Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 1st 2010 12:10PM by Laura Taylor
While on tour in California, Yorkshire-bred crooner and current Brooklyn, N.Y. resident Findlay Brown squeezed in an interview with Spinner following his afternoon workout, in anticipation of his upcoming SXSW appearance. "I live in New York now. New York has the most wonderful food," Brown explained. "I think I've gained a dress size." The singer will be attending the festival to support his sophomore album, 'Love Will Find You,' which he recorded with producer and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. Of his second visit to SXSW, Brown said he'll have "quite a few shows. Quite busy, I expect. Looking forward to seeing and meeting everyone ... They have great food in Austin, too."
Describe your sound in your own words.
Obviously, this album is in a romantic "worn on sleeve" tradition. It's an early '60s, romance influenced [album] with a universal theme. What happens with me is I get really thrown into a style of music, almost obsessed, and that always shows in the music I make -- almost consciously. [I was listening to] a late '50s, early '60s crewneck sound with jazz, creating an eclectic warm sound. I listen [to] and am influenced by Richard Hawley from Sheffield. [I am] also influenced by jazz, roots European, South American beats, gypsy music and Italian light operas. Elvis is definitely in there, too.
How did your band form?
I had a bit of a late start. Most people start their craft early, about age 5. Not me. I started recognizing I had more interest in music as more than just background at age 16. Then, I heard Jimi Hendrix's album at a party. I listened to it over and over. [It was] amazing, psychedelic and I was hooked. Yet, I thought it was too late for me to explore music. I revisited the idea when I was 18, deciding it wasn't. I started really learning and playing guitar and writing songs then.
How did you come up with your band name?
Hmm. Yeah, we have to thank my mom for naming the band [laughs]. Although, I was going to be named "Red Brown." My dad wanted to call me "Red." I would have been two colors. Luckily, my mom's choice won.
What is your biggest vice?
Food. Bread. I could eat bread all day long.
What's in your festival survival kit?
I'm really crap at being good at festivals. Really, I'm the guy who shows up in Dior dress shoes at knee-deep muddy festivals. And I have a quiff -- that doesn't work really in the rain. I'm a bit eccentric. I don't really have a kit, so I think on my feet when I get there. Beg, borrow and steal, I guess?
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Kylie Minogue. She was on an Australian TV soap opera called 'Neighbours.' She was a tomboy, [a] mechanic girl, called Charlene. It was on in the afternoons when I came home from school, and I watched every day.
Did you still have a crush on her once she began her music career?
Well, that's when she was wearing her gold hot pants. Although that was quite impressive, too, it just wasn't the same.
What's your biggest musical guilty pleasure?
I don't think that I have one. I don't feel guilty about any of the music I listen [to]. I guess -- if I had to say one that people would probably think is a guilty pleasure, but I do like it -- Shania Twain's 'You're Still The One.' Love it. Love that song.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles all the way. Although, I like the Stones as well.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
While on tour last year in Boulder, Colo., the guitar player touring with me -- Marcus Bonfanti -- [and I] found ourselves with a day to explore. Someone told him that one could hop on an inner tube and float down the river for fun. We got old tires at the hotel; got them pumped up at a gas station, put them in the water [and] hopped in a portion of the river. The water didn't look too bad. Then, we basically hit white water. We were only wearing shorts, no life jackets, nothing. We basically got smashed to bits. It was terrifying. We finally managed to get out. Surrounded by trees, we had nowhere to go -- except we saw a house close by. We had no choice but to walk through their yard. Fearing being arrested for trespassing, we went ahead through their yard with all this dog crap in the grass. We're thinking a vicious dog is going to come out at any moment. Finally, we made it through the crap and back to the hotel. I told this story later at the show. Everyone gasped. They told me that we were very lucky -- the spot where we jumped out was located on the edge of a waterfall. We had no idea. Very lucky we got out before we reached the falls. That's probably the craziest thing that has happened to me on a tour.
When performing solo and acoustic, how does your music compare to your records and come across to an audience?
It's a slight dilemma for me to do solo, acoustic shows, because a lot of the songs are about the emotion drawing from the strings and band. Due to financial reasons, though, this is the way I have to do it while I'm on solo tour. I try my best to adjust the music and voice accordingly. I generally tour solo, but there will be band with me at SXSW -- two guys from the UK, and two guys from NYC. We had auditions and have met a lot of people in NYC and from playing shows there. South By is a great opportunity that they -- especially the guys from the UK -- are looking forward to experiencing. Really, really good guys. Great players.
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