INTERVIEW: Broken Links

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

Hi VENTS! We’re all good, in all honesty we’re just massively relieved right now to be finally releasing our third album! It’s been a long time in the making, about 4/5 years. The songs have been floating around for a while, but it’s really because we decided to record, mix, and master it ourselves that’s eaten up the time. The fact that we’re perfectionists made the whole process a bit more painful!

We’re just really looking forward to hearing people’s reactions to the album. It’s great to be back!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pioneers”?

‘Pioneers’ is a song about all the people out there that truly believe in something and are bravely defiant, continually fighting till what they believe in is accepted by society. These people are paving a better future for us all.

We’re not just talking about a small group of people throughout history doing this in a big way, we’re talking about EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. We all have our own challenges and problems we’re trying to conquer, some in public and some in private. With perseverance, hard work, and/or bravery we all can succeed.

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

The song spawned from slightly selfish roots in all honesty, there was a level of frustration in the band after the release of our second album. It’s very hard being a band at a particular level!

We often felt at the very bottom of the artistic food chain. It costs a lot of money to run a band, with studios, PR, videos, photos, distributors all costing a sizeable chunk for their artistic wizardry, but when it comes to people wanting to use our band’s music, they don’t want to pay! The biggest example of this is Spotify! You shits…. you absolutely essential, shits.

To add to this, we had been self-promoting the band non-stop, always searching for the next action we had to take to make the band move up another level and then constantly fire-fighting to reach that point.  Doing that for so many years, and to be heard by so few becomes a bit tiring and soul destroying. In short, we burnt ourselves out. It’s that old cliché, we’re just one band in a million trying to get noticed.

This all lead to a change of mindset for the band. We had a bit of a break, and importantly, we began to stop caring and decided we were going to write exactly what we wanted to write about for this new album. Writing safe stuff was out the window, and we were going to do it on a DIY shoestring budget.

I really wanted to write a song about this change as it was very raw and real for us. There was a battle we were going through and we were going to persevere, though more than likely will never be heard, but at least everything was always on our own terms. That’s when I started thinking a bit more outside-the-box with the idea and realised, well everyone is going through this some way or another, pull your head out of your own arse!

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

We had ideas of doing something similar to ‘November Rain’ but the ‘shoestring budget’ criteria and COVID kind of stuffed that idea right up!

Making the video smack-bang in the middle of a lockdown didn’t leave many options! So, we have to confess, we cheated here. We ended up using an online music video generator service to put together the video. We’re really pleased with the results though!

The video is built up from stock footage and you can add in your own video clips if needed. So, we all got our partners to film us stood by a wall in each our houses and slapped them in here and there.

It was all done on Black Friday, so the video only cost about £9! Now THAT’S a bargain!

Despite the limitations I think it’s a very apt video for the song, showing groups of people going about their day, with a few struggles here and there.

Keep an eye-out for our future videos though, as some are going to be a bit more off-the-wall and made completely by us, to keep with the shoestring budget/DIY theme!

The single comes off your new album Conflict::States – what’s the story behind the title?

In reality, they’re just two words I picked that I think looked cool together but at least half relevant to the themes in the album. I think there’s a clear theme of conflict throughout the album, whether its conflict between people/races/religions/countries/the planet/political parties, or just between myself and other people. ‘States’ is an attempt to scope the conflict to a larger area, group, or a collection of countries.

When this album was being written there was a hell of a lot going on regarding Brexit, terrorism, and total idiots being in control of the big red button, so that whole period of time has been captured in this album.

Also, worth mentioning, I’m a software engineer by trade, so any other software engineers out there will see from this album and our previous works that I like to ‘geek’ it up a bit and introduce some software development terminology and coding syntax into our album and song titles here and there!

How was the recording and writing process?

100% Torture – Having the shoestring budget for the recording of the album immediately meant we weren’t going to go to a studio this time round. This was purely down to the sad fact that we’d never make any of the money back, so we aren’t going to spend any!

None of us had actually recorded an album before, so this half explains why it took us so long to put the album together. There was some skilling up involved, a hell of a lot of trial and error, and hours upon hours of trying out various plugins and playing around with them and finding the right sound. I reckon we must have mixed and mastered the album 15 times in total to get it to how it sounds now. The first mix was total garbage!

I think it will be evident that the quality of production will not be as good as any of our previous releases. All the guys we’ve previously worked with did an amazing job. However, we were kind of hoping the poorness in production on this new one might give off a general mood that matches the bleakness of songs. I do think there’s a certain feel to it, but its probably more a case of, we would have liked it more polished, but we couldn’t actually do it!

Having recorded it ourselves though, we know a few trade secrets about the album. Like the drums aren’t strictly real, and nor are the guitar amps used!

How has Manic Street Preachers and Depeche Mode influenced your writing?

I listened to a hell of a lot of these guys in my teenage years so their style is very much engrained in my brain. ‘A Design for Life’ was released when I was 12 or summin’, so I bought ‘Everything Must Go’ and bloody loved it, so then I started digging into their back catalog and bought ‘The Holy Bible’, which soon became my favourite album of all time.

Now you know this, you can probably fit two & two together, I like music with a more genuine, sinister, darker side. ‘The Holy Bible’ is a very genuine and harrowing album, shrouded with a mysterious edge due to the disappearance of Richey Edwards. It was the first time I heard anything like it in my teenage years. The lo-fi production of the album adds to the overall edge and feel, and the lyrics touch on some pretty intimate views and issues, which I never heard anyone sing about before. I think this influence is in our new album, I feel on a personal level, for this new album I’ve been more honest than before with the lyrics, just because we’ve reached the point where we don’t care, getting signed and making something of the band isn’t important anymore. We’re just writing about what we want to, if people hate the album, then fine. So, this is a massively selfish album! We’ve done it totally for ourselves and for that reason its probably my favourite of all our albums.

The Depeche Mode influence is much the same thing. I first heard of them as a teenager watching MTV around when Ultra was released. I watched the video for ‘Barrel of a Gun’, and it blew my mind. Again, very dark, atmospheric music, but this time mainly synthesizer driven. Before this point I was mainly listening to guitar-based music, DJs and electronic bands to me back then wasn’t real music, but after getting into Depeche Mode my views soon changed!

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

This album is a bit of a sign of the times. I’ve chosen to write about a few things; things that piss me off, the impending doom that exists throughout the world, and things that I’m starting to realise about society now that I’m approaching a wiser age!

There too much shit going on in the world, terrorist attacks, idiots running countries, inept governments, wars, climate change…the list goes on. I’ve written mainly about these topics on the new album, it has been the main driver to finish the album and get it released ASAP, so that it’s still relevant. In a couple of years, who knows, we might be living in a different kind of world!

I don’t like to think of it being a political album, as I can’t stand politics, but I am writing about those sorts of things. I think I’m writing from a viewpoint that’s more, how long have each of us actually got left to live? Shouldn’t we all be spending more time making the most of that time living life, rather than causing harm to others, getting wrapped up in our own ego’s, going through wars, and worrying about worthless shit.

What else is happening next in Broken Links’ world?

Our next focus is our 2nd single, ‘Replicas’, which is out on 16th April 2021 (shameless plug!). The music is all ready, but we’ve got to put together the music video, and of course, right now we’re smack bang in the middle of a lockdown! We’re running out of time, at least it’s going to be another DIY number which makes things a little simpler.

It’s going to be a relief to have that video finished, I’ve got a bit of a serial killer’s garage at the moment, full of weird props for this video, and I’ve got to move house in the coming weeks! It would be nice to have that creepy shit out of there and sold to some sod on eBay!

http://www.brokenlinksmusic.co.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/brokenlinks

http://www.instagram.com/broken_links

https://www.youtube.com/user/brokenlinksmusic

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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