During the most intimate of moments, people let you in on the secret to what inspires them. Earlier this year in Austin, Texas at South by Southwest, guitarist Alex Brown of British punk pop quartet SuperGlu let me in on the band’s secret: pesto.
Yes, pesto—the umami-packed sauce—is literally the main ingredient to SuperGlu’s success.
“I eat pesto a lot,” said Brown. “I think a lot about [it] when I’m tired. It inspires me to do this.”
“Alex gets really inspired [about pesto] when we get stuck trying to write a part of a song,” Alex’s brother and frontman Ben Brown added. “Alex gets out of the room. He concentrates really hard on [pesto], and he starts salivating. He really gets something going. And then he goes, ‘Come in, come in.’ [And] we go from there.”
“That’s [also] why the [new] record has taken ages,” deadpanned drummer Ben Ward.
You could make the argument that some folks at BBC also had a part. In 2014, the band’s original iteration—Ben Club—gained a national audience when a demo of “Diving Bell” played on BBC Radio 1. Ben [Brown] agreed.
“It’s been a small group of people,” Ben noted, “who have been helping us out [since] day one. It certainly feels good.”
During the band’s first SXSW performance at Latitude 30, a few noticeable English fans made their appreciation very well-known with loud banter and moshing.
“A lot of middle age people here seem to know the words [to our songs],” Ward enthused. “It’s pretty cool.”
At one point, someone tried offering Ben a sip of beer, which he tried to oblige albeit unsuccessfully mid-song. It was like watching a hummingbird drink nectar from a bird feeder during a windstorm, but never quite reaching it.
Fortunately, he and the rest of the band met up later with those folks for drinks.
“They gave me a massive hangover,” lamented Ben. “They were [at the show] again last night [at Scratchouse]. They knew some more of the words, and they brought some American buddies who were moshing like crazy.”
Coincidentally, SXSW represented the band’s first time performing in the United States.
“I’ve never been to America before,” said bassist Krista Lynch, “so it’s quite a cool experience to come to SXSW for the first time. I [got] a free bag for performing. Totally worth it [now].”
The four bandmates embraced their first stateside visit, whether it was spent gorging on Texas-style brisket at Cooper’s BBQ or moseying up and down Austin’s historic 6th Street. They even found time to enjoy a local college baseball game, which meant rooting for the University of Texas at Austin.
The game must have made a good impression on Ben, as he performed while wearing an orange UT Austin t-shirt and repeatedly shouted, “Go Longhorns!” during the Latitude 30 set.
Unfortunately for Ben, the band’s first U.S. performances also represented the time someone stole his guitar.
“My guitar got stolen, or it got misplaced,” said Ben. “So I had to borrow someone [else’s] guitar. [Other than that] just loving [it here].”
Luckily for him, he and the rest of the band made good impressions on the audience, as one of its British fans proffered a guitar when the band travels back to its home base of Manningtree.
“He says it’s got strings,” Ben recalled. “I might be using that from now on. It’s good. It means you really meet kind people here.” (NOTE: As of April 7, 2017, Ben Brown’s guitar was still missing, according to the band’s manager.)
It helps that the band itself seems to comprise a good group of people, which makes it easier to reciprocate the kindness.
The most notable thing about watching SuperGlu live is the smiles on everyone’s face. The foursome appear to enjoy performing together, and their genuine friendship comes across in the live set.
It helps that the four bandmates have extremely interconnected relationships that start and stop with Ben Brown. Here’s a quick rundown: Alex [Brown] is Ben’s younger brother, Lynch is Ben’s significant other, and Ward and Ben were also bandmates in a previous universe.
“I guess we have fun with each other,” reasoned Alex. “We like each other.”
“We’d be having fun, telling jokes, and such [even if we weren’t performing],” Ward posited. “Goofing. We’re quite a goofy band.”
“That’s such a mad thing to say though,” Lynch quipped, “we’re ‘goofing’ around.”
“If [the music isn’t] fun,” uttered Ward, “then there’s no point in doing it really.”
SuperGlu recently released the new single “Simmer Down” on Antigen Records.