A Chat with The Brothers Steve (02.11.21)

Drawing together elements of glam rock, pop-punk, indie-rock, psychedelia and so much more, The Brothers Steve is a force to be reckoned with. Based in the US, Os Tyler, Jeff Whalen, Coulter, Jeff Soloman and Dylan Champion are causing a stir with their invigorating music. We speak with frontman Jeff Whalen about their new album Dose, favourite reviews and much more.

OSR: Why did you decide to become musicians and how did The Brothers Steve come about?

Whalen: I don’t know about the other guys, but I decided to become a musician because I didn’t want to do anything else. I didn’t know how to play guitar or anything, but one day I was jumping around in my dorm room to the Beatles Help! soundtrack “playing guitar” with a tennis racket and I thought, “now this I can do.” I borrowed a better tennis racket from a friend and then I got a pretty nice tennis racket for Christmas and then eventually I got a guitar.

The Brothers Steve started when I was having coffee with our guitar player Dylan and this person walked up and asked if we were brothers and I said, “yes, but due to a clerical error we’re both named Steve.”

OSR: Are you really brothers?

Whalen: No, we come from the grand show business tradition of saying you’re related when you’re really not. Like the Thompson Twins or the Everly Brothers.

OSR: What is the backstory to your album Dose?

Whalen: I don’t know if there’s a backstory really. We had made our first record, #1, and then it was time to record another record. Oh, and we had all just gotten out of jail and we wanted to get together for just one more big album heist before we got out of the racket for good. Not really. I just said that last part to give the album a cool backstory.

OSR: Did you face challenges when writing or recording the album?

Whalen: Sure!  Doing those things is always challenging, though I think you’re supposed to pretend it’s super-easy, like “I woke up with all the songs in my head!  It was like a gift from beyond!  I was tuned in to the cosmic radio and all we had to do was press record!” 

So we faced all the usual challenges, plus they had that Covid deal going on.  We couldn’t rehearse in the same room or record altogether, which was how we had recorded our first record – as live and as all-at-once as possible.  Os and I wrote the songs and we sent them around to the guys and then they wrote and learned their parts and then we’d record just one or two of us at a time.  It was a challenge, for sure, but all things considered, it was super-easy and we were tuned in to the cosmic radio and all we had to do was press record.  

OSR: Which do you find more challenging: melody or lyrics?

Whalen: Lyrics. I tend to think too much about them, to distrust them. With melodies, I’m more likely to be satisfied with my first idea and not think I have to keep working to improve them.

OSR: What is your favourite track on Dose?

Whalen: I love them all equally. They’re all super-sensitive, so that’s kinda what I have to say. Between you and me, and please don’t let the other songs know that I said this, my favourite is ‘Mrs. Rosenbaum’.

OSR: What about your least favourite?

Whalen: Great question! I’m not sure how to answer that. The song I’m the angriest at is ‘Better Get Ready To Go’. I love it but I think I feel differently about it than pretty much everybody else. It was one of my favourites to record – Os and I had a really good time piling on the harmonies and associated nonsense. For the longest time I wanted to have it be the album opener, but it didn’t work out that way and I guess I’m kinda mad at the song, rightly or wrongly.

OSR: If you could perform with anyone, who would it be and why?

Whalen: I dunno. Gladys Knight and the Pips maybe? Somebody like that. I’d be one of the Pips. One of those bands where the backup singers do little spins and have hand moves and little dances they do. I think that looks like fun.

OSR: What is your favourite review to date?

Whalen: I dunno. My mom said she liked it so that was nice.

OSR: Do you have future plans as The Brothers Steve?

Whalen: Sure! I want to keep cranking out the tuneage with those dudes. It’s a really fun band to be in and I full-on love our records so far. If the right opportunities arise, I’d totally be into touring around and contributing to the global climate crisis, even in a small way.

OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?

Whalen: Yes. Tell them their grandma called and she’d appreciate a call back.

Thanks to Jeff Whalen for speaking with us. For more from The Brothers Steve check out their Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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