Beer aficionados will make the trek to Sonic Unyon’s Because Beer Festival for libation and perhaps to catch bands like Born Ruffians and Born in the Eighties, but one of Hamilton’s latest band’s — Family of Things featuring Bradley Barnham and Aaron Brown — garnering national and international attention are set to open up Saturday evening’s entertainment line up.
“We grew up playing music and decided to study music after high school but Brad did his undergrad at Western and then moved to do his masters at the University of Toronto while I was doing my undergrad at Mohawk and finished my masters at York University,” recalls Hamilton born Aaron Brown. “We’d met through a friend and we wanted to play together so I brought him into another project I was working on but we started writing together and that worked out so well we decided to do our own project. We decided to record an EP with a friend of ours from out west in 2016 but it ended up becoming a lot more than just that EP.
“Aaron studied jazz and performance and percussion and I studied classical world where I studied piano, composition and theory,” says Burlington born Bradley Barnham. “I did my masters and now I’m also a conductor. The mix of these two worlds brought us together in a unique way. We took from our experiences and we found a common ground in well organized and creative and thoughtful music. Every experience informs our next experience. I’m still in the classical world but as a performer and singer, I take what I’ve learned and bring that to this band.”
“Both Brad and I have a recording studio together and we’ve done a lot of licencing work and publishing over the last few years so there’s been a lot of time put into synthesizers and analog outboard gear writing and recording,” adds Brown. “We learned what we learned in school but there is a lot of what we learned that we put into the sound of Family of Things.”
A new single, “Harm”, from their debut full length Oscilloscope is making the rounds on the internet and while initially I would have wanted to make comparisons to the Pet Shop Boys or Erasure, more current touchstones would be Tame Impala or even Hamilton’s the Junior Boys are probably more appropriate.
“Peter Mol is a producer and friend who has been a big part of the creative team that makes this music,” says Brown. “There are songs on the new album that we played at our first performance at Homegrown Hamilton from a few years ago but we’ve been recording this new album since the fall of 2017 so it’s been quite the undertaking. This record speaks honestly about what we want to convey thematically, emotionally and musically. I think we were able to do that because of the strong team we’ve had supporting us.
“There is a fine balance between electronic and acoustic instruments which represents the balance of life,” adds Barnham. “I wasn’t interested in doing one particular style of music but wanted to explore more interesting sounds on this record. We recorded in Muskoka but we did about six songs with Michael Keire at Threshold Recording Studio as well. The last track was recorded where I conduct at in Hamilton, Christ’s Church Cathedral. There’s pop, indie, there’s a bit of alternative, krautrock or soul and there’s parts that get rocky so we might land in any one of those things at any point.”
Family of Things has a focus on electro–pop injected with organic instrumentation that makes for a danceable pop sound that seems very current. A new album has been pending for a while and currently the release of their debut full length has been pushed from this summer to now a fall release but fans of Family of Things can hear the new songs live at this weekend's performance.
“We just signed on with Paquin Entertainment so we’re hoping that agency can be a part of the team that gets us more gigs to promote the album,” says Barnham. “We want to get the right team together, a new publisher and maybe a label. We’ve got a great team to get these songs on the stage with Myles Rogers on bass, Will Gooch on guitar and Justin Brix on guitar.
“We’re planning some fun things in the fall for the release with all the pieces in order but this weekend, you can hear all of our new songs,” adds Brown. “We’re really excited to be a part of such a cool event. The new record lends itself to a bigger stage and a bigger show and we’re excited to have a stage and a sound system that can carry that.”
Family of Things play Because Beer this Saturday July 13 opening for Born Ruffians and Born in the Eighties. Click on familyofthingsmusic.com