The Company We Keep

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The Company We Keep has been a project that Brian Southall has had in mind for a long time now. Really always working on material and playing around with it when Justin Pierre approached him about possibly working on a new project together. It came from that duo to now include their singer Amy Brennan and Branden Morgan and that quartet will be hitting the road all summer playing shows!

Read below for an exclusive interview with Brian Southall!

It'€™s something where you'€™re the first band to release a 7'€ in the Making Moves series. It was something where you tour manage Motion City. Was this something that you always wanted to propose to Justin? Did he know you were working on this? How did it come about?
Justin I think proposed it to me actually.
Oh really?
Yeah, I was always working on material and demo ing but I didn'€™t know what I was going to do with it and he had actually kind of heard stuff. From me playing on the bus and then initially he said he just wanted to try to do something with it, I still didn'€™t really know what to do with it. Then he wrote to it and I was like this is better then I thought it would ever be because he'€™s really good. That'€™s what he does. He writes all these lyrics. So as soon as he knew rough demo'€™s of the stuff, he was like this has to be a band. Let'€™s make this happen and then obviously it was a nice in that he did do the Making Moves series. That was like a Motion City Soundtrack thing.
Project at Drexel, yeah!
So, obviously, we had a little edge there in having a member of Motion City Soundtrack in our band. So yeah, it just kind of worked out! It was like his push though that I think made it a real band. Opposed to me just writing music or whatever.

Then it'€™s going to be the first release.
It will be the first 7'€. I think just because we recorded first. We recorded over Thanksgiving last year before any one else did anything so I think that'€™s the reason why. It was done before anyone else so it will be pressed before anyone else.
Was that before it was even announced? Since I'€™m not sure how long the Making Moves series has been planned.
We didn'€™t announce it for a while after that. Definitely got to happen but when they were saying let'€™s do it, I just pushed for it to be as soon as possible. I mean we definitely weren'€™t ready to do it that soon but we didn'€™t want to wait. If we had waited and didn'€™t do it at Thanksgiving, it wouldn'€™t be till January that we could record. This has been kind of a band for almost four years before doing anything. As soon as TREOS broke up, I was doing this as a thing. It wasn'€™t anything. I just had a few like songs. So to me, it was like, No we'€™re recording it right now. I don'€™t want to take any chances of something happening. So we just got it done and got it out. They did all the other bands after us.
I know! I just interviewed A Great Big Pile of Leaves and I know they'€™re one of the bands that are working on their 7'€ right now. They were really excited about it.
Yeah, those dudes are awesome!

And then obviously a 7'€ is coming out but is this something where a full length record is in the works? Is it something that'€™s possible?
Yeah! We have enough songs to do a full length record because the band has actually existed for almost four years, maybe more but we'€™ve only released two or three covers here and there in random compilations. So I have probably twenty or thirty songs for the band that exist. It'€™s just a matter of like finding the means to release it. Like a record label and all those things. It'€™s an evolving music industry that now makes record labels a bad thing. So one thing is figuring out how to be a band when no one buys records. You don'€™t need record labels but I'€™m kind of stuck in that whole mentality of some one giving you money to record music. So, I don'€™t know! So we have a song and we'€™re going to try and record an album as soon as possible. If some one wants that to happen. If not, I guess we'€™ll find some way. I'€™m trying to avoid the Kickstarter thing as much as possible. I almost did that originally before the Making Moves thing came up but I don'€™t know. The whole idea of that just freaks me out so much. I feel like it'€™s the ultimate end of a career if we tried to do it and no one gave us money. It would be like '€˜Well, okay, no one likes us'€™. Anyone can do an album and I guess now I'€™m so picky and particular that I like to have it a certain way. That'€™s a very long answer to the question. I'€™m sorry.

It'€™s okay! Then obviously you have been tour managing for a while. Pretty sure Dev is some one new for you but obviously Thrice and Motion City. Maybe how do you think being an artist yourself, a veteran, has helped you? I mean I'€™m sure both of those bands are more like peers now.
I mean quickly with people like that you become friends very fast. Stops being so much of a job and it'€™s awesome. It'€™s definitely helped I mean music wise doing the tour managing job. I mean obviously The Company We Keep as it is right now wouldn'€™t exist if I never worked with Motion City. If Justin had never heard the songs. It would definitely still be a band but probably wouldn'€™t be as good. So like that helped a lot. It'€™s great! I'€™ve gotten so many new connections, met new people. It seems, at least so far, to maybe be helping the band to get going. Like having that edge. That I can call in favors and bug people. They think they owe me things or people hopefully like me enough to give us a break.

Then maybe musically for you and softer, what was the first CD or cassette you remember buying as a kid and the first concert you remember going to?
First record I bought?
Yeah, the first record.
The first record I ever remember buying was Pearl Jam. That was the first CD I ever bought I know for sure because I went into this store and there was a whole wall of Pearl Jam CD'€™s and I was so stoked but before that, my first tape I ever bought was Boys II Men. I don'€™t even remember. I think that record was called '€˜Cool and High Harmony'€™ or something like that. Whatever Mo Top Philly was on, I have that tape. It was awesome. First concert, I didn'€™t realize that concerts were cool when I was a kid. My parents were into music but they never went and saw bands play. So the first show I ever went to wasn'€™t until I was like fifteen and I went and saw Reel Big Fish and that was like the first few shows I ever went to were all ska shows.
And do you think those obviously influenced you? At all as a person or as your past bands?
Oh, for sure! I was so punk. I hated everything. I used to play sports. I quit all sports because I was so punk. It'€™s like the biggest regret of my life because I'€™m not still actually playing sports because I was too cool. When you'€™re a young punk rocker, you hate everything. You'€™re too cool for anything but you can'€™t tell anyone not to do anything. So I stopped from doing anything I actually liked back then and just got into that.

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