It began innocently enough. Sam played bass, John played keyboards. They met in art school, where they played any kind of music they could get there hands on--from punk to country to jazz to metal. In the early '00s they moved to NYC, where they discovered the Electroclash scene in full swing. They loved the sound of electronic music made in the basement on piece-of-shit equipment. It sounded new and different, and they wondered if they could take that sound - and add it to a live band, creating a fusion of rock and electronic music.
Lyrically, Sam writes from a strange perspective--call it that of a "hopeful misanthrope." You get the impression he hates every person he has ever met; and sometimes he is overcome with the frustration of this. But at the last minute he refuses to give up, and you leave the song with a sense of optimism, of innocent hope. You listen to him battling his fears, his sense of negativity, and winning out in the end. As a reflection of this, they named their band The Bravery.
Soon, the band saw that people had started coming to the shows. Then other people started playing their album. Zane Lowe at Radio One in the U.K. downloaded songs off the band's website and started playing them on the air. Soon, Aaron Axelsen at Live 105 in San Francisco and Paul Driscoll at WFNX in Boston did the same. They booked a residency at Arlene's Grocery in New York, every Thursday night for a month. Then a LOT of people started coming to the shows. Including record label people.
After touring for all this time, The Bravery were better musicians, better singers, a better band. They wanted to make an album that would reflect their growth as musicians. So they recruited producer Brendan O'Brien, well known for bringing out the best performance in a group (see: Rage Against the Machine, Neil Young etc.). The band wanted to try new textures and sounds, so they moved to Brendan's Atlanta studio and grabbed any instrument they could get their hands on, and choked it until something good came out.
Despite this newfound creativity and sense of musical exploration, the band also wanted to keep the energy that came with recording in the basement in New York. The resulting album is a hybrid of the two experiments - with a fair amount recorded in the back of tour buses as well. This time out, they explore the same subjects of overcoming fear and negativity, but to a far greater extent, getting into territory that could be described as spiritual. Life and death, good and evil, hope and desperation--the extremes. And so came the album's title: The Sun and the Moon.