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Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Oakland, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Alternative




"Small Shows This Week: Bicycle Artistes, Rust Sandwiches, Environmentalist Shrieks, and More"

A couple days later, scam your way to Brick and Mortar Music Hall for the Monday, Oct. 14, record release show of Brasil, a ruffled rock quartet mixing their Pavement with some Wilco and spiking the potion with erudite lyrics. Newcomers with chiseled chops, Brasil's eponymous, self-released LP makes nods to the '90s, but its excellent song craft defies any trappings of nostalgia. - SF Weekly

"What We're Obsessed With Right Now"

Scott Lucas, Web Editor: I love the debut album of the local boys from Brasil—especially the second track, Deep Ecology. (Their drummer is a college buddy of mine—bias admitted.) They sound kind of like Pavement playing a bunch of Crazy Horse songs. You can see them at Brick and Mortar on Monday the 14th, or at Oakland's Night Light on October 18th. Do it now, so when they play Hardly Strictly in a few years, you can tell people you saw them back in the day. - San Francisco Magazine

"Doing It Their Way : How Brasil produced one of the best local rock records of the year."

The digital age has given artists the ability to increase their audience without the aid of a record label. Now any technologically inclined act can record, manufacture, market, and distribute its music, and many relish the autonomy. Of course, bands still have to write songs and hone their performances, so doing everything oneself can be overwhelming. That's the dilemma East Bay band Brasil faced when strategizing the release of its self-titled debut — one of 2013's most diverse and rewarding local rock 'n' roll albums. The four members outsourced certain tasks and undertook others themselves, but it took some missteps earlier in their musical careers to arrive at their model.

Brasil formed in the summer of 2012 after the dissolution of two other bands. Singer Jasper Leach and guitarist Paul Korte came from eccentric lo-fi rock outfit The Symbolick Jews, and Leach brought with him drummer Mike Vattuone from his long-running rock band The Myonics while Vattuone invited his roommate Tom Ferguson to join on bass. The four members, who are all in their mid-twenties, created Brasil in a rehearsal space in the rhythm section's converted warehouse home in Oakland. Six months later, the band recorded ten songs in three days for its debut album at Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco with engineer Jay Pellicci.

The decision by Brasil to decline the advances of a local record label and self-release its album was based on the desire to control every aspect of the process. The band sought outside help to record and promote the album — areas in which they felt they needed someone else's expertise to execute the jobs in a timely manner — but even then, the members wanted as much say as possible. They handled the design and manufacturing specifications for the vinyl version of the album, determined the scheduling of the release, and plan to book their own tour this year.

"We have so much to handle just getting as good as we can musically that I didn't want the headache of handling publicity on top of it," Leach explained. Besides, he continued, "We're the record company, and record companies hire publicists." (Indeed, even large labels outsource press matters to agencies.) Brasil also retained control over other elements a label might usually be in charge of, such as distribution and tracking orders.

When Brasil was released in October 2013, it received a slew of positive reviews (including in these pages), and the band's record release show at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall was well attended. Its set moved swiftly from the punchy power-pop of "Dr. Zero" to the restless twang of "Broomhouse!" All the while, Leach's tuneful ruminations on cosmic movements and the power of myth soared over the players' lean and dynamic performances. As in conversation, Leach's stage banter and vocal style was dry and dejected, rightfully earning him comparisons to Nineties indie-rock singers, but he's articulate as well as adept at spiking strange narratives with sly humor.

Leach credits his past band experiences for Brasil's decision to self-release its material: "You can read about it all you want and mull it over in your room all you want, but you won't know how to do it until you throw yourself into the deep end," he said about learning to manage a band. He initially founded The Myonics in 2006 as a solo project, but it evolved through several incarnations and even became an unwieldy octet before the band broke up in 2012. The Myonics also chose to self-release an album, Pagans, though Leach admits the process was mishandled.

"The Myonics' album was a long lesson about what not to do," he said. "We had no money, so we tracked it at Ex'pression [College] because it was free. It took us about two years to finish and then nine months to mix." Promoting the album was "its own special disaster," Leach continued. Shortly after Pagans was released, The Myonics went on hiatus. The process convinced Leach to leave engineering in capable hands. On the drawbacks of recording and mixing with poorly equipped amateurs, Leach said, "You really run into a lot of trouble, because you're prolonging all of the soul-searching."

So Brasil sought to capture its strength as a live unit in a swift studio session overseen by an experienced engineer. "If you go into the studio for three days, like we did, where there's a gun to your head and it's your money, you tend to think on your feet and make better decisions," said Leach, "rather than going to somebody's house to mix and wondering why it doesn't sound good for nine months."

Brasil's credo is less "do-it-yourself" and more "do-it-smartly," or simply "imagine you're the record label." It involves deciding when and to which agencies to delegate tasks. That allows members to retain control while remaining focused on the main goal: writing excellent songs. The craft and performance on Brasil speaks to their success. - East Bay Express


Oakland boys Brasil have been hanging around with us lately, dropping the singles that rage against corporate conformity like on "Dr. Zero" to dabbling in the delights of controlled debauchery on "Drunk at the Controls". Today we are excited to present you with an advance listen of their forthcoming self-titled, available October 15 via their Bandcamp.

"Dr. Zero" initiates the action with sci-fi story song that lampoons the classist Bay Area-yuppie take over, while "Deep Ecology" takes the natural order of things to questions of epistemological origins as well as thoughts apocalyptic ends. Band practice benders get out of hand with the catchy single "Drunk at the Controls", before the slow and somber reckoning "DZ2/Reckoners" that bursts open like a morning glory hit by the song's end. Throwing new beginnings into the fray, "These Days Sunday Morning" starts the week off on the right foot, while "Aries Apparent" brings astrological signage with some old fashioned start and stop rock and roll sequences. Sweeping away the dreariness and dust strums the homage to a gal-gone-away named Lisa on "Broomhouse!", to the fervent meditation on religious constructs, feelings, and superstitions of "Prayer". Giving out and going all out is the out pouring of, "I'll Do Anything", whereas the closer "Stay in Town" goes even further for the band's statement of self and solidarity with "Stay in Town". Their closing guitar storm reminds you and everyone else that this band of Jasper Leach, Paul Korte, Tom Ferguson and Mike Vattuone are a force to be reckoned with, and are here to stay in the Bay.

Jasper joins up with us again to further discuss the new record, providing new glimpses into the process, the beauty, the struggles, and everything that goes with recording an album in a Bay Area that is in the middle of a series of transitions for better and for worse.

What were some of the challenges and triumphs of writing and recording your self-titled?

Challenges: respiratory illnesses, a broken guitar, picking up a Danelectro 12-string in the middle of the night in the so-called 'Dirty 30's' in Oakland. Honestly, we haven't faced any huge challenges as a band: we all enjoy playing together and we really like what we're doing, and that's a triumph in itself. But on top of that, the big triumph was getting it done and having a final product we were all happy with.

What have been some of Brasil the band's struggles as a working class band fighting the tyranny of eviction crazy landlords and the yuppie/yippie-fication of the Bay?

Finding the right superhero suits to do battle against these evildoers while completely re-arranging the socio-political makeup of the Bay Area in one fell swoop. No, more like cowering in paranoia while our local governments decide what's 'best' for 'us.'

We struggle to chill out. We don't want to get no-fun-zone'd. We're all normal and we want our freedom. Freedom. Free-dom.

What is the correlation of the religious and sci-fi motifs in your music in tracks like "Drunk at the Controls" and "Prayer"? In what ways are they different, similar, parallel and/or perpendicular do you all feel?

I think that science fiction and religion are two American obsessions, and both speak to our desire as a culture to see beyond the veil of reality. You might as well entwine the two, and we're certainly not the first [see Pixies, John Fahey's How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life]. When it comes to religious motifs, I think the use of that kind of language often says more than the language itself, whereas sci-fi motifs serve more as plot points.

What were some of the rejected names for your self-titled LP that you and the band refused?

'...Is A Band', 'Love Happiness Success', 'Greatest Hits'.

What does the rest of the world need to know about what Brasil and the Bay are bringing for this Fall/Winter 2013?

Two big release shows are coming up at Brick and Mortar in SF on Monday, October 14 with CIVC, VUM and Drab Majesty and The Night Light in Oakland, Friday, October 18 with Couches, Everyone is Dirty and Frozen Folk, before plunging into an uncertain, unwritten future, just the way we like it. The world needs to know we are awesome. Somehow we will get that across.

Thanks again for making it happen, Jasper!

Thanks for your ongoing curiosity! It's an honor. - Impose Magazine


Having last caught up with Oakland's Brasil with a listen to "Dr. Zero", we were graced with a dystopian sci-fi anthem about evil-overlording-yuppies taking over the Bay Area. Returning to mess up your Monday with their video for "Drunk at the Controls", the former members of The Myonics, The Symbolick Jews, and so on continue their trail of destruction like a group of alchohol quaffing captains.

Today they bring a binging bundle of rock and roll that plays off of the drunken grandeur that comes from an "alcoholic afternoon." This is the practice session that gets boozy where the band brings out their inner-killer and soldiers of skronk, in between special effects of analogue television static and gratuitous flames. After making the jump from brews to the hard stuff, the band busts out the silly masks and continues their pop-punk onslaught like drunken pilots wrecking up the rehearsal space.

We had a chat with our East Bay buddies Jasper Patrick Leach and Tommy Forgotten from Brasil, as we discussed illustrations of drunken grandeur, as they corrected our off-base lyrical interpretations.

Tell us about what it is like to be a "soldier," "killer," and whatever in the "army of the void"?

Hope this isn't a huge turn-off, but it's 'army of the lord.' I really like 'army of the void,' though, and I'm going to have to steal it from you. But what is it like? It's the human condition.

Are afternoon binges really this epic? Or is this drunken illusions of grandeur?

It's an illustration of drunken grandeur, or possibly an allusion to grand drunkenness.

Favorite East Bay watering holes as of late?

Missouri Lounge in Berkeley has a good patio. Oakland's Ruby Room's pool room is the kind of nostalgia I can get behind. Uh, Bar 355, Heart and Dagger, Kingfish, the dumpster outside of Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut...

Best spots for morning benders?

You have to wake up pretty early to get in a good morning bender. Who does that?

Best spots for afternoon benders?

Band practice tends to justify day-drinking . . .

Best places to pass out if you're not at home after said, morning and afternoon benders?

All roads lead to Lake Merritt—mind the geese. Either that, or an airplane on its way to a city you can't remember buying a ticket to.

What is next for Brasil?

Figuring out how we can appeal to the yuppies who are swiftly replacing anybody else who might have liked our music in the Bay Area. Or, how we can destroy them.

Pros and and cons of being, "Drunk at the Controls"?

The pro and con is that you can forget about your responsibilities while attending to them. That said, please don't drive drunk!

Brasil's debut LP will be available later this October. - Impose Magazine

"Brasil and Everyone Is Dirty to play Cafe du Nord, 3/28/13"

Two bands that were featured on our second “Best of Submissions” post are teaming up for a show at Cafe du Nord this Thursday, March 28. According to Everyone Is Dirty‘s Sivan Gur-Arieh, she and Brasil‘s Jasper Patrick Leach actually got to know each other via the post and decided it would be cool to play with each other sometime, and we couldn’t be happier to have brought them together.
Leach fronts Brasil, which recently released a single, “Drunk at the Controls”. The straightforward rock track is highlighted by Leach’s charismatic and slightly crazy lead vocals. Brasil has recorded an LP’s worth of material at Tiny Telephone that they hope to release late this summer. Listen to “Drunk at the Controls” below.

Co-headliners Everyone Is Dirty just released a video for the track “Mama, No!!!”, which is available as a free download on their SoundCloud page. Much of their work has been sunny indie-pop, but this darker track is showing they can take on a serious theme and execute it very well. Gur-Arieh says they “will be releasing every two weeks until we spontaneously combust or the world ends”. Check out the video for “Mama, No!!!” below.

Everyone Is Dirty – Mama, No!!! from Dalton Rooney on Vimeo.
Everyone Is Dirty and Brasil will be joined by The Love Dimension and Feather-Bright. You can listen to The Love Dimension’s most recent release, Forget the Remember, below, and then stream Feather Bright’s music on their website. - The Bay Bridged

"Brasil: El Rock Aún existe"

Con un arte algo carente de diseño, por no decir creatividad, un nuevo cuarteto de Oakland, California, llega con el elemental pero infalible combo de guitarra, bajo y batería bajo el nombre Brasil, ofreciendo temas similares al llamado college rock de R.E.M., Guided By Voices y Sugar, logrando ocupar un espacio entre las agrupaciones que probablemente sea bueno escuchar antes que acabe el año.

“Dr. Zero” es el primer sencillo de este álbum, titulado igual que la banda, que cuenta con Jasper Patrick Leach en las voces, quien relata una historia de ciencia ficción que tiene como personaje principal a un ser oscuro, perteneciente a la élite del poder de un mundo subterráneo, revelando que una de los principales atractivos de este lanzamiento es la calidad de sus letras. “Drunk at the Controls”, “Aries Apparent” y “DZ2” son algunas de las canciones que se podrían calificar como pruebas superadas para los estándares de otras bandas contemporáneas como The Spyrals, Spirit Vine y Mirror Travel.

Diez temas más que agradables al oído que, cabe señalar, fueron producidos por Jay Pellicci, quién ha trabajado con Yann Tiersen, Deerhoof, The Dodos y los legendarios Om. Una agrupación nueva, con un estilo libre de síntesis -gracias al cielo- y lleno de riffs, que se desenvuelven en busca de un camino libre, editando y distribuyendo su material de manera independiente, sin el apoyo de una disquera.

Al experimentar la insoportable crisis musical que todos hemos atravesado, cuando nuestra mente se rehúsa a disfrutar de esa vieja lista de reproducción que en alguna ocasión preparamos con tanto amor, Jasper (voz), Paul (guitarra), Tom (bajo) y Mike (batería) son la opción que restaurará la fe en tu selección musical y en una de esas, hasta en el rock. - Indie Rocks Mexico

"Brasil by Brasil"

Nostalgia is often a driving force in rock, and these days many bands are taking their cues from the Nineties — specifically pop-punk and Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine. Yet while some bands are too beholden to the past, Brasil uses its influences — Wilco and Pavement — as a starting point rather than a blueprint.

Each of the ten tracks on the Oakland band's self-titled debut album is its own statement. Clocking in at half an hour, the album is economical and tightly edited. The opening track and obvious single, "Dr. Zero," melds palm-muted power-pop riffing with twangy leads that build to an exalted crescendo. It's meticulously crafted, with each section neatly trimmed for maximum efficacy. Singer Jasper Leech is alternately tuneful and dejected. His vocal style suits a band capable of both melancholic restraint ("Broomhouse") and sneering bombast ("Drunk at the Controls"). He rambles incoherently about mythology on "Deep Ecology" and drops astrology references elsewhere. Leech's reading is as eclectic and vintage as his songwriting. He's not pontificating about lofty ideas; rather, he's tackling big questions with great songs.

Brasil is more than the combination of Wilco-style downcast twang and Pavement-esque guitar indulgence; it's a purge of Leech's weighty psyche — a tool of effective songwriters no matter the era. (self-released) - East Bay Express

"Premiere: Brasil's Shouty, Infectious, Guitar-Soaked "Drunk at the Controls""

Brasil is a new rock band from Oakland whose members are alumni of scrappy, weird, and delightful guitar outfits the Myonics and the Symbolick Jews. We dig those bands, but Brasil looks to be even hookier, based on the opening salvo "Drunk at the Controls." The song seems all shambolic at first, but if you listen closely you'll notice it's deftly played. Then it gets to that chorus, and oh man -- you just might have that "Drunk at the Controls" line stuck in your head for days. (At least, we have.) So here, with suitably quirky and mask-featuring visuals, is the band's "Drunk at the Controls" video, which precedes a Tiny Telephone-recorded debut album out this October and a release show at Brick and Mortar Music Hall on Monday, Oct. 14. Watch and enjoy: - SF Weekly

"The Week in Pop: My pop-culture picks"

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this band before, but if so, it's worth repeating. These guys from Oakland, Calif., just put out their self-titled debut, and it appeals to the part of me that worships Guided by Voices, R.E.M. and other solid, smart bands. Check them out at - USA Today

"Debut: BRASIL, "DR. ZERO""

Tune into the catchiest concept power rock ballad about vicious vampirical office dwelling lords from the East Bay. Oakland's Brasil premieres "Dr. Zero" that brings a story song about a world unraveling, corporate-company blood and spirit sucker that we are told is part of a larger, 4-song suite. Frontman Jasper Patrick Leach, with cohorts by P.W. Korte, Tommy Forgotten, and Mike V. bring the big conceptual song framework ripped out of the fictionalized galactic wars for a new kind of battlefield earth that has nothing to do with Scientology or John Travolta in dreadlocks.

Primordial drums are heard in the beginning before the guitar chords fall all around you. Prepare for the ballad of the ruling classes that breeds their legions of yippie, hors d'oeuvres consuming hoards who wave about their fancy, specialized doctorates of nothing of pertinence. "Dr. Zero, vulcan hero, is bringing power to the sphere, in the ions of the scions." From the modern space age narrative, Brasil paints the Bay Area 580, 880 freeway rush hour nightmare scenario clogged with the half-caf-hybrid-car-driving CEOs and their assistances of false prosperities. "False echelons and battalions like little kids getting into the valium."

While the souls of earth get sucked from the skyscraper office despot, Brasil examines the options of survival. "First they fail us, then they tell us, our collective death is our rebirth." No matter how grim a fate the world faces in this song, the group rides out the ultraviolet ringing of riffs that turns Tiny Telephone into Ardent Recording Studios. "If you're in queue, he'll preserve you, while the rest of the world is in decay." For those lucky to have scheduled an appointment; those waiting in line to see the demented mythical doctor stand a chance while the world crumbles all around like mass produced retail coffee crumb cake. With the fiction and weird sciences aside, Brasil reminds us that world domination and syphilitic stewardship happens between hall trips to the water cooler.

Jasper Patrick Leach talked with us on the band's humble basement-based origins, who "Dr. Zero" really is, and the sci-fi-power-chord pop connections in detail.

How did Brasil form about in the East Bay?

Chance meetings and band-cest. It was supposed to be a two-day basement recording project, but we found ourselves, somewhat unconsciously, becoming a real band. Also it's fun as hell. Why fight it?

Being from Oakland, what brought about the moniker Brasil?

Well, "Brazil" with a Z was taken, so . . .

How do you turn power pop based into sci-fi adventures in "Dr. Zero"?

It's really more the other way around. I wanted to write a sci-fi epic, this song is the first of a four-part suite, and power pop is, was, the most natural musical language we could choose to complement that. It's all about picking the shortest distance between two points, and you don't want to force it.

Who is "Dr. Zero" really?

Dr. Zero is the personification of the power elite living in the underground cities. He's the Reptilians. He's "The Man." He's the invisible enemy lurking behind the veil of reality, but not without charm.

What's the connection between power chords and vulcans?

Hard to answer this one since I'm still trying to figure out the connection between power chords and loose sex, power chords and fast cars, etc. Why is a raven like a writing desk? The only answer is Rock, an extension of the folk tradition. It provides the syntax, makes things right: Nothing is true, all is permitted.

What's next for Brasil?

Get this record to the masses, tour it, rinse, repeat. We're already halfway through writing the next record.

Releases in the works?

We're putting out our self-titled debut album in September, recorded and mixed in 3 and a half days at Tiny Telephone with Jay Pellicci.

Favorite overlooked Oakland groups/artists?

Tyler Wagner, Saything, Catharsis for Cathedral (CIVC), Pure Bliss, Everyone is Dirty, Band Practice, Frozen Folk, B. Hamilton, Naked Lights, Ca$h Pony, Coldtergeist. Yeah, rock's not dead, it's just enjoying a long weekend in Oakland.

Brasil's self-titled LP will be available in September. - Impose Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



With an undeniable, singular sound and a growing arsenal of musically confrontational, insightful songs, Oakland rock quartet Brasil is one of the Bay Area's most promising new bands. With the independent release of their 2013 debut LP, the band has garnered accolades from outlets such as USA Today, Impose Magazine, IndieRocks Mexico and East Bay Express, not to mention the appreciation of an expanding local audience.

Formed out of the ashes of local underground bands The Myonics and The Symbolick Jews, Brasil's beginning was a bit of a fluke. Guitarist/vocalist Jasper Leach joined lead guitarist Paul Korte, bassist Tom Ferguson and drummer/vocalist Michael Vattuone to record a set of ad hoc material in a one-off basement recording session. Upon hearing the playbacks, however, the musicians elected to hang together as a unit. 

The band played only a handful of instantly well-received gigs before decamping to San Francisco's Tiny Telephone Studios to record their infectious debut album, which draws inspiration from equal parts Big Star, Pere Ubu and Television, yet stands alone in the music scene of today. Adhering to a self-determined DIY ethic, the band produced the album themselves and released the record on their own imprint.

The result was a record that "[tackles] big questions with great songs," (East Bay Express), with a sound full of "ultraviolet ringing of riffs that turns Tiny Telephone into Ardent Record Studios," (Impose Magazine), earning the band comparisons to "Guided by Voices, R.E.M., and other solid, smart, bands." (USA Today) California's Amoeba Music, with a glowing recommendation in their bi-annual "Music We Like" zine, chipped in, "This album could have easily came out of New York in 1976 or Minnesota in 1984 or even California in 1993, yet it’s not tied to any of these eras. it is very much a product of Oakland, California in 2013."

The group has been trolling the Bay Area's local club scene in support of the album, crafting an anticipated sophomore effort in the meantime. It's clear theres a lot in store for Brasil - as the band told one source, "Rock's not dead, its just taking a vacation in Oakland."

Band Members