Note: Better Know a Band is a regular series that randomly selects, albeit unscientifically, a Hear Nebraska band profile from the bunch. We ask each band to answer eight questions in hopes that we'll learn something new.
Today's band: Brutal Pheasant from Omaha
Daniel Dean Leonard — drums, guitar, keyboard, percussions, vocal, other sounds
Nush Imogen aka Veronika Leonard — vocal, guitar, percussions, drums, keys, etc.
Hear Nebraska: In ten words or fewer, tell me what's most interesting about your band.
Veronika Leonard: Our music! Somewhat disturbing, strong lyrics with experimental, dreamy sounds.
HN: Which member of the band tells the best stories? Please share one favorite with us.
VL: To be completely honest, neither of us is the best at telling stories. I am probably the one that tells more stories, as I write most our lyrics.
But I'm terrible at telling jokes and stuff. Not sure if that's because I'm a second-language English speaker or simply because I feel awkward when I try and fail to amuse my friends. Maybe it's the combination of both.
Daniel is even more quiet than I am. I guess we are a band of two weirdos. We just stick to telling stories through our music!
HN: What is the best set list you've made and why?
VL: The band started out as a recording project. We spent the first two years recording new songs on our four-track and just recently decided to play live shows. We will play our very first show together July 11 at Barley Street Tavern for Nebraska Pop Festival. It's a little bit nerve-wracking. Most our songs are composed of odd sounds and weird instruments. As a two piece, it's definitely going to be a challenge to make them sound the way the do on our record, or even better!
HN: Do you have any rules for practices? If so, who breaks them and will they ever learn? If not, why not?
VL: First of all, we live in our friend's basement. There is close to no time that we can practice at all. We try not to wake our roommates at night or disturb them when they are home during the day. To answer your question, though, there are no rules that I can think of. We are both quite headstrong individuals. Rules would not work for us (laughs).
I am probably the one that's the most trouble, though. I tend to "strike" when things aren't going, sounding the way they should. I get frustrated with myself when learning my own songs, go figure (laughs).
HN: What do you wish the crowd would do at your shows? Is there anything you wish they didn't do?
VL: I definitely wish they didn't talk out loud. Quiet conversation is OK, but I don't like when people come to shows, sit by the stage and barely listen to the music because they are too occupied to do so. Why even come then?
We played a show this last weekend with our other band, Travelling Mercies — I play the keys and Danny is the drummer — in this place called Wolbach, a small town of less than 300 people. The bar was packed full, but it must have been the loudest place I have ever played.
I went around in the crowd during the break and talked to some of the people. Half of them "didn't know what style of music this band plays." I even got, "Sorry, I haven't been listening at all," from a guy who stood directly next to the stage for two hours. So I guess that would be your answer: I wish people listened to our music, and liked it of course!
HN: Which character from one of your songs would you most like to have a drink with?
VL: Most my songs are very personal. I write from my own experience, selfishly about myself. There are a few that differ, though. We have one about a dead bride who has been murdered by her fiancée. Not that I would like to have a drink with the killer, but if this was a true story, I'd have a drink with the girl before the wedding and tell her to bail the hell out of there!
HN: What is your favorite chord and why?
VL: That's an interesting question no one ever asked me before, but probably Em or A. Most our songs are very simple. We start with a guitar or keyboard line and then pile up all kinds of sounds on top of it. E minor fits well with the themes of our songs, none of them seem to be too "jolly."
HN: In ten words or fewer, tell me where you hope your band will be one
year from today.
VL: In my hometown of Prague, playing a lot more shows!