The Brown Study Band

BrownStudyBand.Photographer The Heart Temple

A Studied Response

They’ve been plying their trade for a fair few years now, but only now have The Brown Study Band put together a full-length LP, Imaginations, which launches at the Rosemount Hotel this Saturday, July 12, with support from Hailmary and Triangle Fight. TRAVIS JOHNSON catches up with bassist Paul ‘Bonson’ Johnson to find out why.

It is, let’s face it, an odd name.

“’Brown study’ is a term used to refer to a person who is daydreaming and lost in serious thoughts,” explains bass player, Paul Johnson. “The word brown implies that the nature of thoughts may be often unhappy or gloomy, while study refers to a mental state.  The use of the expression brown study dates back to the 16th century and since then the meaning has undergone changes to indicate its use today as an idiom meaning a state of deep thought, or some pretentious shite like that.”

Fair enough. Describing the sound The Brown Study Band makes, though, is a more difficult task, with Johnson – or Bonson, as he sometimes styles himself – citing influences as diverse as Frank Zappa, Hans Zimmer, Mr Bungle and Tool, although he maintains that the group’s chief inspiration is noted chef Antonio Carluccio.

“Our sound is very dramatic, but our content is quite absurd.  Just good fun, really.”

It is hard to get a straight answer out of Johnson. Asked why the upcoming album took so long – the band formed in 2006 and their last release was the 2010 EP What Came First? – he says, “We made a solemn promise to the world we would not release an album until St Kilda was at the bottom of the ladder again.  During that time we kept ourselves amused by making two EPs, plus personal commitments like making families, etc.

Imaginations took two years to make.  There’s no point in rushing these things.  Some things can’t be rushed.  There’s no such thing as rushed goals, just rushed behinds!”

As for the album itself, “It’s about a guy that flits forward and back in time at least but no more than six weeks either way.  He runs away with his own imagination, with his ego in close pursuit.  He slaps people several times in a row, he leaves phone messages that no one responds to, he organises parties in the desert and he also stands up to some mean ghosts.  Eventually he resettles in Vanuatu.

“It contains 11 tracks and the running time is exactly one hour, 11 minutes and 11 seconds.  The album tells a story best enjoyed start to finish. Kinda like watching a film but without the visual.”

The Brown Study Band  |  Pic: The Heart Temple