An Interview with Brenda

The Mumble were delighted to catch a blether with the three members of BRENDA – Apsi, Litty & Flore – with results as entertaining as their music

Where we are from, and where you are living today?
A: Well we know that, we don’t need to talk about that.
F: We’re all in the south side of Glasgow.
L: Flore was originally from Barra and was found in a beach by my uncle.
F: Yeah, Litty was found in a bin in Ireland.
A: Yeah, and I was found in a mud hut in Sri Lanka. I’m only going with that because I remember when I was in primary school, this kid was like, did you used to live in a mud hut?
F: Yeah, well obviously, you only live in mud huts, right?

What are your first musical memories?
L: Mine is being in a band called The Bogs with the cardboard cut out guitars.
F: Nice.
L: For primary 7 talent contest, which I think we did win.
F: That’s so cool.
L: And you two?
A: Probably just listening to CDs in my dad’s car while we were driving.
F: Same for me.
L: Oh yeah, sorry, I thought you meant first gig.
F: Mine has just a lot of Phil Collins. That’s the one thing that springs to mind is Phil Collins.
L: Mine was Elton John. I was obsessed with Elton John. I fancied him when I was four. And his song called ‘Durban Deep’.
F: Nice.
L: And dancing in the kitchen to that.
A: I think it was just like Queen and David Bowie in the car.
F: See, that would be better. We were just Phil Collins. Just Phil Collins.
L: The Eagles. That was another one. And Pavarotti.
A: Pavarotti!

So Desert Island, Solar Powered CD player, three albums. What are they?
F: God, yeah, but we need to all answer this individually, I think.
L: Oh yeah.
F: Because I hate Queen.
L: I love Queen.
A: I mean Queen wouldn’t be my choice. For this.
F: So how about we all pick one? If we’re going to this island together, we can all pick one album.
L: Right, so what would you say?
F: Your favourite ever album.
A: Probably Brian Eno. Another Green World. Let’s go with that.
L: God, I don’t know any albums.
F: That’s nice. I love Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills and Nash. That’s one of my favourite albums.
L: I think I struggle with albums, but I would take a best of. And I would take best of Prince.
F: I knew it. But that’s good. We need a bit of party time.
L: Mainly because I am on the desert with you guys and I know you don’t like Queen.
F: Thank you.
A: Brian Eno is to chill out.
F: Yeah, I think if we want to like rock a little bit, like feel things, then it’s my record. And then we’ll dance at night to Prince.

Tell us about the Brenda.
L: Brenda works in a DIY shop.

Photo: Billie Robertson Baxter

What’s your role in the band?.
L: So my name is Litty and I do guitar, weird sounds.
A: Apsi does – talk about myself in third person. Does the drums. We all sing.
F: Yeah, we all sing like angels. Flore plays two synthesizers in the band.
A: You play to them. It sounded, because you said to, but to me in my head I was like you play to them.
F: I play to the synthesizers in the room.
L: On a desert island.
F: That’s what I do.

How did you all get together in the first place?
L: So me and Flore met many, many years ago in London, both chasing the same guy. I won, but it was the last time I ever won anything.
F: And then we just made some music. I think we started making music, but I was also with me, Flore, in a band called Wet Look with Apsi. And that’s how I met Apsi. And then Apsi joined BRENDA and the whole world came together.
L: And we made up over the boy.
F: Yeah, it’s fine. Time heals all wounds.

Where do your songs come from and how do you shepherd them into existence?
A: Interesting.
F: That is interesting. I think we’ve all brought ideas to BRENDA and then the others would just work on the songs with us. Generally.
A: When we’re doing it together, it’s almost like we’re just doing a jam. And then we figure out what works.
L: Yeah, normally someone brings a bare idea and then it kind of gets chopped and changed or whatever. And now we all bring in our own elements.
F: Exactly. It’s very democratic.
L: A lot of my songs come from being bitter. So it’s definitely a bitter energy to BRENDA.
F: My songs are maybe a little bit sad, but not really. They’re just, you know, there’s a hint of disappointment in all of it.
L: And Apsi’s are just making fun of people who send us weird, threatening legal letters.

What does the rest of 2023 have in store for the band?
F: The 28th of July, I believe, we’re playing our album launch. We have an album launch of the actual vinyl records. The sleeve looks beautiful. We can’t wait for it to come out.
L: We have two gigs on the 22nd of April.
F: Yeah, we’re playing twice. Record Store Day, we’re playing at the Last Night from Glasgow shop.
A: Yes, and then afterwards we are doing Platform.
L: Which is a single launch for ‘Microscopic Babe’. We’re also playing in Eigg for Lost Map.
F: Howlin’ Fling on the Isle of Eigg. We’re playing that, I believe it’s the first weekend of August. But there will be more gigs announced.
L: And 2nd June, we’re playing in Hug and Pint for ‘High Horse’ launch.
F: Anyway, we’ve got a bunch of gigs going on.
L: Yeah, we’re being played on BBC Ulster all the time.
F: Ulster, yeah, and by the end of the year we’re hoping to, I don’t know, sell out.
L: Colonise all the radio stations, really.
F: Yeah, we’re planning on being quite rich by the end of the year.
L: We have been invited to Margate for a little festival. But we don’t know if that’s happening.

Your first single ‘Cease and Desist’ made quite a splash. It’s banging. Really. Why do you think it’s so catchy?
F: Thank you.
A: Thank you.
F: This is one of Apsi’s.
L: Because it’s like a blues. You’re using bluesy chords.
F: I think it’s like, initially it started with like an acoustic version by Apsi and it was quite slow and then we all brought the sass.
L: We really took that apart actually and we actually wanted to try to do a bit of a kind of, what are they called, Kraftwerk thing. That’s how the end came about.
F: Oh really? That’s so funny. It’s not very Kraftwerk at all.
L: Yeah, but have you heard the original? It’s really like weird and slow, but it’s so funny. And then it just kind of changed around.
A: Right, yeah. And you added the guitar solo, which I think adds a lot to it.
F: That guitar solo is a shreddy moment.
A: Just a good song.
L: Just a good song all around.

You will soon be releasing your second single, ‘Microscopic Babe’. What’s it all about?
F: Oh, I never thought I would actually have to explain this, but it’s very obviously, I suppose, about a thing called breadcrumbing. So it’s a relationship that gives you just, just enough to hold on to and to believe that there is something good going. And then you expect more and you get nothing more. So it’s just enough to keep you going, but it’s really not enough to feel good at all.
L: So it’s psychological warfare.
F: It is basically a very manipulative way to be in a relationship.
L: And that’s what this song is about.

Then there’s an album coming out in July. What’s it called?
L+F: It’s called BRENDA.
A: Self-titled baby.

And can you tell us about the recording process?
L: So we went to Green Door Studios.
A: We did.
F: It was fantastic. Ronan. What a legend.
L: Flore got to play with loads of synths.
F: It was very fun. Even like a little harpsichord, which no, not a harpsichord. What’s it called?
A: Auto? No. Not an autoharp.
F: Okay. Just delete that. Scrap that. You know.
A: It’s got a name.
F: It will come back to me.
L: It’s like a harp but not a harp.
A: We added a lot of fun extra elements.
F: Omnichord. It’s the Omnichord.
L: Ronan forced me to play chords, even though I hate playing chords.
A: It was fun because we could add loads of things that we can’t do when we play live.
L: We really developed it there and then, actually, to be honest.
A: It’s like we’re jamming in a studio.
L: One of the songs, ‘Pigs’, was written a week before.
A: It was very inspired.
F: I ate a lot of Oreos that week. It was very hot as well.
A: It was warm. It was in a nice place.
L: It was so warm.
F: It was really hot.
L: No windows. No natural light, really.
A: We had the dog in with us. That helped.
F; Anyway, it was great. Ronan did very good.
A: We had some chair legs.
L: And all in all, I think most of it, the album, is about a DIY box.
F: Is that the next question?
L: No there is no more questions.
F: Oh okay! Thank you so much.
A: Bye.
F: That’s the end of the interview. I hope this is everything you were hoping for. We love you. BRENDA loves you. See you at the next gig. Bye!

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