Monday, 18 March 2013

Interview: Broken Links

Ways To Leave A Scene...

“There’s uplifting aspects in the video’s, there’s dark moody aspects, but ultimately we follow the golden rule, that someone always dies at the end, rather than use the old cliché that all ends well.”

With their début album, 'Disasters: How To Leave A Scene', Eastleigh's own Broken Links are fast making a name for themselves in the alternative underground. With a sound that combines gritty rock with post punk and industrial elements, referencing the likes of Killing Joke and The Chameleons through to the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and even Massive Attack.
The band's diverse sound has seen them supporting a wide range of acts in the UK as well as Germany, and seen them compared to the likes of Interpol, The Horrors and Editors in terms of commercial potential. We caught up with vocalist/guitarist Mark Lawrence to have a chat about the journey so far and the band's next step.

Intravenous Magazine: Your début album, 'Disasters: How To Leave A Scene', was released in November. What has the reaction been like to it so far?
Mark Lawrence: It’s been really good, we’ve had a large amount of good reviews, some high ratings, and some great feedback from our fans. What we really like is that although we have our influences, it’s been said that we combine them well & have actually come out with a sound that’s unique at the moment.

IVM: The songs on the album have a very broad in their range in terms of influences exploring indie, new wave, industrial and more, and will therefore appeal to fans of many different genres. Is this a style you have consciously strived for or has it grown more organically?
ML: It’s definitely grown organically and naturally. Over the years I’ve been obsessed with a number of bands, starting with Metallica, then NIN, then other bands such as Embrace, U2, Feeder etc..I guessed my mind has naturally picked out the bits I liked most from every band I’ve listened to and incorporated them into our songs.

IVM: The album collects together a wealth of material from your independently released EPs. How did you approach deciding what to include and re-working them for the new album?
ML: We just really picked all the songs we thought defined us for the album, and at the same time, ensured that we were picking our best songs. It was mainly our earlier songs that didn’t make it onto the album, as when we first started our style was very raw and a little “stoner”, but we started to develop into a more electro’y type act. ‘What Are You Addicted To?’ was a song we always played live but had never been recorded for our previous EPs, so we wanted to get that onto the album so the album would at least have one fresh song for our die-hard fans.

IVM: Were there any instances where you've felt inclined to really mix things up in terms of restructuring the songs?
ML: Not really. What we mainly wanted to do was make all of the songs straight to the point. The songs on the EPs were very long, so instead of making everything musical and epic, Chris Coulter (producer) sat down with all our songs, and just trimmed the fat. I think they’re a much more enjoyable listening experience now... and it means we can squeeze in more songs into our live sets!!!

IVM: The album was released on new label Devil Theory Records. How did the partnership come about?
ML: The guys from the label approached us at one of our London gigs and asked if we were interested in being associated with a label, which didn’t really matter to us, but we’ve basically been given a free reign to do what we want. It works really well, it’s a DIY indie label, and we’re very much DIY. Nothing has really changed for us, other than our album has been released with the ‘Devil Theory’ brand associated with it, which helps certain aspects. The guys at the label help us out with PR & Bookings too.

IVM: The album's title is very evocative. What are the underlying themes and ideas explored on the album?
ML: The album is really about life’s ‘disasters’, it’s all about ‘growing pains’, the breakdown of relationships, a bit of self loathing is in there for good measure.

IVM: So far you've released music videos for the tracks 'We're All Paranoid' and 'Within Isolation', which both deal with traumatic situations. How important is it for you to present this visual aspect of the album?
ML: Emotion is a big aspect of our music. We like the music to be dark and moody as possible, but at the same time, uplifting. With this much going into the songs it would seem wrong to not do this for the videos as well. There’s uplifting aspects in the video’s, there’s dark moody aspects, but ultimately we follow the golden rule, that someone always dies at the end, rather than use the old cliché that all ends well. Ultimately, the video is going to provide the image for our song, therefore its highly important that the video is relevant and has the same emotion as the music, luckily every production company we’ve worked with have been amazing and we’ve had some great videos made.

IVM: The singles that the videos accompanied were also released through your bandcamp page for free. Is this a trend that you would like to continue?
ML: Yeah, we really did that to build up a bit of anticipation for the release of the album, but it made perfect sense to release the singles for free, and for the videos we had. We’ll definitely be doing it again, with the state the music industry is in it doesn’t seem right to charge large sums for music anymore, which is why we give the album away at our gigs, as a sort of thank you for paying to watch us.

IVM: Are there plans for any more videos for the album?
ML: No, not unless an offer comes in to film one for next to nothing. At the moment all our focus and money is going on the recording of the second album. Then there should be some new videos for the new tracks around about then.

IVM: You completed a UK tour in November as well. How did you find that and were there any memorable experiences you'd like to share?
ML: Liverpool was fantastic, we’ve got some great fans up there, and the two support acts we played with were great, The Possibles, and Bombshock. We also had a really good night in London at the Rattlesnake, we played the best we’ve played in ages there. I also had my first ever KFC Twister meal at a motorway services just outside of Liverpool!

IVM: Previously you've played shows in Germany and Italy. How have your experiences of Europe been so far, and how do they compare to the UK?
ML: The European crowd perhaps appreciate us a bit more than the UK due to our industrial moody sound. The UK is mainly focused around pop, it’s all that’s ever on the TV. That’s not of course true when we play shows to our fans, but it’s true when we play gigs to a new crowd, some people ‘get us’, but most don’t. We are a god awful noise.

IVM: Are any more European gigs on the cards for the band in 2013?
ML: We’re actually playing Berlin, Chemnitz, and Liege in two weeks time. Hopefully we’ll be back over there again before the end of the year!

IVM: Finally, you're also already working on your second album. What details can you give us about that at the moment?
ML: Not much to say just yet, only that six songs have already been recorded. It’s certainly not a “difficult second album”, we’re churning out the tracks, I think it’s a lot more experimental this time round.

Broken Links' début album 'Disaster: Ways To Leave A Scene' is available now via Devil Theory Records, while the bands previous EPs are available on their bandcamp page. For more information on Broken Links please visit their official website.

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