Band of the Day: The Broken Ravens

The little islands around Scotland aren’t big, but the sounds coming from them can be…

Simple things first – where are you guys from? 

Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, which is part of the Outer Hebrides. Basically a bunch of islands in of the North West coast of Scotland. 

How did you meet? 

We all grew up in the local music scene and Stornoway is a very small place. Everybody knows or knows of everybody. 

How long have you been playing as a band? 

The band has been playing since 2013, Derek joined in 2015 and Gordon joined in 2019. 

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from? 

When the band formed first, we spent many hours at our previous singers house, drinking tea, eating cake and trying to think of a cool name that was dark, menacing and not taken. The idea came from an Anthrax album – Among the Ravens, which was taken, and a few hours later the conversation turned to Josh Homme (Them Crooked Vultures), and The Broken Ravens came out. We got there in the end! 

What are your influences? 

We all have really diverse tastes in music covering every genre, which we hope comes across in our music and playing. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Slayer, Machine Head, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Metallica, AC/DC, QotSA…

Describe your music. What makes you unique? 

It’s a mix of all our influences, styles and energy. A gritty, full on, beer soaked, in your face, assault on the senses, head banging, toe tapping, fireball of fuzz. There is something there for everyone. 

Do you have any particular lyrical themes? 

Our lyrics orbit around the darker side of life. We try and avoid clichés and draw from stories we have heard, personal experience, urban legend and personal experiences. 

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played? 

We rehearse every week so we stay tight, yet approach the setlist with the same energy and enthusiasm as when we wrote the songs. We turn up to 11, and give it everything, no gimmicks, honest, raw and in your face. 

We have played loads of gigs all over the UK, Europe and US. From supporting Puddle of Mudd in The Whisky A Go Go, The Viper Room on LA’s Sunset Strip,

Midalidare Rock Festival in Bulgaria with Doro, Desert and Dee Snider, Orkney Rock Festival (a band favourite), clubs and pubs all over. 

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show? 

Where do you start? Derek broke his ankle 5 minutes before taking to the stage in Inverness a couple of years ago. It was dark, we were changing over just getting ready to go on. Nobody knew other than Derek, we wondered why he was sitting down halfway through the 45m set? He was still trying to work his pedalboard with a broken ankle! He soldiered through and went A&E immediately after finishing, then sent us the photos before he got the plaster on, ooft! True rock warrior!

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.? 

Kevin uses a 7 piece Sonor Custom Force maple kit. 2 x 24 Bass drums, 10,12,14,16 toms and 2 Ludwig snares (Black Beauty & Black Magic). Paiste Rude, 2002, and Signature cymbals, Trick Pro 1 v Pedals and Gibraltar Hardware. 

Derek plays Gibson Guitars, mainly a custom Slash Signature, Fender Telecasters and uses a Marshall JCM 2000. Dereks EFX are custom built by Thrash. 

Calum Thrash MacAulay is an electrician by trade and builds guitars (mainly based on Les Paul or Telecaster), his HiWatt Custom 100 rig, and most of the pedals both he and Derek use, too many to mention!

Lotto uses a Fender 5 string Jazz Bass and an Ashdown combi. Gordon uses his voice.

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment? 

We released a single called “Dark Places” last month and are releasing new trackWhispers” on Halloween, October 31st. We have our own studio at Kevin’s, “Shabbey Road”, where we jam, record and generally hang out. We have been writing and recording since last year so we decided rather than do an album, we would enlist our friends to help us make videos, and release a song every two months. 

What are your plans for the rest of 2020? 

Lotto’s getting married this month. 

We are writing, recording, rehearsing, building new equipment, working on new artwork and making plans for next year. We do everything ourselves bar mastering. 

We had to cancel a lot this year, a European tour,a European festival (with Judas Priest, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil), and a trip to LA.Every musician the world over is in the same boat right now. Hoping that things go back to normal soon, but what will the new norm be? Will live events even be a thing? Hope so! We will keep plugging away doing our thing and hope to play infront of people again soon.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before! 

It has to be Black Sabbath, with Electric Mother (our brothers from Orkney) on the bill too. That would be an awesome show, Sabbath are such a huge influence and Electric Mother are phenomenal! Great bunch of guys! You have to check them out, you won’t regret it!

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