Interview with Brendan Murphy of Counterparts



First of all, I would like to say thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to do this interview with me. How are you guys doing today?
I’m good so far. I just woke up. Pretty hungry. Pretty fat. You know.

 First things first, let’s have you introduce yourselves.
My name is Brendan Murphy, I’m vocals in Counterparts.

First of all, I have to say that your debut Victory Records release “The Current Will Carry Us” was absolutely mindblowing. When approaching the writing process for it’s follow-up “The Difference Between Hell and Home”, how did it stack up? Was it more of a challenge or did it come more naturally?
Everything came naturally. It always does. We’ve never really set out to sound a certain way. Since day one we’ve always just wrote music that we wanted to hear. Whether it’s popular or cool guy music or not, we’re only trying to please ourselves. The fact that other people care now is very cool, but at the end of the day if the 5 of us are happy with our music… we won’t really care what anyone else thinks haha. Not to sound like a dick!
What got you into playing the type of music that Counterparts has been known and loved for all these years?
+- I think it was a Rise Records sampler I got at a show that had an It Prevails song on it. This was in like 2006. Obviously from there we backtracked and found bands like Shai Hulud and Taken. From then on out it was clear the kind of music we wanted to play.

Brendan, you’ve posted the lyrics to the entire album on your Tumblr account and I’ve seen that they are incredibly powerful. Tell me, what types of things inspired these lyrics and what is your favorite track on the album?
Lyrics have always been about expressing my darkest feelings. The band is a way for me to cope with how shitty life can be. My lyrics have definitely changed, and in my eyes, improved on the new record. I chose to NOT go with such a straight forward approach like on past releases. Everything else is still there; I just found a nicer way to wrap it all together. I don’t like that idea that people will hear a song and go “I can’t relate to this because it’s about his girlfriend.” I like when things are left open to interpretation. Favourite tracks are either “Compass”, “Soil” or “Debris”. They mean a lot to me personally.

Producers and other assorted studio personnel tend to have a huge influence on how an album sounds. Tell me, did you have a lot of freedom when writing and recording this album? Who did you work with and what was your experience like?
We worked with Will Putney, and from the get go we told him we didn’t want to be one of those bands that just sat around while the producer wrote everything. Don’t get me wrong, it must be sick to do absolutely nothing and get huge, but that’s not how we operate. Working with Will was great. We had the record done before we went in, and Will served as an outside ear. He would explain to us why parts that we all thought were cool actually sucked haha. He didn’t have to baby us. He would jam a song, say “okay no, you can do better” he’d go for a drag of his E-Cig and come back and we’d have a new part written, and that would make it onto the record. Working with him was great, would love to do it again.

You guys have toured quite a bit since the band formed, correct? What has your favorite tour been?
Probably the tour we just did with Exalt and A Sight For Sewn Eyes. Those guys have been our friends for years. We got a lot of flack from kids and promoters for not putting together some big “holy shit” tour sponsored by some fucking energy drink, but the tour was something like 10 days long, and every night I was in a room with about 12 of my best friends. It was great. Best week of my life so far.

On the subject of touring, I have a two-part question: First being, who would your dream tour consist of?(You being in the audience). Second being who would your dream tour consist of?(with Counterparts on the tour)
If I could see the Smashing Pumpkins and Converge in the same day… even the same week, that’d be my dream haha. With Counterparts, I’d love to tour with Saints Never Surrender and Taken. That’d be a dream come true for me. Those bands had a huge influence on us, and it’d be very cool to play with them, and watch them for free.

This is a question I like to ask all bands/personnel that I interview: We hear and see a lot about bands pranking one another and their management. Does Counterparts engage in this? If so, what is the best prank you have played and what is the worst that has been played on you?
I HATE this game haha. Tour pranks suck. Maybe we’ve never been pranked good enough, but when I hear of band throwing stinky old food at each other, it makes me so mad. It’s a dangerous game haha. You always try and one up the last prank and it ALWAYS goes too far. We don’t really prank our managers too much, but we fuck with kids online all the time. I remember I wrote “Counterparts” on a piece of paper and taped it to an american apparel hat and posted it, and then at the shows kids were actually coming to merch and asking for it…

We all need a little kickstart sometimes to help us get through the day. What are some motivational phrases or actions you might perform before recording or playing a show?

Brendan, what advice would you give someone who is aspiring to be a screamer or a singer?
If you can sing, and I mean REALLY sing, go be a pop star and rake in millions of dollars. Don’t you want a hot tub?  If you wanna scream don’t forget to drink 6 bottles of water on stage, the labels absolutely HAVE TO BE RIPPED OFF, and go on vocal rest every few days to make sure your tank top stays in good condition.

Tell me about your favorite fan experience.
These guys we met in Australia just flew out to 5 shows on our Canadian tour. Those guys hung out with us and Exalt at every show, it was great. So now anyone that complains about having to drive 15 minutes down the road can suck it haha. These guys spent about $6000 each to come hang out with us. Get a bus pass haha.

I think that just about wraps it up, once again, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this guys. Any last words for our readers, your fans or the general public?
Put a Breaking Bad sized bullet in my brain.