Learn more about Nine Pound Shadow before they perform on the Local Band Stage at LIVE 105 BFD 2017.
Breandain and Christopher Langlois
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About Nine Pound Shadow:
Musical chemistry often bubbles up between brothers. Rock ‘n’ roll has been rife with siblings – from real ones like the Wilsons to fake ones like The White Stripes – as if shared DNA inexplicably yields familial and fortuitous melodies. It is from this same potent well that the Berkeley, CA-born and raised brothers of Nine Pound Shadow spring. The band – comprised of Breandain and Christopher Langlois – creates a very California sort of sound, one whose
lineage and mythology goes as far back as, well, a family tree.
“Our Pops would keep us up until two in the morning as kids, analyzing Bob Dylan lyrics or playing ‘A Day In The Life’ from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” recalls Breandain. “He impressed upon us how beautiful and meaningful music can be.”
“Through osmosis, we picked up this very strong passion for so many of the early greats,” agrees Christopher. “We pretty much missed all of the music from the eighties, because all we listened to was oldies. Music became an irrepressible part of who we are. No matter what, it was something we always had to do.”
By junior high, the boys began diligently writing songs on a shared acoustic guitar supplied by Pops. Following college, they stayed in Berkeley and quietly tinkered with a formidable catalog of original material. Along the way, they developed a wistful style, emanating timeless warmth through lilting guitars, psychedelically spun keys, and hummable sun-kissed vocals. By 2014, the twosome caught the attention of fellow Berkeleyan Electric Guest singer/writer Asa Taccone. A year later, Asa shared various demos with Danger Mouse who signed Nine Pound Shadow to his brand new label, 30th Century Records.
“When Brian called to say they were going to offer us a record contract, Breandain and I were literally in a bathroom on our hands and knees setting tile,” admits Chris. “We had been making music for twelve years, and the moment every musician waits for finally happened. It was kind of like getting a Golden Ticket to Willie Wonka’s Music Factory!”
The pair’s contribution to the inaugural 30th Century Records Compilation, Vol. 1, “Melody,” served as its lead single and earned praise from The Fader, Revolt TV, and more. Now, Nine Pound Shadow’s 2016 five-song self-titled EP evinces the breadth of their musical palette. Gleefully projecting sixties spirit on a canvas of modern production, the first single “Bridges” weaves together delicate acoustic guitars and a gorgeous call-and-response refrain, “Though
summer is almost done…”
“It’s a sentiment I think we’ve all had,” says Chris. “You’re sitting there asking yourself, ‘What if I could go back? What if I could live this part of my life differently?’ It’s like the past is glowing and very alluring back there. Of course, you can’t go back. It’s about how beautiful the present is,
even if it’s sad to accept going back isn’t an option.”
“It also reflects what we do musically,” adds Breandain. “We’re living our lives in the moment, but we draw from all of this history. There’s always a mixture of nostalgia and longing. You get to walk one path. It’s important to embrace the choice you made.”
Elsewhere on the EP, “Tell Me Why” hinges on orchestral piano chords before building into a chantable refrain. Then there’s “Tiger Smile,” which draws a door into a dreamscape with its choral singing and echo-y instrumentation.
“It was like putting words to a dream,” explains Breandain. “That one happened really fast!” It’s as if Nine Pound Shadow is summoning the ghosts of the Summer of Love and inviting them to a millennial festival. Existing amidst eras, these brothers conjure timeless music. “We’d love to give people something to relate to on an emotional level and think about,” concludes Breandain.
Chris leaves off, “Once, we had a guitar teacher tell us when you play a show, you don’t want somebody to walk up to you afterwards and just say, ‘That’s great.’ You want somebody to walk up to you and give you a hug because they’re just feeling it. That’s what we aim for.