Interview: The Brigantines

bill bodkin hangs tens again with the surf-pop band…

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Tonight at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., Pop-Break.com will be presenting their final “Shipwrecked at The Shore” Music Showcase for 2012. The closing band for the evening on the stages of the famed bar for the show will be one of our very favorites — The Brigantines.

The surf-pop band out of Red Bank, N.J. has quickly become a band we have to come cherish in the local Jersey Shore scene. Their sublime blend of Beach Boys surf music with a hint of Smiths-like vocality is as pleasing to the ears as a gentle tide ebbing and flowing agains the sandy beaches of the shore.

However, these guys just don’t sound the part — they live it. Bombing around in a vintage car, decked out in clothes that’d make Jan & Dean jealous, The Brigantines have done something that’s extremely hard to do these days — make themselves uniquely original, but completely acceptable by the masses. This concept has not only allowed them to be performing at regular basis but also performing some serious gigs — like headlining Joey Harrison’s Surf Club in Ortley Beach and opening for legendary acts like surf guitarist Dick Dale and Asbury icon Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.

Pop-Break caught up with the band’s lead singer, Vincent Minervino to talk about the first year of the band’s existence.

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Pop-Break: When we first met you guys, you were a band with an EP and a couple of shows to your name…nearly a year later, how do you feel The Brigantines has changed since our first encounter in the winter of 2012?

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Vincent Minervino: When we first met, we had just solidified our current lineup. The first EP and the following single were written and recorded as a 3-piece, before we had Dan on drums. We also started out by writing all pop songs with vocals. Toward the end of writing for Vacation!, we started exploring more traditional instrumental surf. Our most recent single, ‘Ned’s Web’ – which we released for Halloween – is probably the furthest departure from the original sound. We are about halfway into writing our second record and there’s lots of elements coming out – pop, surf, reggae, British pop, and more. We’re excited for people to start hearing the new songs.

PB: You really got in touch with your surfer roots this year, opening for iconic Dick Dale. What did he think of your set? Did you guys hang with him? Tell us about that experience.

VM: Opening for Mr. Dale was a dream come true. We didn’t get too much time to talk with him, as he is kind of a reserved guy these days. But we did hang out with his band, who were super rad guys. They enjoyed the set very much.

PB: As you mentioned before, this summer you released your debut record Vacation! What do you think was the hardest part of putting this record together?

VM: It was only challenging because we did EVERYTHING ourselves. The recording, mixing, the art – everything. It was a huge learning process for us to figure out how to make a record sound and look great. We’re very proud of the way it came out.

PB: How was the response to the album overall?

VM: The response has been very positive. There have been pop bands that have subtle surf elements, but we are more blatant about it. It has allowed us to make an impact on many different scenes, and everyone seems to be refreshed by the sound. It’s exciting.

PB: Your sound, like we talked about earlier in the year, is highly unique to the current Asbury and Jersey indie scene…have you found it hard to fit in or has the scene been kind to you?

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VM: The scene has been very kind. In our first year together, many people in the area took chances in working with us. Your support with Pop-Break, Jon and Ann Coen, Scott at 1Z, Dave and Wayne at Infinite Merch, Tony at Surf Club, Kyle at The Pony, Debbie and Christine at Wonder Bar, Jay at Mogo, Jeremy and Cory at Jetty, Peter at Langosta, Billy at Beachcruiser, Angie Sugrim…the list goes on. We had an amazing year because of these people. If you’re reading, thank you all!

PB: In a week you’ll be in the crowd at The Pony wondering if your band will win Best Pop Music Band at The Asbury Music Awards. How does it feel to be recognized by the cultural elite of this city by the sea?

VM: It was a complete surprise to be honest. We are honored to have been nominated. We’re really looking forward to the event!

PB: You guys are very aggressive with your marketing and production value…but what about touring. Is there any big Brigantines endless summer tour in the works?

VM: We plan to spend the winter writing and recording a new record. We hope to release it late spring, and do some touring on it next summer. Probably up and down the East coast. Hoping to hit some shore towns and do some surfing. We’ll keep you posted!

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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