BEN SCHURR: VOCALS
ERIK SLEIGHT: SYNTH
JOHNNY FANTASTIC: VOCALS, SYNTH
BEN USIE: DRUMS
Formed in Philadelphia in 2007 and relocated in DC in 2013, Br'er has released four full-length albums – Br’er (2007) City of Ice (2011) Masking (2015) and Brunch is for Assholes (2017) – with multiple EPs and singles interspersed while touring extensively on the DIY circuit throughout North America.
Schurr moved to DC by chance while touring with the project Eskimeaux. The band's van hit a deer en route their DC gig, and was subsequently towed to the legendary (now defunct) house space, Paperhaus. There, Schurr met artist Johnny Fantastic, who convinced him to move to DC to work on music together. This meeting served as the beginning of a new chapter for Br'er, which had existed for several years in Philly outputting numerous releases, but slogging through several lineup changes between marathon tours. The incremental process of write-record-tour-repeat has paid creative dividends for Br'er; the songwriting process happens fast, almost stream-of-consciousness. But, the band shows a sturdier confidence with each new release.
Schurr also acts as ringleader for BLIGHT.Records.
Brunch is for A$$holes
Br'er’s fourth LP, Brunch is for Assholes, was recorded in spring of 2016 at Schurr's home studio at the Lighthouse in the Petworth neighborhood of DC. Petworth has a particular significance to the writing of the record, as it is known as one of the fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in the city. The lyrics were primarily written while Schurr was working as a mover, reflecting on the violence of gentrification short-selling of community in exchange for condos and fast casual cuisine. Given the current political turmoil in the District, Brunch is a timely discourse on the social history of the last eight years, given the uncomfortable context of present day politics.
Recorded at BLIGHT, the home studio where Schurr lives with Br’er’s core
members, Erik Sleight (Synths, Electronics), and Ben Usie, (Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Electronics), Masking became a collective entity more than simply a band. It was here the principle members enlisted Darian Scatton (who has played with Br'er since their inaugural release), John Dilascio, engineer Peter Larkin and Simmone Shuffett to execute an “anything
goes” approach to production. Ultimately this included everything from found sounds of firecrackers to knives and vibrators on metal. This juxtaposed with hardware synths, autoharps and whatever else they could get their hands on, lead to the final result of a unique sonic landscape and intense visceral noise pop record.
The term masking comes refers to a close friend of Schurr’s who experienced bi-polar episodes yet refused to be medicated. Unbeknown to him was his friend’s ability to mask the this state of mind, or as Schurr puts it, “hide his mania.” “This masking stuck with me,” he recalls. “I started thinking about the various ways people and facets of society mask themselves. Hiding behind a charm and a smile which is the underlying theme of the record.” The track “Liars Mask” is the first acknowledgement of this central motif while experiencing it from a series of various perspectives. Each verse is conveyed through the eyes of a different
narrator confessing their own internal conflicts ranging from mania, sexual abuse, misogyny, gender identity, to apathy.
released October 13, 2015
Benjamin Schurr, John Dilascio, Erik Sleight, Ben Usie, Darian Scatton, May Tabol, Simone Shuffett, Peter Larkin, Melinda DiChenko, Evan Sult, Paige Bruebeck