Introducing The Breton Sound

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My musical path has recently crossed with rock band The Breton Sound and man do these guys sound awesome. Let me introduce you to the band who are Jonathan Pretus (vocals & guitars), Stephen Turner (guitar & vocals), John Bourgeois (drums & vocals) and Joe Bourgeois (bass). Together they have created a style of rock that has a familiar feel about it and I think its because their influences can be found in my own music collection. There will be more about that later in the post.

In 2011 they released their ‘Eudaemonia’ EP which is a great collection of songs that shows the bands musical talent. This is a solid debut which has been received to great reviews and when you hear the EP you will understand why. Their track ‘Lines’ stands out like a giant amongst men as it delivers something different as its over 7 minutes long and its takes you on a wonderful audio adventure. Throughout this song you hear everything that makes this band such a hit with me all bundled up in one song. I love how the pace of the song changes halfway through which gives the listener an instrumental section before closing on more great vocals.

This was followed up in 2013 with their game changer ‘MAPS (or cartography and the art of generalization)’. I call it a changer because this EP has a new edgier rock sound that has taken them to a whole new a level and I LOVE IT! I am not sure what changed between EP’s but I am not complaining and thank them for it. This is my type of rock that ticks all the right boxes, great vocals, catchy beats and of course awesome riffs! From start to finish, this EP does not disappoint as the tempo is full, the music is tight and the vocals are top draw. I can definitely hear a Foo’s influence on this EP and this might be why I really like its sound. I can hear this on my favourite track ‘On my Way’ which is impossible to keep your foot still while resisting the urge to sing along with your air guitar. A great song with epic energy about it.

Both these EP’s are available on their Bandcamp site (click HERE) and while you are there check out their acoustic 2 track EP ‘Maps Acoustic’ which delivers their songs with a twist. My advice, buy them all, click shuffle and let your ears enjoy some great music.

I had the chance to ask the guys about the band, their influences and about their plans for their new EP. This is what they had to say:

How did Breton Sound come together and is their a story behind the name?

The Breton Sound started back sometime in 2010. I’d been touring the previous 3 years with a band from New Orleans called Cowboy Mouth. They’d had a couple of radio hits in the late 90s/early 00s, and I’d replaced the original guitarist. We were doing about 225 dates a year, plus recording, etc. I didn’t really have any creative input in the music, and on breaks, Stephen and I started getting together and working on various bits and pieces of songs we had lying around. Around April, of that year, I made the decision that I was going to leave that band, and after a good long discussion of what we wanted to achieve, Stephen and I decided that we were going to pursue this new project full on once I was done. That August, I got off the bus for the last time on a Sunday morning. By 1:00 that afternoon, he was over at the house and we were writing and demoing that would go on to form our first EP, “Eudaemonia.”

The story behind the name….Breton Sound is an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, an actual body of water. Also, as in “sound,” i.e. music, it’s got a double meaning. Years ago, in another band I was in, that was one of the names we floated around, but didn’t stick. I’d loved the name, and it sat unused. When Stephen and I started this band, we spent a day or so thinking of names, which is always one of the hardest things about starting a band. Then I remembered The Breton Sound. It was one of those great moments where we decided we really were too lazy to sit around and try to think of another batch of clever names, and just decided to go with that one. People mis-pronounce it a lot. It’s pronounced “Breh-ton” but we often get “Bree-ton.” Didn’t realize how many folks would get confused. C’est la vie. We like it, so whatever.

Which musicians/bands are your biggest influences on the band and its sound?

We all like very different stuff, alternative, indie, prog, metal, blues, 60s pop, but diverge in a few places that pretty much lend themselves to being the basis or core of our sound. I think bands like Weezer, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and Oasis, catchy guitar-driven melodies with big anthemic choruses make up the bones of what we do. But from there, our differences kind of fill it in…Stephen grew up on Rush, Van Halen, Metallica, so lead guitar features prominently in the mix. There’s always a slight hint of shredding, but in a melodic and economical way. John came up in the punk scene so he’s got a knack for really intricate, thought out patterns and drum fills. Joe came up in punk and then indie bands, so he’s got a great combination aggression but with great feel and melody on bass. And they’re twins also, so they lock in very instinctively, which is great.

What is your favourite song from your first two EP’s and why?

My favourite song from our first EP is probably “No More Worries.” That song was written a long time ago, when I was 18 or 19, with my old high school band. I’d always thought it was the first thing we did that was better than the term “high school band” should let it be. It was actually a really well crafted, moving piece of music. We all parted ways for college before it could be recorded. I sat on it for a long time and always thought if I was in a band that could do something with it, I’d jump on it. When we started TBS, it was one of the first things I pulled out, and Stephen just found some beautiful parts to play on it. It was also fun to record because I played drums on it as well (I was a drummer in high school), as I’d pretty much mapped out exactly what I wanted on drums over the previous 10 years. TBS was just him and I at that point, so we did everything on those songs for the most part.

On the “Maps” EP, I’d have to say “Standing on the Edge of the World” is my favourite. It was a true collaboration of band and producer. The original demo I’d done for it was much slower, and had a kind of plodding, late period Oasis/Noel Gallagher feel to it. We upped the tempo but kept the feel. When we got into the studio, our producer Tom Drummond (also bassist for Better Than Ezra), immediately suggested we straighten the tempo and bass it around a riff. Within about 30 minutes, this moody song we’d played for 3 months turned in to this big, loud, energetic rock song. It’s always fun to play, and as a tip’ o’ the cap, because it’s also in the same key, I’ll sometimes sing a verse of “Wonderwall” in the breakdown.

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If you were headlining a world tour, which bands would you choose as YOUR support?

That’s a tough question. In a perfect world, I’d love us to be big enough to do a co-headline with any of the bands listed earlier that our big influences. We’re also the kind of band that loves playing with and helping out our friends’ bands. If we blew up and headlined our own world tour, I think we’d bring out our friends’ bands like Bantam Foxes or The Scorseses from New Orleans, guys we like to hang out with. I’d also do my best to reunite the defunct California band Dusty Rhodes and the River Band. I did a bunch of shows with them a few years back and just loved that band. Was really bummed when they split.

I hear there is a new release planned, what can you tell us about it and what can us fans expect? (this is way to get the fan funding project mentioned)

We’ve launched a crowd-funding campaign for the record, which you can check out at www.thebretonsound.com/indiegogo, and it has some really cool perks for people who contribute, anywhere from exclusive b-sides, a coffee table photo album documenting the recording, we will write a song just for you, we’ll play a private show, limited edition vinyl, etc. It costs a lot to make a great sounding record, our music never really lent itself to doing the bedroom/laptop type thing. We like big, bombastic sounding records, and it’s what we make. We’re trying to give a cool, behind-the-scenes perspective too, releasing demos and footage from in the studio.

We’d started talking about doing a new record, and our producer was selling his studio. We were heading to Memphis for a show, and I’d just watched the Big Star documentary, “Nothing Can Hurt Me.” I thought it’d be fun to go see the studio where they recorded, Ardent Studios. So we were able to get a tour of the place while we were up there, and we fell in love with the room. We thought it’d be really great to record there. A week or so later, I watched the “Muscle Shoals” documentary, and realized that both Ardent and Muscle Shoals were within a short day’s drive for us. We thought it’d be interesting to record in various studios around the south, soak up some of the vibes of the great records that were made there. So that’s the plan. We’ve done Ardent, as well as Southern Grounds in Atlanta, which is the Zac Brown Band’s old studio. They made their early records there. We’ve got a session here in NOLA at The Music Shed, where REM did their last record, Robert Plant’s done some work there, and everyone who’s anyone here has recorded there. We’ll do Muscle Shoals in the fall, and maybe another place or two we haven’t finalized yet.

We’re splitting the release over two EPs. 1 will be released physically/digitally, the 2nd will be digital only. They’ll also both be combined and released as a full length on vinyl.

We’re really reaching for the stars with this record. There’s big, anthemic choruses, tight rock/pop songs, big riffs, bigger riffs, and a left of center (for us) acoustic, sweet song. There’s even one that a duet with a female vocalist, which we’ve never done before. It turns the song into a dual perspective thing, which I think is really neat. I think we’re writing some great songs write now, we’ve really figured out how we work finally, and it’s coming out in the recordings that we’re firing on all cylinders, which is great, especially considering that Joe joined the week before we started recording, that says a lot about his playing and him as a person. We’re all having so much fun, and it’s coming through on the record.

I have already shown my support towards the new EP project by pledging for the following:

‘B-sides EP (unreleased songs, alternate versions, live tracks, demos) only available to campaign team members; exclusive t shirt; early digital download.’

I strongly recommend that you do the same and to also spread the word to help the guys reach their goal.

If for some crazy reason I have not convinced you to support the great music of The Breton Sound then you can learn more about the band by visiting their website at thebretonsound.com. You can also say hello to the guys on their social media sites on Facebook and Twitter. If if that is not enough then let the music doing the talking by listening to their music on their Bandcamp page (click HERE).

For me, I am so glad that the music of The Breton Sound has joined my music collection and I am already looking forward to adding their new music when it is ready. Until then, as a fan, I will continue to support the music that matters to me which includes awesome The Breton Sound.