Broken Lines is a three-piece rock group from Pembrokeshire, West Wales. While it is hard to categorize them (partly because they actively avoid genre labels and partly because they have so many influences in music), they are definitely a fun rock group with a psychedelic flair.
- What are your biggest musical influences?
Mark: The Stranglers, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, New Model Army, Bob Marley, The
Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Steve Harley.
Dave: Jimi Hendrix, Nick Cave, Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, The Clash, Bowie.
Jack: New York Dolls and The Pink Fairies.
- Do you listen to any band or genre that would surprise your fans if they found out?
Mark: I have a fairly soft spot for early Dr Hook’s stuff, like a lot of 50’s stuff, 20’s and 30’s delta blues and of course Bowie.
Dave: I listen to anything that sounds good or grabs me in the moment. It’s about how it makes me feel or how I’m feeling – Moon Duo, Gus Gus, Black Angels, Wooden Shjips, Courtney Barnett, Nirvana, Underworld, Tangerine Dream.
Jack: I love opera and my favourite classical piece is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5.
- What’s next for the band?
Mark: We have spent the last 6 months fitting out our studio ready to record our debut album. We are now at the point where we can start recording. We have a lot of songs to choose from for our first release so we’re not putting a timescale on it. We are very lucky to have our own studio so we don’t have to constantly watch the clock and can spend more time getting things right!
Dave: We have a huge backlog of new songs to start work on once we release the album.
Jack: Lots of gigs please!
Photo credits go to Jerry Briscoe
- How do you think streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have changed how bands release music? Has it made it easier or more difficult?
Mark: Online streaming services are a great way to get your music out there but, at the end of the day, a lot of people still want something physical they can interact with. People like to browse through cover notes when they’re listening to music and many people also like a higher bit rate for listening to music in the best possi-ble way. As well as digital releases, we plan on producing CD’s and vinyl for our releases to cater for everyone’s taste.
Dave: We have a highly talented graphic designer in our band (Jack) so we love having some physical canvases for him to work his magic. I do think that digital streaming is a brilliant way to access music and to explore new avenues, especially with the ‘…you might like these…’ suggestions. Fundamentally, we are all quite old school and like owning something physical. I also feel that society, in general, is getting too detached from the real world, everything is too much at ‘arm’s length’ and virtual and this is something that music most definitely should NOT be in my mind. Grab your CD or vinyl and immerse yourself!
Jack: Much easier!
- Do you have any non-musical influences that show up in your music?
Mark: We have all sorts of influences from all sorts of sources. Some of our songs are inspired by films (can you guess which ones?), some are inspired by what we see going on around us and in the world today. There’s plenty of stuff going on that has an impact on us day to day, so there’s no shortage of inspiration, be it good or bad!
Dave: We are all interested in art of all forms. For me, human beings are creative, expressive and sensitive creatures and all these things combine together in the creative process. I just want to try and channel the feelings I have about life, observations I’ve had or just letting stuff out and expressing it through our music.
Jack: None that I’m aware of?!?!?!?!?
- Can you describe your sound?
Mark: We have quite an eclectic sound. We try not to put labels on it or pigeonhole ourselves as we can never find the right fit. We play whatever we feel like playing. There are three creatives in this band, all of whom come from varied musical backgrounds. Songs spring up all over the place randomly and, if it feels right, we’ll run with it. I really like the idea of our albums being a surprise for their listeners.
Dave: I link to think that we are genre-less, and most people agree! It makes it diffi-cult to describe what we do, but it means there is no limit. We just want to explore and try anything.
Jack: Joyful darkness with a hint of silver light.
- What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
Mark: Yeah absolutely! I would recommend you check out The Claypool Lennon Delirium. This is Les Claypool, the genius behind Primus, and Sean Lennon, son of John. It’s such refreshing sound and yet quite nostalgic at the same time.
Dave: Thee Oh Sees – for energy! Tom Morello – just because he is a legend. Thurston Moore and Nick Cave, both massive inspirations for me.
Jack: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra with Beth Gibbons / Dead Skeletons /
Raphael Saadiq / Monie Love / P J Harvey / Rag ’n’ Bone Man and Mahler.
- What made you decide to “get into” music and start a band?
Mark: Punk Rock! It gave me a voice with like-minded people who didn’t quite fit in to the mainstream. I am still punk, it’s an outlook on life and the attitude to over-come obstacles that present themselves. I intend to grow old disgracefully!
Dave: I just loved the sound of guitars and synths and how they made me feel. Once I’d heard Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and understood what they were doing, I was in. The critical elements of these were David Gilmour’s guitar sound and their use of synths, the power and creativity of Led Zeppelin and just the fact that Hendrix was such a unique and creative guitarist. He was always moving, trying things out and pushing his own boundaries. He had the most amazing talent to create and investigate sound and never wanted to play the same thing twice. He was not bound by rules or rigid frameworks or worried about getting ‘it’ right, he just played. Above all this and in his own words (as I remember them) he just wanted to ‘play a feeling’. For me, this is the truest form of art.
Jack: My Hungarian friend’s mum lent me £50 to buy a drum kit when I was 15.
- How does your writing process work, do you all collaborate on the lyrics or is that job reserved for just one person?
Mark: Given that all three of us are multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, at the outset of the band, we agreed on no formulas. If one of us has a song we bring it in and, if we all like it, we work on it together. Each of us brings a different set of skills to song writing which kind of makes it easy.
Dave: I will normally either write something down that I really like the sound of or that triggers an emotional response, or I will be trying to get across a thought or feeling about something. I then tend to get into the ‘zone’ whilst listening to Radiohead and washing up – works every time!! The words tend to flood out onto the backs of envelopes and anything else I can find! It’s the best process! Other times, we will be jamming an idea and then there will be some lyrics that we already have that just fit. It’s definitely a combined process, once we have a skeleton of a song and that’s when the magic happens. Each of us has a unique talent for certain areas of song creation, but we also have a very good subconscious understanding of what works. Its brilliant!
Jack: Davey does the lyrics.
- If you had to pick just one, which album would be your favourite?
Mark: That’s easy. The Stranglers – Black and White. Still the best “bass per buck”. Totally original and unapologetic bass playing. The guy is an out and out genius!
Dave: Very difficult! My first thought is Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd. Mainly because it was David Gilmour’s guitar sound that inspired me to play and because it is still an inspiring and creative album to listen to.
Jack: Never Never Land – The Pink Fairies.
Photo credits go to Lily Wellan
- Are there any bands you would desperately love to tour with someday?
Mark: Cruelty from Bristol. Their singer is my son and they are truly an awesome band.
Dave: I’d definitely like to tour with Cruelty, supporting young talent is so important and they’re almost family! I’d also like to tour with some of my biggest inspirations, just for the hell of it; Nick Cave, Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo, Thee Oh Sees, Thurston Moore. I feel our musical style would fit so well and we would learn so much from them…
Jack: P J Harvey
- What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
Mark: It comes down to the choice of the band in question really. It’s great to have singles, EP’s and albums if the price point reflects what you are selling. Charging a great deal for a single is a rip off. Each format has its’ own merit and potential. Smaller releases are great as titbits but, to truly experience where a band is currently at, you can’t beat an album!
Dave: We also like the idea of crafting an album as an experience and a journey. A lot of our tracks are moving, sonic experiences and the user would feel bereft to hear them in isolation!
- Jack: As long as they’re not all on the album!
*credit for the featured photograph on top goes to Lily Wellan