Speakeasy with Jonathon Newby of Brazil 

Muncie-based Fearle

Muncie-based Fearless Recording artists Brazil is currently working on new material to be recorded at the end of 2005. Newby discusses the "Hoosier handicap" and the trappings of being tagged 'emo'.
Q: What was it like growing into a rock band in Muncie? A: Indianapolis is like the Mecca for Muncie bands. If you had a show at the Emerson, you were something. The Patio and Vogue were just like Valhalla. If you played there, you were the shit. Now it's kind of cool, because we've played Birdy's, the Patio, and the Emerson. For a Muncie band, we've kind of hit these milestones. Q: Isn't that ridiculous considering you've toured internationally? A: It's just one of those things; you grow up thinking a certain way. It's funny, we've played places I've always wanted to like CBGB and the Knitting Factory, but still have that connection and perception from being young with the Patio and Vogue. It's a nostalgic, sentimental thing to play those places. Q: Has being Indiana-based been handicapping? A: It usually comes up more as a curiosity since there aren't [many] bands from Indiana. Well, there's Murder by Death and Mock Orange; those bands are getting big on their own terms. Every time we go out of town and play a bigger city, people ask where we're from and kind of stare at us like we're banjo players or something. Q: How would you describe your positioning? A: We've been told we're the next Nirvana or U2 by one person here or there, and they're full of crap. I think we have the chance to do something, but we're not that 'next' band. People are always trying to blow smoke up any new band's ass, and we've experienced that. Q: Highlights of the last year? A: Touring with Coheed and Cambria Sparta was pretty cool; playing to so many people. We toured Canada a couple months ago; the turnouts weren't great, but we were with the most amazing people in the other bands. We lost our asses financially, but I put that up as one the best touring experiences so far. Also, I got married and had a son and bought a house. Trying to balance that with 220 shows almost ripped my mind in two. Q: Six members, a van, and 220 shows; that sounds brutal. A: Add one or two crew people, and it can get pretty intense sometimes. We've had some blowups and meltdowns. One good thing is we tend to mend pretty well after and come back stronger. Q: Quickest lesson learned on the road? A: AAA, that's a good lesson. Don't get any tattoos from people not wearing rubber gloves. If you wake up with a bottle cap stuck to your face, you probably stayed in the wrong place. I could say something involving rashes and blotchy skin, but that probably wouldn't be appropriate. Q: Reaction to being pigeonholed categorically after signing with Fearless? A: It's a good record label, but they put out a lot of emo, screamo, pop punk, that whole genre of music that is doing very well with a certain group of people. We never wanted to aim towards the Hot Topic crowd which is about haircuts, white belts and tight pants. The music is usually sub par, there are very few of those types of bands I admire musically. Q: Feelings about the term 'emo'? A: I hate it. I remember seeing the word emo in a zine when I was 19, and at that point it's one of those unknown things like a new word describing a newish form of music, kind of like a mystery thing that attracts you to it. Over time it's become so clichéd. We've never wanted to be associated with that sort of thing. You wouldn't know by looking at the bands we tour with, but it's just luck of the draw.

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