“Sexistential slow-boy dream-funk, with elements of devotional and pious massages,” replies Brad when asked to describe his music. BRAD STANK is very much a solo project. On his latest seven-track EP, Brad exercises complete creative control, writing, performing and producing all the songs on the record.
“My first gig was at the MOTH Club in London with Her’s, so that will always be pretty special to me; but my favourite venue as a venue has always been the Brudenell in Leeds,” says Brad. As the drummer for Trudy And The Romance, Brad is no newcomer to live gigs. I had the pleasure of catching his first live gig in Liverpool last June at the Shipping Forecast, joined by an all-star backing band of members (and former members) of bands like Trudy, The Orielles, Hannah’s Little Sister and Pink Kink. Brad’s favorite song to perform live is a single he released back in 2017 – O.T.D. “It means a lot to me,” he says. “It was written in that time of red-hot new love, and it’s probably my most personal song, even though it’s like four lines of lyrics in total.”
Brad doesn’t take much influence from current music. On Connan Mockasin Brad says, “He’s the main modern influence, I guess. There are not many artists from the past 10 years that have influenced me that much.” Brad is much more concerned with the soul music of the 70s, specifically he points to two Marvin Gaye albums – I Want You and Here, My Dear, two of his most laidback and spacious records. You can hear this mellow vibe weaving all through Eternal Slowdown, especially in the sublime grooves of Flirting In Space and Take Me To The Crib.
On the track Butte Magic, Brad enlists the South Liverpool rapper MC Nelson to spit some verses while Brad sings the sultry chorus in a low drawl. “I wanted to sit back and act as producer and make a hip hop tune,” he intones. Brad cites D’Angelo’s psychedelic-soul masterpiece Voodoo as an influence, and this MC Nelson feature casts the same spell as Method Man and Redman’s feature on Left & Right.
Beat poetry is a deep influence on Brad both lyrically and philosophically. “Kerouac, he’s my biggest influence probably,” says Brad. Butte Magic takes its title from the opening line from Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues. Kerouac’s interest in Eastern philosophy also has an impact on Brad. The final track on the EP, Maithuna, features a dreamy choir of voices chanting the word “Maithuna”, the Sanskrit word for sexual union. He also points to the poem Wales Visitation by Allen Ginsberg, a meditation on the self and nature, which Ginsberg wrote under the influence of LSD. Brad evokes Ginsberg on Condemned To Be Freaky, with lines like “Every flower just like a Buddha’s eye/Repeats the story over and over again”.
“I’m interested in how people deal with the tragedy that is life; for me it’s writing these silly, sexy songs.” Sure, the Brad Stank persona is quite tongue-in-cheek. In the music video for Condemned To Be Freaky you can find him dressed in a bathrobe and gold chain, singing into a massive flower and surrounded by four groupies. The music is no joke though, with each track on Eternal Slowdown transcending catchy slow jams into an introspective poem on death, love and sex. If Jean-Paul Sartre was the father of existentialism, saying “man is condemned to be free,” then Brad Stank is the daddy of sexistentialism, saying “man is condemned to be freaky.”
Eternal Slowdown is released on 7th December via Untitled Records.