INTERVIEW: The Broken Stems

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks a lot for having us! We’re just coming down from an awesome show at the House of Blues San Diego, and have 5 more shows lined up to fill out this month. So we have been staying really busy…but that’s the way we like it.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Hear You Calling”?

Yeah, “Hear You Calling” is the first single we’re releasing off of our new upcoming album “What Are You Connected.” The song opens with a conflict, the fight of good and evil within all of us. It really stands as an affirmation that we are listening to a higher power, accepting that there is knowledge and strength in belief. In the beginning it’s like you’re listening to the voice in your head and despite all the fear and ambiguity you’re able find calmness in your heart. The entire album cohesively is a message about constant growth and being the best version of yourself. We felt this song was a great one to release first as it really holds that message. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Well, I heard the slow and steady back and forth strumming of the guitar in a powerful open E chord in a dream. “In my dream, I was in a large, open space with no one around. I was alone, but I felt like there was some sort of energy and love surrounding me, keeping me safe, and I could just hear this strumming echoing and growing in the distance.  I remember waking up abruptly and being deeply moved by the sound. I said out loud…I hear you, I hear you calling. Picked up my guitar and began to write the intro…the rest came after toying with it for a few months and I showed it to the band” – Jesse Gawlik, Singer/Guitarist 

How was the film experience?

The film experience was a wild one, we actually filmed the entire video in one day 5 am to sundown. The crew of 6 of us had never shot a video together before and it really came together seamlessly, despite some bumps along the way… like getting the tour bus stuck in a sand drift in the desert or Andrew forgetting his drumsticks an hour away! Overall, it was a very magical experience and we couldn’t be more amazed at the final product Eric Ward put together. He really did a phenomenal job, and with the direction and talent from Shannon Mary Dixon, the two of them really took our concept and made it a reality. 

The single comes off your new album What Are You Connected – what’s the story behind the title?

 After one of our practices, Andrew (drummer) had this saying in his head, What Are You Connected, no period, no question mark, just the sentence. We really liked the power that brings, because it kind of makes you confused in way that requires you to figure out what it means for yourself. It really applies to the world we’re in right now. People are connected to every thing all at once all the time. The Internet, cell phones, text messages, work, the newest consumer products, cars, sports, and the list goes on. Not that there is anything wrong with those connections, it’s just that sometimes you need to release yourself from all of that, maybe even just for 15 minutes to realign and connect to yourself again. For some this message will come easily, some it will pass right by, but for others it could begin their path to being more connected to themselves. 

How was the recording and writing process?

Everything was DIY from our own house actually. We recorded either in our garage (also our practice studio), in the closet, or in the living room. Brad (keyboards and backup vocals) produced the album and was able to capture our sounds in some interesting ways. 

“Doing it all in-house opened up a lot more freedom for us to really let the hours, roll into days and then months while we honed in the exact sound we wanted for each song.” –Brad Sweet

We were also very blessed to have our good friend and roommate Mike Ault add his mixing and mastering wizardry to create an amazing final product. A lot of bands know that recording can be a somewhat trying journey, especially when you’re doing it yourselves, but we really bonded and grew through it. It was a really worthwhile experience that truly represents that time in our lives making that music.

Does California plays a role in your music?

Yes, and San Diego specifically is a scene of it’s own. It’s really a growing music culture here with some phenomenal bands. It’s different than what you get out of LA and it’s a combination of community that exists out of the beach areas and the reggae-rock past that really blew up from this area. The band as a whole are transplants to San Diego though so we have a mix of mid-west with Jesse from Minnesota and Brad from Chicago along with Chelsea who is from Sacramento and Andrew from Vermont. 

What aspects of love did you get to explore with this album?

This album is all about love in every form. Especially love for yourself. With media being so prevalent, it is easy to project an image of yourself or an image of what others think about you. The love you have for yourself is mirrored by the love you are capable of having for others. When you remove judgment and negativity from your life and open yourself to loving everything that surrounds you, anything is possible…anything. 

Any plans to hit the road?

Absolutely! Right now we balance our daily lives with the band and all it requires. We are booking up shows, mostly on the weekends, all up the coast of California and making our way to some adjacent states when it makes sense.  We are currently planning our “What Are You Connected” tour upon the full release of the album and will be hitting Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and more…exact dates are TBD. 

What else is happening next in The Broken Stems’ world?

We are going to be making another music video, releasing two more singles and then releasing the album early fall. Our message is spreading from San Diego and we can’t wait to put the rest of it out there. Since the album is done we’re writing a follow-up to that album and have about 10 new songs that are ready, constantly writing, constantly recording, constantly growing…and lots more shows!

Broken Stems

Jesse Gawlik – Lead Singer & Guitarist

Brad Sweet – Back Up Vocals & Piano / Keyboard

Chelsea Baker – Back Up Vocals & Bassist

Andrew Bache – Drummer 


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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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