If you ask Lucas Brown, putting music and lyrics together is like working out a puzzle.
“Oftentimes, when I’m in need of either, I’ll dig through a trove of hundreds of lyrics or musical ideas and find one that fits just right,” Brown wrote in an email last week.
“Sometimes, both arrive together and you’ve just gotta make sure your pen’s full of ink or there’s enough space to record your idea.”
The Charlottesville resident’s puzzle-piecing abilities will be on full display this Saturday when his band Breakers plays a show at Rivermont Pizza.
Formed in 2013, the proto-punk outfit combines the New York garage band vibe with modern rock muscle to create a sound that is as likely to produce face-melting psychedelics as it is contemporary indie hooks.
“Breakers inhabits a space somewhere in between the raw, yet slickly produced height of grunge and peak classic rock proficiency,” Craig Graziano wrote in his September 2017 album roundup for Whurk Magazine. “... At points, the guitar riffs turn down carnivalesque avenues, only to build back up as punchy punk ragers.”
Before the show, Brown and bandmate Vince Tarrance talked about combining composition with rock ‘n’ roll and releasing the first songs they ever wrote together as their second album.
How would you describe Breakers musically?
Brown: “Twelve tones, rhythm and timbre realized by animals.”
I read that you each have different musical backgrounds. How do they all come together to create the Breakers’ sound?
Tarrance: “I like music that can blend the lines between genres. Everyone having different music they grew up on better helps us achieve that. I personally grew up listening to and playing metal guitar and acquired my chops through that. Having that base let’s us write intricate guitar riffs to nestle into the songs, hide the metal licks in a prettier package.”
How do you combine composition with the rawness of rock ‘n’ roll?
Brown: “My first harmony and counterpoint teacher [at NYU] showed us musical examples of Bach compositions played in different styles. The comps worked seamlessly regardless of genre and it was at that point that I was made aware [of] the potency of good writing. It was like hearing the objectivity of music. As long as the core is there, it’s the coloring within/without the lines that define the style.”
You released your second album, “Rewrite,” last year. What is the story you’re trying to tell on the album?
Brown: “An acceptance of nostalgia. Putting it in its place as both something to remember fondly and a point from which one can grow. The power of the past is all too present in our minds — just realize it for what it was, learn what you need to from it, and keep moving.”
There’s definitely a more grounded sense in your music on “Rewrite.” It still rocks, but there’s less trippiness and a bit more control; every riff feels like it has an intention. What led to this change?
Brown: “The majority of ‘Rewrite’ was written at least five years prior to its release and well before the first album we put out. You could call ‘Rewrite’ the first record and ‘In Search of an Exit’ the second if you wanted to track the evolution of the writing. From bones to flesh — I guess the next record could be the brain?”
How do you want listeners to absorb your music? On a Friday night with a glass of wine in hand? While dancing as hard as they can? Sitting in a dark room and introspectively analyzing every lyric?
Tarrance: “Drinking beer on a porch.”
Emma Schkloven covers arts and entertainment for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5489, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @byEmmaSchkloven.