Scottish alternative-rock group Broken Records have been busy touring in support of their third album Weights & Pulleys. In a new interview, A Music Blog, Yea? caught up with the band to discuss having fun in the studio, settling on album titles, bands from Edinburgh, and planning a Christmas single. Enjoy!
AMBY: Hey Broken Records, cheers for speaking with us today. What’s the band been up to lately?
Broken Records: The work around the album release has still been keeping us fairly busy, and we’ve been working on some plans for further releases.
AMBY: How would you describe each member of Broken Records in one word?
Broken Records: Jamie – “Forthright”, Rory – “Exuberant”, Craig – “Late”, Ian – “Beardy”, Andy – “Andy”, Gill – “Unflappable”, Stephen – “Impressionable”
AMBY: Congrats on the recent release of your third album Weights & Pulleys! What’s your favorite memory from the writing or recording process?
Broken Records: Thanks! Although I think we enjoy the recording process it’s not without frustrations, setbacks and vast amounts of time sitting around doing nothing but waiting. My favourite times in the recording process are often towards the end when things start to come together. When a part gets added and all of a sudden it just makes the song.
It’s really fun getting other people in to help out too, and the brass and string sessions we had were great. The ridiculous Clarence Clemons style sax solo at the end of I Won’t Leave You In The Dark was improvised in one take and put down for fun right at the very end of the day. We all loved it but weren’t sure we had the nerve to keep it in. Fortunately when Tony Doogan got his hands on it to mix he made sure it stayed, and it’s one of my favourite moments on the album!
AMBY: What’s the significance behind the title Weights & Pulleys?
Broken Records: We’re really bad at settling on song and album titles, and it often takes a print deadline to force us into a decision, so you shouldn’t necessarily read a lot into names! But a lot of big life changes happened to people in the band during the time we’ve been away making the record There’ve been weddings, babies and some sort of settling down to family life, but there was also the deaths and serious illnesses of family members and close friends going on at the same time too.
Jamie’s described the lyrics from the title track as being a way to get things off his chest because it was recorded while a family member was seriously ill. We then liked it as a title because it seemed to sum up the rest of the album. We made it while some difficult things were going on in our lives, but there was also a lot of really great stuff happening too, and I guess it’s reflected in the music. There are some dark moments in there but I think there’s a really uplifting feel overall. So I suppose in a way the title is about looking to the good things that are happening to lift the burden when times are bad.
AMBY: This new album features beautiful vocals, lush strings, and sophisticated piano. Who were your biggest influences when it came to this record?
Broken Records: It’s the usual mixed bag and everyone brings their own influences to the arrangements, but early REM and the Replacements have been a constant. Certain tracks have some clear references. Winterless Son has a little bit of The Boss to it, and I Won’t Leave You In The Dark is kind of our take on 1950’s and early 1960’s pop like Roy Orbison or the Everly Brothers. Other tracks had certain influences behind them when they began but then turned out quite far removed. All Else Can Just Wait had a hint of Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream when it started as looped 2 chord synth drone, but gradually got more organic with harmonium and piano layered on top.
AMBY: Which other artists from Edinburgh should we keep our eyes on?
Broken Records: The new Withered Hand album New Gods (also made with Tony Doogan behind the desk) is great so always keep an eye out for Dan if he’s playing near you. Bastard Mountain also released an excellent album this year (we’re biased), but you may already have missed them. It’s a collaborative project between members or Meursault, Sparrow & The Workshop, eagleowl, James Yorkston & The Athletes, and our very own Rory, but I don’t know if there are plans for any further shows or releases.
AMBY: If you could be a fly on the wall at any given time or event, where would you want to be?
Broken Records: The 1956 Sun Studios Million Dollar Quartet sessions with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Banter.
AMBY: Lastly, tell us something about Broken Records that nobody knows yet
Broken Records: We’re planning a Christmas single. With sleigh bells and everything.
Thank you Broken Records, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout