The Breton Sound
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The Breton Sound

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"MUST LISTEN: Single Premier "Illuminate""

Performer is pumped to premiere the new track “Illuminate” from our friends down in New Orleans, The Breton Sound. Listen below and scroll down for more info on the song and the band. Enjoy!

Singer/guitarist Jonathan Pretus had this to say about the new song:

“A lot of songwriters say that the best songs are already written for you, and just waiting for you to grab them out of the sky. This is one of those examples. It kind of all came together in about a 30 minute period during a rehearsal, just messing around. The groove and chords came, Stephen started playing orchestral guitar swells, and then vocal melody for both the chorus and verse. The gang vocal hook came about just as quick, and in about 30 minutes, quicker than the time it takes to order a pizza, this song was written.

The phrase “illuminate” was something that came out in that initial flood, and I loved the imagery that conveyed off the bat. I started thinking about that feeling when you’re lost and kind of run down, and wishing that something or someone would find you and help bring you to the light.

As a songwriter, I love big, anthemic, arena-ready choruses, and this one just came out swinging for the rafters, so we really wanted to make sure we crafted the song in the studio to capture that vibe, huge drums and guitars, strings, the whole nine yards.

This was the first song we recorded for this EP, at Ardent Studios in Memphis. The rhythm guitar on this song was recorded using the same Hiwatt amp and speaker Alex Chilton used throughout Big Star’s “Radio City” and “Third/Sister Lovers.” - Performer Magazine

"Single Premier: "Rivers Cuomo""

“Where did you go, Rivers Cuomo?”

That’s the question New Orleans’-based rockers the Breton Sound ask on their single, the aptly titled “Rivers Cuomo.” Today (May 13), Diffuser is ecstatic to debut the new track — take it for a spin in the audio player below.

There isn’t a deeper meaning to the title of the track; the Breton Sound are big fans of Weezer, and in fact, they performed the Blue Album in its entirety just last month. While the title is straight-forward, frontman Jonathan Pretus does admit that the track’s underlying theme is a little more significant.

“I’d read a study about how the chemicals in our brains stop reacting to new music as we get older,” he explains. “I wondered if that’s what leads to people thinking artists’ later works aren’t as good as their earlier ones. Maybe we’re just not connecting because we can’t physically do it anymore?”

He goes on, “I’d found myself wondering why I was connecting to later Weezer albums. They still make incredibly catchy, fun stuff, and based on what they say in interviews, Rivers seems happier than he’s ever been. It’s kind of a catch-22 for the artist: People seem to latch on when they connect to your unhappiness, and when you finally end up in a good place, they don’t connect and they turn their backs. It must be a strange place to be in as an artist.”

As for the track itself, Pretus tells us they recorded it in Zac Brown’s old studio in Atlanta. “It’s a small room and you play live together, and we really captured a big energy on it,” he says. “It goes a lot of different places, but still seems like it’s on the same plane. I love how it goes from a big arena rock feeling to this cool psychedelic space in the bridge — it was a really different move for us.”

“Rivers Cuomo” is featured on the Breton Sound’s upcoming EP, Don’t Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Volume 1, set for release on May 19. You can pick up information on the EP, along with the band’s full tour itinerary, at their official website.

Read More: The Breton Sound, 'Rivers Cuomo' - Exclusive Premiere | - Diffuser.FM

"Channeling Weezer comes easy to The Breton Sound"

When you're in a pop/rock band that focuses on original music, says The Breton Sound's Jonathan Pretus, "you can't just jam on standards like a brass or funk or jazz band, and expand on them and play different versions. We've got about 20 or 25 songs we can choose from, and that's it."

The Breton Sound will expand its repertoire considerably via a new, quarterly concert series dubbed Desert Island Discs. Four times in 2015, they'll recreate a classic contemporary rock album in its entirety.

For the first Desert Island Discs show at New Orleans' Gasa Gasa on Thursday (Jan. 15), they'll perform Weezer's self-titled 1994 debut, aka "the Blue Album." Opening the show is local quintet Social Set, which will recreate No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom." Showtime is 9 p.m.; tickets are $10 at the door.

Weezer was a natural choice: As Louisiana State University undergraduates in the early 2000s, Pretus and The Breton Sound lead guitarist Stephen Turner fronted a Weezer cover band called Tweezer.

Tweezer grew out of Pretus and Turner's frequent appearances at open-mic nights around Baton Rouge. Pretus immediately embraced a friend's suggestion that they form a Weezer cover band; Turner, not so much. He "politely declined, for reasons of artistic integrity," Pretus recalled. Months later, Turner reconsidered and joined the fun.

Over three years, Tweezer built a sizeable following in Baton Rouge. By the time Pretus graduated in 2004 with an English degree, Tweezer could fill the Varsity Theater with several hundred fans.

After graduation, Pretus moved to New Orleans and co-founded a band called The Garden District. In 2007, he left to spend the next three years barnstorming the country as Cowboy Mouth's rhythm guitarist.

Itching for his own creative outlet, he and Turner rekindled their collaboration, this time with original material. After Pretus quit Cowboy Mouth in 2010, the duo became The Breton Sound. Twin brothers John Bourgeois, a drummer, and Joe Bourgeois, a bassist, eventually rounded out the roster; they'd previously played with, respectively, ska band Fatter Than Albert and indie-pop band MyNameIsJohnMichael. They've released two EPs as The Breton Sound so far; the Foo Fighters are an obvious point of reference, as evidenced by the rager "No Way Out."

Several years ago, they watched another band take a stab at a Weezer album. Pretus wasn't impressed. "We thought, 'We can do this so much better. We used to kill this.'"

Thus, in early 2014 The Breton Sound recreated Weezer's second album, "Pinkerton." And now they're kicking off Desert Island Discs with the "Blue Album." That 20-year-old multi-million-seller, originally produced by Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, boasts the hits "Undone (The Sweater Song)," "Say It Ain't So" and "Buddy Holly." "It seemed like a logical starting point" for the series, Pretus said.

One advantage of covering Weezer: Singer Rivers Cuomo's voice is nondescript and pliable enough to allow for broad interpretation. "We talked about doing a Pearl Jam record, but that's tough because Eddie Vedder's voice is so integrated into the sound," Pretus said. "It doesn't sound right if you don't come across like him." But trying to imitate such a distinctive singer "sometimes comes off a little hokey. And we still want to sound like The Breton Sound."

Fans will vote on the next Desert Island Discs selection from a list of four possibilities to be posted on The Breton Sound's web site. Pretus and his bandmates are debating potential candidates, which must be "popular, accessible, fun and upbeat." Given those criteria, prog-rock band Dream Theater, a favorite of Turner's, is off-limits.

Even while mimicking other bands, The Breton Sound continues to create original material. They recorded their most recent release, 2013's "Maps," at Better Than Ezra bassist Tom Drummond's Garden District studio, Fudge.

Drummond is producing the band's next project as well, but he has sold Fudge. Documentaries about Ardent Studios in Memphis, where the late Alex Chilton's Big Star recorded, and Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., inspired Pretus and company to record in those legendary rooms, as well as Zac Brown's Southern Ground in Atlanta, and the local Music Shed.

The resulting EP, "Don't Be Afraid of Rock and Roll, Vol. 1," will be available on CD and digitally. A second volume will be released digitally later this year. Both EPs will then be combined on a single, vinyl album.

The second Desert Island Discs show, scheduled for May 16 at Gasa Gasa, will also serve as a release party for "Don't Be Afraid of Rock and Roll, Vol. 1." Pretus hopes the Desert Island Discs series attracts new fans to The Breton Sound. They opened the "Pinkerton" show in 2014 with a handful of original songs, played the Weezer set, then continued with more original material.

"Everybody stayed, which was great," Pretus said. "People were enjoying not just the Weezer songs, but what we were doing, too." -

"Big Easy rockers The Breton Sound Shine on New EP"

Rock & roll is alive an well. Just ask New Orleans-based rockers The Breton Sound, who impress at every turn on new EP “Don’t Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Volume 1.” A quartet comprised of singer/guitarist Jonathan Pretus, guitarist Stephen Turner, drummer John Bourgeois and bassist Joe Bourgeois, The Breton Sound have cobbled together a winner.

The band now has three short-players to their credit, with each EP featuring a different lineup in the studio. Now that they’ve settled on the current roster, The Breton Sound seem poised to take things to the next level.

“What I find between each of the three records is that, not only is the quality of the songs that we’ve put out growing but the performances and the overall output grows because each unit has worked better as the band has gone on,” Pretus told Glide magazine earlier this year. “Each lineup has been a little bit better than the last one.”

The Breton Sound come out of the gates firing on all cylinders with “Rivers Cuomo” and lead single “Illuminate,” a pair of terrific cuts. After treading water on middling entry “Walking Backwards,” the band regains their footing with “Love You More” and “Stitches.” I can’t wait to hear more from this up-and-coming outfit. - Pittsburgh In Tune

"12 Louisiana Bands You Should Listen To"

Founding members Jonathan Pretus and Stephen Turner’s first musical project was a Weezer tribute band named tWeezer. Though the band has since found their own unique sound, their penchant for catchy melodies and “air guitar”-worthy solos certainly brings to mind Weezer at its best. - Paste Magazine

"Read + Spin"

Melodic, high-energy rock is at the root of The Breton Sound’s music. The New Orleans band’s five-track EP, Don’t Be Afraid of Rock & Roll: Volume 1, was released in the spring. The original tracks include a duet with Cherie LeJeune on the lovely “Love You More.” The album was funded in part by a successful Indiegogo campaign and was recorded throughout the South in Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans. Many will recognize the band from appearances at Jazz Fest and the Voodoo Music Experience and are familiar with vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Pretus from his time with Cowboy Mouth. The band has several shows scheduled throughout Louisiana and Texas in July and August, including a gig during the Red Dress Run on Aug. 8 - New Orleans Magazine

"Spotlight: The Breton Sound"

It's so refreshing to see bands like The Breton Sound getting back to what makes rock & roll cool: authenticity. When Fall Out Boy's "Uma Thurman" is the hardest rocking tune currently on the Billboard 100 chart, we got problems friends.

There are 5 succinct tracks on "Don't Be Afraid" and they're all standouts. My favorite track on the EP is also one that you just have to see live..."Illuminate". TBS debuted the track late last year at one of their shows, and the minute I heard it I responded just like Punxsutawney Phil predicting the weather.

Their initial first track "Rivers Cuomo" (previewed below) sets the tone for the rest of the record, all the while leaving some space for a fantastic ballad "Love You More" (duet with the lovely Cherie LeJeune from Wooden Wings), as well as the aforementioned anthem, "Illuminate". - I Heart NOLA


A concert is supposed to be experienced. It’s not supposed to be sit-listen-clap-repeat. Not at a rock concert, at least. It’s an on your feet until they go numb, fist shaking, lungs bursting from screaming and singing experience. It’s supposed to be a moment in time when the kids aren’t whining in your ear, the car is not broken down on the corner, the pain of a fight rolling down your cheek. It’s the rhythms of tranquility via electric guitars and a melody that stays with you even when you walk out the door back into the daylight.

The Breton Sound is all about giving the people what they want. From an energetic live show to tunes popping out from the car speakers that have you bouncing in your seat, this New Orleans based rock band has found a way to fuse their influences of Weezer and Van Halen and come up with something that has a cool guitar sound with catchy lyrics. Their upcoming EP, volume one of a planned two EP package titled Don’t Be Afraid Of Rock & Roll, amalgamates everything they love about music. It’s kicking butt with a bounce.

Still fairly new to the music world, The Breton Sound – singer Jonathan Pretus, guitar player Stephen Turner and new rhythm section, Joe and John Bourgeois – dropped their new single, “Illuminate,” last week on St Patrick’s Day, giving the fans a taste of the new recorded music coming on May 19th. Bringing back Better Than Ezra bass player Tom Drummond to produce their third offering, the five tracks were laid down at three different, albeit legendary, studios, hoping to capture a little of the magic that some of the greats left behind. And it may have very well worked: from the guitar frenzy of “Rivers Cuomo” and “Walking Backwards” to the charm of “Love You More,” a duet with New Orleans vocalist Cherie LeJeune.

“This is longest interview I ever did,” Pretus tells me with a laugh about an hour into our interview. But when you put two people together who love music, and especially love talking about music, there is no finish line.

You are a New Orleans based band but you don’t just play in New Orleans.

Yeah, this is home base for us but we travel. New Orleans isn’t really known for being a rock town. It’s bread and butter has always been kind of the Jazz, funk, R&B thing. So historically, rock & roll in New Orleans has always been kind of the red-headed step-child, even though you could argue in some ways it was kind of born here; but that’s never been what it’s known for. So we try to get out of town as much as possible. We’ve played a lot around the South, the southeast, up to the Midwest. Our goal is to go everywhere we possibly can and play.

The Revivalists have broken out from New Orleans, especially on the festival circuit. Do you think you guys can do that too?

I think we’re the kind of band that can. We put on a really good, high energy show and that’s always been something that we’ve made a point to do from the beginning of the band. I think it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and putting yourself in the position to open a door when someone knocks on it. And those guys were working for, I think, three or four years before we started, and it took them that long to break out. It’s one of those things where we’ve only been a band in name for four years so sometimes we’re like, “Why aren’t we further along than we are?” But you can look at anybody who all of a sudden becomes an overnight success and realize that they were probably working for a long time before then. But yeah, I think that our music is accessible enough and our show is good enough.

Your third EP is coming out in May. What do you think it says about the evolution of your band and your sound?

You know, it’s interesting, each EP that we’ve done so far has been done with a different group of people, a different line-up. The first one was just Stephen and myself. We wrote all the songs, we played almost all the parts ourselves. We brought in a couple of friends to help out on bass and drums but we still kind of wrote the parts and guided them through what we wanted. I played drums on one of those songs. It was very much OUR record.

Then our second one, when we finally had a band, it was great because it was more of a cohesive experience with the four of us putting ideas together and writing as a band. With this new one, we have a different rhythm section, a new drummer and a new bass player, and a lot of the songs were written before our bass player joined. He actually ended up joining, literally, like a week before we started recording the record. But all the songs for the most part were written.

We try to be very democratic and let everybody put up any idea that they have or any part they want to try, any changes they want to make; everybody puts their own stamp on it. So even with Joe Bourgeois, our bassist, who joined right before we started, he completely rewrote all the bass parts for all the songs. Our drummer, if I bring in the bones for a song, I may have it in my head with one kind of rhythm but he’ll come up with something that is much more nuanced and direct. He’ll find what the heartbeat of the song should be.

So what I find between each of the three records is that, not only is the quality of the songs that we’ve put out growing but the performances and the overall output grows because each unit has worked better as the band has gone on. Each line-up has been a little bit better than the last one. And that’s not to take away from the previous ones but when our last drummer left the band, we kind of had that moment of like, “Oh my God, what are we going to do?” Then John joined and it was this breath of fresh air and everything was great. Then when our last bass player left, we kind of had that “What are we going to do?” and then Joe joined. You kind of get to that point and say, I love this lineup, we really don’t want to lose this, let’s just keep working as hard as we can and let’s be open with each other and be honest and make sure we work together as a group and everyone is on the same page. So I feel like with each record we get stronger as a band musically but also from a personal standpoint and then that comes across in the music.

Are John and Joe New Orleans guys?

They’re New Orleans guys and they are actually twin brothers. John was playing in a band with my brother, who was our old bass player, and when we needed a drummer, my brother suggested John and he was a perfect fit. Then I had known Joe kind of through mutual friends but also from a band he used to play in. When it came time to find a new bass player, he was the first person I thought of cause when Stephen and I started the band, Joe said, “Hey, if you’re looking for a bass player, I’d love to play with you. I’ve just got to work it around my schedule with the band I’m in now and they’re very busy.” So it just never worked out but when the time came again, he was the first person I thought of and he really is a great fit.

So it feels solid to you now?

It does. It’s a great situation where we are all on the same page, we’re all working towards the same goal, and it feels more like family now than it ever has. And that’s always been the goal that we’ve tried to push the band towards since we started. This is a family, it’s not just the four of us; it’s the four of us and our wives and girlfriends, all of us as a group. We’re a very close group of people and it’s a wonderful situation to be in.

Why are you doing this EP in two parts? Did you just want to split it up or is it more like two different sides of the same coin?

It’s kind of a double-edged sword in that nowadays it’s so hard to get someone to listen to a full-length album. People just don’t seem to have the time or the desire to sit down and turn off the TV, put the phone down and just listen to twelve or fourteen songs and absorb what is going on in that music. So the EP has kind of become the standard for the most amount of music that you can put out at one time that people will digest willingly.

It’s kind of going back to a singles market where you put out one song and then you wait a couple of months and put out another song. With the EPs, we looked at it like, we want to make a record so we’re looking at it as maybe sides one and two of a record. And that’s actually the end goal with the two EPs. The first one is available on CD and digitally, and volume two is just going to be digital. But then we’re going to take both of them and put them together on one full-length vinyl album. The track listing will be different from what’s on the two EPs. We’ll sit and look at the ten or twelve or however many songs it ends up being, and say, what is the best order for this, what makes it cohesive and fit together as an album. Personally, that’s the way I still like to listen to music so that’s kind of how we want to put it out as a full-length but how can we do it in a way that’s interesting and different from the norm, aside from just saying, “Here’s a ten song album, hope you like it.” Then four months later you’ve got to start thinking about what your next thing is because the life cycle for music is so short nowadays. Unless you’ve got that sort of major push, you’ve really got to sit there and look five steps ahead. So this is our way to look five steps ahead while still putting out something that we think is viable.

Why did you record in different studios instead of just hunkering down at your favorite?

Our favorite one closed (laughs). It was a bummer. We’ve done our last two records at a place here in New Orleans called Fudge, which is Tom Drummond from Better Than Ezra who produced our records and that was his studio. So when we first started talking about, hey, we want to start working on the next record, he said, “Well, we should consider what we’re going to do cause I’m selling the studio.” So that was a bummer because we all just loved working in that studio, it had such a great vibe.

At the time when this conversation was happening, I had just watched the documentary on Big Star, Nothing Can Hurt Me, and this was January of last year and we had a show in Memphis. So we drove up there and then the next day out of curiosity, I wondered if we could take a tour of the studio, just cause the band and the studio were on my mind from just having watched the documentary. We called up Ardent Studios and they told us to come on by and we went in and took a tour of the studio and we walked out of there thinking, how great would it be to record here. What a great room. And it’s only a few hours away.

So we went back home and like a week later, I watched a documentary on Muscle Shoals in Alabama. I started thinking, how far is Muscle Shoals? (laughs) I looked it up on the map and was like, it’s not far either. So I started thinking, what if we went to different studios around the south, one, just to get out of our own head cause when we’re here and you’re recording, you’re thinking to yourself, I got to finish this up cause I’ve got to get home and do this. So if we can kind of get out of town and block out the distractions, that will be beneficial but also it would be great to kind of go to these rooms that have historical significance and soak up some of that vibe and that magic and see how it affects the music.

Then an old buddy of mine worked for the Zac Brown Band and when I was talking to him about it, he said, “Well, why don’t you come to their place here in Atlanta. It’s a great studio.” And then we did a session here at the Music Shed in New Orleans. We’re talking about going to a place called Dockside, which I think is outside of Lafayette. We haven’t gone to Muscle Shoals yet. I think that’s going to be the first session we do for the second EP. We’ll probably go back to Ardent in Memphis too cause we had such a great time there.

So Volume Two hasn’t been recorded yet?

Volume Two has not been recorded yet. We’re going to start on that in the next couple of months.

Do you have the songs written?

We’ve got a handful of songs written for it but we’re always writing and working on different things and we just want to put the absolute best songs that we can on there. Like there’s a song on Volume One that was written probably two weeks before we went to the studio. It’s called “Love You More” and it’s a duet. I had done a demo of it and I wasn’t sure what the guys were going to think of it so I sent it over to our producer and he was like, “This is really good. We’re doing this.” So we’ve got a handful of songs that may make it on there and they may not. We’ve got stuff that is still being worked on and written and different pieces we’re always working with.

Who did you sing with on the duet?

Her name is Cherie LeJeune. She plays in a band here called the Wooden Wings. They’re good friends of ours and she is engaged to our friend Sam McCabe, who is in the band Bantam Foxes. And she’s got a fantastic voice. When I’d written that song, I had done a show here with a woman named Susan Cowsill and a guy named Paul Sanchez and for the show they were covering an album by Gram Parsons and the bulk of that material is duet between him and Emmylou Harris. So I sang a couple of these songs with Susan and I loved having a partner to sing with and I hadn’t done that kind of one-on-one duet thing in a long time.

So when I started writing that song the idea of a duet came into my head and Cherie was the first person I thought of cause her voice is so wonderful and we get along so well. She knows my wife and they’re very good friends and it’s the first thing I’d really ever written about my life. I felt like there was never a lot of songs about like, man, this domestic life thing is pretty great, I love being with the same person every day, this is awesome. So that’s the idea behind the song and I knew Cherie could pick up on that. She came in and learned it and just knocked it out of the park and did a wonderful job on it.

I bet your wife was happy about that song.

(laughs) She loved it, oh my God, and she’ll hate me for saying it but the first time I played her my demo of it, we were sitting on the couch and she was listening and she kind of did that thing like where she turned her head to the side a little bit and put her hand up cause she was getting a little watery-eyed. It was really cute.

“Illuminate” came out on St Patrick’s Day. Why did you choose that one to be the first release off the EP?

We chose that one probably because it’s the oldest song in the batch. We’ve been playing it live for a good while and it’s always gotten the best response so it was kind of the early front runner. And the track just came out so well, it just kind of made it the obvious choice of what we wanted to put out first.

The backstory on it, it came out of just a jam session in rehearsal, just playing the two chords that make up the bulk of the song. I actually a few weeks ago found a recording in my iPhone where we had just been working on this idea for about fifteen minutes and, “Hey, somebody record this so we don’t forget it,” and it’s just this horrible, tinny sounding recording of us banging away on these two chords and me singing gibberish over it. But it was one of those things where it just kind of came out of the sky out of nowhere. The melody was there pretty much instantly. The vocal melody came out at the same time we were kind of messing with it in the rehearsal space. It was just one of those things where it came out 80% fully formed probably in about a half hour and we all kind of went, “That’s a pretty cool song.” (laughs)

You know I have to ask about the “Rivers Cuomo” song. Are you like one of those Weezer nerds?

(laughs) No, no, well, maybe kind of. I love that band. I’ve always been a huge fan of theirs and it’s kind of a two prong story. I had read this article about how as you get older, you’re not able to make the same connections with music that you can when you’re younger. I had been noticing that cause I started realizing that, “God, there is not a lot of new music that comes out that moves me or makes me really feel anything like it did when I was fifteen or sixteen.” Like when The Blue Album and Pinkerton came out, I totally related to that awkward kid lyric, where he comes from. As I got older, not just Weezer but a lot of other bands that I have always liked, I just wasn’t connecting to what they were putting out. So apparently as you get older there’s a chemical in your brain that as the chemical reduces, it causes you to stop having these connections with auditory senses. And I found that really interesting.

Then I had read a review around the same time of a Weezer record and the guy just tore it to shreds and I started thinking to myself, that the combination of things where as a listener you change but also the writer changes. You can’t really expect a forty-five year old Rivers Cuomo to write from the same perspective of a twenty-five year old Rivers Cuomo. Is it right to fault the songwriter or an artist for growing up and finding some kind of happiness in their life at the expense of you using their art to find comfort in whatever unhappiness you’re dealing with?

It makes it sound like a really heavy, philosophical song (laughs) and it’s really not. The end product is not anywhere near that complicated. But that was kind of the idea behind it. I just sat there and felt bad for the guy cause it’s like he’s making the music he wants to do and what makes him happy and he’s getting bashed by some guy that doesn’t connect to what he’s singing about anymore. And why is that his fault? I had that melody in my head for a long time, the chorus melody on it, and it just fell into place.

I like the guitars on it too. Was that yours or Stephen’s?

I think it was Stephen’s riff and that whole middle section is completely Stephen’s creation, where it goes into this spacey, dual guitar leads thing. That’s totally right up his alley right there.

So you have Stephen who is like the rock guy and we have you who is kind of a Weezer guy. How do you put those two different influences and blend them together and make them work?

Stephen kind of grew up listening to a lot of Prog rock and metal and stuff like Rush and Dream Theater, Van Halen, Metallica, things like that. That’s the stuff he sat in his bedroom and learned when he was fifteen. When I was learning stuff in my bedroom at fifteen, I was listening to The Beatles and Weezer and Oasis and Better Than Ezra and things like that. Stephen and I played together in college and we never thought about how we’d actually ever make this work. We’re able to look at what each other brings to the table and it made itself apparent pretty quickly when we started writing together a few years ago. I would bring in a little simple three chord pop song that would be almost overly annoyingly pop-y and he would say, “Let’s toughen this up a little bit, give it some brains, some brawn. Make it something different.”

So it’s really a lot of opening yourself up to each other’s suggestions. A prime example is the song “Walking Backwards.” That song is based around a riff that he had for a long time. His original demo of it was literally like fifteen minutes long. And his lyrics, he writes very much like just a page of prose. So what we do is I’ll sit there and take the prose and kind of edit it and start fishing for things like one line that sums up four lines, and find a way to make it more lyric based. Then we find what the catchier parts are in his longer-form demo and condense it and then kind of chop it up and make it into something that is more easily digested. Whereas with my stuff, he’ll take something that doesn’t deviate from the same two chords and put a really cool riff that changes the feel of it over it. Or he’ll take a vocal line that might be a little too simple and think of a way to compensate it but still retain it’s catchiness to it.

So we have to be open to collaborating with each other for it to work. We can always tell, if someone’s in a bad mood and we’re trying to write together and you’re just shut down about something, we almost inevitably end up calling the session early. It’s like, alright, we’re not going to get anything done today cause I’m in a shitty mood or you’re in a shitty mood so let’s just try it later. Let’s go have a beer, screw it.

What did you latch onto first –singing or playing an instrument?

Probably an instrument. I actually started out as a drummer. I started playing drums when I was in fourth grade and my uncle gave me my first guitar when I was probably thirteen. I continued playing drums all the way through high school and then when I went to college I had nowhere to keep a drum set in my dorm so guitar kind of became the focus. But I joined the choir in high school and I had always sang on my own before that. I’d almost in some aspects consider myself more of a singer than a guitar player cause I still think I’m pretty rudimentary in what I do on guitar. I’m a good rhythm player, I’m an atrocious lead player (laughs). So that’s another benefit to Stephen and mine’s relationship, that he is a great lead player and I’m garbage (laughs).

Who was the first real rock star you ever met?

I would not call him a rock star but the first real rock star I ever met was BB King. He is one of my all-time heroes. Somehow when I was really young, like four or five, somewhere around there, just going into my parents’ record collection, I got into BB King. He was like the first musician I was ever obsessed with. He played in New Orleans at the Blue Room, which is in the Roosevelt Hotel, on my sixth birthday so my parents got us tickets for it and we went to the show and my dad somehow bribed a maître d to let us back into the green room area to meet BB King after the show. And I am the only child at this show. This was like an 11:00 show and I am a six year old child in like a blazer and a tie (laughs).

So after the show they take us into this kitchen area and BB King is sitting there in a folding chair drinking a Budweiser. His tour manager brings us over and says, “This is Jonathan, it’s his sixth birthday and he’s a huge fan.” And BB King picks me up and puts me on his lap and starts asking, “What songs of mine do you like? Do you have a favorite song? Do you play any music?” I can remember it as plain as day. He was as nice as could be and he gave my entire family guitar picks and lapel pins with his name on it. My dad had a friend who was a photographer who had this great black & white 8×10 of BB King that he’d given to me earlier that week cause he knew I was a huge BB King fan, and he autographed it for me and we took pictures and it was just an amazing, amazing moment for me at such a young age.

But I will tell you who I met who was super nice and that was Davy Jones from the Monkees. Disclosure: I’m a huge Monkees fan, like an unabashedly huge Monkees fan. He played at a festival here a few years ago when I was in my last band and we played the day before so we had like passes for the festival. So I came out the next day to watch his show and I was like, you know what, I want to meet Davy Jones. I have a pass, I can be in the artist area, I’m going to bring a record and I’m going to meet Davy Jones. So I was sitting around backstage having a beer and he came out of his trailer like fifteen minutes before his show and I walked over, “Hey Davy, I’m Jonathan. I played with my band yesterday and I’m a huge fan of your work.” And we started chatting for a while and he was just as friendly as could be. And I said, “I hate to be that guy but I brought a record. Would you sign it?” And he was like, “Of course.” So I pulled out my record and he was like, “This is my favorite record that we did,” and starts talking about the different songs on the record and about recording the songs and it was incredible. He was super nice. And he was like 5’2, the shortest guy, so tiny.

When he passed, I immediately thought back to when I got to meet him and I was glad I got to meet him. I was watching the Monkees on MTV when I was five. Then when I got older, I realized some of that music is some of the best sixties pop music ever done. It’s all the guys that played on the Brian Wilson records and all that stuff, like the best musicians that California had to offer at the time. They’re completely underrated and deserve way more credit and respect than they get. They’re a phenomenal group and I love that band.

What is the Desert Island Discs concert series you guys are doing?

The Desert Island Discs series is a series of four shows that we do throughout the course of a year where we each pick an album that we love and would love to play. Then we put the four albums up on a poll and people vote on it and then we perform that album at a show.

Weezer was the first one. We did The Blue Album and our next one is going to be in May and we’re playing Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American. And that actually is going to be a fun show because that is doubling as our EP release show. So we’ll play our whole new EP, then we’ll play the Jimmy Eat World album and then we’ll play some older Breton Sound stuff after that. So the series keeps things fun and it puts new people in front of us who haven’t seen us before. Like, there were people that came to the Weezer show cause they liked Weezer and then they walked out of that with a Breton Sound record in their hand. It’s a way to have fun but also to get new ears to hear what we’re doing.

What is the craziest thing to happen to you onstage?

I haven’t had any crazy things happen with the Breton Sound but in my previous band, the first time I went out to LA we were playing at the Roxy Theatre and I was excited to be in LA, we had a bunch of friends that were coming out and the Roxy is just an amazing room with a great history. So first song of the show, we’re playing and I’m going hard, we’re playing our little butts off, and I’m kind of jumping around doing my thing and as I come down off of a sweet rock jump, I step on the cable of my guitar and I start to fall. So I try to catch myself and I step on the cable a second time and I proceed to fall straight on my back right into an amplifier (laughs). Looked like a big ole idiot. Super embarrassed and spent the rest of the show nursing a horrible headache and a sore knee and feeling like a jackass.

What is coming up for you guys in the next couple of months?

The EP comes out May 19th and we’ll probably release another song before that comes out. We’re going to shoot a video in June but I don’t know what song it will be for. We’re just going to be touring a lot and starting work on the second EP. On Friday, I’m playing here at a show that is a tribute to George Harrison. I’ve been involved with the same group that is doing this show and we’ve done a Lennon/McCartney one but for this one I kind of ended up taking on the responsibility of being the Musical Director and running the show. So I’ve been having to learn those twenty-five songs and try to set up rehearsal for twenty different musicians.

Where can people keep up with what you guys are doing?

Everything is on Tour dates, music, news, merch, all that good stuff; everything lives there. We’re also very active on social media through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. - Glide Magazine

"EP Review"

New Orleans, LA-based rock band The Breton Sound have released their EP today!

The Breton Sound is: vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Pretus (formerly of Cowboy Mouth), lead guitarist Stephen Turner, drummer John Bourgeois and his twin brother, bassist Joe Bourgeois.

The band has released their new single ‘ Illuminate’, which you can stream here.

The track is the first release from the band's forthcoming EP ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Rock & Roll Volume 1’, which was released on the 19th May.

The new five track EP was produced by Tom Drummond of Better Than Ezra. The band travelled around the South, recording songs in famed studios such as Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Zac Brown's Southern Ground in Atlanta, Georgia, and The Music Shed in New Orleans, Louisiana. Volume 1 is the first of two EP's that will be released, completing the full-length ‘Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Rol’l album, which will only be available on vinyl, later this year.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Rock & Roll Volume 1’ features five tracks:
-Rivers Cuomo
-Walking Backwards
-Love You More

Now you are going to need to get your singing voice ready for this record!

‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Rock & Roll Volume 1’ is a fantastic release from the band. With the band's mix of rock, classic rock, pop and I tiny bit of country it creates a sound that has a little bit for everybody.

Straight from the opening of this EP, it opens straight out with a song that you can't help but sing along to and this continued throughout the release, with the band insanely catchy lyrics and guitar riffs and melodies, that you will have in your head for some time.

The likes of ‘Love You More’ also features great harmonies that really capture the emotion within the lyrics.

The Breton Sound new record is one that you are really going to want to hear! Because if this record doesn't put a smile on your face I’m honestly not sure what well, so go give this record and the band a chance you definitely won't regret.

Plus, who doesn’t want a great song stuck in their head! - Shout It Out Loud Reviews

"Review: "Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Vol 1""

The latest from the bearded ones known as The Breton Sound is all about refining their formidable skills to present their tightest sound yet, kicking their latest EP off with “Rivers Cuomo,” an upbeat, guitar-heavy nod to the master of emo and the Sound’s Weezer love. Up next is the band’s strongest song to date: previously released as a single and recorded at Memphis’ Ardent Studios, “Illuminate” pulls out all the stops and makes it clear that the band is ready for anthemic arena rock. Past releases by the Sound tend to start running out of steam at this point, only to rally for a big finish, but Vol. 1 keeps up the energy it generates from the very start, even pulling vocalist Cherie LeJeune into the touching “Love You More.” The best part of this set of tracks is listening to the band genuinely enjoying themselves. It’s a great joy to hear Jonathan Pretus and his fellow bandmates finally, fearlessly coming into their own. It’s too bad the Sound’s offerings must still remain short (not album length), but oh, are they sweet. —Leigh Checkman - Antigravity

"Preshow Rituals"

In this Preshow Rituals segment, Jonathan Pretus, of the rock band, The Breton Sound, talks about what they do before every show. You can check out their rituals, after the break.

Our pre-show ritual is pretty different for all of us. Stephen Turner, our guitarist, plays a lot of hard parts on our songs. So, he usually does some warm ups on his guitar, playing some of the trickier runs over and over again.

John Bourgeois, our drummer, will do some rudiments and warm up exercises backstage shortly before we go on. He generally stays away from too much drinking pre-show too.

Our bassist Joe Bourgeois is kinda the opposite of John. He likes to have a beer or two before we go on. He does some stretches, has a cigarette, and he’s ready to roll.

I try to find a few minutes to do some basic vocal scales. I don’t sing along to a particular warm-up exercise or anything. I just do what works for me. Scales and some goofy mouth/lip movements to get my face loose. I try to go through the show in my head earlier in the day. I like to feel like I’ve already worked everything out when we hit the stage, that way I don’t feel like I’m working on the fly. It gets me out of my own head and lets the music play me, versus me playing the music. I think it makes for a better show and lets me do a better job as a front man.

We used to do a pre-show car bomb shot, but those days kinda ended quickly for us once we understood we wouldn’t be on top of our game after that.

Right before we go on, we’ll have a little pep-talk, going over things we want to tighten up on or do better. We end it with a little inner-band hands in cheer, but if we said what it was, unfortunately, we’d have to kill all your readers. It’s super top secret. - Digital Tourbus

"Travel Profile: Jonathan Pretus of The Breton Sound"

Jonathan Pretus started The Breton Sound with Stephen Turner, followed by John Bourgeois and bassist Joe Bourgeois. They produced their first EP, “Eudaemonia” in 2011, with their second EP “Maps” dropping in 2013. New EP "Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Vol 1" is out now, the band will be touring the rest of summer.

Sean Richie: Coming from New Orleans with all of its history and tradition, describe the atmosphere and what do you love about it?

Jonathan Pretus: There are just so many great things about New Orleans that living in it, and being from here, I feel like are easy to take for granted. There’s just such a great culture that goes throughout different neighborhoods and different social groups — people from all walks of life come together. You can even run into people that you would never see most days and just strike up a conversation. I feel like things like that don’t just happen everywhere. It’s kinda of very specific to New Orleans and I really like that about it. The music and the food is absolutely amazing here. It’s just different from anywhere else you can go.

SR: I’ve never actually been to New Orleans but anytime anyone ever said anything about the city, it sounds so inviting and the whole atmosphere is just very friendly.

JP: It’s a very open city and nobody is a stranger which is a really cool way to live I think.

SR: Where would you recommend a first-time visitor to go out and see?

JP: There is just so much it’s hard to pin point exactly. I guess restaurants play a huge roll with the cultural diversity of food. You can go to a restaurant that could be up to one hundred dollars a person, somewhere like Commander’s Palace, or Emeril’s. On the flip side you can go to amazing places that are ten dollars a person like Franky and Johnny’s or [Johnny’s] Po-Boys. There are not really any bad restaurants in town.

There’s just so much to see, even if it’s just walking through neighborhoods in the Garden District, the French Quarter or the Warehouse District, just looking through all the architecture and different styles that all exist in the same “gumbo,” if you will.

SR: How does the French Quarter really differentiate from the rest of the city?

JP: Well, it’s a little different now then when it was originally conceived. Structurally, that’s where the city kind of started. All of the same buildings are still there and it’s rare to have new construction in that area. It’s kind of a little time capsule in a way. You may walk down the street and there are pizza and various other shops, but it’s in a 300-year-old building that’s survived a fire. It’s a residential area, but there’s such a hustle to it. It’s also laid back to a degree.

SR: That sounds absolutely captivating! So you have shows coming up July 23 in Lafayette, Louisiana and the tour ends in Marshall, Texas. Describe your excitement and are you looking forward to driving across the South and taking in the sites?

JP: Yes, absolutely! We have a lot more coming up out of the state that are not on the calendar yet. Honestly, I love driving around and I’ve always liked touring especially through the South, because the scenery is so nice. The cities are always a little different — each one has its own charm. One that stands out is Beaumont, Texas. You drive into Beaumont and it’s this quaint and quite city. Being from New Orleans, it’s just a different feeling. I just personally really love to travel.

SR: How does music and travel fit together?

JP: Well if you want to get your music out there you really have to travel. You have to bring it to different cities and different people. I have been fortunate enough to have done a good bit of traveling with music — falling in love with other cities and different cultures. You get to experience different vibes from different places, and those things kind of play into your music and what you do.

SR: A lot of artist have said they pull their inspiration from traveling. Being in transit gives you time to think and regroup. Can you say the same for yourself?

JP: It really depends sometimes. I don’t really get to write, and sometimes I can bearley form a sentence on the road. A lot of it depends on what the travel schedule is. There is a lot of time where you can sit and study other things and collect ideas. I will write down small phrases I read or hear somewhere, but I don’t necessarily write too much on the road. I do find that I pick up on things during traveling that will make its way into my music.

SR: Out of all the cities you’ve preformed in are there any that stand out in terms of crowd atmosphere? Was it in line with the city’s nightlife?

JP: I definitely have favorite places to play in. Chicago was fun because the people there were just so nice and friendly. The city has a great energy to it. Every time we have played there the turn out has always been great. I also really enjoy playing in Texas, the people there always seem to have a lot of fun. I can’t really think of anywhere that we have gone either in this band, or previous bands, were people weren’t friendly or willing to have fun. I think, especially playing music, the people that do come out to see you are looking to have fun and when you give them a good time, you feel the love reciprocated.

SR: Describe an amazing travel experience you’ve had. Where was it and what stood out?

JP: Musically the way we made our last record going to different studios around the South. We went to some of the places where our favorite music had been made. We spent a few days in Memphis and recorded at Ardent Studios, which is where Big Star, ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin, have done there records — it’s just an amazing studio with great history. It was just an amazing experience. I found the area we were in made us feel more creative — very vibrant and fun. We walked away from it totally enamored with Memphis.

SR: When you plan a personal getaway are you more for a beach setting or an urban feel?

JP: I tend to go more urban myself. We are relatively close to beaches here — a couple hour ride. I also like to get out and do things as opposed to sitting around and soaking up the sun. I do enjoy the beach, but I’d rather explore a city that I have never been to. The first time we went to New York, we were staying in Time Square and had a day off. I walked outside, made a right and just kept waking. Three hours later I realized I was going to need a cab to get back.

SR: Lastly, if you could preform anywhere in the world, what setting would you choose?

JP: I’d really like to play the festivals in the [United Kingdom]. Those would be dream shows for me because the festivals are so big and so communal — such an intrinsic cultural experience. A lot of the bands I love have been at those festivals. Those are the kinds of shows I’ve really always wanted to do. - Sun City Paradise

"EP Review:"

The Breton Sound
Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Volume 1

This New Orleans-based band is rather fond of Weezer and they've been known to play that band's The Blue Album live in its entirety. In a bit more of a direct homage though this five-song EP opens with "Rivers Cuomo," a Weezer-like power popper named after the Weezer main man. The band shows a few other sides here too; "Love You More" is a country rocker featuring guest vocalist Cherie LeJeune, "Illuminate" has an emo feel to it and "Walking Backwards" is a driving alt-rocker. The guys like to dish out their music in EP form and have released several so fans who dig these few cuts probably won't have long to wait for more. -

"The Breton Sound release new single, "Illuminate"

New Orleans-based rock band The Breton Sound have released their new single, “Illuminate,” in two ways, first with a stream premiere with, and second, as a lyric video premiere with The track is the first released from the band’s forthcoming EP, Don’t Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Volume 1, available May 19.

The band’s vocalist and guitarist, Jonathan Pretus (formerly of Cowboy Mouth), told, “The lyric of the song is about feeling trapped, frustrated, and beat down where you are, and looking to that person next to you that you love and saying “wouldn’t it be great to just run away and get the hell out of here together?” There’s a real tension in the verses musically, especially in the 2nd verse where the drums, bass and guitar lock in a driving, pushing groove, and then as it gets to the chorus (the escape), the playing opens up, it’s a really neat movement we put together that we’re really proud of.This was the first song we did for this EP, and the first thing we recorded in Studio A at Ardent. It’s the room where all the Big Star records were done, which are some of my favorite albums. I actually ended up using the old Hi Watt amp and cabinet that was used on “Radio City” and “Third”, which was a thrill in and of itself, but it’s one of the best sounding guitar tones I’ve ever had. That room has an amazing vibe and sound, and we tracked live in there, so the energy really comes out in the recording. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done, and we’re so proud of how it came out.”

“Illuminate” is the first track of their 5-song EP, Don’t Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Volume 1, produced by Tom Drummond of Better than Ezra, who produced their last two EP’s, MAPS, and Eudaemonia. For the Volume 1, the band traveled around the South, recording songs in famed studios such as Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Zac Brown’s Southern Ground in Atlanta, Georgia, and The Music Shed in New Orleans, Louisiana. Volume 1 is the first of two EP’s that will be released, completing the full-length Don’t Be Afraid of Rock & Roll album, which will only be available on vinyl, later this year.

The Breton Sound has been taking the NOLA scene by force with their energetic, melodic, and anthemic rock and roll. Musically, they have varied influences, from Weezer to Van Halen, The Descendants to Dredg and Oasis to Foo Fighters; however, The Breton Sound’s sound has grown into a focused brand of rock that is just as musically impressive as it is restrained.

The band is currently recording the Volume 2 EP and gearing up to hit the road mid-April through early June. For the latest news, tour dates, and information about the new album, please visit

The Breton Sound is vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Pretus, lead guitarist Stephen Turner, drummer John Bourgeois, and his twin brother, bassist Joe Bourgeois. - Vents Magazine

"Review: Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Roll, Vol 1"

The Breton Sound on the 19th May, release their new EP, Don’t Be Afraid of Rock N Roll, which is the first part of a full length album which will be later released on vinyl. Recording the EP through the south of America and creating of fusion of blues and rock sounds, The Breton Sound bring a unique set of melodies to their records.

The blues sound they do incredibly well, with a nice guitar sound and the use of male and female vocals on tracks like Love You More, really exemplify that, this also shows in the sound of Rivers Cuomo, the opening track of the EP, which has some great guitar work and a big hook that’s impossible to forget.

There’s a lot of good rock music here as well, tracks such as Walking Backwards have some big melodies and the vocals have a raw sound that compliments the music, Illuminate continues in this vein – the production here really shows this band’s work to the best of it’s abilities, and certainly makes this EP really easy to nod your head to, straight from the start of the EP.

This band certainly know what their sound is, and they do it well here on this first EP, made up of nice melodies and some slick guitar riffs, it’s brought together really well, the songs work together, and makes for a perfect ‘Side A’. Certainly worth a listen if you like a good bluesy rock sound, when it comes out later this month.

8/10. - Thinking Lyrically

"Introducing The Breton Sound"

My musical path has recently crossed with rock band The Breton Sound and man do these guys sound awesome. Let me introduce you to the band who are Jonathan Pretus (vocals & guitars), Stephen Turner (guitar & vocals), John Bourgeois (drums & vocals) and Joe Bourgeois (bass). Together they have created a style of rock that has a familiar feel about it and I think its because their influences can be found in my own music collection. There will be more about that later in the post.

In 2011 they released their ‘Eudaemonia’ EP which is a great collection of songs that shows the bands musical talent. This is a solid debut which has been received to great reviews and when you hear the EP you will understand why. Their track ‘Lines’ stands out like a giant amongst men as it delivers something different as its over 7 minutes long and its takes you on a wonderful audio adventure. Throughout this song you hear everything that makes this band such a hit with me all bundled up in one song. I love how the pace of the song changes halfway through which gives the listener an instrumental section before closing on more great vocals.

This was followed up in 2013 with their game changer ‘MAPS (or cartography and the art of generalization)’. I call it a changer because this EP has a new edgier rock sound that has taken them to a whole new a level and I LOVE IT! I am not sure what changed between EP’s but I am not complaining and thank them for it. This is my type of rock that ticks all the right boxes, great vocals, catchy beats and of course awesome riffs! From start to finish, this EP does not disappoint as the tempo is full, the music is tight and the vocals are top draw. I can definitely hear a Foo’s influence on this EP and this might be why I really like its sound. I can hear this on my favourite track ‘No Way Out’ which is impossible to keep your foot still while resisting the urge to sing along with your air guitar. A great song with epic energy about it.

Both these EP’s are available on their Bandcamp site (click HERE) and while you are there check out their acoustic 2 track EP ‘Maps Acoustic’ which delivers their songs with a twist. My advice, buy them all, click shuffle and let your ears enjoy some great music.

I had the chance to ask the guys about the band, their influences and about their plans for their new EP. This is what they had to say:

How did Breton Sound come together and is their a story behind the name?

The Breton Sound started back sometime in 2010. I’d been touring the previous 3 years with a band from New Orleans called Cowboy Mouth. They’d had a couple of radio hits in the late 90s/early 00s, and I’d replaced the original guitarist. We were doing about 225 dates a year, plus recording, etc. I didn’t really have any creative input in the music, and on breaks, Stephen and I started getting together and working on various bits and pieces of songs we had lying around. Around April, of that year, I made the decision that I was going to leave that band, and after a good long discussion of what we wanted to achieve, Stephen and I decided that we were going to pursue this new project full on once I was done. That August, I got off the bus for the last time on a Sunday morning. By 1:00 that afternoon, he was over at the house and we were writing and demoing that would go on to form our first EP, “Eudaemonia.”

The story behind the name….Breton Sound is an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, an actual body of water. Also, as in “sound,” i.e. music, it’s got a double meaning. Years ago, in another band I was in, that was one of the names we floated around, but didn’t stick. I’d loved the name, and it sat unused. When Stephen and I started this band, we spent a day or so thinking of names, which is always one of the hardest things about starting a band. Then I remembered The Breton Sound. It was one of those great moments where we decided we really were too lazy to sit around and try to think of another batch of clever names, and just decided to go with that one. People mis-pronounce it a lot. It’s pronounced “Breh-ton” but we often get “Bree-ton.” Didn’t realize how many folks would get confused. C’est la vie. We like it, so whatever.

Which musicians/bands are your biggest influences on the band and its sound?

We all like very different stuff, alternative, indie, prog, metal, blues, 60s pop, but diverge in a few places that pretty much lend themselves to being the basis or core of our sound. I think bands like Weezer, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and Oasis, catchy guitar-driven melodies with big anthemic choruses make up the bones of what we do. But from there, our differences kind of fill it in…Stephen grew up on Rush, Van Halen, Metallica, so lead guitar features prominently in the mix. There’s always a slight hint of shredding, but in a melodic and economical way. John came up in the punk scene so he’s got a knack for really intricate, thought out patterns and drum fills. Joe came up in punk and then indie bands, so he’s got a great combination aggression but with great feel and melody on bass. And they’re twins also, so they lock in very instinctively, which is great.

What is your favourite song from your first two EP’s and why?

My favourite song from our first EP is probably “No More Worries.” That song was written a long time ago, when I was 18 or 19, with my old high school band. I’d always thought it was the first thing we did that was better than the term “high school band” should let it be. It was actually a really well crafted, moving piece of music. We all parted ways for college before it could be recorded. I sat on it for a long time and always thought if I was in a band that could do something with it, I’d jump on it. When we started TBS, it was one of the first things I pulled out, and Stephen just found some beautiful parts to play on it. It was also fun to record because I played drums on it as well (I was a drummer in high school), as I’d pretty much mapped out exactly what I wanted on drums over the previous 10 years. TBS was just him and I at that point, so we did everything on those songs for the most part.

On the “Maps” EP, I’d have to say “Standing on the Edge of the World” is my favourite. It was a true collaboration of band and producer. The original demo I’d done for it was much slower, and had a kind of plodding, late period Oasis/Noel Gallagher feel to it. We upped the tempo but kept the feel. When we got into the studio, our producer Tom Drummond (also bassist for Better Than Ezra), immediately suggested we straighten the tempo and bass it around a riff. Within about 30 minutes, this moody song we’d played for 3 months turned in to this big, loud, energetic rock song. It’s always fun to play, and as a tip’ o’ the cap, because it’s also in the same key, I’ll sometimes sing a verse of “Wonderwall” in the breakdown.

If you were headlining a world tour, which bands would you choose as YOUR support?

That’s a tough question. In a perfect world, I’d love us to be big enough to do a co-headline with any of the bands listed earlier that our big influences. We’re also the kind of band that loves playing with and helping out our friends’ bands. If we blew up and headlined our own world tour, I think we’d bring out our friends’ bands like Bantam Foxes or The Scorseses from New Orleans, guys we like to hang out with. I’d also do my best to reunite the defunct California band Dusty Rhodes and the River Band. I did a bunch of shows with them a few years back and just loved that band. Was really bummed when they split.

I hear there is a new release planned, what can you tell us about it and what can us fans expect? (this is way to get the fan funding project mentioned)

We’ve launched a crowd-funding campaign for the record, which you can check out at, and it has some really cool perks for people who contribute, anywhere from exclusive b-sides, a coffee table photo album documenting the recording, we will write a song just for you, we’ll play a private show, limited edition vinyl, etc. It costs a lot to make a great sounding record, our music never really lent itself to doing the bedroom/laptop type thing. We like big, bombastic sounding records, and it’s what we make. We’re trying to give a cool, behind-the-scenes perspective too, releasing demos and footage from in the studio.

We’d started talking about doing a new record, and our producer was selling his studio. We were heading to Memphis for a show, and I’d just watched the Big Star documentary, “Nothing Can Hurt Me.” I thought it’d be fun to go see the studio where they recorded, Ardent Studios. So we were able to get a tour of the place while we were up there, and we fell in love with the room. We thought it’d be really great to record there. A week or so later, I watched the “Muscle Shoals” documentary, and realized that both Ardent and Muscle Shoals were within a short day’s drive for us. We thought it’d be interesting to record in various studios around the south, soak up some of the vibes of the great records that were made there. So that’s the plan. We’ve done Ardent, as well as Southern Grounds in Atlanta, which is the Zac Brown Band’s old studio. They made their early records there. We’ve got a session here in NOLA at The Music Shed, where REM did their last record, Robert Plant’s done some work there, and everyone who’s anyone here has recorded there. We’ll do Muscle Shoals in the fall, and maybe another place or two we haven’t finalized yet.

We’re splitting the release over two EPs. 1 will be released physically/digitally, the 2nd will be digital only. They’ll also both be combined and released as a full length on vinyl.

We’re really reaching for the stars with this record. There’s big, anthemic choruses, tight rock/pop songs, big riffs, bigger riffs, and a left of center (for us) acoustic, sweet song. There’s even one that a duet with a female vocalist, which we’ve never done before. It turns the song into a dual perspective thing, which I think is really neat. I think we’re writing some great songs write now, we’ve really figured out how we work finally, and it’s coming out in the recordings that we’re firing on all cylinders, which is great, especially considering that Joe joined the week before we started recording, that says a lot about his playing and him as a person. We’re all having so much fun, and it’s coming through on the record.

I have already shown my support towards the new EP project by pledging for the following:

‘B-sides EP (unreleased songs, alternate versions, live tracks, demos) only available to campaign team members; exclusive t shirt; early digital download.’

I strongly recommend that you do the same and to also spread the word to help the guys reach their goal.

If for some crazy reason I have not convinced you to support the great music of The Breton Sound then you can learn more about the band by visiting their website at You can also say hello to the guys on their social media sites on Facebook and Twitter. If if that is not enough then let the music doing the talking by listening to their music on their Bandcamp page (click HERE).

For me, I am so glad that the music of The Breton Sound has joined my music collection and I am already looking forward to adding their new music when it is ready. Until then, as a fan, I will continue to support the music that matters to me which includes awesome The Breton Sound. - My Random Jukebox (UK)

"The Breton Sound Balance The Equation"

Half of The Breton Sound has played Voodoo before, just not as The Breton Sound. Drummer John Bourgeois played a regular 11 a.m. slot in the Preservation Hall Tent with ska/punk band Fatter Than Albert, who could get 300 people in the gates first thing in the rock ’n’ roll morning when the festival was otherwise just waking up. Guitarist Jonathan Pretus played in 2008 as a member of Cowboy Mouth immediately before R.E.M. on the Sunday night. Cowboy Mouth’s John Thomas Griffith suggested that the rock ’n’ roll way to end the set was to smash a guitar, so Pretus bought a cheap one on Craig’s List, strapped it on for the last song, and when it ended, he wheeled it over his head and brought it down body-first, and didn’t stop until the guitar was in pieces.

“Afterwards, a security guard comes up holding a chunk of wood,” Pretus says. “Dude, that struck me right in the face - and it was fucking awesome!” This year, The Breton Sound won’t be on a main stage, nor will they play right in front of the headliner, and onstage destruction will likely thrill hundreds of people, but Pretus is fine with that. “It’s so much more rewarding to play on our own merits,” he says.

The Breton Sound reflects first the tastes of Pretus and lead guitarist Stephen Turner, who started writing together in 2010. Pretus is more of a pop classicist than his Cowboy Mouth pedigree would suggest. We have connected online over The Beach Boys, The Monkees, and other pure pop bands, while Turner brings a background in prog rock and its accompanying love of technique to the group. Their first EP, Eudaemonia, didn’t suffer from a shortage of ideas. If anything, it was overstuffed like a Jellyfish song, with with some gnarly passages that enriched or sidetracked the songs, depending on your point of view. It felt more like a project than a band, something Pretus concedes. “That first EP was 100 percent Stephen and me,” he says. “We called the shots on parts and arrangements and stuff like that. Once we turned it into a full band, those songs took on a new life. As we started coming up with new material and everybody was working together on it, it became something bigger than the vision we originally had.”

They become an actual band in 2011 when they got a full lineup that included Pretus’ brother Brian on bass. He was a guitarist who picked up the bass at Jonathan’s request, so “at the beginning, I just played power chords because I like punk rock,” Brian says, laughing. “Then through the criticisms of other bass players, I realized, I should really start playing the bass now because I’m not playing guitar.” The Breton Sound played casinos in Baton Rouge to help fund the recording as a band, Maps, and playing constantly and learning crowd-pleasing covers quickly helped them find their identity. Live performance forced them to streamline their songs, but so did the changing band dynamic. Eudaemonia was the product of an 50/50 balance of power. “Now it’s 25, 25, 25, 25,” Pretus says. “Brian comes from the same school I do of the short, sweet, three-and-a-half or four-minute pop songs. It’s cool because it curbs Stephen’s tendency to pull things that way, but Stephen curbs my tendency to make things two minutes and all chorus.” As a result, Maps has clear, simple pop hooks in songs that are deceptively complex.

Late last year, things got slightly more serious for the band. Good feedback, good performances and good writing led them to think at one point, “Why couldn’t this work?” But Pretus believes it was always going to happen. “Stephen and I always had the idea that this is what we wanted to do,” Pretus says. “It was just a matter of getting the equation correct.” - My Spilt Milk

"The Breton Sound Are On The Map"

It’s a big week for New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll four-piece The Breton Sound. On Tuesday, the band released their punchy, five-track EP Maps (or Cartography of Art and Generalization) and they will make their Jazz Fest debut this weekend. “I didn’t even think we’d get Jazz Fest,” says vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Pretus. “It’s more focused on the roots aspect, funk and brass. They tend to leave the rock thing to Voodoo Fest, so I was surprised.” Stephen Turner, who co-founded the band with Pretus in 2010, laughs and says, “Well, we’ve got the opening slot.” The Breton Sound will play one of the first sets of Jazz Fest on Friday.

Maps came together rather quickly for the band; The Breton Sound never intended to release an EP, but with an impending festival appearance they decided to take their most recent material to the studio. The result is a fast-paced, fully amplified record that differs from the band’s first EP Eudaemonia, a record written entirely by Pretus and Turner that preceded the band’s current line-up. With drummer Jon Alcon and bassist Brian Pretus – brother to Jonathan – now on board, Maps can credit four minds for its creative songwriting instead of two.

“It’s a lot more cohesive,” Jonathan Pretus says. “I think you get something better at the end of the day versus having one dictator handing out parts.” Producer Tom Drummond of Better Than Ezra also played an important role. “Tom heard the original arrangement of ‘Standing on the Edge of the World,’ which was a plodding-type tempo,” says Jonathan Pretus. “He said, ‘I don’t think that’s right. It needs to be faster, it needs to be straighter, and it needs to have a riff’.” The Breton Sound chose to take his advice. “We literally rewrote the song in 20 minutes,” Brian Pretus says.

Some of The Breton Sound’s earliest material came together while Pretus was still a member of touring rock band Cowboy Mouth. “I played parts that someone else wrote,” Pretus says. “This is more rewarding, but it’s nice to have seen what that career path is. Now I can say, how do we get to that? Our goal is to be touring full-time.” A first step towards that goal was raising enough money for Maps, so The Breton Sound took on a series of cover gigs at a Baton Rouge casino to earn the funds. “It made us super tight as a band,” Brian Pretus says. His brother agrees. “We were able to play together for three hours a night, three nights a week,” Jonathan Pretus says. “It was 75 percent covers and 25 percent originals. The interesting thing about learning all of these covers is you start to pick apart and dissect what makes other songs that you like work. You put these things in your back pocket for next time.”

While money can take a band far, The Breton Sound recognizes that it’s the audience that matters most. Marketing a rock band in New Orleans is a challenge that these four members can attest to. “I think we’re still trying to find what our route is,” Jonathan Pretus says. “You can’t flyer anymore, so that sucks. It’s a matter of trying to find some repetition without being annoying about it and losing the momentum of it. Unless you have some kind of advertising budget, it’s tough.” And while there are communities of punk rock and indie bands in New Orleans, it’s more difficult for a band that plays straight rock ‘n’ roll to find a niche. “Brian’s really into the punk scene, and they’ll all go see each other play even if it’s a Tuesday night,” Jonathan Pretus says. “We don’t have that kind of scene that we’re in. We talk about this a lot, and while there’s specific cliques and niches, we don’t think we fit into them.”

But fitting in has never made much of a difference in rock ‘n’ roll, anyway. The Breton Sound’s latest release packs in loud guitars and thunderous drums, sounds that could easily fill an arena. And as gritty and punk rock as Maps is in places, it still has its breathing room. Take the reverb-soaked guitar and piano intro to “Brighter than the Sun,” for instance. And then there’s the 40-second instrumental titled “Interludacris.” “I look back on that, and I say to myself, ‘Did we really title one of our tracks “Interludacris”?’” Jonathan Pretus says, laughing. “Yes. Yes, we did.” - My Spilt Milk

"The Breton Sound: Maps"

Noted in an interview from earlier today…I thought I could stay up but alas a nap took me over after I overdosed on sugar before noon. Now I’m hoping to stay wide eyed as I write about The Breton Sound and their latest Maps. If we were to put it up against the rest of the records reviewed from this week, it’d win the “most likely to hit radio” superlative.

Maps starts out with a bang. If the tracks on this record were doing a relay race, you’d want “Standing On The Edge Of The World” to give you a heads start and “No Way Out” to finish out strong. The other songs like “Brighter Than The Sun” and “Hollywood Vampires” would be the kids in the middle who did their best, but weren’t the real reason they were receiving the gold at the end. “No Way Out” would be deemed the MVP thanks to it having a Foo Fighter’s element; find the best line and play it until it’s burnt into the core of listeners’ minds. Between those four you find a beautiful piece, “Interludacris,” that has absolutely nothing to do with hip hop artist Ludacris (that I could tell), but it’s good nonetheless.

I’m happy to report I didn’t ditch out on finishing this out for another nap. I’m also happy to report that if you’re into rock music that doesn’t rely on glitz and is just the basics, then The Breton Sound is for you. Maps is out now, so you know what to do. - Golden Mixtape

"Artist Spotlight // Jonathan Pretus – The Breton Sound"

This week’s Artist Spotlight features Jonathan Pretus, of The Breton Sound, from New Orleans.

The Breton Sound have been busy touring to promote their recent EP release, Maps. They recently finished touring with Better Than Ezra and we were fortunate enough to sit down with Jonathan Pretus (lead singer and guitarist) for a Q&A before they hit the road again.

You recently released an EP titled Maps. What can you tell us about that album?

Maps is the first album we’ve done with our full band. It’s been out since the end of April. I think it’s some of the best song writing that personally, that I feel I’ve done and I feel that the band has done. I can see between our first two records and between all of our past endeavors, how our creativity in our writing process and our styles have really grown. I think it’s really representative of the fact that we have really diverse interests between the group. All of us like really different things and I feel like, on this record especially, they came together in a really perfect way to form a sound that I think is something that’s familiar but that there’s a lot of different elements going on that you don’t hear in a lot of rock bands, especially nowadays. I think there’s a lot of stuff that I think helps make us an original band in a genre that is filled with a lot of bands that I think do the same thing.

How would you say the musical style of the band evolved from the previous albums to what it sounds like on Maps?

I think it’s just gotten more cohesive. When I listen to our first CD… Stephen and I, we founded the band together, we’ve known each other since the end of freshman year of college. We’ve been friends for years now, and we come from very different musical backgrounds. Our friends who listen to the first record have said that you could really tell that what songs were the ones that I brought to the table and what songs that Stephen had brought to the table. You could really tell who was the principal on different songs. This one is really the summation of what we like, finally coming together to form something that is completely independent of our individual likes. I think lyrically its stronger, vocally its stronger, the production is better, and I think it’s just something where we really found who we were and who we wanted to be as a band.

I read that Tom Drummond from Better Than Ezra helped produce Maps. Did he have any influence on the sound or the way it turned out?

I hate to say that he doesn’t have a big impact on it, because there’s definitely a lot that he brings to the table. We definitely went into it knowing we wanted to make a really big, polished rock record that still maintained the live energy and felt like a real band, as opposed to something that was really processed and programmed. He’s really good at capturing the energy of a performance. The way we did everything is that we would all get together in the “live room” and track drums and bass as a group. Then go back and add guitars and vocals from then on. He’s really good at pulling the best performances out of every part, which I think is really important. A lot of bands nowadays tend to kind of bypass and overlook the importance of a producer.

I think it’s good to have a outside third party who can really sit there a look at everything without the judgment that you may have on a song or a specific thing and tell you what makes the most sense for a song. He’s great at that. Sound-wise, there’s a couple of things on a couple tracks that he brought to the table that were just little ideas to help flesh things out. Some synth parts and some bass-synth ideas. Which really fleshed out the overall sound. One thing I will say that he really helped out with is, being that he is a bass player, Brian our bass player is…fundamentally he’s a guitarist. He had never really played bass in a band until he started playing with The Breton Sound. While we would be working on his tracks, he’d play a part and have a cool little fill on it and Tom would give him small little suggestions. So he would help him find his footing more as a bassist as opposed to just a guitar player playing bass. Creatively, he’s great at helping us cut through miscellaneous things that don’t necessarily help the song.

Do you guys put a lot of importance into capturing the energy of a live performance into the EP?

Yeah I think that’s something we put a lot of importance on. A lot of our favorite bands have always kind of gone that same route. I’ve always been bummed out when you go to see a band where you love their record and live it just comes off totally different. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s not what you were anticipating. We try to deliver that same energy you get form the record and then kind of expand on the idea of the live performance and the interaction and arrangements that make things more vibrant and live in a live setting. Sound-wise, what you’re going to hear from us is the same kind of thing where it’s essentially two guitars, bass, and drum. We don’t rely on a lot of backing tracks, so what you hear from us is essentially very “live”.

You released a track on your website, that was a very early version of ‘Standing on the Edge of the World’, that sounds very different from the final production. Did any other tracks on the EP go through drastic changes from inception to production?

Maybe not quite as drastic as that one. That version that I posted was actually before I’d even brought it to the band. The first thing that the band said was that it was way too slow and had to be a little bit faster. We played it in that same kind of “galloping stop” feel, for about 8 or 9 months. Then when we got to the studio, that was actually one of Tom’s suggestions was that it should be a big rock song and that we should play it straight and find a riff for it, and really make it a big sounding rock anthem. That one had the biggest change overall.

I think one of the ones that was more birthed in the studio was ‘Brighter Than The Sun’. Stephen had that riff for probably three years. The way the song is based is that it starts with one riff, and then that riff continues as a loop, then he starts a second riff, which then becomes a loop, and then a third and then a fourth. Eventually all four of them mix together to form this one, big thing. It was just this idea he toyed with forever, that we never really fleshed out. We had a few little lyric ideas here and there for it, but once we got into the studio and really sat down and started piecing it together, was when it really turned into the song that it ended up being. The other two were pretty straight away, going into the studio, we knew how they were going to come out. Those being “No Way Out” and “Hollywood Vampires”, were pretty much how we’ve been rehearsing them and working on them before we went into record.

So what’s next for The Breton Sound? Do you have any plans to release a full-length album?

We’ve got some new songs we’re working on. We’re hesitant to do a full length, which is a bummer because I love the full-length album as an artistic entity. For people, it seems that the general population doesn’t have the desire for that kind of purchase. They want to buy a couple singles that they like and a couple of songs here and there. But to get someone to really digest 12-14 songs I feel like unfortunately is asking a lot of the consumer now. More than likely we will probably, I would think, do another EP. At the same time, simultaneously, we’ll record stuff for an additional project, perhaps maybe for a full-length. I’m just not sure, we’re kind of just stock piling songs and seeing what happens right now. Right now it’s just a lot of promoting and playing shows. We just put a video out for ‘Standing on the Edge of the World’, and we have started talking about another for ‘No Way Out’. So we’re still going to be pushing the EP for about another 5 or 6 months.

I would like to see us do maybe an EP of Christmas covers. I always wanted to do that, I love Christmas songs! I think that’ll be a lot of fun. We’re playing Voodoo fest here in New Orleans, we play the same day as Nine Inch Nails, which is awesome. That’s going to be incredible. Earlier this year we did an event called Rock ‘N’ Hops, which is kind of a multi-band festival that we put on this past year for the first time and all the proceeds benefit the Grammy MusiCares Foundation. So we just started planning the second one of that, which is going to be the first weekend of April 2014. I’d like to say we’ll probably start recording something new maybe in May, I’d hope it would be sooner, maybe February, if it were up to me I would try and get it sooner than later. We’ve got some really cool stuff that we’ve been playing live that’s new that have been getting great response live, so I really want to start cracking on it.

Why did you guys decide to release your EP ‘Maps’ on vinyl?

I’ve always been a record collector. Obviously, going back to when I was a kid and my parents had vinyl, I had a little record player in my room and I would take their stuff and always listen to it in my room. I’ve always had vinyl in some capacity. None of us had ever really been in a band that released anything on vinyl. When we were making the record, a lot of bands around here had been releasing things on vinyl. I just felt like it would be something that would benefit from being on vinyl. It’s this big rock album, it’s warm, it’s a rich sounding record, I thought it would really benefit from that format.

So ideally, we would’ve released it back in May on vinyl. But the first test pressing that came back we weren’t really happy with. So we sent it back and it just kind of delayed the whole process. It’s really just one of those things where, you know, this would sound great on vinyl. We’ve always wanted to have a record on vinyl, so we said “let’s just do it”. That way if something happens and we never put out another record, at least we can all say “This is one thing we did, we put it on vinyl and everyone’s got their little keepsake for the rest of their life”. It feels so nice to have a tangible product that’s not just “ones and zeroes” you know? Buying something on vinyl means you invest in it, you have to care for it and make sure it’s stored correctly and you don’t scratch it. It lets you connect more to what’s on that record.

So what do you think is the outlook for vinyl in the future?

I don’t see it becoming the top format again, but I see it continuing to grow, and becoming the secondary form. As technology continues to grow, and stereo equipment becomes easier to understand and more affordable and more commonplace, I think people are going to move away from the idea of listening to music on their iPad or on their laptop. I think everyone’s getting tired of the super compressed things in the last few years. People are moving back to wanting that real, legitimate experience with what they listen to. I see vinyl sales continuing to grow. I see new albums continuing to come out on vinyl as well as a lot of re-issues coming out. I’d like to see newer stuff being a little more affordable on vinyl. I think that scares off some people who are interested in a band and maybe their vinyl costs $20 or $25 bucks, where as their CD is maybe $12, and their download is $9.99. They want to support the band, they want to get that cool thing, but $20 bucks to the average person, they don’t want to part with that for something that they can’t put in their phone and listen to in their car or wherever.

What is your most prized record in your collection?

My most prized record is one of two: I have an original Parlophone pressing of ‘With The Beatles’ that I paid way too much money for, but I absolutely adore it. I also have a copy of The Monkees ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones’ and it’s signed by Davy Jones. I met him at a festival that my old band played at. Like a big nerd, I went out there with my record and waited by his trailer backstage. Then when he came out, he’s like 5 foot 5, and he signed it and we took a picture. I think those two are two of my most prized ones.

Actually, I’m going to throw in another a wild card. I have a record, it’s not actually on vinyl, it’s a lacquer. There used to be stores where you could make a record. They’d have a piano and a couple of microphones and they sound like crap. But I have one that my grandmother made, with 4 girls that she used to sing in a singing group with, and my great grandfather played piano. They do this amazing five part harmony on this song called ‘Heaven is Being With You’. I’ve never heard it anywhere else in my life. It’s just so gorgeous and it’s oddly still very pristine. I converted it to mp3 but I still have the record and I like never take it out. It’s one of the coolest things I think that I have.

So what’s currently on your wantlist?

I’m a huge Beatles nerd and what’s great is that I’ve been collecting Beatles vinyl for years. I’ve always wanted to get all of the original Parlophone albums. A store that opened up here called ‘Captains Vinyl’, and I’ve gone there a few times. The owner Brian is really, really cool. He knew that the last thing I was looking for was a Parlophone copy of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. So he just Facebook-ed me on Tuesday because he just got a copy in. So he’s holding that for me, so I’ll get that next week.

I’m looking to get a Harry Nilsson ‘Pussycats’ at some point. I just got a whole bunch of really cool stuff too. I’d like to get some more solo Michael Nesmith, that’s kind of hard to find because nobody bought it when it was first made anyways, so it’s hard to find these copies now. I tend to gravitate, especially on vinyl towards older stuff. Like Beach Boys, Beatles, things like that…old BB King records, I love BB King. I’d like to get some Hank Williams Sr, I think that would be nice to have on vinyl, and some Buddy Holly. I’d like to get Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Clarity’ on vinyl. I can’t find that on vinyl at an affordable price anywhere. That is like such an expensive record to find. It’s such a great record; it’s phenomenal. They might be one of the greatest pop/rock bands of all time. Everything they put out is catchy. I need more Oasis on vinyl too, I don’t have any Oasis on vinyl.

How big is your collection?

I’d say I’ve got probably 150 to 200 records.

Outside of your local record shop, what are some other record stores that you would recommend?

There’s one called ‘In Your Ear’ in Boston. It’s downstairs from The Paradise Rock Club, which is one of the greatest places for records, they’ve always got cool stuff. There’s a place in Seattle, and I can’t remember the name of it. (Bop Street Records) It’s next door to the Tractor Tavern. You walk in a room and it’s filled with records. It’s about a 30 x 30 room and it’s just crammed with records. I remember looking through everything and asking a clerk, “I didn’t see any Beatles anywhere?”. He’s like, “Oh, it’s in the Beatles room”. They have a whole room that’s like 20 x 20 that’s just filled with Beatles records and everything is alphabetized, which is like heaven for me. I go in there and I grab all this stuff, and he’s like “Have you been to the basement?”. “No I didn’t know you had a basement”, I said. You go down to the basement and it’s like 10,000 square feet of vinyl. Just stuff everywhere. That place was mind blowing. Amoeba in LA is great, and even here in New Orleans there are some really great places. Captain’s Vinyl is fantastic and they’re brand new. Euclid is great, Peaches, Domino, The Mushroom, there’s no shortage of places here. What’s great here is that everybody seems to have like a pretty easy time finding like old Fats Domino and Lloyd Price, and all the cool old local stuff that you want to pick up. It’s pretty easy to find around here which is nice. - The Limited Press

"The Breton Sound: Sounding It Out"

The Breton Sound is making waves very quickly in the New Orleans rock scene with anthemic, catchy songs that would feel right at home on larger stages and the band seems be headed in that direction.

I sat down to talk with them at the home of guitarist/lead singer Jonathan Pretus and ask how the band formed, where they’re headed, and how they feel about playing their first Voodoo Music Experience as the Breton Sound.

The band began when Jonathan Pretus was still touring with veteran New Orleans rock band Cowboy Mouth. “The Breton Sound started in theory in 2010,” says lead singer/guitarist Jonathan Pretus, “when I was on break from Mouth tours. Stephen Turner and I would be talking about writing songs, with the idea, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to do something with it?’ Then, once I decided to leave, we thought when I got home we would pick it up in earnest. My last tour with Cowboy Mouth was in August of 2010. I stepped off the bus on a Sunday morning, got home, showered and Stephen was over by one o’clock.”

Turner and Pretus have been friends for 12 years, since both were students at LSU and had a Weezer cover band. “The almighty Tweezer” says lead guitarist Turner. “Not of Washington DC, the better Tweezer from Baton Rouge,” he adds to laughter from the rest of the guys. Turner continues, “We only had one original in Tweezer, a cult classic called ‘Emo Jam’—which was basically just us harmonizing the word Emo. I think we’ve done better than that since.” The band makes each other laugh a lot and they all laugh at this.

“Jonathan and I always talked about how us being in a band together could never work,” Turner adds. “He likes Oasis and I like Van Halen; but as we got older, we started thinking about how interesting it would be to mix our styles and see what happened.”

“I have very little hand in writing the melody and lyrics,” Turner says of his role in songwriting contributions. “Sometimes Jonathan will throw songs at me to get my take on them but I’m more along the lines of guitars and what the overall sound of the band is like. I can hear it in the songs we write together. You kind of go, ‘Oh, that’s definitely Stephen’ or, ‘That is Jonathan for sure’”

Turner mentions Eddie Van Halen as a guitar influence and it is apparent in his own playing, which can be blindingly brilliant while remaining amazingly catchy at the same time—much like that of the famed Van Halen. “I saw Eddie Van Halen play; Jonathan came with me,” says Turner. “He was standing there on stage cradling his guitar like a little baby and just … shredding your face off. But it’s not just pointless notes. You can actually feel something from it, you know? There’s people crying because of his playing … that’s why I picked up a guitar.”

Writing songs together rekindled Turner and Pretus’ friendship and creative partnership and soon the two headed into the studio with a bass player and drummer to record the band’s first release, Eudaemonia, which was produced by Better Then Ezra bassist Tom Drummond, who brought the experience of a platinum selling artist with 20-years experience on big-time rock stages. It showed in the production and the songs as both make the band sound like seasoned veterans of the arena-rock scene. “It was great because he’s a great teacher,” Pretus says of working with Drummond. “He’s not going to give you the answer and tell you what part to play, but he’s going to give all these little sweet things to try that’s gonna make all the difference.”

After the release of Eudaemonia, Turner and Pretus played an acoustic show. “It was magazine release party for a magazine that never got released,” says Turner to more laughter. “A month or two after that show we realized we needed a band,” Pretus chimes in.

The Breton Sound didn’t have to look far for a bass player. They asked Brian Pretus, Jonathan brother, to join the band. “He’s a guitarist by trade, a phenomenal guitar player,” Jonathan says of his brother’s playing. “Miles better than I am. I just can’t play bass and sing at the same time.”

I mention to Brian that his brother told me he is a far better guitar player of the two. He shrugs and says jokingly, “Oh yeah, I’m incredible” to laughter before adding, “No, we just play different stuff.

“At first I was filling in until they could find a bass player,” he continues, more seriously. “That was the initial plan because they needed some help at the time. I played guitar since I was seven years old but my first band that actually played shows, like 7th or 8th grade, they asked if I could play bass and I just wanted to be in a band so bad I said yes. I went and bought a shitty Ibanez bass and ran it through the Peavey Combo amp I was using for guitar. I pretty much played it like a guitar. When I joined this band as a bass player it took me a while to figure how to play like a bass player and not just play power chords on the bass the whole time ‘cause I like the way it feels.”

Jonathan picks up the story here: “Once Brian joined, we went back into the studio with a different drummer and Tom Drummond producing again to record Maps.”

Pretus recalls how working with Drummond helped his brother Brian in the studio. “It was great because as Brian was sitting there working on his parts and Tom could say, ‘Try this one little sprinkle thing that will make it sound like a bass part and not a guitar player playing bass.’ And he’d try this one little thing and it would make all the difference. We watched Brian take that same idea and apply it to other things and all of a sudden we watched Brian turn into a bass player.”

The band has benefited by working with two popular New Orleans bands from the ’90s: the platinum-selling Better Then Ezra (which you can hear in their records and music) but also by the work ethic and connections Pretus picked up from his time on the road with Cowboy Mouth, a band which did not enjoy the same success in record sales as Better than Ezra but has remained a steady touring band since 1992.

Determined to take Breton Sound on the road, Pretus lined up their first Midwest tour this spring, when they played 10 dates (including Milwaukee’s prestigious Summer Fest, which Pretus had played with Cowboy Mouth) in 12 days.

Drummond was instrumental in getting them opening dates on the road with his band Better Then Ezra recently, during which they were joined by what the band is hoping will be a permanent drummer in John Bourgeois, who has been with them for two months now.

“I play in a ska/reggae band with Brian called Dead Legends,” Bourgeois says. “We’ve known each other for like 10 years.” The chemistry of these lasting friendships is apparent in the music and camaraderie that is genuine and filled with mutual respect.

“I played my first show with the band at House Of Blues Rock 92.3 NOLA Rock show,” adds Bourgeois. “It was really rocking. Kicked some ass. The following week, we played with Better Than Ezra in Texas. That was cool.”

“After our set with them in Dallas,” Jonathan Pretus adds, “Brian and I were up in the balcony watching Ezra and he turned to me and said, ‘Dude, this is surreal. You know I grew up listening to these guys and here we are playing a show with them at House Of Blues.’ It was crazy. It was nice ‘cause Ezra has always had a great track record of trying to help bands they record and work with, so we hope to play more dates with them.”

Turner took part in the interview via cell phone from Texas, where he was working. At this point in the interview, we heard screeching tires and clanging glass over the phone. Jonathan asks, “Hey man, we heard a noise, you alright?”

“Yeah, I just had to slam on the brakes and my bottle of scotch flew off the seat,” Turner replies. The rest of the band in New Orleans laughs hard at this point as Pretus adds, “Put that in the interview, please!”

Voodoo Music Experience is the next big show for Breton Sound and they are excited.

“It’s my first time playing Voodoo and it’s awesome,” says Turner. “Being able to say ‘I played two hours before Nine Inch Nails.’ I’m gonna freak out that day.”

Brian Pretus adds, “I actually played Voodoo when I was still in high school with this other guy’s band. But that’s all it was. It didn’t mean as much; it was cool and all but it’s way more fun to be playing in a band where I have creative input and am friends with the band.”

“I played Voodoo before, with Fatter Than Albert,” Bourgeois says. “I was with them for a handful of years. I remember packing my stuff and heading over to see Rage against the Machine. There were, I don’t know, 6,000 people and you couldn’t get close to the stage. But it was still loud and clear, man. Rage Against The Machine, one of the most epic alternative rock bands ever. It was just awesome.”

“It’s really exciting to be playing Voodoo,” Jonathan Pretus says, “because the last time I played, it was 2009 with Cowboy Mouth and … when we started Breton Sound, we set some different goals to say, ‘This is how we know we’re making progress.” And this is definitely one of them. So it’s nice to hit that goal and Jazz Fest in the same year.”

Brian adds a favorite Voodoo memory: “Let’s just say for the record I got really drunk and waited all day to see Weezer. Didn’t care about anything in the world except watching Weezer. I met all these weird dudes around me that I would never normally be friends with and we became best friends for the day. As soon as Weezer started I got so pumped that I took everything in my pockets—my cell phone, my wallet, all of my money—and just threw it all in the air as high as I could and never saw any of it again. I had the best time of my life.”

“I hate to be the guy who’s like, ‘The first one was the best,’” Jonathan then counters. “But the first Voodoo was so great. It was in Tad Gormley Stadium; there was a stage on each end, so you literally had like five minutes between each band. And it rained that morning so crowds were light. I remember walking in and one of the first bands of the day was Marvelous Three—showmanship like I’ve never seen, just blew my mind.

“Playing in bands I had been just a musician,” he continues, “but watching these guys who were visually just so good; I mean, they were all over the place. The songs were all so catchy; I was like, ‘Holy shit, this is incredible!’ And an hour later Ben Folds Five played and that was one of their last shows and it was incredible. The whole day was just this feast of amazing music: Wycliff [Jean] played, Third Eye Blind. And there was a surprise set and it was … Dr. John! I couldn’t believe it. I was like 18 at the time and I just thought, ‘This is an amazing experience.’”

Friends who rock together, write together and make each other laugh are the heart of what makes for great rock n’ roll bands. The Breton Sound is well on their way to being one that a lot of people will be rocking along to in the near future. - Offbeat Magazine

"" - Ladies & Gentlemen, The Breton Sound!""


Of course, in 20 years change is gonna come and we’ve seen rock radio die and Emo kids wanting to be vampires take over what’s left of the airwaves. Besides a select few bands out there, the music world we live in is scary sort. Seriously, Bruno Mars should go outside and catch a grenade, Wayne should pull up his pants, Nickleback should leave the dime bags alone, and if I hear “Firework” from Katy Perry one more time I just might step in front of some this holiday season. Where have all the rock bands gone?

The Breton Sound, a fun loving and bombastic quartet has recently released their debut EP “Eudaemonia” and have set their sites on changing the landscape of popular rock. Their four song EP is a combination of unique layers and sounds, catalytic hooks, and masterfully rad syncopation.

Founded by long-time friends Jonathan Pretus /1/ and Stephen Turner /2/, The Breton Sound’s, umm sound, is lush and sophisticated, driven to the edge, and their rhythm reflects OCD drive for perfection. Every little detail is present and accounted for, all the while showing off their collaborative effort with long-time Better Than Ezra bassist & producer, Tom Drummond. Rounding out the quartet are : Chris Arceneaux /4/ on drums, and Brian Pretus /3/ on bass/vox.

My favorite track as of right now is “Crisis Or Carnival”. It’s a rockin’ ass tune that you should download and listen for yourself. -

""Where Y'at Magazine - Ones To Watch""

The Factory is a cavern, really, with concrete floors and glass panes punched out of the front window. Long ago, a congressman launched his campaign for governor here. Now it’s October 2010, on a weirdly frosty night, and a local guitarist is about to make a transition of his own.

Jonathan Pretus has reunited with Stephen Turner, and they’re about to play their first gig as The Breton Sound.

Jonathan had recently left Cowboy Mouth, an indie band that’s opened for Kid Rock and played to audiences 80,000 strong across the South. Between tours, Jonathan returned to his native New Orleans (and to photographer wife Julia); here, he found himself spontaneously jamming with Stephen, a tWeezer bandmate from their college days.

“Some other bands would mock us for playing covers,” says Jonathan. “Until one day, Stephen played a little Van Halen for them. That shut them up.”

The Factory is half-lit, and someone is pouring drinks at a makeshift bar. Local craftspeople are setting up corner displays of jewelry and soaps, giving off a street festival vibe. The warm-up act is a deejay whose spinning will be the loudest jam of the night.

While Jonathan toured with Cowboy Mouth, Turner played with a progressive rock band in Baton Rouge. “We had an ambient sound; real brainy, intricate stuff,” says Stephen. “But it took us six months to write a song, and we got into fights. It broke us up.”

Jonathan was weighing his own musical split. “I could’ve stayed and played someone else’s music, but I was burned out,” he says. In August 2010, after an all-night ride from Georgia, Jonathan stepped off the Cowboy Mouth tour bus for the last time. He dragged out his gear and went home.

By 1 p.m., Turner was at the house and ready to write music. “I had a lot of trepidation leaving the band,” Jonathan says, “but being able to jump right back in was definitely a soothing factor.”

There is no stage at The Factory. Jonathan and Stephen, armed with two acoustic guitars and four original songs, will play to the swarming crowd at eye level. As friends and fans arrive, Jonathan slips outside for a smoke, wondering if he’s ready. He is, as he says later, “scared shitless.”

It’s been years since Jonathan has had to distribute his own music (he got his start selling hand-pressed CDs from the back of a van).

The Breton Sound strategy is “a throwback, to the way it was in the 1960s,” says Jonathan. Those days, rock classics like “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” were released as a single, never appearing on a Beatles LP.

“We’re [also] single-driven,” Jonathan says. “When you continuously put out singles, it keeps you relevant and creative. We’re releasing them all without shame, one at a time, so they all get heard.”

In September 2011, The Breton Sound dropped four singles making up their EP, “Eudaemonia” (a word that conjures up finding happiness where you are).

Each week, fans downloaded one track for free, before it went behind a 99-cent paywall. The band relied on social media to get the word out and the tracks passed. “It seemed to generate a nice weekly buzz for us,” Jonathan says. “We’ll continue to put music out in different ways like that. That’s the fun thing about the music industry right now—no one knows what’s coming next.”

The deejay is fading out. Jonathan tunes his rhythm guitar; Stephen is on lead. There are no microphones, nothing to stand behind, and the crowd pushes forward as they start to play. Backed against the wall, Jonathan and Stephen can’t sense what is about to happen.

The Breton Sound entered Fudge Recording Studios on Magazine Street in spring 2011, with Jonathan turning to longtime mentor Tom Drummond (of Better Than Ezra) to produce “Eudaemonia”.
Tom got all the players deeply involved, even letting Stephen direct the bass parts. “It made me want to produce a sound,” Stephen says.

To capture that “grit and feel” in the studio, Jonathan lays down the - Where Y'at Magazine

""Where Y'at Magazine - Eudaemonia - Review""

This four-track debut from The Breton Sound (led by veteran guitarists Jonathan Pretus and Stephen Turner) flies under the banner of longing: how we express ambition, or tame it entirely. (Their title, Eudaemonia, suggests that happiness can be a constant state of mind.)

The introspective “No More Worries,” written when Jonathan was 18, is about accepting where you are: “The crutch was kicked from under me and I refuse to break my fall,” he sings (Stephen co-wrote the harmonies). The reverb at the song’s end channels Nirvana, who made meditative rock hot again, and is a metaphor for the feedback that musicians – and friends - need to thrive.

Rock anthem “Crisis or Carnival” (taking its title from a 2009 outburst by Saints coach Sean Payton) is “about the insanity of a greater plan,” says Jonathan, who drives the pace with his rhythm guitar, racing up and down the chords.

The song also showcases Stephen’s muscular lead riffs, referencing vintage Eddie Van Halen.

Soaring harmonies mark “Sunshine and Ragtime, Part 2” and predict an ultimate payoff: “Sing me slowly to the hall of fame.” Its cheeky, carnival sound collage is a nod to New Orleans’ neo-vaudeville scene.

With clean chord changes, “Lines” hints at Better Than Ezra ballads (BTE’s Tom Drummond also produced Eudaemonia), and the vow to stand “on my own” is tempered by an emotional confession to being “overcome.” Relief comes from Stephen’s beautiful Spanish guitar, before dissolving to a quiet end. - Where Y'at Magazine

"" - Eudaemonia - Review""

Just a little over a year ago, local axeman Jonathan Pretus stepped off the Cowboy Mouth tour bus for the last time after frantically traveling the country with the over-the-top southern rockers since 2007. The decision came after Pretus reunited with his college buddy and former bandmate Stephen Turner for a few months of clandestine jam sessions, sessions he found more musically rewarding than the time he spent on the road. Almost immediately, Pretus and Turner began the process of writing and refining the songs that would become Eudaemonia, both men’s return to original, collaborative songwriting.

The album operates ostensibly and most obviously as The Breton Sound‘s attempt to perfect a studio fidelity seemingly out of the reach of your average under-budgeted local band – and overwhelmingly, Pretus and Turner succeed in their goal. Through the one-two power pop punch of “No More Worries” and “Crisis or Carnival” – rife with multi-layered acoustic and electric guitars, revelrous vocal harmonies and shimmering stereo percussion – producer Tom Drummond comes about as close to perfecting that trademark Mark Trombino touch as anyone in the last decade, and the swirling instrumental fireworks that swell effortlessly from the songs’ softer, more metered passages show off an impressive dynamism that harkens back to Hoist-and-Rift-era Phish.

The album’s power-pop exterior continually belies an entire host of disparate influences, with odes to aggro-punk, modern AOR rock, and heavy metal. The EP’s longest track, “Lines” – which clocks in at almost 8 minutes – finds Pretus guiding the listener through a series of progressive piano-planted suites threaded over a nimble Built To Spill guitar backdrop before Turner and bassist Jason Navo join in for a spellbinding, anthematic Superdrag-meets-Porcupine Tree apogee.

Through it all, the diverse set of songs on Eudaemonia are lush and refreshing departures from the trendy dependence on lo-fi sonic artifacts to provide a particular piece of music all it’s tension and intrigue; and earnest and considerate songwriting prevent this slickly produced EP from suffering the opposite fate of being weighed down by studio gloss. - Barryfest

""Offbeat Magazine - Eudaemonia - Review""

You could accuse the Breton Sound of creating awfully high expectations for itself if you assume that the pop/rock music audience knows its Aristotle. Eudaemonia was his term for the highest human good, but more people will likely learn that as I did (by Googling it), so the album title signals little more than these guys don’t feel obliged to dumb things down. They certainly don’t feel an obligation to keep it tight; on two of the EP’s four songs, the tracks are six minutes long or longer. “No More Worries” and “Lines” don’t seem baggy, though. The surplus of pop ideas that bounce around through the former are united in a “Champagne Supernova”-like instrumental conclusion centered on Stephen Turner’s lead guitar melody. “Lines” has a prog vibe for me cued partially by the number of distinct sections in the song and partially by Jonathan Pretus’ vocal, which echoes Phil Collins circa Trick of the Tail-era Genesis.

The ghost of Oasis makes its presence felt on occasions, more in the band’s clear love of melodic pop/rock songs and big rock ’n’ roll guitars than in a self-conscious Anglophilia. The band makes immediately accessible music that’s designed to be the catalyst of a big crowd experience, even though the Breton Sound have played few gigs so far. Still, the shorter “Crisis or Carnival” and “Sunshine & Ragtime Pt. 2” would have benefited from more careful think-throughs. The first, like the EP title, has a whiff of cleverness that takes the edge off an otherwise punchy track, while the latter uses the very familiar “bore us/chorus” rhyme, resolving verses with a lyrical commonplace.

It’s evident throughout Eudaemonia that Pretus and Turner have ideas to spare; it will be interesting to see if that means they’ll continue to write stuffed and sprawling songs, or if they’ll deploy their ideas more judiciously in the future. Both possibilities have promise. - OffBeat Magazine


May 2015 - Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Roll, Vol 1

  • Rivers Cuomo
  • Illuminate
  • Walking Backwards
  • Love You More
  • Stitches

April 2013 - Maps
  • Standing On The Edge Of The World
  • No Way Out
  • Interludacris
  • Brighter Than The Sun
  • Hollywood Vampires

Oct 2011 - Eudaemonia EP
  • No More Worries
  • Crisis Or Carnival
  • Sunshine & Ragtime Pt 2
  • Lines



In an age where EDM, mindless pop, hip-hop, country, and indie music are ruling the airwaves & bandwith, it’s easy to believe when the talking heads say rock music is dead. This band disagrees.

Since 2010, New Orleans natives The Breton Sound have been proving them wrong with their brand of energetic, melodic, and anthemic rock and roll. The band’s co-founders, singer/guitarist Jonathan Pretus (formerly of Cowboy Mouth) and guitarist Stephen Turner, have helmed the release of their first two EP’s, 2011’s “Eudaemonia,” and 2013’s “Maps,” to rave reviews. Upon the release of “Maps,” PASTE Magazine hailed them as one of “12 Louisiana Bands You Should Listen To.”
The Breton Sound (2015 Best Emerging Band nominee at the Big Easy Awards)
has toured throughout the southeast and mid-west, including stops at such major festivals as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Milwaukee Summerfest, the Voodoo Experience.

The band’s rhythm section, consisting of twin brothers John and Joe Bourgeois, are no strangers to the road. John came up in the regionally popular ska band Fatter Than Albert, while Joe honed his chops touring the country in NOLA-based indie band MyNameIsJohnMichael.

But it all comes back to rock and roll for The Breton Sound. It’s more than clear on the band’s upcoming 2 EP project, “Don’t Be Afraid of Rock and Roll,” that these guys grew up on big, loud guitars calling to mind Oasis or Foo Fighters, soaring melodies and harmonies not far removed from old-school Weezer or Jimmy Eat World, and a little bit of face-melting guitar. Pretus’ vocal melodies and hook-filled choruses reach for the back of the arenas, then step away for Turner (who did time in the critically acclaimed instrumental-prog band Epic) to take over with solos that sound like Muse if they’d grown up listening to Van Halen. Joe Bourgeois’ bass moves aggressively and melodically, but with an economy that is the hallmark of a great bassist, while brother John provides an unstoppable foundation for each song, never sacrificing the feel while pulling out a fill that makes the listener rewind and wonder how he played that.

The upcoming EPs will be produced by Tom Drummond (bassist for multi-platinum New Orleans rockers Better Than Ezra), producer of the band’s first two records. Their enduring partnership is a testament to the music the band is bringing to the table, and as Drummond has noted, these are the best songs the band has brought to the table yet.

With the release of “Don’t Be Afraid of Rock and Roll,” The Breton Sound continues to wave the flag high for rock music and show themselves as a band who’ll keep continuing to climb.

Band Members