The deBretts are a highly touted London based band who are currently in the U.S. playing South By Southwest. Their meteoric career has landed them an opening slot with The Noisettes after having played only four shows. Without an album, they’ve been invited to SXSW, will tour Japan and have continued to be invited to tour with the likes of The Futureheads and more. Why? Because they have a passion, a knack for melody and a “punk” ferosity reminiscent of early Siouxsie or Yeah Yeah Yeah’s (whom they easily surpass). Vonnie from the band was kind of enough to take a break from the SXSW festivities to answer a few questions.
TDOA: You’ve generated a lot of buzz without putting out a full-length album? What’s your secret?
Vonnie: Pure graft, we have worked really hard, practiced a lot and played a lot of gigs, hopefully we produce a live show that captivates and enthralls people!
TDOA: You’re music really stands out from your peers because you’re able to mix great melodies with a rawness and passion that few others currently exhibit. Can you talk about the songwriting process for the band?
Vonnie: I write a basic melody and play it to aidan the guitar player, he either tells me it sucks or we work on it together, if we like it enough and it passes the writing phase, we take it to the band to see if it works with them. We have never really had the luxury of spending hours on writing as we are always so busy, but I think it’s importnat for the debretts that we sound recorded the way we sound live. I like imperfection and rawness and I think its important that our music has that in it. We try to write a lot of tracks and keep the ones we hate the least! Most of the time the melody and basic lyrics (come first), then Aidan turns my ramblings into a proper song.
TDOA: Melody Maker and other British music magazines are horribly guilty of pumping a band up quickly, putting them on a giant pedestal and then knocking them down in what seems like a one year cycle. Do you think about this potential career trajectory and what are you going to do to fight the inevitable backlash?
Vonnie: I don’t really think about it, we have always been lucky and have done well, but when we get to that point, I would probably not read the reviews, we are who we are and I wouldn’t change our sound for the sake of trends.
TDOA: Is this your first trip to the U.S. and if so, what are your expectations of what the country will be like?
Vonnie: No, we have all been here before. Infact like Bruce Springsteen, Aidan was born in the USA! I am terrified, but excited about the trip, we have been very lucky and have both great support and a brilliant showcase spot, so we plan to enjoy it first and foremost, if more comes of it then great. Also looking forward to maple syrup and tacos!
TDOA: Any sense of how the attitude towards Americans has changed with the election of Barack Obama? Are we forgiven, yet?
Vonnie: I think that change brings a sense of hope and future, I think our concern would be the level of expectation that has been placed on him, change in action and attitude takes time and it is important that he is given that, London and us were celebrating at his victory with little flags!
TDOA: Any bands you’re anxious to see at SXSW?
Answer: Primal Scream from the car, Little fish.