DFW Music News

Jonny McBee of The Browning Believes In Aliens, Zombies and The Dallas Metal Scene

Although the band's name suggests cooking instructions, The Browning is actually a talented progressive metal outfit hailing (at least half the time) from Dallas. Led by one Jonny McBee, the band is just about to release its full-length debut.

Due out in October on Earache Records, Burn This World is a technically impressive slab of noise that's all over the map. Shades of various metal genres are jumbled and mixed without much of a direction -- and it's all wrapped up in an electronica sheen that makes it difficult to describe.

After recently wrapping up of The Browning's latest music video, and in anticipation of the band's Tuesday night performance at the House of Blue's Cambridge Room, we caught up with McBee to talk about aliens, zombies and why he likes the Dallas metal scene.

According to your website, the band is from Dallas and Kansas City. Which one is it?
Both! The Browning has been a project of mine since I was 15. I grew up in Kansas City. When I decided to turn The Browning into a full-time band, I moved to Dallas because the scene down here is better than it is in Kansas City. Half the band is from Kansas City, and the other half is from Dallas. Whenever we're getting ready to tour, we either come to Dallas or Kansas City to practice. We just go back and forth. Right now, we are all in Dallas getting ready for this tour.

Is Dallas really renowned for its metal scene?
It's a huge city. In Kansas City, there are not a lot of musicians. There is certainly a fan base there. The Browning is really well-known in Kansas City. Whenever we headline, we pull in anywhere from 300 to 600 people. But there are not a lot of talented musicians in K.C. Now, in Dallas... There are a lot of good musicians here.

Didn't you just finish filming a video for a song on the new album?
Yes, today we finished up filming a video for the song "Blood Lust." It was a big production on a huge set.

One line is your bio states you have "influences from across the metal spectrum." What lies at the beginning and end of such a spectrum?
We have influences from bands like Amon Amarth, which is Viking metal, all the way to straight death metal. Also, we like to incorporate ambient, softer stuff. And we love progressive metal. We combine aspects from a lot of bands and genres. We kind of take stuff from everywhere.

The Browning is often compared to bands like Attack Attack! and Breathe Carolina -- bands that have been described as crabcore. What is crabcore?
Crabcore became known primarily from the way Attack Attack! performs. They get low and move real slow and people started calling that Crabcore. I don't think we fit in with those bands. We move a lot more than that live. I am not sure that anyone does that anymore.

Someone wrote that your music could be the soundtrack to the Apocalypse. Couldn't that be seen as both good and bad?
Yes, but I think that was meant as a good thing. That was from a review from an early EP. Our music has grown a lot since then.

You produced the new album. Was it difficult to be in the band and in the producer's chair?
It is, but I'd much prefer to have the control. I know what's in my head. An outside source would not understand what it should sound like. We have put a lot into our unique sound. We know what we want.

Did you direct the video?
[Laughs.] No, but the guy that did normally does videos for electronic and dubstep artists. He is really going to push our electronic side. Our music has grown more and more electronic.

The Browning is a conventional four-piece. Why do a lot of new metal bands have two and sometimes three vocalists?
Some bands do it because one guy might throw out his singing voice with the growling stuff. Others do it because they don't have the talent to do both screaming and singing. We like to keep the band limited to four members because we don't like it too crowded on stage. We are all good friends and we'd feel weird bringing anybody else in the band.

Is your song "Not Alone" about your belief in aliens from outer space?
Yes. All of the members of this band are really interested space. Obviously, I believe that there are aliens out there and that they have been here. It is inevitable that something is going to happen in the near future. All of us think the exact same crap. A few songs on the album are about aliens and a few are about zombies.

Any songs about illegal aliens?
[Laughs] No, nothing like that, but we all know there are here as well.

The Browning performs with The Devastated and Allegaeon on Tuesday, August 9, at the House of Blue's Cambridge Room