Broken Records complete DIY job
Now may not be the time to be an aspiring pop star. The days of champagne-filled swimming pools and chucking TVs out of windows are long gone, but even giving up the day job is impossible for most nowadays.
Edinburgh band Broken Records at least had the chance to live the dream, spending time on the legendary 4AD label. However, singer and main songwriter Jamie Sutherland is perfectly happy that their new album takes them back to their DIY roots.
“Broken Records was originally meant to be a label,” he reveals, “and it turned into a band.” They recorded an EP with producer Stephen Watkins, and along came 4AD, famed for legendary Pixies and Cocteau Twins releases.
“The whole idea was always to be in control of every element,” he says of their self-released debut EP. So surely there was some pressure from being on a major? “Massive!” he laughs “In 2008 we were hyped up as Britain’s next big thing, national press, front cover of The Times...”
The band’s timeline suggests that they took a breather after those two albums. “Three of us had kids, so 2017 kind of disappeared,” he points out, “but we’re hoping to get another out this time next year, that’ll be five in 10 years which is actually quite good!” he insists.
Which brings us bang up to date. The new album is rawer, less produced, and harking back to basics – evenenlisting Watkins to produce again.
“We’re down to a six-piece, and we did make a conscious effort and change the songwriting around a bit – we can do the big cinematic stuff till the cows come home but I think it was a case of wanting to strip back a bit, and focus on the songs – leave the brass section on the shelf, and focus on making a straight rock and roll record.”
The album does in deed hark back to their love of driving rock, with more American and less of that Scottish folk influence – less Waterboys, more Springsteen, perhaps?
“Which isn’t quite commercial suicide,” Jamie agrees, “but is slightly out of time at the moment, and especially in the age of (Edinburgh hip-hop/rap act) Young Fathers making a great new record, I couldn’t feel more white and in my 30s playing an acoustic guitar.
“But what we wanted was to make something not dated, but timeless – to make some great rock and pop songs and not think about it too much.”
And with the new release comes a more relaxed setup, unlike their major label days. “You’d be so keen not to blow, it you’d ended up blowing it,” he says of their 4AD days.
But the frontman has no regrets.“Ten years on we’re still here, able to tour internationally. The big stuff was in front of us... we didn’t get there but I’m kind of glad – it’s always nice to be chasing something.”
‘What We Might Know’ is out at the start of April with dates across Scotland later in the month – more at www.brokenrecordsband.com.