Late Friday night at The West, my good friend Tim and I sat waiting for Ryan Levy and Derek Tramont of BRAEVES to show up for our interview. When they walked in, I realized I’d missed the leather jacket memo this time around, reminding me of the first interview I ever did with them where we all happened to be wearing them. This time, though, it was maybe less of an interview, and more like old friends catching up over drinks in the patio — enjoying the fresh air and not minding so much that our butts were getting wet from the freshly rained-on benches.
The band’s third member, drummer Tom, was supposed to be there too. “Tommy has a good reason,” said Derek. “Maybe we’ll tell you guys later.” For the record, they didn’t.
I first met the guys almost a year ago to this day at Baby’s All Right, which Derek said was only their fourth show as a band. Tim filmed our interview before the show, and since meeting them a year ago — “It was October 12th,” Ryan reminded us. “I was gonna bring a bottle of champagne!” — it’s been so much fun keeping in touch and seeing them play show after show, moving forward and growing as a band.
By the time this article goes up, they’ll be on their cross-country road trip to Los Angeles, where they’ll be moving out this month to establish themselves in the music scene there and get working on their first full-length record, their follow up to Drifting by Design.
Derek Tramont: Essentially, we have a bunch of places we’re looking at. It’s very hard when you’re in New York, looking at property in LA. My girlfriend lives in North Hollywood, and she kinda knows the areas where we can move into that are more set up for arts and music, like Silver Lake or Echo Park, stuff like that. So we found a place that’s in Sherman Oaks, like right next door, two miles from where she is. We basically spoke to the person, we’re ready to lock it in, but I’m just like, covering the bases.
Ryan Levy: I think we just need to assimilate as soon as possible, you know, like we just need to get there and get comfortable in a space. It doesn’t have to be the greatest space in the world, but, this place is actually really nice.
DT: It’s a friend who lives there now, and he’s leaving, so we have an in there.
RL: And we have other friends who live there, so if we have to crash for a few days, we can then physically find a place.
Ysabella Monton for AudioFemme: Ah, that’s really good then.
DT: Yeah, it’s funny, his friend Adam lives over there who’s into film, who’s a writer, who plays in a band also with Christopher Mintz-Plasse, it’s like his best friend. Plays bass in his band, which is great. My best friend from school, John, who’s a cinematographer, lives right in North Hollywood, my girlfriend lives in North Hollywood. We got a couple of things already that we can kinda go to and people we can talk to and network with and see where we’re at, a little quicker than being like, “What do we do, who do we talk to?”
YM: So you’re not blindly diving in. But you kind of already have a feel for what the scene is like there?
DT: Yeah, I’ve been visiting her periodically. It’s fucking awesome. I mean, I love it. We went to Satellite, I’ve heard about like, Hotel Cafe and The Viper Room, places like that. Silver Lake Lounge.
RL: All of our friends also seem to tell us that they think it’s just a good place for us to be for what we’re doing. They say it’s where we should be right now, not as a suggestion, but more as a response to us letting them know it’s where we’re going. They’re like, “Oh, okay, that actually makes a lot of sense.” Positive reinforcement, instead of being like “Oh, shit, that’s what you wanna do?”
DT: Yeah, I mean, if we were moving to North Dakota, like outside of Fargo, what’s the point?
RL: Long Johns! It’s fashionable to be freezing.
LA does seem to make a lot of sense for the band. As influences, Derek throws out Silver Lakes’s own Local Natives, or bands like Incan Abraham, who are also from California. In LA, the sort of atmospheric indie rock sound seems to flourish a bit more than it does here. Derek mentions that Austin Mendenhall of Snowmine, who the band will continue to play with, said “When Snowmine went to LA, San Diego, shows were sold out, pre-sale. More energetic, more enthusiastic, he’s like, ‘