Who is Brocarde...
Brocarde is music, Brocarde is fashion. Brocarde is a curious and vastly charismatic alliance of the two art forms. A woman of extremes and mystery who cannot be easily categorized but if you imagine the operatic voice and gothic hair of Kate Bush with the and drama of metal you get somewhere near.
She lives in the country, arrives in SoHo London like she could take down the city wearing the sartorial version of her own song with lyrics embroidered on the bodice. A black velvet dress in a heat wave. The velvet is exquisitely soft and silky. Velvet poetry. Her make up is perfect, bow lips, big eyes, unworldly lustrous lashes, her long and raven hair shines; she is both seductive and doll like. There will be a small range of dresses and jackets to accompany each song. Although Belgian haute couture designer Ann Demeulemeester once embroidered lyrics to Patti Smith songs on her shirts no song writer has ever expressed their lyrics into a fashion statement as well as a song. No artist has ever sung and embroidered the feelings in their heart on their very beautiful sleeve, or in this case, bodice. Limited edition jackets and dresses will sell for around 400.
It’s no surprise that Brocarde writes the detailed story line that will become the video for each song. The video seems the wrong word. These films are small gothic horror epics with confronting lyrics and arresting visuals. They are beyond powerful. They are epic.
“I see things visually and then I will write something. If someone walks through the door, gets whacked on the head with a shovel and falls into a pit I would wear what I was seeing.” She explains how her musical and visual senses are entwined.
Brocarde is comfortable being on her own and living off her own company for inspiration. -“People inspire me immensely but I feel I need solitude to make sense of everything.”
She comes over confident, like she could handle anything. But says “I’m emotionally driven, so it has to come from my heart, otherwise I get lost.”
“I have an awkwardness at having to mix and mingle yet I have a side of me that loves to get on stage and sing and perform. Maybe I find it easier to express myself indirectly. I am not open yet I write telling everyone how I am feeling.”
Most of her lyrics are about expressions of anger and frustration at the world. “When I first started writing I had a lot to get out, anger, frustration, but now I get intoxicated by telling stories, and I want to take people on a journey and make them feel something. Perhaps even more than that, I want to make myself feel something.”
A post punk, post modern, post feminism. Today’s dress looks part 1980s and part Victorian. She is up for a leg of mutton sleeve and a corset. Everything flowing and dramatic.
I first met Brocarde a few years ago in LA where she was recording an album. At that time her fashion line was booming.
“I feel like there’s a pre-conceived uniform attached to some musical genre’s. Someone once said that I’d have to dress more like a rock star if I wanted to appeal to that audience. I don’t know if they were expecting me to grow a beard and wear a leather jacket but their statement seemed to contradict the whole spirit of rock n rock. It echoed that feeling I’ve had since school, that perhaps I don’t fit in anywhere.” Too classical for heavy metal, too much attitude for opera, too feminine to kick ass, apparently.
She is indeed genre-less.
“Some people think that’s a bad thing and others think it’s a good thing.”
I would say she is without peers, without compare, a one off. Unboxable. Surely that is on its way to being an icon, which is a good thing. She is her own genre.
“When I first starting writing music people used to ask “Who do you sound like? and I could never answer apart from saying me, the next question would be “Who’s audience do you want to steal?” my answer was always everyones because I didn’t see the world in boxes. It felt like people wanted a replica of something that already existed”.
People have said she is Kate Bush and Pink’s love child. She responds with a quiet alarm, “Do I really remind you of Pink? People find comfort in boxing things off. If you are shopping on the internet and it says, ‘Customers who like this have also bought this,’ it’s very strange – I love this so much I want to look like all of your customers. What is this notion that a group of people likes everything the same? People can like classical and heavy metal, Disneyland and graveyards, there is this notion that if I like dark things I am looking for darkness in everyone and everything.”
She is feisty but not gloomy. She’s not about darkness she is about life’s essential complexity. Brocarde started off as a “Brand Person” back in 2008. She made bracelets that looked like a string of pick ’n’ mix candies.
“Nobody needed to know who was making that jewelry. Now it would be harder to separate my music from my designs.
“The company peaked and was successful and it distracted me a lot. I felt it was keeping me away from what I wanted to do.”
Katy Perry and Lady Gaga were fans of the bracelets.
“When I was very young I used to make my own accessories which were made of clay which I would bake in a clay oven and people were like, ‘What are these? Can I buy some?’ I gave so many away and then I made them commercially. Katy Perry wore them when she was doing a stage show that was filled with giant candies.”
The candy bracelets were inspired by her Nan.
“She had a sweet shop with a pick ’n’ mix counter.”
Her grandmother inspired her in so many ways.
“That whole generation of women pre-defined the feminist movement.”
After the bracelets came the famous slogan t-shirts – Pussy Power.
Her brain was always intriguing and the bracelet making and even the t-shirts that coined the phrase, ‘No Fucks Given,’ was not enough of a voice. She doesn’t remember in what year she created the t-shirt with the line, “No Fucks Given,” but certainly that concept has been regenerated, copied, borrowed, embellished and it all started with Brocarde.
The clothes range was called Twisted Bitches and was all about making statements.
“I go through phases. After the jewelry, where it felt pretty and bubble gum, I felt I had to have an opinion.” Hence the statement Tees.
The jewelry was commercial and it was supported by celebrities. It was mainstream but it didn’t start off like that. She felt she needed to emerge from a fashion line that was propelled by celebrity culture.
“I felt I was only worth something when someone famous was wearing it and my whole self worth was only about that. But I was making money and money gives you freedom. Although I was my own boss I didn’t have any time to do anything else.”
It was a small company with just a handful of people on her team. In the beginning, there were many nights of staying up until the small hours making bracelets.
She grew up first of all loving school and loving learning and then thinking what is the point of all of this.
“My school was strict and all girls. We weren’t allowed to speak unless you were spoken to you had to accept that. There was no encouragement to have your “own” voice. That was silenced, it feel like difference and curiosity weren’t celebrated. I didn’t accept that!
Now, it’s Brocarde’s time to speak, to sing and have her lyrics embroidered on her clothes. The second single “Love me ’til I’m beautiful” comes out on Feb 14th 2020 and an EP will follow later in the year.
Brocarde is not a person who follows paths, she is one who creates them. The videos for her music are extraordinary. She directs them herself after creating detailed storyboards. In keeping with her childhood inspirations and in particular from her grandmother with whom she used to listen to The Sound of Music. She will actually release her version of that iconic song. Prepare to be excited about the metal version of The Hills Are Alive.
“It is the first song I ever learned to sing. My Nan wanted me to sing it at her funeral but I couldn’t because I was too upset. So I thought this would be a way of doing something nice for her.” . Although I doubt it will be as she envisaged..
It is no surprise that she trained as an opera singer.
“So a lot of my work on this album is influenced by opera.”
And a lot of it is rock, hard guitars and pretty vocals which swoop into cynicism and defiance.
Her songs are much bigger than love songs.
“I am more about finding out who people are. My songs are often about frustrations. If I am angry about something I will find the ugliest guitar sound, but if I feel like being vulnerable my whole voice and tone changes. My first love was opera and at one point I wanted to go down that path. I was this person who conformed. Then I had a reinvention, not a conscious, ‘I am going to change,’ but just a need for more self expression.”
Written by Chrissy Iley
Electrifying, creative new artist… powerful stuff..
Tearing up the haunting production with her sharp and inciting vocals, the singer is armed with a ferocity and angst as she expresses her raw emotions.
Raw and impassioned vocals are chopped up and remixed with electronic guitar melodies and dark productions that’ll have you channelling your inner rockstar. Refusing to be limited and put in a box, the singer brings her imagination to life using sumptuous cinematography
I love Brocarde’s very unique vocal style & vibe.. she has mass aggression to sweetness & everything in between in her voice! The very interesting song arrangements & theatrical segments make the whole package a dynamic, fun adventure to listen to. I see great things ahead for her!
Kate Bush on a terrifying acid trip, her debut album promises to be wild.
Theatrical, quirky and very interesting
Bellatrix Lestrange meets Hammer Horror
A unique talent with great use of vocals, spoken word and incredible song craft