Interview: Bros

Simon Button

Twins Matt and Luke Goss talk about nostalgia for their music, new fans and how their documentary brought them closer together

RD: You’re playing the O2 Academy Brixton on Friday, July 5. What can fans expect from the show?

Matt: We’ve tried to put a show together that feels more like a gig than the big shows we did at The O2 [in 2017]. I don’t think we’ve done enough of that and it really feels like fun. It’s very much plug-and-play with no fancy stuff. We’ve just been jamming and we want that organic feel. It’s just been “Let’s plug everything in and see what happens”.

 

RD: Do you think you’ve been given enough credit for your musicianship in the past?

Matt: Probably not, although I did 170 shows [at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas] last year so I don’t worry about how I’m perceived anymore. I’m the musical director of my own show in Vegas and I have to run a pretty tight ship.

 

RD: Since your documentary Bros: After the Screaming Stops aired on TV over Christmas do you find you have a new fanbase?

Matt: The reaction to the documentary has been extraordinary. The other day a group of around 20 school kids all wanted a picture with us. I’ve had people reaching out to me from as far away as Brazil on social media and there’s definitely a new interest in the band. The other day this 21-year-old guy said, “I’m a massive fan of yours”. It’s so interesting to see new fans coming on board.

 

RD: You must have been thrilled with the film’s three BAFTA nominations?

Luke: Three nominations and one win [for best editing]—that’s a nice bit of validation. It was received really warmly and it gave an insight into the beginning of it all. I joke that it shows we weren’t manufactured in a lab somewhere.

 

RD: Was any of the film staged for the cameras?

Luke: It wasn’t staged at all. The camera crews were with us on and off for eight months. They followed us around and that allowed us to have that authentic transparency because you forget they’re there.

 

RD: Why wasn’t Craig Logan, who was in the original Bros line-up before leaving in 1989, interviewed for it?

Luke: He didn’t want to be in the documentary but there’s no animosity there. In the DVD extras he has a standalone interview and if I saw Craig now I’d be happy to see him.

Matt: The film ended up being about being siblings and brothers so it would have been quite distracting, I think. Also our biggest memory is of performing at Wembley Stadium and that was just me and Luke.

 

RD: Back in the 1980s how did you feel about all the attention from screaming fans?

Matt: It wasn’t about the attention as such, it was about us growing up wanting to be rock stars. Brosmania was something you could only dream of.

Luke: And you could get away from it if you wanted to. People complain about it but then they book a vacation in a resort. I’m like, “Dude, just go and rent a house somewhere quiet”. I never felt elevated by the attention, it was more like, “This is what being in band is about and it’s cool and fun”.

 

RD: Is it true, as popstars often say, that nobody prepares you for fame?

Luke: It’s not that nobody prepares you for it, it’s about how you process it and who’s around you to help you process it and more importantly how you still stay tethered to some sort of reality. In the beginning it’s about learning to traverse that terrain, then you get used to it—and it’s not an arrogant thing, it’s just “This is wonderful”. Excitement is excitement. There may be a lot of noise and disruption but if you break it down it’s just a lot of people being excited and happy to see you. There’s nothing sinister about it.

 

RD: How did you feel when French & Saunders mimicked you on their TV show?

Luke: Now I think it’s fantastic. Back then I was a little hurt because I was a sensitive boy, but now I see it as a great compliment. At the time, though, we felt like, “Oh, it’s somebody else taking the p***”.

 

RD: After Bros split in 1992 you went your separate ways, with Luke getting into acting and Matt performing in Las Vegas. Did the documentary bring you closer together?

Matt: Yes, but we weren’t as estranged as people thought we were.

Luke: We’d just been so busy not wanting to be statistics and carving out our careers and making sure that we were not victims of this industry, that we hadn’t addressed giving ourselves time as brothers. Making the film gave us a moment to hang out as brothers and to dust out some closets. We hadn’t done that in a long time.

Matt: There’s an incredible unspoken comfort around me and Luke. We are each other’s confidantes and if there’s a situation we don’t like we can just look at each other and we’ll probably leave.

Luke: We’re twins and brothers and there’s a shorthand where sometimes a quiet, silent hangout with someone you love is a comfortable thing. He might be doing his own thing and I might be doing mine but sharing a space is a very brotherly thing, I think.

 

RD: After the Brixton show you have A Night in with Bros on BBC Four. What form will that take?

Luke: It’s basically an evening of things that have inspired us—music and TV and films that we grew up with, which partly helped shape who we are and things that we hold dear. We want it to be entertaining and there’s some live stuff. It’s gonna be fun.

Matt: [Laughs] You remember the lady on the screen, the test card thing? We’re gonna have two hours of that. 

 

RD: How do you account for the new nostalgia for Bros’ music?

Matt: It feels like everything is very corporate these days but back then there was a sense of rebellion, as crazy as that may sound. If you really think about it, the fans were bunking off school and to this days there are thousands of friendships that were formed because of Bros. They meet up before gigs and they know all the songs. Music summons up so many happy memories.

Bros are at the O2 Academy Brixton on Friday July 5. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.co.uk. A Night In With Bros is on BBC Four later this month