Bromham: Meet Adelaide’s favourite indie music band
About four years ago, six baristas, one floor staff, a music teacher, and a PhD scholar directed by their intense love for alternative music came together to create Bromham, a unique music band. Today, the band's joyous, soulful, and eclectic songs have made it a firm favourite among Adelaide's indie music lovers. The nine-member group that derives its inspiration from artists and bands like Sufjan Stevens and Beirut is known for its sincere renditions of lyrics that extol the values of friendship, family and community.
TAL caught with David Thompson, the lead vocalist, to speak about the band’s trajectory, its members’ love for coffee, and the challenges of fitting a large group as theirs on small stages.
Please tell us about the band members of Bromham, and what do they do when they are not creating fantastic music?
The band comprises Tushar Singh - acoustic guitar, Isaac Kerr – bass, Bryn Soden - banjo and mandolin, Georgy Rochow - piano accordion and glockenspiel, Bryce Lehmann – drums, Luke Fisk – harmonica, Chris Newman - electric guitar, Sean - trumpet and saxophone, and I, David Thompson - keyboard and lead vocals.
Sean teaches music (he's a music freak), while Isaac is doing his PhD in some science about ancient giant kangaroos - you can pretty much refer to him as Dr Kerr! Nobody knows what Chris does; he rocks up to jams and gigs now and then, and shreds (which we love). The rest of us make and drink delicious coffee for a living.
We also do downhill longboarding and/or street luging. Bryce broke his leg last year street luging at a gravity games' event at Mt. Panorama and couldn't drum for a while. That sucked!
That’s an interesting mix of people! When and how did you guys get together?
About four years ago another band that Issac, Tushar and I were part of, split. After that, I started working on some new music that I showed them and got them on board.
Most of us knew each other through a church in Adelaide Hills, and slowly the group members came for jams and never left!
We met Georgy through other music gigs, she replaced our old clock player who moved overseas.
What was your first performance like?
Our first performance (once most of us came together) was in the front bar of Exeter hotel. It was such a tiny stage, and the nine of us had to squeeze ourselves on to it.
Isaac was standing on top of his bass amp to fit us all in. At the beginning of our last song a few us grabbed melodicas and started roaming the crowd playing and dancing. Caitlin (old block player) ended up running outside and started playing on the sidewalk.
That show helped us rethink the boundary between stage and audience.
How would you describe the music of your band?
I find our music hard to describe – one could see similarities between us and Sufjan Stevens and Beirut. I think the type of music we play is very dynamic, melodic, mellow and layered.
Many a time we use the word eclectic to describe our music because of our usage of various instruments and the myriad musical influences we draw from.
Some of us listen to hardcore, punk, jazz, folk and more and that is reflected in our songs.
What’s the thought process behind the songs that you write? And, what is the message that Bromham tries to convey through its music?
It usually starts with me writing a riff or a few paragraphs and then jamming it out with the crew in an unstructured way. That gives me an idea of what the song might sound like with the full band.
Then I polish it a bit more, and after a lot of brainstorming, we gradually create the song.
The only part that we don't collaborate on, is the lyrics because usually, they are personal to me. Each song, though conveying different story lyrically, carries the same value or ethos.
I feel that our music and the way we present it carries a keen sense of community and family - whether it be through a large number of group vocals and harmonies or the way we all play together and give each other the space to be heard. In our band, there’s no place for one-member dominance.
With so many members in a band, how do you manage to keep disagreements and personal tensions at bay?
Can’t say we've ever had personal tensions! I think if one meets us they’d understand why we get along so well with each other. We all are pretty relaxed and calm!
I think that we've been blessed to have such a group where the members have the freedom to voice their opinions without fear or judgement.
Tensions aside, there might have been other challenges. How did you deal with them?
One of our biggest challenges has been trying to fit on tiny stages! Jokes aside, sometimes getting everyone together for a gig can be a daunting task.
We always try to get all our members at our concerts, but we have gotten good at improvising when someone can’t make it. It is only natural with a group as big as ours to have a member or two go missing once in a while. But I reckon we do alright.
How many songs have you released so far?
We released a seven-track album last year, and we've just recorded three more. Also, there are a couple of extra songs floating around.
What has the reception been like for your performances?
We have had great feedback at all our live gigs! Those who have seen us play say they love the energy and dynamism we bring to our shows.
Our meaningful lyrics and the stories our songs tell have also found a lot of admirers. People have noted how tightknit we are in spite of us being a large group – which is lovely!
Where all have you performed? And where are you planning to play in the coming months?
We've performed all around Adelaide and once in my hometown of Canberra.
We are also extremely excited about our Extended Play (EP) launch at Jive on May 5. We will be joined by some of our talented friends- Abraska and Naomi Keyte. It will be a fantastic night!
What're Bromham’s future plans?
We’d love to play in a few of the folk festivals around Australia. They are such wonderful places to share music with a diverse bunch of musicians, meet amazing people, learn and be inspired.
Finally, what does the name Bromham mean?
That’s an interesting story. Bromham is my mother’s maiden name, and she had two sisters and one brother who never had kids. So, her family name might not continue past her generation. Through the band, I thought I could keep the name alive.
It is a weird sounding name, and sometimes people aren't sure how to pronounce or even spell it. But, in the end, it is like our music - it means something to us, and that is important.
Follow the band on Instagram.
Listen to their music here.