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Brick + Mortar playing the Shelter

Indie rock drum and bass duo Brick + Mortar are headed to the Shelter in Detroit on Monday along with Middle Class Rut and Dinosaur Pile-Up.

Brick + Mortar
New Ocean Media

Brick + Mortar's Brandon Asraf and John Tacon are out touring behind their EP release, Bangs, which features the title track and "Locked in a Cage".

Their music is a wild mix of electro/psychedelic/indie pop/rock and much of their material is very honest and autobiographical.

"Bangs" is actually based off of Asraf's father and stories of his violent past as an international fugitive.

On making the EP, Asraf had this to say, "Well we finished it and I think it's the best stuff I've ever written. We really took our time just trying to push ourselves as far as we could. We tried things we don't normally do as a band. I'm just excited for people to hear it. It was great working with our producer and going to the places that we did and learning about song writing."

Asraf says that they have definitely seen fans respond to the personal aspects of the songs, "We interact with our fans pretty much on a daily basis so we see it on the internet. We answer all of our Facebook and Twitter messages and we have Snapchat. We've always been a more personal band in that sense."

That interaction is what he says is his favorite part about being in a band, "At home I'm kind of like a hermit. You know, just writing songs and being on the computer; being a weird internet person. Then we go on tour and I interact with all of these people. It's totally opposite. My only interaction with human beings is on stage. [laughs] No, but I really do like that interaction with the fans. To me performing is an art form."

The band has noticed that they recognize more and more repeat faces at their shows, "It definitely helps not make you scared as f*ck going out on stage. Just to see people singing your songs. You look out and you see a couple of fans you recognize and you're like well alright," shared Asraf.

He says that when it comes to song writing besides drawing from life experience he is often inspired by other art forms like movies and television shows, "I find things that influence me and move me. If a piece of art moves you in one way you will figure out a way to use it with your own words. Once you find your voice writing a song then it's easier because all you've gotta do is let things inspire you. It's the finding your voice that is the hard part."

As for classifying the band for a new listener, he says that, "I'd probably just say to them you can listen to my band and if you hate it you can tell me to my face and I'll still be your friend! I would basically say that we're honest so take it for what it is. We don't try to go for a certain sound."

He went on to say, "We started out so terrible. We didn't know anything about song writing. We were just a drummer and a bassist and we used to play instrumental music. I just played because John was my best friend and when I was fourteen he told me to play so I did. I mean it felt good to play because I had a really troubled childhood so it felt like this was really something. I just went with that so when we started writing songs I didn't really know what was this genre or that genre so we kind of like just put everything together. We were just lucky enough that our instincts lined up with people's tastes. It worked out. Now we've learned a bit through this experience of writing but we still try to keep that idea that if there's something that we're nervous about in a song that we are moving in the right direction and keep working with it."

The tour has been going well so far and he says the first night in California was the craziest because it was in Middle Class Rut's home area and was close to a sell out.

"The tour has been awesome," Asraf confirmed. "Basically, you can expect me being like in your face. We're a band where either people like us live or you hate us. It's very much like a circus. We've always got a lot of crowd participation. We have some tricks here and there that we do during the show. We try to make it as entertaining as we can."

He says that "Locked in a Cage" and "Move to the Ocean" have really been standing out in their current set.

After this tour the band is working on setting some things up for the summer.

Asraf says that they are constantly working on new music, which was something that their managers told them to do when they first met, "That is something we've done ever since we got the advice. Plus you write a lot of sh*t before you get to the good stuff!"

As for his biggest goal for the band moving forward Asraf was quick to say, "I just want to wake up and be f*cking eighty years old and have some kind of legacy. I started writing songs so I could learn about myself. Once I realized that it could be something that I could actually make a living at I decided that I might as well spend my life getting good at this one thing. I wanted to become a master at this craft. Really my goal is just to make something good enough to last longer than I can. I want to die doing this."

As for the fans, Asraf just wanted to say to them, "We love you and thank you! Thank you for putting up with us taking forever and supporting us and basically just giving us a shot."

Monday's show at the Shelter is all ages and doors open at 6 pm.

Tickets for the Brick + Mortar show are $12.

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