Written by Georgina Langford
Posted 21/08/2013
For many a Reading and Leeds festival goer this year, there will be a twinge of sadness on the Saturday night, when US rock band Brand New were due to take to the stage but instead cancelled earlier this summer due to 'personal differences'. However, Brand New fans should take solace in the fact that drummer Brian Lane is just about to release Heat Thing, the debut album from his new band Shone, which also features Andrew Accardi of Robbers on vocals, plus Brand New techs Ben Homola and Joe Cannetti, with a revolving cast of many other talented musicians making up the project.

The eclectic, atmospheric Heat Thing (peppered with Brian's instantly recognisable epic drum sound)was written over the past two and a half years, in between Brian's Brand New downtime and setting up his own video production company. "I never want to stop writing, I get bored very easily and I'm always thinking about what I'm going to try next, so this started with just weird ideas I had on my computer," he tells us. Now a finished product, snippets of electronica, occasionally theatrical vocals, unusual sound effects and at times, Radiohead-worthy levels of intensity make Heat Thing a gripping listen. It finally gets a vinyl release in the UK on Monday 26 August, so Brian called District MTV from Brooklyn, NY to discuss the music and the mysterious online viral campaign, earlier this year, which allowed sleuthing forum users to discover the band Shone.

At the beginning of 2013 a string of creepy videos, handwritten notes delivered to personal mailboxes, supportive tweets from members of Manchester Orchestra and Brand New and a USB drive hidden in a bird house at New York's iconic Chelsea Mansion led fans on a blind treasure hunt, culminating with an anonymous – yet sold out – show at the Mercury Lounge. Fans, many of whom had discussed the campaign in an 18,000-comment thread on AbsolutePunk.net, travelled thousands of miles for the concert, even though they still didn't know who the band were. "I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a little frightening," Brian tells us, looking back, "because it had taken time to gain courage to even try something that wasn't related to my other band. I thought people might show up, say 'what the fuck is going on' and just leave. But in the end, we were stoked at the response." Did he worry that the mystery campaign had accidentally over-hyped Shone? "I was just trying to have fun, myself and this young artist Matthew Reid picked 20 or 30 people in my local area to start it with, because normally everything is so intangible when it's online, but you can use the Internet to get people together…I guess I underestimated the power of the Internet" he laughs. Brian also hopes that after the campaign intrigued people, it will now contribute to how they hear Shone's first record. "It's about that connection between physically going out and searching, then finding a record you like, maybe because you just like the cover, or because someone told you about it."

Doing things IRL is important to Brian, who has fond recollections of "going to a record store at 11.30 at night, hanging out, reading magazines, listening to records, that whole Empire Records thing." He was keen to put Heat Thing out on vinyl, because "CDs feel more out-dated than vinyl now, which is really weird. It's the most special format, too." Brian is keen for people to experience the album in a live setting, although "it's tough with 19 people in the band and plane fares to the UK costing a million dollars." Shone fans can expect an appearance by late 2013/early 2014, if we are lucky. And what, dare we ask, of Brand New – DMTV has to ask Brian if they too will ever come back to play in the UK. "I can't say when, but we hope so. Everything is kind of up in the air with when we'll be back [in the UK], just because of scheduling. But we want to and we hope to make it happen." It's not a no, and that's good enough for us. In the meantime, we will be revelling in the elaborate, eccentricities of Shone and Brian Lane's consistently intriguing creative output.

Heat Thing by Shone is released on 26 August 2013

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