Over 60% of the music that the general public listens to is influenced by the radio. An old, yet incredibly powerful channel; from which both great and horrendous music is spewed to a public who either have no idea how difficult it can be for bands to get airtime or simply don’t care enough about the logistics to find out. Bands that can make a name for themselves in smaller towns or communities and gain a grassroots following consisting of other artists and live show goers; the ones who get airtime because they’ve earned an audience the old-fashioned way – are the groups that supersede this modern structure of success. Broken Hands is a band that isn’t changing their sound for you, the radio or anyone else — they are 100 percent here to invite you to take a journey with them — to get lost with them for a little while; in a kind of rock music that needed just that. Lead singer Dale Norton answered some questions for us about Broken Hands’ ambitions, influences and unlikely link to our beautiful city of Boston.
You guys have started to garner this really lovely reputation as a ‘word of mouth’ band – we heard about you from friends and other artists, so you kind of feel like a little secret. Do you like that perception?
Yeah we do like that perception, it gives us an element of surprise that you only get at the start of an act’s life. We will always aim to surprise our crowds moving forward and hopefully that keeps word of mouth going and we will eventually take over the world on the slow burn!
‘Meteor’ is a tune that’s been really well received by both old and new fans – how was the creative process different this go from your first releases?
Meteor was the first track that came together instantly when we started writing our debut. To be honest I think we were just joking around jamming out a silly, long, spacey riff and once we stopped we were still humming it! That for us is a sign we gravitate to, its wasn’t forced at all, especially compared to the rest of the albums’ track list!
Has Canterbury influenced your sound, at all? Have they gotten a venue there yet?
Canterbury is the planet the satellite village we all live in orbits around so I guess it must influence us!! As a city it actually had a few venues but lost them more recently, hopefully people will resurrect them as the buildings themselves still have great acoustics. We’d love to breathe life into one of them again when we have a bit more time! There are some great rumblings starting though, small festivals and one theatre that’s starting to kit out for loud music.
Do you consider yourselves a band focused on the live vibe and connection? A lot of groups are so studio-based in their approach but bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen and Slaves have really been shedding a light on that continuous festival spirit.
Yeah most definitely, our live shows at present are all geared towards the crowds vibe! For example, we cover the whole venue in silver insulating foil and add our own lighting rig to make the room feel like a capsule. It helps get people in our mind frame, in our vibe!
Say you’re headlining the Lotus Play Beats festival – can you pick 5 other bands you’d want on the roster and tell us why?
In no particular order our modern acts would be:
‘My Morning Jacket‘ (The one living 5 piece we look up to as live performers)
‘Secret Machines‘ (A big influence on our debut. RIP Benjamin Curtis)
‘Band Of Skulls‘ (We did our first European tour with them, plus they are mates)
‘Catfish and The Bottlemen‘ (Big mates of ours and great new band)
The whole idea of grafting and playing in a shitty venue to ten people in Birmingham or Sheffield before hitting it ‘big’ is often lost on newer bands today – can you speak to the importance of using those experiences to refine what you do and connect with people?
The most important thing is giving those 10 people the great show they’ve paid for and also to make sure they jump aboard our flight as it takes off. If you never forget those nights, you’ll stay grounded I think and [they] will ultimately make you appreciate what’s further up the ladder.
Was there ever a gig growing up that made you think, “This is all I want to do” or was it just music in general that moved you to that choice?
We’ve known and played with each other a long time and the day I realised that I’d played music with the boys at least 3-4 nights a week for ages without even a band name, that’s when I knew “this is all I want to do”!!!
Kind of have to ask about the silver foil-like stage design – what’s the vibe you’re looking to set with that? We kind of love it.
As I explained above, the idea is get people in our mind frame. We want people to leave Normality, Work, Stress and Troubles at the door and come into our world for a night! Putting silver foil over the entire venue does that, but we are always trying to find new ways to do this. You should come down haha we’ll sort you out!
Of course, hopefully we’ll see you back in Boston soon! How important do you think aesthetic is to success? Do you feel pressure to dress or act like a Rolling Stone?
Our stage show is important to us. The aesthetic and theme of it will run through our first album and I can only hope this can be reflected in a form of success, regardless we will keep having a load of fun experimenting! If that means we dress up E.T then so be it … if you know what I mean!
Lastly, anything to say to your Boston fans?
Well this is little known unknown fact, But me and our guitarist made friends whilst on a trip in Boston when we were kids, we had to share a bed, etc! When we next play in Boston we will spiritually share a bed with the whole city! It’s a special place for us!
You can pre-order Broken Hands debut album ‘Turbulence’ here.