We’re two weeks into 2016, and I’m trying to put my finger on “the sound” that will define the year. BBC Music predicts it will be something along the lines of Jack Garratt or Alessia Cara, but my money’s on The Brinks.

The newly formed LA duo’s late-2015 Temporary Love EP has been gaining traction since its debut and has sparked plenty of interest from KCRW and other media outlets for good reason. Aside from the idea that popularity gives definition to the “the” in “the sound,” The Brinks’ debut is most certainly a hint at things to come.

Slinky vocals by Aussie singer Scott Mellis travel along the intoxicating and rhythmic sounds provided by New York producer Matt Friedman. Their sound acts like some intermediary between The Neighbourhood and Atlas Genius, but The Brink’s music has lyrical heft and a tenacious production quality that pushes them above their contemporaries and allows you to soak up their alt-pop textures much more ceremoniously.

I was able to ask the duo a few questions regarding their EP, what they have in store for us in 2016, and how LA has transformed them. Read on to find out a little bit more about The Brinks, who need to be on your radar this year.

The Brinks Temporary Love

Just wanted to say that I had KCRW DJ Jason Kramer as a professor at UCLA, and he previewed the title track from Temporary Love for us, which immediately made me latch on to you.

Matt: That’s so amazing! He played us on KCRW and has been very supportive, but we didn’t know he was playing it in class! I love that.

Let’s start with where you guys met in LA. Considering this is a Los Angeles music blog, we have to ask: which freeways did you have to take to get to your meeting place?

M: This is the most LA question ever! When we first started working together my studio was located in downtown LA and Scott was living on the West Side, so there were a lot of nights for Scott on the 10. Now I’m in Beachwood Canyon. Less of the 10 these days.

Scott: Ahh, this question makes me think of the SNL skit “The Californians” and all the freeway connections!

I was hoping you’d bring up the SNL skit! Had you been to Los Angeles before moving here? If so, was it for work or for leisure?

M: I had been living in LA for a few years by the time Scott and I met, but originally I came out for work. Seems like so many of New York’s music creatives move out here, so I felt it was just time I go too.

S: I hadn’t been to LA previously. My first time to LA was when I moved here, and to be honest I didn’t expect to actually like living here. Now I really enjoy being in such a large, creative city that’s so close to the ocean.

You guys are from vastly different parts of the world. What musical influences from your home cities do you draw inspiration from and what influence does LA bring to your sound?

M: I think New York definitely made me lean towards harder sounds. It’s hectic and noisy, and the city has an aggressive side to it, so I try to embed a touch of that into our music and juxtapose it against Scott’s more calm and subtle singing. LA is pretty laid-back, so our music definitely has that relaxed vibe to it as well.

S: I think the best thing is we’re able to expose each other to new music.

So you guys finally brought your sensibilities into the studio. Where did you record and what was/is your work process like? Could you give us a rundown of your typical day recording?

S: It usually starts with me coming up with a rough song idea on guitar or piano, and then we build the song from there. However, we have been known to put the dark shades on, go into the studio, and play the movie Ghost on a large screen TV in the background.

M: Any Whoopie Goldberg movie really. We recorded the whole EP at my home studio in downtown LA. I had a pretty great loft and was doing all of my production work out of there at the time we met. I ended up mixing all of the songs except “Hide Your Love,” making the whole project feel very self-contained.

How much time passed between you conceiving of these tracks and you laying them down and mixing them?

M: Some of the tracks came together pretty quickly, and some took months and months of trying out different ideas. “Heart Shared” was actually the second song we ever started together, and it went through an insane amount of versions. Different layouts, different production, different drops — just trying shit over and over until it stuck. I think we were still finding our sound though, so it was really uncharted territory. Now we still experiment, but we know the core aspects of what we want our records to feel like.

The Brinks 1
Photo by Fabien Montique

Did you guys know from the outset that you wanted to create an EP? Did you/do you have enough tracks to fill an LP?

M: We originally wrote an album’s worth of material, and then we cut it down to the songs we felt we could stand behind 100%. Now we’re working on all new material for an LP, and we have more than we need but are trying to be selective about it.

Hip-hop artist Pusha T is already having an incredibly busy 2016. How did your demos end up in his and producer Salaam Remi’s hands?

M: We have the same management as Pusha, so our manager played it for him at some point. But we were surprised at how encouraging he was and that he wanted to get involved behind the scenes with us.

This EP is a fantastic calling card for what’s to come. What’s in the pipeline for 2016, and do you have any intention to tour (and where would you love to tour)? I’m curious what your live set-up will look like.

S: We’re definitely excited to tour and are looking at getting on the road in the springtime. We have been testing out how to best represent the songs with our band and also try more stripped-down, acoustic sets. We actually just filmed a live performance for Yahoo Music this week.

Excellent! Finally, could you give us Angelenos your favorite place to eat around here? What’s your favorite LA spot in general?

M: Oh man, there’s so much good food out here. I go through phases with places until I get sick of them. Right now I’d say Silverlake Ramen is pretty addictive.


Temporary Love is out now via Louder Than Life/Sony Music Entertainment. Listen to the title track below, and listen to the EP on Spotify, or on iTunes.

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