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An Interview With Break To Broken

A new EP release from Break to Broken has a unique way of blending indie rock, alternative rock, garage rock, and even some punk all with a robust character that comes along with them which is one of the things you get attached to right from the get-go, and all of this also is delivered with a hard-hitting almost live energy that has a way of wrapping itself around you and keeping you right where it wants to.

The White & Gray +2 EP has its own way of sort of thrashing out with this vivaciousness and fierce undertone but still keeping things kind of colorful and fun at the same time, but what really gets you is that energy because it feels like these songs were recorded live-on-the-floor where all the players were feeding off of each other's energies the entire time.

Now, of course, I could be and probably am wrong about the whole live-on-the-floor aspect, however, listening to the record makes you want to see them perform it live in your face simply because of how the energy was actually captured on record.

You listen to it and you just know that seeing this performed live would be awesome and I really dig a band that can pull off that kind of feel in such a short EP.

There's so many great guitar hooks on this EP that it makes me joyous to listen to it simply because I miss musical hooks of any kind these days.

Yes, these tracks have other hooks and courses that are killer, but I love those guitar hooks because it gives this almost pop-punk element to certain tracks and those parts can be as memorable as the choruses at times.

For me, it's the guitar hooks that end up sticking in my head and bouncing around in there for days after the songs have ended and the only way to satiate that is to go back and listen to them again.

I also really enjoyed the sort of eclectic set of influences that are riddled throughout the album because the first track which is the title track called "White & Gray", it's a lot more like a sort of 90s fuzz tone radio rock track almost like the Toadies or something like that.

There is a little bit of a looseness to this approach and these guys nail that aesthetic so well but the fun thing is as you go through these three tracks, you get different sets of aesthetics that are nailed each time.

Another example is the third track called "Normalcy" which is way more punk rock but that feel is powerful, and it hits like a sucker punch to the gut.

While there are these differences, there's still a glue that holds all three of these songs together incredibly well and keeps the EP completely confluent.

This is an EP that you should listen to from start to finish and believe me when I tell you that you have 7 minutes to do so.

If you're a fan of classic '90s, edgy rock that comes with character, fun, and incredible energy, then this record is 100% for you through and through.

For me, some of this was very nostalgic again, that 90s radio rock vibe right from the start was something that I clung to and they delivered exactly what I wanted from it.

This was a killer record and you should definitely listen to it nice and loud.

Seriously, don't be afraid to turn this record up because the louder it goes somehow, the better it sounds.

With the release of such a killer record, we wanted to have a sit-down with the band to find out where this EP actually came from and what might be coming up next for the band.

Here's what happened.

Buzz Slayers: Let's start with the new White & Grey +2 EP! This one has such a killer blend of punk, alt-rock, and tons more all rolled into one record! Tell us about how this one came together!

Eli: After releasing our previous EP last year (My Better Half + 2), we were eager to keep the momentum going. We quickly began our process of sharing song ideas with the intention of working towards our next full-length LP. Before we knew it, another batch of songs quickly began to materialize and we were off and running! At some point during this writing period, we decided that it might be fun to release a few of these songs as an EP. We’d received positive feedback about our first two releases and have had a couple of songs in rotation on the SiriusXM Faction Punk channel. People were asking when they might be able to hear something new and we were excited to share some new material as quickly as possible. In terms of the music itself, we pride ourselves on being a band that draws upon our vast array of musical influences while remaining rooted in our punk/post-punk leanings. We’re really happy with how this EP turned out and that we were able to show many aspects of who we are as a band over these three songs.

Buzz Slayers: Do you guys play live or are you planning any sort of tour with this new release?

Justin: We have kicked around the idea of trying to get together and play a few shows but nothing definitive has been planned. Unfortunately, due to proximity constraints and family commitments, playing together live would be pretty challenging. I've learned to never count anything out with this band, though - so you never know! 

Buzz Slayers: How long did it take you to record this EP?

Clint: It's a little bit hard to put a time frame on the EP as all 3 songs were originally part of a group of 15 or so songs we had begun to work on as part of our 2nd album. Once we were fortunate enough to have Tim Steward from Screamfeeder singing guest vocals on “White & Gray”, we decided to take these 3 songs and finish them off first to release this EP as a way to keep the releases flowing and a bit of a precursor to the 2nd album which is now well underway.

Buzz Slayers: Do you guys write songs together or is it one of you that does the writing and takes that to the band? How does it work for you guys?

Eli: Part of what’s so great about this band is that we all encourage each other to share any and all ideas. These can be riffs, fragments, lyrics, or even fully formed songs. While we all share common influences, our approaches to writing tend to vary. We view this as a very positive thing! We’ve found that any time we go through this process, it’s inevitable that this ongoing flow of ideas will spark creativity in all of us, and songs begin to take shape relatively quickly. Since we’ve been working together for the better part of four years now, we collectively have a strong sense of each member’s individual strengths and are able to make suggestions to one another to bring the songs to new levels. Aside from the occasional song that’s been completely written by one member, we all equally contribute to the songwriting. We always try to do what will best suit each song, which generally brings about results that we’re all proud of.

Buzz Slayers: What bands are you all really into right now?

Justin: There have been a lot of great albums released so far this year. From the top of my head I’ve really been digging the new records from Mannequin Pussy, Snarls, and Real Estate. 

Clint: I'm a real creature of habit so I stick to my long term favourites mostly - Fastbacks, Fugazi, Bad Religion and a few others. In terms of new bands, my favourite in recent years would be A Vulture Wake.

Eli: Hammered Hulls, Fake Names, The Messthetics, Mary Timony, Rollin’ Coffin

Buzz Slayers: What's the plan from here? What's next for you guys?

Clint: Now that we've finished off this EP it's pretty much straight back to working on our 2nd album. We all have full time jobs and kids etc, so we chip away as time allows. We've still got plenty of songs and plenty of ideas so I can't see us slowing down any time soon and perhaps by the end of this year we might be ready with another release.

Buzz Slayers: Any music videos planned?

Justin: Aside from some lyric videos we put on YouTube, nothing planned at the moment. If we do ever get together and play some shows, we’d have to make sure it’s well documented so we can finally have a proper video! 

Buzz Slayers: What other kinds of things influence or inspire you guys to write songs?

Justin: For me, it can be just about anything. Typically, I’ll be influenced by a book I’ve read or a situation that’s happening in the world, but I’ve also been inspired by personal circumstances as well. I like to decide what a song I’m working on will be about in the early stages, even before any of the lyrics are written. I think it helps center me around one central feeling/idea and helps the song come together more in the end. 

Clint: I'm always very interested and intrigued by the human mind, ideologies and the things humans have or haven't done in recent decades during my time on the planet. There's a lot to dissect and while a lot of it is not pleasant I find writing songs about these issues or events to be a good way of unpacking my thoughts about them.

Eli: Inspiration can come from pretty much anywhere, musically or lyrically. I tend to start with a musical idea and develop it from there. Lyrics often occur the same way  - subconscious random word patterns present themselves and I try to make sense of them by continuing to write while trying not to overthink the process. Topics often include feelings (positive or negative and anything in between) that I am trying to make sense of. Eventually, the thoughts may develop in a cohesive manner that makes sense to me. Other times, not so much!

Buzz Slayers: What is it you love most about being in this band?

Justin: Honestly, I love how effortless it’s been. We all very much operate on the same wavelength so we’re able to pretty quickly come to consensus when making choices about songs and other band decisions. Since that level of trust and respect exists between us, the collaboration that needs to happen to create and finish our songs is generally pretty easy. I think that’s something that can be pretty rare in a band or with any group of people working together to create something. 

Clint: I love how relatively easily and quickly we've been able to get a good catalogue of music going. Music is all about personal preference but consistency has always been very important to me in terms of song quality across releases and across time, and I've been happy with what we've achieved so far in that regard.

Eli: We’re all equally invested in every aspect of what we do, which is very refreshing. We’ve all been in bands in which this was not the case -  where it felt like a struggle to get something done, or even communicate effectively! I don’t take this for granted at all. It creates a comfortable environment for us all to bring our best to the table and create music that we’re all proud of.

Buzz Slayers: Anything you want to express to fans of the music before we go?

Clint: When we started this band, I always thought that even if only 5 or 10 people listened to and enjoyed our music it would make it all worthwhile. We seem to have achieved that so anything more to me is just a bonus. I've always appreciated honest; grass roots DIY music and I think people that listen to us probably feel the same. Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to check us out!

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