Eamon Hamilton was born in Stewart, Canada. He was mostly raised in Stroud, Gloucestershire. His first band was called Jockrash. He joined British Sea Power in 2002. Tom White was born and raised in Brighton. He left school at 16 to form the band The Electric Soft Parade. Flying scares him. Alex White was born and raised in Brighton. He left school at 18 to form the band The Electric Soft Parade. He was born with perfect pitch. Marc Beatty was born in Croydon and raised in Brighton. He left school at 18, took a sound engineering course and set up Mockin' Bird Studio in Brighton. He joined The Tenderfoot in 2002.
Brakes formed when Tom and Alex and Eamon were drinking after Eamon had supported The Lonesome Organist at Palmer's Bar in Brighton in August 2002. "We'll play drums and guitar on your tunes," they said. "Rad," said Eamon. They went to Mockin' Bird studios, a rehearsal/recording space in Kemptown, Brighton run by Marc Beatty, and convinced him to play bass. After half an hour, they looked at each other and said "this sounds freshmode."
Between now and then, they played wherever and whenever they could, but they mostly played at the Freebutt, Brighton's 200 capacity sweat box where bands like Lift To Experience, American Analogue Set, Fuck You Planet Earth and Yeah Yeah Yeahs played. Eamon did a few more acoustic Brakes shows. Georg and Orri from Sigur Ros played as his backing band in Reykjavik. He supported Lach. "I like your anti-folk" said Lach. "I thought it was country-punk" said Eamon. Lach looked away.
Tugboat Records offered to put out a single, so the band went to Mockin' Bird studios on 20th July 2004 and nailed Pick Up, Stand to Stand and Cheney in half a day. It was to be one of the final sessions at Mockin' Bird, which sadly closed that December. Sea Power's bassist Hamilton (no relation) directed Brakes' first video, the 30 second long Pick Up The Phone. It was filmed in the basement of the house he rents along with Eamon and Marc, which they named 'The Princess' after a painting of a girl collecting wheat which hangs on one of the basement walls. "Holy shit, I've just seen our video on MTV" texted Tom to Marc one night in September. "Lush," said Brakes and went on tour around the UK later that month.
Rough Trade offered to release an album, so Brakes booked Metropolis studio 1 for a week in late January 2005, and put Iain Gore in control. The album was recorded in five days, all live on to 2" tape, and mixed in two days. Not a single computer screen was used in the whole process. They left it for a couple of weeks and then mastered it on the day after Valentines'.
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