we got to Subway.
STEELE: You pulled a knife on him at Subway?
GABE: Not at Subway it didn’t happen till a little bit later. I was like “Hey, I think I left my wallet in your car. Can I get the key?” So I went to his car and grabbed the knife and put it in my pocket and we went and had our lunch and we went back to the school. He was like “Alright man, I guess I’ll see you later” and I was like “Alright” and then I pulled the knife out and open it and was like “By the way, don’t ever fucking lie to me again.”
STEELE: I really liked our show at Palisades. We got our roommate Ed pretty drunk and told him to play tambourine. He’s a lightweight he probably had like two drinks so before we started playing we just fed him liquor. It was hilarious. He kept smacking Gabe's ass with the tamborine. He picked up a cinder block and was just against the cinder block for like 30 minutes. He stayed on stage the whole time. Then this homeless guy from off the street squeezed his way all the way to the front of the stage and Ed gave him the tambourine. At the end of the set Ed gave him the microphone and he started preaching to everybody and the sound guy took the mic out of his hands.
LUCAS: We [used] to live off the Dekalb stop, just one stop over, and it was a pretty shitty building. My mom came and visited and she got mugged in the lobby and she was like “YOU NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE,” so we moved.
STEELE: We [used to] practice in the shitty campus practice rooms at my school and there would always be some guy playing the trumpet and there was always this girl who spoke no English that played the violin and she wouldn’t say anything she’d just look at us pack her stuff up and leave. We played our music really loud. All the people in there were trying to do their scales or whatever. Lucas has a microphone and we would tape it to the ceiling because we didn’t have a stand.
GABE: I had this internship a couple summers ago, this place called The Magic Shop, which is an old analog studio in Soho and I didn’t really know anything about [recording] at the time , it was a lot of answering the phone, but just being there made me realize I was interested in it.
STEELE: Odyssey and the Oracle, by The Zombies, it’s one of my favorite records, and it’s first pressing, which is pretty sweet. And this one, Johnny Cash, I’m pretty sure it’s his first release, I think, and this is also first pressing. And I really like it, because it’s from ’58 or some shit like that, so it’s really, really old. Here, I’ll put it on. I really like getting first pressings, cause it’s like a piece of history, an artifact. My favorite record store is A-1, it’s on 6th and A.
LUCAS: Last September was when we decided to really do it for real. I used to think you just write some music, play some shows and maybe people like it....
STEELE: We all have resting bitch face.
LUCAS: Steele is the master swordsman.
STEELE: I don’t know if I want a picture with the sword…
GABE: Make sure you capture my strong, muscular form.