Interview by Rock Pulse Music Zine: By Rob S – 29th December 2009

Q: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. To begin with, how’re you all doing? What are you up to at the moment?

A: Hi, Rob…no problem at all…we’re good cheers, we’re rehearsing for our last local Southampton gig for four months this Thursday, it should be a good one, there’s a full lightshow happening for it too! We’re also going into the studio this weekend, so there’s some exciting stuff going on…

Q: So, could you tell us a little about the background of Broken Links… when you were formed, where you’re from, who’s in the band and so on?

A: We all went to the same school in Eastleigh, Hampshire but didn’t really know each other till later. I guess we formed early 2008, Mark Lawrence’s (Vocals/Guitars) previous band was coming to an end and he had been writing a lot of material for a new project. Phil Boulter’s (Drums) brother was friends with Mark and suggested he and his brother started something, Phil was school mates with Lewis Betteridge (Bass) and played in a band together, so we all just started jamming together and started working through songs. We spent the best part of 2008 honing in on our sound and making sure our playing was extremely tight before gigging.

Q: To those of us new to Broken Links, how would you describe your band’s sound and musical direction?

A: I would describe us as an Alternative Rock act with a serious whiff of the darker side of the Eighties. Sexy, sultry stuff!

Q: Earlier this year you released ‘Resisting Movement and the Almost Advisory,’ your debut EP. The four track release has been re-mastered, and is due to be released for a second time next month (January 2010); why did you make the decision to re-release the EP? How did you find the recording process first time around?

A: A few months ago our main focus was to get a 2nd EP out and make it a real stonker, but we realised that it would hardly get noticed or listened to by anybody outside our local area. So we now have a PR company that are promoting us nationally and we decided the best way to get some exposure before releasing the 2nd EP would be to re-release the 1st EP, this would help make people aware of us before the 2nd EP.

The 1st EP was entirely recorded on my home PC and was mastered by an Internet based company and some reviews picked up on the lack of low frequencies and power in the recordings. Seeing we were re-releasing, we decided to re-master the tracks at a studio, which has given the tracks a bit more guts…

Q: I see that your second EP is due to emerge next April in addition to this re-release, how’s the new EP coming along? Are you working on the music for that currently, or planning to use tracks that have been floating around for a while/are included in your live set?

A: The production of the 2nd EP is going well so far. We’ve been recording a lot of it at home again, but we’re heading into a studio for a few days this week to get drums recorded and mix it and we’ll hopefully finish it before the new year. We’re planning it to be a 6-track EP with a mixture of fast & slower songs, I feel this EP may show a wider range of our sound. Two of the songs on it we’ve been playing live the past few months, but the other four tracks are completely new, in fact, one of them was only written last week! This EP is a bit different compared to the last, the 1st was a bit raw, but we’ve crafted our sound over the past years worth of gigging, the 2nd EP is a lot more experimental, though more commercially acceptable…perhaps? It’s definitely more arty, its gapless!

Q: Since your inception in 2008 you’ve shared the stage with an impressive array of bands, and visited a number of venues around the UK… have any of your live shows to date stood out as especially memorable or enjoyable, and could you outline what we might expect from a Broken Links show?

A: Seeing it took us a while to start gigging, we basically said we’d make up for it when we started…and since we started, we haven’t stopped. We’ve done around 40 gigs this year so far, but it’s made us really……we’re playing tighter, we’ve got our guitars and bass sounding massive live, and we’ve now got to the stage where we have light shows at gigs.

I think we have had two stand out nights, one would have been when we first headlined The Joiners, Southampton on 28/08/2009. It’s a venue we’ve been going to for years to watch bands and we were headlining it! It just seemed that everything just came together that night, it was the first time we played for an hour, it was the first time we hired in a light show, the place was packed, the sound was amazing, it was just a great night…

Another stand out night was supporting ‘British Sea Power’ at the Eastleigh Music Festival. Mainly because we’re all from Eastleigh, and nothing happens much there, and we played on the main park! There’s something about playing the local town you’re from….you look out into the crowd and you recognise nearly everyone!

Q: Around the time of your Second EP’s release (April 2010) you’re heading over to Germany for a series of shows… are you looking forward to this, and what are you hoping for from the tour? Are there any further plans to play gigs around the continent in the near future?

A: Yeah definitely, We’re looking forward to the road-trip over and we don’t know what to expect…There’s still a hell of a lot of work to do yet before going over there with promoting the gigs etc. We basically set ourselves milestones all the time. When we started out the milestones were to play Eastleigh Music Festival and headline The Joiners. So the next progression is to play out of town, and other countries.

Music is perhaps appreciated a bit more in Europe, and they’re a lot more willing to give unsigned music a listen. There’s a series of UK bands that are big in Europe but unknown in the UK. But also, Alternative Rock music is big over there and we think our sound may be liked over there. Music is all about getting as many people as you can to listen to it.

We’re just hoping the people that are at the gigs, like what they hear, buy an EP, spread the word, and hopefully it will earn us a few more gigs over there before the end of 2010.

Q: In general, what would you say brought you together as Broken Links (i.e, why did you come together as a band)? Are there artists and bands that have proven particularly influential in your musical development, and if so could you name them?

A: I guess if you play a musical instrument, you have a need to get out there and play. I guess Broken Links came together as Mark had written songs, Phil and Lewy wanted to play, and we all shared the same musical tastes, so it just made sense…

It’s hard to list influences as we listen to everything, though I would say the music that’s had the most impact is Manic Street Preachers (The Holy Bible era), Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Joy Division etc…the list is endless though.

Q: Where do you plan to take the band over the next year or so… are there certain goals that you strive for?

A: Going to Europe is the big thing for 2010, and the 2nd EP…we’re also hoping to release a 3rd EP before the end of 2010 too. Playing out of town more is a big ‘must’ for us as well in 2010, we don’t feel we’ve done that enough in 2009. Festivals are another thing we’d like to do.

Q: Finally, what do you enjoy most about being in the band? Anything else that you’d like to say/ask/promote?

A: Every now and then you might get a free beer!…but it’s also great to play people something you’ve created, and when people like it and get into it, it’s just amazing…and you communicate your thoughts with people through the lyrics and people can relate to them….there aren’t many other ways you can do that except in a band…

Here’s the plug…from 25/01/2010 you can buy our first EP ‘Resisting Movement and the Almost Advisory’ from iTunes/Amazon Mp3…

Our 2nd EP will be out on 26/04/2010 on most online mp3 stores, and we have an EP launch for the 2nd EP at The Joiners, Southampton on 24/04/2010 and we’ll be selling the EP for £4 at this show…£5 thereafter, we’re hoping to get some great bands on that night, so make sure you’re down there for that one!

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