April 20th 2012

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a crappy desk job.

Keep it up if it’s made you feel like you’re slowly rusting from the inside.

Keep it up if it’s led your to engage in such preposterous activities as:
– widening your eyes and staring at things for extended periods of time for no apparent reason;
– creating colour coded sub-folders within the sub-folders of your To-Do folder;
– personifying your stationery to the point where you think your post-it notes and hole-punch could be having an affair;
– fantasising about the contents of your lunch by the time it hits 9:30am…


Bart Denaro has a desk job too. While enduring that process of slowly dying inside, he wrote a song about it in his head. Now he plays that song with his band, Briscoe. It’s called ‘Day Job’, and it’s going to be on their debut album, Friends Ago, which will be out later this year. This Friday night they’ll be playing at FBi Social, and we caught up with Bart for a chat before the gig.

(He was probably meant to be doing something at his day job. Like you’re probably meant to be doing now. We won’t tell anyone you’re here, though.)

– – – – –

Briscoe are reasonably new on the scene, but you’ve all been playing music for a while now. What bands/acts have the Briscoe-ites been come from?

I (Bart) played drums in Kid Confucius before the split, and the Ray Mann Three. Right now in addition to Briscoe I’m hacking away on keys in Ranger Spacey and drumming in Dusker. Dusker was started a while back by fellow Briscoe-ites Jacob and Dee Dee. With the exception of Ross on drums for Briscoe, the two bands share the same personnel. Dave (bass) and Kate (keys) have played in plenty of different bands over the past 6 or 7 years too. Ross has played with Gin Wigmore, now drums for the Ray Mann Three (when Ray is in the country) and still plays with Ngaiire. This data probably needs a flowchart.

Live gigs are the first major test for a band, and you had your first one in January… How did you pull up?

Yeah, the first gig is pretty terrifying… it was also my first gig playing guitar and singing, and standing up for that matter. It was seriously like losing my virginity again – fumbling around, preoccupied as fuck, sweating and bumping into things, but also mind-blowingly the best thing ever. As soon as we sang the last note though, I couldn’t remember anything specific about it. It was like a beautiful trauma that I immediately repressed. People seemed to like it though and I felt impatient for the next show straight away. That’s a good sign i think.

What was your day job when you wrote ‘Day Job’?

It was a while ago… I was a finance officer doing university budgets. I actually wrote most of the song at my desk. It was the typical day job that you start doing to subsidise your non-money making things, but flash years forward and you’re still there fighting off offers of a permanent role. I’m still at the Uni, having swung from department to department trying to minimise the risk of a career developing, and the sentiment of this song intensifies for me with every passing month.

Other than being in a band, what would you drop everything and quit your day job to do?

If money was no object then there are about a billion answers to this. For all the whinging I do about being tethered to a desk 48 weeks of the year though, I don’t know if I could even make music if I didn’t need to work a day job. So much of what I write about comes out of the tension – I feel like it gives me an edge and a hunger that forces me to be productive.

The single (and forthcoming album) was self-produced and recorded – did you have much production experience beforehand?

In Kid Confucius, we worked with Tony Buchen as producer and learned a helluva lot over the course of 3 albums. But I’ve been doing pretty in-depth demoing at home since about 2006 and it’s just about figuring out how to fake it with the gear you have. Every home recording set up is unique, the way the different mics and modules interact will always yield different results, and you learn to play it like another instrument.

Who/what is inspiring Briscoe around Sydney at the moment?

We’ve fallen in with a community of musos who are really serious about what they do. This seriousness and ambition is intoxicating. Mushu, Tales in Space, Ranger Spacey, the Owls and a bunch of others. I think I derive most of my inspiration from drunken circular conversations during which we validate each others’ life choices and get each other unrealistically optimistic about the future.

If Briscoe were an animal, what would it be?

Probably one of those worms in the bottom of a tequila bottle… on gig nights anyway.

And the obligatory band-name question: why ‘Briscoe’? Give us three choices and we can guess the truth…

a) A circa 2002 obsession with Detective Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) from Law & Order original flavour. No matter how grave the situation, he managed to communicate exclusively in world-weary wise cracks. I thought this was funny.
b) On a trans-America road trip, rolled the Chevy off the road in Briscoe County, Texas. Was wise-cracked back to health by a holidaying Jerry Orbach.
c) blah blah blah blah Jerry Orbach blah blah blah

[ Solution: a) ]

WHAT: Briscoe single launch – with Bloods, Mushu and Lily So & Co
WHEN: Friday 4 May, 8pm
WHERE: FBi Social, Kings Cross Hotel, Darlinghurst
HOW MUCH: $10 on the door


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