In what seems like the blink of an eye, Welsh prospects The Broken Vinyl Club have gained a loyal, and in parts famous, following thanks to their tightly crafted beat-led rhythms which hark back to both the sound and style of the UK’s Sixties heyday. In this recent interview with Live4ever, the band’s frontman and guitarist Scott Howells walked us through the importance of those classic influences, their much-sought-after but rarely received stamp of approval from Liam Gallagher, and the desire of the current wave of new bands to cleanse the charts of its present pollution.
Thanks for talking to Live4ever Scott. Like many we’re really loving the timeless sound of The Broken Vinyl Club; lush melodies and harmonies that have the vibe of all those great bands from ’65-’68 – The Kinks, the Small Faces etc. Is that a fair description?
No problem thanks for talking to us. Yeah I think that’s more than a fair description, music from bands like The Small Faces, The Kinks and The Beatles is timeless and so unbelievably inspiring to even be mentioned in the same sentence as bands like that is an honour. For me and the boys in the band those bands were played to us from a young age, it was inevitable for me that those bands were going to make a lasting impression which I like to think comes through in the music. From as far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be in a band like The Beatles; four friends making music, having a laugh and all harmonising and bringing something to the table.
Though The Broken Vinyl Club haven’t been together that long the band have already caught the attention of people like Alan McGee, are you happy with the progress you lads have already made?
People like Eddie Piller, Alan McGee and Jonny Owen have been amazing in supporting us and helping us realise that we’ve got something quite special.
We are more than happy with our progress. All of us have been in different bands from a young age and have tried and tried to get somewhere in the music industry. Things were different with The Broken Vinyl Club, we started this band just to craft good songs, enjoy recording, playing live and ultimately have fun! There was no objective to get signed or go anywhere other than to have fun doing it, this was the only band I started that didn’t set out to get signed. Things always happen when you don’t force them.
Again another supporter is Liam Gallagher who asked you to play the Pretty Green gig earlier this year – it must be nice to have him on the same wave length and in to the band?
Personally Liam was a big inspiration to me growing up and when I heard he liked the music and wanted us to play his first club night the teenager in me that grew up to Oasis was bowled over. We were also pleased to know that part of being chosen to play his club night was based on image. Liam wanted to see photos of us to see if our image was right! So not only did we get the thumbs up for our music we also got the thumbs up for our image which is a big accolade coming from such a style icon as Liam.
It feels like there’s an emerging Mod influence going on in the UK right now, with a few bands out there in look and sound as well as the success of Liam’s Pretty Green label and the mod ethic behind it all. Could it maybe be the bases of a much needed new scene or wave of exciting, more traditional guitar based bands like yourselves?
If you think about it it’s been nearly 15 years since the last wave of mod (music and fashion) so we are well overdue a revival. I was 15 when I first started to dress in a mod style and that was thanks to bands like Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller. There is a lot of bands in Cardiff such as The Method, Houdini Dax, The Keys, School and El Goodo that have mod influences in their music and these bands have been going for three or more years, but there definitely seems to be a nation-wide mod vibe going on.
I was quite excited during one of our live gigs when we saw a group of 16 year old lads sporting Gabbicci, Barracuta and Fred Perry – this is something I hadn’t seen in Wales since the 90s so it would be great if we could have a massive wave of traditional guitar bands in order get these teenagers from listening to dub-step, grime and hard house and introduce them to proper music.
What’s your view on guitar-based tunes and the more traditional stuff failing to dent the charts these days? Miles Kane recently said it doesn’t get much of a look in and his mission is to get his stuff in the the charts so the kids will get to hear guitar/beat based songs again.
I love traditional guitar music but the problem I’ve got with all this shite that dominates the charts which the kids are buying is there is no soul, passion or spirit put in to these songs. Most of these songs are written by some fat, balding 40 year old bloke who just pisses about with a computer to achieve these fake electronic sounds. You can’t beat real people in a room with each bashing out tunes. That’s why 60s recordings sound so fantastic because these guys are just recording a live jam – no 25 takes for the vocals or auto tune just warts and all everything is far more honest.
So how did you, Justin, Meirion and Jamie all come together, what are the origins of the band?
Me and Meirion have been in bands together from a very young age. My first memory of Meirion was that he used to play his Dad’s paint pots, then after getting fed up of having dents in his paint pots his Dad bought him a real drum kit, and then we started a band which mainly played Oasis and Stone Roses covers.
Justin was a bit a local guitar legend in Aberdare as he was in quite a successful band called Cripple Creek. Jamie I knew from the Cardiff music scene when I moved there, I took over from him playing bass in a band called Black Hand Laser Band so we used to go and watch the same bands and be at the same parties. The origins of The Broken Vinyl Club started in autumn. I had been writing a couple of songs just for fun and Meirion had just started to rent a space that he built a studio in with a big massive amec desk. So he was keen to get recording so we decided to do these all night sessions where we’d record and get really pissed. We’d start at 7pm and come out about 6 in the morning.
We then started to take things a little more seriously and wanted to get other instruments in so we rang up Justin to come down to put some guitar down and then we thought ‘why don’t we get a bass player and start a proper band,’ so I then remembered Jamie so it all started from there really.
Being a band from Aberdare and you seem like real valley boys, do you like to party and have a good time? What’s a Broken Vinyl Club gig and backstage vibe like?
We’ve never shied away from a party and do like to let our hair down. Partying usually happens after we’ve played the gig though. Backstage before the gig we like to run through the harmonies whilst quietly sipping some beers.
The band look the part; you look like a real group and you already have stand out tunes like ‘I Want You Girl’, and even have a Taylor & Townsend in the band. Broken Vinyl Club have got what it takes to take it all the way haven’t they?
I’d like to think so! I’d like to be really arrogant to say that the British music industry needs a band like us, but to be honest there’s loads of great bands in Cardiff let alone in the UK who are not getting the recognition they deserve.
If I asked you what or where you would like to be in a year’s time with the band, any personal goals?
It would be amazing to support people like Weller or Gallagher (either one) or even Primal Scream, but as long as we’re churning out songs that we enjoy playing and keep having as much fun as we’ve always had I’ll be a happy man.
I wanted to ask about your manager Dixie, the band manager who the comedy series Svengali is based on. We need these characters in the industry today don’t we, what’s it like having him as your manager?
Dixie is an absolute legend and he is far more legendary in real life than he is portrayed in Svengali, and Svengali is amazing! When it comes to us he’s the most accommodating person I’ve ever met – if we want something done or we don’t like something Dixie will just go ‘no worries I’ll sort it’. He’s a genuine lovely guy.
And lastly Scott what are The Broken Vinyl Club looking to next, what’s happening recording and gig wise, where can we get to see The Broken Vinyl Club play next?
Our next gig is Thursday 14th July at The Pretty Green Cardiff first in store gig. Our debut single ‘One Way Street’ is out on Acid Jazz 29th August. We are then supporting Ocean Colour Scene at Merthyr Rocks on 3rd September and our debut album is out in October. We will also have plenty of exciting gigs booked for September October just keep an eye on us on Facebook.