” We were just playing around, playing garage, going to school, and looking for a job”
Something About Talks to Braids

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Image by Landon Spears

Braids are a three-piece band from Canada. The trio started out as a quartet in 2007 in the quiet town of Calgary, Alberta, when four high school friends, Raphaelle Standell – Preston, Austin Tufts, Taylor Smith and Katie Lee, joined forces. Katie left the band in 2013, back then, the band explained that there were “Just a lot of creative differences. After touring for so long we had just grown apart, without even really knowing it. We were just on totally different pages and it was like trying to paddle upstream. Fortunately and unfortunately the three of us were really on the same page.”

So far, Braids have released three albums to critical acclaim. Their debut album Native Speaker (2011) was partly recorded in Lee’s parents’ garage, partly in their childhood home in Montreal. This was followed up in 2013, when the band dropped Flourish// Perish.

Braids’ third album “Deep in the Iris” was released in 2015, as a body of work it dissect personal memories that remain when a relationship ends, while also tackling such difficult subjects as abuse, eating disorders and widespread slut-shame culture. Stylistically, the album is a natural evolution of from the monochromatic and icy Flourish// Perish.

The band recently released their third album “Companion” via Arbutus/Flemish Eye. To discuss this latest work, Something About gave Raphaelle Standell- Preston a quick phone call.

How did your love for electronic music start and develop? Which artists inspired you?

 Raphaelle Standell- Preston: Bjork is one of my favourites artists. She checked all the boxes. Bjork, Christian Steven and Joni Mitchell. The love for electronic music actually started with Bjork and we played a little show, then my friend asked “Have you heard Bjork?” and I said “No”, and she was like “Oh, my God!”. Then she put Bjork on and that was my first introduction to electronic music. We definitely had a lot of friends who listen to electronic music. I think electronic music is good especially for driving; that’s why we started to listen to it because people recommended it to us for a really long evening drive!

 What inspired you while working on Flourish// Perish?

 Raphaelle Standell- Preston: That was a really hard record. I guess electronic music was definitely a huge inspiration, once we had learnt how to make it. I think it was so hard to make this record because Katie had left. We just really wanted to be a band and keep going. It was wonderful having her in the band, but it was better to split the ways. It’s just been healthier. Katie ended up finishing an architecture degree and stuff like that, so it was really difficult, but just for the best. I miss her as a friend, we kind of ended up in a very difficult way, but I think everybody involved is in much better place now. I always miss things that get lost….

 You seem like a powerful woman who’s questioning boundaries. Do you believe that girls are stronger than man?

Raphaelle Standell- Preston: Yeah, I do! I think we can do more and we also have to do more. We’re having children and stuff like that. I think that women have to do so much and we don’t get enough credit for it. I think there are so many social contracts that are against keeping women in place around men. I think it should be like I wrote in “Miniskirt”, and have written about it in my twitter post. I think women need to constantly remind one another that we do have the ability to do everything! I think that out generation is having a change. Women have a vote, there is contraception, there are a lot of things that women didn’t have a few years ago. But also, I think that it still needs a lot of change, especially when it comes to the percentages of rape. There are a lot of strange things within the society and people are becoming more and more aware, but still it definitely need change.

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 Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 Raphaelle Standell- Preston: Oh, yeah 100%! I don’t know sometimes feminism is like a bad wrap and I don’t really understand why.

 Looking back on the writing process of your previous albums and the new one, how did they differ?

Raphaelle Standell- Preston: I think over time, we’ve just gotten to know more about what we want and what we’re doing. We were just playing around, playing garage, going to school, and looking for a job. Over time we were learning. I used to be scared to be really passionate about what it is I wanted to say in my lyrics. If I’d be interviewed I’d be kind of dancing around the questions. I wouldn’t really like to talk about what I was talking about in my lyrics. Whereas now I am trying to tell the truth. It’s so hard to be critical and really honest. I don’t know how it will be in the future, if I am going to be as critical as I have to be.

 How did the beautiful video to ‘Joni’ come about? Might it be seen as controversial to some people?

 Raphaelle Standell- Preston: That’s funny! It came about because I really wanted to do it. I got a lot of people and we did it in a really cheap way because I had no money. It came together because the director is a genius. We came up with a concept and just did it really quickly. It was really fun!I guess it might be a little bit controversial, but there is a lot of more sexuality in culture every day.

What are you currently working on?

Raphaelle Standell- Preston: We’re not working on anything. Honestly, we’re just on the tour, doing a bunch of the UK dates. We’re doing Glastonbury and we’re really excited about it!

 What’s next for BRAIDS?

 Raphaelle Standell- Preston: Obvious, we started writing the next record and we’re coming over to a proper studio. We just recorded like in a garage or houses and now it’s going to be like an actual studio with a window, which we haven’t really had, in home studios before.

 

Interview by: Emilia Slupecka

Images by: Karoline Lebrun

Credit - Karoline Lebrun_for-web-regular-crop-BRAIDS-PRESS-PHOTO(04.28.16)