If Sublime and Stick Figure had a child, it would most likely be Brothers Within! This quartet straight from Daytona Beach, smoothly combines reggae and hints of soft rock to create their unique musical style. In only four years, Brothers Within have opened up for some of the biggest names in reggae such as The Original Wailers, Fortunate Youth and most recently, Collie Buddz.
The band has recently released a self-titled debut EP and in light of this accomplishment, vocalist Bernie Boehm took some time to chat with our team.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Hi Bernie! Thank you so much for taking some time for this interview with the Altwire family. Could you please tell us about yourself and the history of the band?
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: I was born in Daytona Beach. It is home, but has left me with many scars, even before I was born. While I was in my mother’s belly, a lady ran a redlight at the intersection of Dunlawton & Ridgewood and hit both my mom and dad while they were riding on a motorcycle. My father was in a coma for months and my mom had internal bleeding while she was pregnant. I was born a month early and was always called a miracle baby when I was younger. I didn’t quite understand how lucky I was then, even though now I think we’re all truly miracles.
I’ve grown up learning to surf, fish, and was introduced to music at a young age thanks to my parents, but I was never taught how to play any instruments. I started playing guitar about four years ago after my great friend Burt gave me a backpack guitar for my birthday. At that time, I was just hoping to just learn a few chords. I was sort of friends with Joey and Jon through a mutual friend. Then I was introduced to Eric and his house on 3108 Van Ave… where it all began! At the time Jon was also living at 3108 with Eric, and Joey was there so much he basically did too! They were all still very fresh on their instruments, but already had an idea and name for a band. The first time I walked in 3108 and saw instruments, I knew I wanted to link with these guys.
We sort of learned everything together from the start and I feel like that has helped us naturally grow very tight on stage. I was using my ears for everything, especially bass lines, I love some deep bass. Next thing you know the boys got me a lefty bass! Jon was on keys, Joey was going to drum and sing, and Eric was set on lead guitar, and I was bass. But I knew I wanted to sing also, but nobody really had interest in learning bass. I approached the boys one day and told them how I felt. So Jon and Eric agreed to learn how to play bass and start learning some bass lines so I could start singing.
During the time this was all happening we had set a goal to play 5 songs at an open mic. After that leap we set another goal to have enough music material to play a gig. A couple months went by and we felt confident we met our goal, so we approached our first gig. Our now good friend, Rick Gehris let us audition at his establishment “Rick’s Surf Bar”, after he heard us, he wanted us back the very next weekend for what would be our first paid gig! After that we literally started playing every weekend and the snowball started rolling! It’s still hard to believe that we’ve opened for some of our biggest inspirations now like Fortunate Youth, Resinated, The Original Wailers, and now Collie Buddz just last week.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Which bands have been your personal greatest inspirations coming on to the scene?
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: I’ve certainly grown much of my inspiration from Rebelution and Stick Figure before I knew how to even play. They both bring that positive vibe & heavy bass [laughs]! But I love all genres of music, from some old school OutKast to Incubus all the way to Tom Petty. It all soothes the soul, but lately I’d have to say Iya Terra has really lit the fire inside! Lyrics, song dynamics, stage presence! I love what they’re bringing to the table! If we could go on tour with anyone, they’d take my vote right now!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: For your recent sets, I’ve seen you bring your dog, Luna to the stage. Please tell us more about her.
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: I rescued Luna from the Halifax Humane Society one year ago. She is basically a 15lb mini Husky. She is my first rescue and the most intelligent dog I’ve ever owned. I always heard about rescues giving back so much love, but It’s truly amazing to see those dogs actually do understand that you rescued them. She was super timid when I first got her, but taking her with me everywhere and keeping her socialized with people and other dogs was great. She has opened up tremendously and really has her own rockstar personality [laughs]! She’s even rocking instagram now as @white_fox_luna. She’s certainly grown to be a part of the band. I was hesitant with her being around the music at first, but I brought her to a practice and let her do her thing, she paid no mind and would just come in and chill by the bass amp [laughs]. She’s become very comfortable when she’s around the Brothers now, it’s very cool to see! Luna is definitely a blessing!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: What was the writing process like for your EP?
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: One amazing fact I love about all three of my brothers is that we’re all open to suggestions and criticism from each other when it comes to our original music. Lyrically both Joey and I write our songs and I could say we’ve fallen into a great rhythm, but also, every song has been somewhat a different process! For instance the song “Mindsurf” on our EP, I had lyrics, bass line, chords, and melody in mind, Joey put his flavor of drums on it and Jon added his texture on the keys! But our song “Back Up” came out during a practice, basically us jamming and spitting what we felt at it!
Then with “Days of Haze”, Joey already had lyrics, chords, and drum idea down while he sang simultaneously, and Eric threw down his epic guitar lead, as Jonny and I felt out our parts on keys and bass! One thing is for certain that nothing happened over night, there was a lot of frustrating times in between, but getting through those moments are what makes and breaks some bands I feel. Lyrically we lean toward spreading a positive message, but we also write what we feel and have experienced. Life has a balance of good and bad, so we try to touch both sides of the scale, and relate to what some of our listeners may be going through in life. Like our song titled “So Much Love” speaks for itself, and then we have another song titled “Withdrawals” which I wrote in a third person perspective.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: What are some things that you enjoy when you’re off the stage and recording studio?
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: The ocean takes a majority of my time, especially when the waves are good! Surfing or just being in the ocean and waves has always been (and is) something that I feel completely grounds you and brings you back to reality very quickly. But honestly, even off the stage, my mind is always on the music. I really enjoy just being able to play my guitar and other instruments and learning more, something I once thought was not possible, but you should never doubt yourself!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: What are your goals for yourself and the band for the foreseeable future?
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: Personally I’d like for us to be hitting road going into 2020 and I would say we all share the same drive towards that! Maybe Reggae Rise Up? We just have to manifest it, ya know! Our goal is to spread an encouraging and positive message into the universe!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Thank you again Bernie, for taking the time to chat with us! What message would you like to send to your fans and our readers before we close?
Brothers Within [Bernie Boehm]: The message speaks through our name when we say we’re ALL Brothers and Sisters Within, connected through the vibrations! We love playing music. Lately the backing support from our fans lately has been un-measurable! Thank YOU for creating this dream and journey with us!
Facebook and Instagram: @brotherswithin