Déjà Entendu. American Beauty. Nevermind. Coffee. Moose Blood epitomise the subtle pleasures of youth, love and emo. I meet them behind the 300-capacity Rythym Factory in East London where they’re supporting Taking Back Sunday, a band that have had huge influence on the Canterbury quartet. “I can’t believe we’re playing with them,” singer and guitarist Eddy Brewerton admits. They define themselves as “four friends drinking coffee and writing songs” and typically, they’re drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes with their girlfriends and Eddy’s wife. They invite me to hang in their van to talk about the things that matter: good coffee, Brand New and childhood nostalgia.
“Bored with nothing to do, but lay around and listen to Déjà Entendu thinking about you.” The chorus of I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’s ‘Boston’ captures a sentiment so simple and honest, it perfectly sums up the fragility and innocence of growing up. Brewerton speaks with a softness that feels miles away from his vocals on the bands debut album, as he examines what music means to him. “Music’s the only thing that’s kept my interest.” As he talks, I notice a tattoo on his hand of the letters M and B in script, complimented by the bands signature heart. “I’d happily do other things, but I could sit there for hours with a guitar.”
Brewerton recently married his girlfriend, and album opener ‘Cherry’ deals with the reality of being in a band whilst starting a family at such a young age. Speaking to Brewerton provokes a sense of intimacy, not only into Moose Blood, but also into his home and family life. “I struggle, but it’s great,” he says openly. “I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do and my family are so supportive. Hopefully I’m doing something that will make them proud.”
“I think at the heart of every hardcore kid, there’s an emo kid in there somewhere.”
Family is a vital theme for the band’s debut record I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time. “Every song is about something that’s happened within one of our lives,” guitarist Mark Osborne tells me. “The record tends to deal the sensitivity and pressure of emerging into adulthood, and the anxieties that come with that.” The album is comprised of evolving, heartfelt songs that explore Brewerton and Osborne’s experiences with their parents and significant others, with more than a subtle ode to the music and films that remain important to them. American Beauty, Dashboard Confessional, Brand New and ‘Never Meant’ by American Football are among the other references on the record, and the glaring self-evidence breathes purity into what the band create.
“I think at the heart of every hardcore kid, there’s an emo kid in there somewhere,” Osborne admits. Hardcore and emo exist almost in the same cultural landscape, and Moose Blood – like a lot of other bands belonging to ‘emo revival’ – have a firm rooting in the hardcore scene. “Eddy and me where in a noise hardcore band before Moose Blood and Glenn (Glenn Harvey, drums) and I played in a melodic hardcore band,” he continues. Brewerton then chimes in; “I think everything you listen to will influence you in some way. You might not necessarily sound like a band, but they might influence the way in which you approach writing a song, or even just make you feel a certain way.”
“My mum loved music,” Brewerton also explains, as we discuss the significance of growing up around a family heavily into music, and how it often sets the foundations for exploring your own relationship to sounds. “She loved it so much and that definitely had an effect on me.” Osborne shares a similar feeling towards how his childhood impacted him musically. “I think if your parents are big into music, that helps,” he says. “It’s your parents’ music and you like it, but then as you get older you develop your own tastes, which for me was getting into bands like Nirvana and Deftones. They’re the bands that had the real influence on me.”
I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time was recorded in California after the band signed with No Sleep Records, who Osborne describes as “some of the nicest people we’ve ever met”. They worked with Saosin guitarist Beau Burchell and the end result is something the band remains intensely proud of. “It turned out exactly how we wanted it to sound,” Brewerton says of the experience. “He’s an incredible human being. We didn’t want to leave.” Osborne adds.
The band is set to embark on their first ever tour of America, and their passion for writing, playing and living music through Moose Blood is unmistakable. I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time takes influence from the best of the emo bands that came before and leaves them there for everyone to see. The result is something both unique and sentimental. It’s seeping with influence and doesn’t wear it lightly, but it manages a sense of identity alongside an almost knowing sense of nostalgia.
Moose Blood has brought together four friends who have found a place where they can express their musical ambitions and personal affections, but also a place where they can just hang, drink coffee and write music about the things they love and feel. “Mark will come over and we’ll just make some coffee and sit down, then it will all just come naturally,” Brewerton concludes. In a sense, they speak for the hardcore kids emerging into their twenties who found American Football and Elliott Smith, and through the accessibility of their music, manage to capture the feelings most of us are too shy to ever admit to. Deep down, we all just want to lie down and listen to Déjà Entendu with someone we like.
Words by Sean Littlewood