McHank #9 – An Interview with Bob Nanna and Chris Broach from Braid McHank #9 – An Interview with Bob Nanna and Chris Broach from Braid

Ed. Note: Braid is/was a band from Urbana, Illinois that formed in 1993, broke up in 1999, reformed in 2004 for a tour, (apparently) went dormant for a number of years and then returned to full-on functionality in 2011 with new material for long-time label Polyvinyl, a comprehensive tour and promises of more to come. Their third album, Frames & Canvas is an unparalleled classic in the often murky punk/indie/emo (the good kind) genre and should be owned and enjoyed by everyone. Bob Nanna and Chris Broach both sing and play guitar.

McHank: Hey Bob! So what’s the official status of Braid these days?
Bob: The status is: active

McHank: Actively playing live shows, and are there plans to record more music?
Bob: Yes. We’re going to try to record more new music this year actually.

McHank: Do you have some songs written? Will you leak a title or two?
Bob: We have about 7 songs in the works. No titles yet.
Chris: We do have tentative titles so they’re not named song 1 – song 7, but they’re not set in stone/might change based on the lyrical content. I can’t tell you what they are because I don’t know right now.

McHank: What did you do since the last break the band had?
Bob: I started working at Threadless, played and recorded solo, with Certain People I Know, and lately, Jack & Ace.
Chris: Toured with The Firebird Band and released an album and some singles with that band (and working on a new album now, as well – which should be done by the end of the year!), recorded some solo stuff and released it, continued with Lucid Records and City at Night Records, got a degree in psych, started and quit Grad School, and started working at a large internet company.

McHank: Do you feel like the new Braid material will fit in seamlessly with the old? Or is that even a concern when writing songs?
Bob: It’s not a concern to write songs that will fit musically with the old stuff, but energy-wise yes. Given the down tempo and acoustic stuff I’ve been doing lately, it’s important that the new Braid stuff is intense and energetic.
Chris: I think it’s important that we continue to grow and not to rehash what we’ve already done…that being said – when Braid plays together – it’s hard not to sound like Braid – but we’re doing some new stuff and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of what we’re doing now. I never want to do what I’ve done before, so I try to expand upon what we’ve done together and individually.

McHank: Does that still come naturally, or do the other guys contribute, and help shape it?
Bob: I like to think it comes naturally but I’m lucky enough to play with guys that won’t let me get lazy.
Chris: I second what Bob says, and it does come naturally. If it wasn’t for everyone pushing forward, I would not be pushing forward myself. Bob and I write a lot together – and when it gets introduced to the rest of the band, everybody shapes the music together. Though lyrically – that’s up to Bob and me.

McHank: What are you listening to these days? Have your influences changed? What hasn’t changed? For me, a lot of the stuff that seemed to dynamically inform Braid (Fugazi, Jawbox) still holds up. Do you feel the same?
Bob: I do. I still listen to a lot of the same stuff. Lately a lot of Superchunk, Dirty Projectors, The Tallest Man On Earth. I liked the Japandroids record. I try and keep up with new stuff. Maps & Atlases.
Chris: I mostly listen to indie dance music (similar stuff to “Walking on a Dream” – by Empire of the Sun), old rap (Snoop Dog), and some older stuff like Minor Threat. I always go back to Archers of Loaf because they’re excellent always. I get some new stuff – because my fiancé and friends know more about newer music than I do – so I keep my ears open.

McHank: Yeah man– I think that new-ish Superchunk EP, Leaves in the Gutter is the best thing they’ve ever done… Did you get that one?
Bob: I did. Majesty Shredding is what really impressed me.

McHank: I know you’ve said that Braid won’t play Hey Mercedes songs, just as Hey Mercedes won’t play Braid songs. Why have you been so adamant about that? Is Hey Mercedes ever going to come around again?
Bob: Two different bands. I wouldn’t want to make Chris learn and play HM songs and he probably doesn’t want to. Nor would I want to make Mike feel left out. Hey Mercedes has no plans to come back at the moment.
Chris: True. I don’t think the guys would want to learn songs by TFB, either – but obv. it’s a little different b/c none of those guys played with TFB.

McHank: I guess that’s about it. Where can people find out about seeing you this summer? What are some links to keep track of Braid news?
Bob: @braidcentral on twitter and /braidcentral on fb
Chris:, as well. Individually on Twitter (@chrisbroach, @heybobnanna, @toddleebell, @damonetm)

One Response about “McHank #9 – An Interview with Bob Nanna and Chris Broach from Braid”

  • Dan Twist says:

    So glad you guys are playing regular again, oh, and thanks for the nice wedding day wishes Bob! Glad to hear that one of my biggest influences also likes the Archers, still the best live show I’ve ever seen! Thanks for the interview McHank!