The Unknown Brothers are songwriting duo Andrew Harper (singer, lyricist) and Ciaran Ryan (guitars etc.) from Swansea. This is their story...
In 2004, a mutual love of music between two friends that had recently met led to an accidental airing of an instrumental guitar tune Ciaran had recorded on a Tascam 4-track recorder. Andrew talked him into taking the recording away with him on a cassette tape after one drunken night out, for reasons unknown at the time.
Considered by Ciaran as' the worst B-side Oasis never wrote' beforehand, to his surprise, Andrew soon returned with a fully fledged song complete with lyrics, and the first they ever wrote together, titled Frustration. This early demo, recorded on a PC, was raw, as they had no knowledge of music production, but undeterred, Ciaran was soon cajoled by Andrew into sharing a few more ideas he had been playing around with on guitar.
This was the impetus that started a love of songwriting that continues to this day. As the months progressed, they recorded a mix of covers from their favourite bands, and continued to write their own songs, all the time learning and refining their skills at recording and producing. Drunken singalongs with friends would often take place well into the early hours after nights out in their local pub in the Swansea Valley.
These alcohol fuelled sessions led to the release in 2005 of their first proper album, Melting Pot, which consisted of a mix of original songs including Monkey On My Back, Bring Back The Days, and covers that gave an early hint at their musical influences, such as Waterloo Sunset (Kinks), And Your Bird can Sing (Beatles), and Metarie (Brendan Benson).
The songwriting continued at pace, and before they knew it, they soon had enough of their own songs to fill another album. In 2007, The Devils In The Details was released. This
contained all original songs, and featured what they would consider their best efforts yet, including Force Of Nature, For A Rainbow, and Picking At The Locks. You can have a listen to some of their early stuff over on the right.
They never had a game plan in mind, they were just two guys who loved to make music for their own enjoyment. So shortly after Devils, like for many musicians with families and jobs, something happened which led to the music-making being put on hold for a good few years, summed up best by this quote from the legendary John Lennon:
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans..."
THE UNKNOWN BROTHERS
THESE TRUTHS REMAIN UNSPOKEN
The great thing about music is that it is always there in the heart, waiting to be tapped into when the time is right. In late 2015, during particularly dark and stressful periods in both their lives, Andrew received the call he always knew was coming. Music soon became catharsis again, and the ideas started flowing anew.
Their aim was to make an album focused around the acoustic guitar, with catchy melodies and short, punchy songs. Life still got in the way of course, but this time time they stuck
with it, with Andrew taking the half hour drive up the valley to meet up on an almost weekly basis. Although it would take them the best part of two years to get the album out, the songs were all written within three months.
Technology had come on since their early days, and the album was recorded, mixed and mastered entirely on an iPad Mini, using Garageband iOS. This is something they are particularly proud of.
When it became apparent that they had enough songs to fill two albums, the decision was made to release them all as a double album. The world is a different place now, and this is reflected in some of the musical and lyrical themes. As some of the songs were lighter in tone than others, the album was split into two 'discs' to reflect the musical style that best suited each. They called it These Truths Remain Unspoken. The album was a true collaborative effort, with Ciaran and Andrew contributing to the music and lyrics, and playing all instruments.
With such a gap between their previous songwriting efforts, a new name was clearly needed. They quickly settled on The Unknown Brothers. Why? Mainly, because it encapsulates what they are all about. Just two unknown guys with a love of music that are obsessed with writing songs, recording and producing from their bedroom studio. Also, it is a reference to a damn fine Black Keys song which you should definitely listen to if you haven't already.
THE POST-TRUTH ERA
What now? The Unknown Brothers are here to stay, Since These Truths Remain Unspoken was released they have been flat out working on new material. Expect a regular drip feed of great new music, available right here and on all major streaming services.
The acoustic guitar will never be abandoned, but their future releases will move towards a more electric sound, while retaining their characteristic style and musical influences.
Writing and producing new songs will always be their primary focus, but plans for taking their music into the live arena are also being progressed which they are very excited about (or were...Thanks COVID!).
The Unknown Brothers will always make music for their own enjoyment. Like all musicians though, if you like what you hear or their music connects with you, they'd love to hear from you. You can find them on social media or drop them an email.
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