TRCH Blood Brothers

Broken Witt Rebels Talk Recording Albums and Gigging in Nottingham

10 January 19 interview: Matthew Williams

We spoke to Brummie band Broken Witt Rebels about making music and gigging in Nottingham...

Your music has been described as boasting the “British rock legacy” as well as having influences of the music from the USA’s Deep South. What bands would you say have influenced you to create this sound?
Danny (singer):
There’s been quite a lot of influence, everyone listens to slightly different music. But the main ones, especially in the early days, would be bands like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, then later it’d be bands like Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, bands like that. We don’t want to stay in one place or get pigeonholed, but I’d say those are definitely our main influences for the first album and first couple of EPs.

How has coming from Birmingham influenced your sound?
Luke (bassist):
Quite a lot. We can pretty much see where Black Sabbath came from in Aston from where I live. Then if you look into it, you’ve got Ocean Colour Scene, ELO, even Led Zeppelin, a couple of those guys were from the Midlands, so it influenced us quite heavily because we felt proud to be coming from there.
Danny: Even bands like Ocean Colour Scene and that whole Britpop era were a massive key influence for us.

What’s your opinion on being described as the “Brummie Kings of Leon”, as well as being likened to bands such as Rival Sons and The Temperance Movement?
Luke:
People have apologised for saying we’re like Kings of Leon, but they’re probably one of the biggest rock bands of our generation so, why not? There are worse bands to be compared to definitely. I’m a fan of Kings of Leon and I see that as a compliment.
Danny: I think everyone has to sound like someone because that’s the way you define music. As human beings, we always compare when we make perceptions.

Do you have any fond or distinct memories of playing in or just being in Nottingham?
Danny:
There was a fight last time.
JD (drummer): Yeah, we played The Bodega a few times and that’s a cracking venue and it was amazing to be at the Rescue Rooms. Nottingham is great. It’s got such a great nightlife and atmosphere, especially when it gets to the weekend. We’ve always had good experiences in Nottingham, nothing that really jumps out to mind but we’ve just had really great shows here.
Danny: I do remember at that venue one night someone walking off with your drumkit so that was a good night!
JD: Yeah that was… interesting.
Danny: And there was that fight outside the building we saw while we were unloading! But all in all, we have noticed we do have a lot of fans in Nottingham and they observe and respect it more. It’s one of these cities where some people from the get-go are up for it.

What is the meaning behind the band’s name?
Luke:
We actually got it randomly. Flicking through a newspaper, we picked a few headlines and jumbled the words. That’s how the name came about, as we got the three words “Broken Witt Rebels”. Dan and I were from a shit council estate, where everything was broken. The car never worked. The phone never worked. We couldn’t play music. We started a band before we actually got instruments.
JD: So, the music you guys were doing back then was quite rebellious against the whole Shoegaze stuff that was playing in Birmingham around the time?
Luke: Yeah, there was a lot of washy music around the time and we hated it.
Danny: If you hear us now, we’ve been a band professionally for about three and a half years now, so that’s really when the band Broken Witt Rebels evolved, but in those early days there was quite a few names we had.

Have you guys learned anything in particular during your time touring with Reef so far?
JD:
Massively. There’s not a single band that we don’t take something away from or that we don’t learn from, whether that be production-wise, or little tricks about taping up gear, or marking stuff on the stage. In-ear-wise, Gary, the singer of Reef, he uses in-ears so that’s something we might take away in the future. Their drummer is absolutely incredible, as is Jesse the guitarist. They’ve got Andy on keys. They’re a straight-up rock band and we respect them massively, so we love their craft and their stage performance.
Luke: Jack the bass player has got a cow-skin rug. I’ve decided from this tour I want a rug. When I am on stage, I will have a rug.
JD: Jack also DIs his bass, but he also has like three channels or three lines on the desk just for his bass.
Luke: One into the microphone, one into the amp and one pre, so that’s cool.

What was it like recording your first two albums and do you think the songs are transitioning to the live audience well?
JD:
Recording our first album was amazing. We recorded it over in Wallington.
Luke:
Yeah, we recorded it just outside Leamington Spa, we drove out, but he had like a barn conversion, and there was nothing there; no phone signal, no anything, so when we got there all you do was literally eat, sleep and breathe the album.
JD: It’s a picturesque, tiny village. We went to go and meet the producer there and we smashed it, we loved recording the first album. We were experimenting more, because our first album was a collection of EPs with extra tracks we put together as an album, and we were experimenting a bit more with a dirtier, heavier sound which can hear in Loose Change and Snake Eyes, and we were experimenting more with different textures and different timbres, like we were adding in electric snare drums and like electric 808 kick drums. We’re really developing our sound, especially on the second album, that’s what we’ve taken away from the first and we want to keep exploring.

Broken Witt Rebels website

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