Braids discuss the influences behind new LP ‘Euphoric Recall’

Euphoric Recall, the fifth full-length album from Montreal's Braids, is out today via Secret City Records. It finds the trio continuing their exploration of vocal and electronic textures through thoughtfully crafted experimental pop, and you can stream it below.

We asked Braids to tell us about what influenced their new album, and Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts, and Taylor Smith each contributed to a list that includes music by Joanna Newsom, Eartheater, Aretha Franklin, and more. Find the list, and their commentary, below.

Braids will be backed by a string ensemble for their upcoming tour, which includes dates in Los Angeles, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, NYC (June 4 at Racket) and London.

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BRAIDS' EUPHORIC RECALL INFLUENCES

1. Young Thug - Beautiful Thugger Girls - "Me or Us"

This whole record is incredible. I love Young Thug. You can tell that everything is just flowing out of him, that maybe it’s the first take that is kept. He just goes. And maybe the producer and mixer have to clean it up after, but the energy is so there. On our latest record Euphoric Recall I tried to embody this idea I have of Young Thug doing first takes and keeping them. The majority of the vocal takes on this record are written and recorded on the spot. We would just keep the mic running at all times. From Beautiful Thugger Girls the song that specifically inspired me for our track "Lucky Star" was "Me or Us." I loved the simplicity of the strummed guitar that holds the whole song together while Young Thug delivers an insanely lit vocal paired with these ghostly backing vocal loops. "Lucky Star" is miles different from "Me or Us" but this approach of having a simple strummed guitar hold a song down while things are being thrown on the page was super inspiring. I also love how he references "Tomorrow ’Til Infinity" in the opening verse. KING! (Raphaelle)

2. Aretha Franklin - "You Send Me"

Aretha is the queen of singing. Trying to learn to sing this song (of which of course, I’m still trying) pushed me vocally to embody relaxation while singing. She doesn’t hit those notes through tension or overreaching, she just leans back and hits them. (Raphaelle)

3. Buying a car that only had a cd player

I was forced to rediscover my CD collection, music from when I was 17, and owning a Discman, youth energy. Deerhunter, Panda Bear, Gang Gang Dance, Portishead, Do Make Say Think, Emily Haines, Devendra Banhart. (Taylor)

4. Eartheater - Trinity - Supersoaker

Another whole record that is fucked incredible. Trinity is on another level. "Supersoaker" again has that energy of things just being laid down as they happened, maybe in real time, I don’t know, I’d have to ask Eartheater if I ever got the chance. But this record just runs! We didn’t want anything on this record to be too overthought, first or second takes for everything, layering. This record helped me feel that ‘go’ energy. (Raphaelle)

5. Green lights

I know this isn’t an artist and is an inanimate object but it’s a very important symbol for the record. Something that we would constantly say to each other during the writing of Euphoric Recall is "Green light energy" - it was a way to encourage someone to keep going with an idea, like lighting the idea. If we started stalling, we would say "green light energy"! Imagining a traffic light turning green helped us to move forward quickly and with confidence. (Raphaelle)

6. Nintendo 64 - Super Smash Bros

Again another non-artist, so to speak, but Smash Bros is a work of art. When we would stall out or feel the energy getting too tense in the room we would break and go play Smash Bros in the lobby. I always chose Kirby, Austin was usually Captain Falcon and Taylor oscillated between Pikachu and Donkey Kong. (Raphaelle)

7. Joanna Newsom - "Emily" & Van Dyke Parks

I listened to this song on repeat to try and figure out how to compose for strings. I had never done it before so this perfection of a song helped in hearing what was possible. I then dove deeper into arrangements by Van Dyke Parks. He has an insane discography. (Raphaelle)

8. Barker - Utility

Fire record. (Taylor)

9. Beck - "Paper Tiger"

The way the strings on this song play in massive pastoral blankets on top of such a raw and groovy band performance was a major inspiration for me when ideating the back half of Supernova. All the strings in general across the album, honestly. The combination of more chordal string arrangements paired with these big moments of unison melodies. (Austin)

10. Animal Collective - "#1"

General tone, texture, use of bells, vibe of the vocals on this one! I channeled this for vocals on the end of "Retriever" and percussion on "Apple"! In general Caribou, serpentwithfeet, and Son Lux! (Austin)

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BRAIDS: 2023 TOUR
05/27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Knitting Factory NoHo
05/30 - Toronto, ON @ Paradise Theatre
06/01 - Ottawa, ON @ Club SAW
06/02 - Montreal QC @ Society for Arts & Technology
06/04 - New York, NY @ Racket
06/10 - London, UK @ Kings Place Hall One