Birmingham based quartet the Broken Witt Rebels are getting ready to release their eagerly anticipated debut album this week.
The band has been touring relentlessly in recent times performing extensively in the UK and Europe as well as making their first trip Stateside this summer. It’s been a long hard road for the Broken Witt Rebels to get to this point, but following their recent signing to Snakefarm Records, which is the latest imprint of the Universal Music Group, the band’s much-anticipated debut album is just around the corner.
National Rock Review recently caught up with the band’s frontman Danny Core and lead guitarist James Tranter at The Cluny in Newcastle to get the lowdown on their debut self-titled record, their first US tour and the band’s plans going forward into the New Year.
NRR: I just wanted to catch up with you guys because there is actually quite a lot that has happened since the last time we spoke to you.
Firstly, your new album is coming out very shortly on the 24th November, it’s going to be released via Snakefarm Records. It looks like you’ve got some songs on there from the Georgia Pine and Howlin’ EP’s as well as some new tracks too. I know it’s been a hard road to get to this point for you guys. It must feel like a huge relief to actually have the album release in your sights?
James: It’s about time really. A lot of people have been asking us for the past few years, when’s the album coming out? We’ve mostly been holding off because of obviously deals with sort of Universal and things. We wanted to put an album out through a label rather than just by ourselves because we wanted to try and get the right recognition.
The reason that we put some of these songs from the EP’s on this was that they never really got enough recognition we don’t think, just being self-released. We kind of feel like a lot of those songs still haven’t been heard by most of the world really, so we still think that they’ve got a lot of credit.
Danny: Also it was the label’s idea as well, and we were just like of course. They wanted to go with that six and four, so it was important for them and we were like yeah that’s cool. We’ve got more than enough original material to do two or three albums, but we are just waiting to get that out of the way.
NRR: Based on what I’ve heard you play live I know that you’ve got a lot of material sitting behind you. Like you say it’s probably a good move strategically to have almost two or three albums worth of material because you can just keep on rolling on.
Danny: For sure, yeah.
James: We are already testing out the stuff for potentially the next album on this tour. So it’s good to get the even newer songs out as well and play them to audiences and see how they go down.
NRR: Even in the last two years I’ve heard your sound kind of evolve and grow. From Georgia Pine through to the newer songs like “Snake Eyes” and “Bang Bang” which are pretty huge heavy tracks. Did you find it difficult to make the album sound coherent or are you trying to kind of portray the many different facets of the band?
James: I think that’s the way. The album’s kind of, when you listen to it, it’s kind of like a development through our career and the development of the songs as well. As you get further into the album there’s a lot of newer stuff and we’ve also worked with some electronic beats and things like that. So it’s a big change, but everything thankfully sort of works together still and we’ve still got sort of the original sound as well in parts of that.
Danny: We like to evolve – there’s an awful lot of boring bands that want to stay in the same genre and they are happy to, but it’s not for us. We like to dip our toes in as many ponds as possible. It was important that we got that across on this album and as JT said we’ve been messing with some electronics and stuff. We wanted to tip our hat to that because potentially that’s something that we want to implement in our live set a bit more. So yeah, we are constantly evolving and it’s important for us to be in as many genres as possible. You know as long as it sounds traditional Broken Witt Rebels, which we always try and tie it all in, it’s important for us to evolve.
NRR: In terms of the actual recordings on the album, from what kind of time frame do they come from? Have you gone back into the studio to re-record those early cuts or are they still from the original sessions?
James: They are still the original songs but what’s happened is they’ve been remastered so that they sit better with the newer tracks. Obviously yeah we have evolved over time, but the songs themselves they are still how we play them and we still listen to them and people still love them which is great. But yeah, the main thing was to get them remastered so they all sit very well together. They are also ready to go on the radio as well because before they weren’t really mastered to that quality.
NRR: So the new tracks when were they actually recorded. I understand you were working with Tom Gittins, did he do the whole album?
Danny: He did – in time over the span of it, he did the album. The last four tracks, we went back on two occasions, I think we did a four-day stint and another two days or something.
James: It was a few months ago wasn’t it.
Danny: Yeah, it was a couple of months ago. That was the quota that was asked of us, that’s what we wanted to do to get the four songs. We knew which we wanted to do. To be fair it was quite hard actually to pick what we wanted because we recorded in America as well and we’ve got so much new stuff …so we are so advanced with our own music. We are at a point in our lives that we wanted to document the struggle to get to that point, and these couple of tracks really document where we’ve been three or four months ago.
NRR: Your new single “Wait For You”, could you tell us a bit about that song and the inspiration behind it?
Danny: We wrote that about six months ago.
James: It’s kind of about the struggle of hanging on to do with sort of labels.
Danny: … We’ve always been ready to go, we’ve always been waiting for others. We’ve always been firing on all cylinders at all times, and these sort of people drag their heals. It’s about the labels and waiting for people and waiting on relationships. It’s always about – we are a constantly touring band and it’s documenting that we are quite selfish in our manners – this is our lives. So it’s documenting the other side of it.
NRR: Speaking of labels, this is one of the first records to be released on the new Snakefarm Records label. I know a lot of labels were pursuing you for quite a while. I just wondered what was it that made you want to put pen to paper with Snakefarm in particular.
Danny: The personal touch purely. I mean we’ve had money offers before we’ve met people, we had good advances, we had some not so good. With Dante Bonutto he came to our shows so many times and he was a fan of our music, so we knew who we were sort of getting into bed with if that makes sense and that we important for us. It was really, really important. We’ve got a message, we know exactly where we want to be and we needed to find the right plan for that and we believe that Dante is the next step for us. That’s what we were after, we were after the right move, not the right money, the right next move for us. So it was important for that.
NRR: You were out on tour over in the States this summer. What was the reception like over there?
James: It was incredible, the songs went down so well over there. We kind of learnt a lot as well. We sort of learnt a lot about songwriting over there and sort of different ways of how songs are made and what fans react to as well. It was great, the only thing was they just couldn’t understand us when we spoke (laughing).
Danny: Yeah, they thought we were Australian or something.
James: They just kept thinking we were Australian and everyone asked us where abouts in Australia are you from. The songs themselves they loved it.
Danny: They did man, but in between songs you would just get random stuff. So you would get someone saying, I don’t know just different reactions. Here it’s quite arms crossed, you’ve got to win people’s attention if you are playing to a new audience. There it’s just random shit they shout which is great, like hell yeah or whatever.
James: They are really open about it.
Danny: They try to have conversations with you between songs. It was a really great experience and that’s another part of the world that we have to take over.
NRR: We are getting towards the end of the year, what’s the plans for 2018?
Danny: Well it’s taken us this long to do album one and we’ve already started album two, so that will be coming hopefully sooner than later. We recorded that in America and maybe we will go back to finish it off.
There are options in America, there are options here. We’ve got a lot of work to do in Europe as well as the UK. We are in for some good tours, hopefully, we will get a few. The options are I guess, the year is more of everything at this moment. We’ve stepped up, whatever the next step is that’s where we need to be. So that’s the plan.
Broken Witt Rebels self-titled debut album will be released via Snakefarm Records on Friday 24th November. The band will also be touring the UK in support of their latest offering with a run commencing on 27th November at Joiners in Southampton.
Broken Witt Rebels UK Tour Dates:
27/11 – Southampton, Joiners
28/11 – Brighton, Prince Albert
29/11 – London, Boston Music Room
30/11 – Birmingham, O2 Academy
07/12 – Bristol, Thekla
08/12 – Manchester, Ruby Lounge
09/12 – Nottingham, Bodega
Broken Witt Rebels
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