Downes Braide Association: Ghosts In The Machine
After the highly acclaimed debut album from the Downes Braide Association, duo Chris Braide and Geoff Downes are back to tell us all about its follow-up, the hotly anticipated Suburban Ghosts.
“I was a fan of his as a kid,” enthuses singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Chris Braide of his Downes Braide Association cohort Geoff Downes, a man whose keys adorned albums by Asia, Yes and The Buggles. It’s the latter group’s debut that caught Braide’s attention. “I absolutely loved The Age Of Plastic – I loved his chord progressions and that Solina string machine was so pretty. Sometimes when you hear another musician you instinctively get what they’re trying to do.”
Both Braide and Downes had played in Trevor Horn’s Producers at different times but the pair didn’t meet until a 2010 Buggles reunion gig. Downes explains: “We talked about working together but then he moved to LA and I joined Yes for Fly From Here, but we still managed to work around that to make [DBA’s debut] Pictures Of You. We both had a similar background and upbringing in Cheshire, and although Chris is 20 years younger, we’ve followed similar paths. We both moved to London to try to make a living in the music business and we both spent time in America, so we really had a lot in common.”
The pair have been busy since their 2012 debut, Downes with Yes and Asia, and Braide writing and producing for the likes of Beyoncé and Britney Spears, but thankfully they both found the time for a second album, Suburban Ghosts. “This album was done more remotely,” begins Downes. “On the previous album we sat down in a room and chucked ideas around. This time I presented him with some stuff and he fashioned it in his own way.”
Braide adds: “He sends me bits of music of about a minute, or a chord progression. It took a long time because I did a version of the album that I scrapped, but I tried again and that’s when it became a loose concept album:
I wanted it to sound more like a soundtrack than a series of songs. We wanted to get away from that. It’s a lot more interesting to me as a big Pink Floyd fan to have sound effects weave in and out and take the listener into another world, rather than have one three-minute song after another.”