Posted On 08 Sep 2016
The Brinks are a rare kind of talent. In fact, they’ve proven as much by earning the praise of soundsmiths as prolific and renowned as Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys), Pusha T and Pharrell Williams.
The Brinks, the musical partnership of Matt Friedman and Scott Mellis, have been taking the internet by storm since the release of their debut EP Temporary Love in 2015. Since then, they’ve racked up 10 million streams for the record’s title track and landed at #3 on Hype Machine’s Popular Chart. That’s not to mention the support they received from Pusha, who called the group’s work “incredible” and encouraged his 9+ million followers to listen up.
“I don’t want to say the reception has been surprising,” says Mellis, “but it’s definitely been great. I can’t even describe the exact feeling!”
The Australian vocalist and songwriter needn’t worry about explaining himself. It’s been a fairly incredible journey for him already, moving from his hometown of Melbourne to the U.S. and quickly finding a creative partner in Friedman after friends connected the two for writing sessions.
“We were writing for another artist but we both realized that what we were coming up with was something a little different,” remembers Mellis. “We really liked it, though, so we decided, ‘Let’s focus on this and see how it goes.’”
Friedman on the other hand has spent the past decade or so cutting his teeth in the studio, performing on albums and cooking up beats for some of the biggest names in the rap game like Kid Cudi and LL Cool J. While he still looks back on that time fondly, the New York native felt ready to move in a different direction and found the perfect ally in Mellis.
“We were both looking to do something like this for a long time,” he says.
The music that the two came up with is thoroughly modern music, indebted to the worlds of electronic dance and hip-hop production as it is to pure, catchy indie pop. The whole thing is anchored by Friedman’s devilish facility for melody and Mellis’ ability to capture a wealth of emotion in one simple lyric. It’s a fantastic meeting of minds that leaves listeners in awe, keeping the music on repeat.
“We both come from different worlds,” says Friedman. “Scott comes from a singer/songwriter world and I come from a background of rap and dark electronic production. It was the perfect time for us to tap into the sound we wanted to make for ourselves.”
With Temporary Love still racking up acclaim and airplay, the duo will soon be supporting the EP on the road and show no sign of slowing down any time soon.
“We just want to write songs that are memorable, classic and appeal to a lot of different people,” Mellis says. “We really want it all!”
Learn more about The Brinks in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are more than half-way through 2016, what are some words you would use to describe it? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for the band?
Chuffed! We were basically an unhatched egg before this year and we have been so excited to put music out there for the world to hear.
M: Trumpsplosive! In like 30 years from now, 2016 will definitely be the stand out strange year in a tv special about this decade. Highlight for me has been playing live shows.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? And specifically, how did The Brinks come to be? Where did the name come from too?
S: Honestly, I would cut off my two guitar playing hands to be a pro surfer but that probably wouldn’t help for both professions. But I’ve always loved writing songs and feel Matt and I have great chemistry making music.
M: I had been obsessed with music and playing instruments as far back as I can remember, but getting an electric guitar in 5th grade unlocked all my classic rock fantasies.
Scott and I met through mutual friends and slowly started writing music together. After a month or two we both agreed that we had become a band.
The name started from a loose concept I had but that’s sort of beside the point. To me the most important thing with band names is the feeling you get when you hear the name and see the name. It rarely has to do with the meaning. The Brinks instantly felt like the right fit with the music we make.
S: I like to treat it the same. I’m not that good at envisioning I’m someone else and usually if I’m happy with it there is a better chance someone else will like the song.
M: Yeah, that’s a good point. The biggest difference to me is that we have more room to play with weird ideas and time to develop them. When you’re writing for someone else you don’t have the luxury of kicking an idea around for a month to see what it turns into.
Your debut EP, ‘Temporary Love’ is out now. What was it like working on it with producer, Salaam Remi? What was the inspiration for the songs on this collection?
M: Salaam signed us to our deal and was an executive producer on the EP, wearing the hat of label exec and not music producer. We wrote and produced the whole EP just between Scott and I. To have a legendary producer like Salaam telling us that the music we had made was ready to go was a huge confidence boost.
How do you think your sound has grown since you first formed?
S: More weird instruments, like Matt has a telephone microphone that we can plug in. And me trying to be less sentimental.
M: We have a much better handle on who we are when we’re working on our new music. Pushing ourselves further.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire The Brinks? Who would you both love to work with in the future?
S: Chaka Khan, R Kelly, Neil Finn…I would love to work with a more established or legacy artist. Or if it’s someone in the future I would like it to be a futuristic lizard or space dolphin from 2097.
M: Definitely space dolphins! I love Florence & The Machine, FKA Twigs, Charli XCX, Lorde. I think pairing Scott with a female singer would be really interesting.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
S: I hope people just feel something. Even if it’s “I hate this band.” Music to me is the most potent form of self expression. Especially in the form of a pop song. I hope people see and hear the layers to our songwriting and that underneath it all its not just a fad.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music
S: We are both centaurs that can tap dance.
M: Whoever is still reading this all the way to the last sentence, I want you to know that we love you.