Band of the Day / Interview: Broken Glow

Broken Glow 192Another in our brief series of “bands telling you all about themselves”. This time Broken Glow have control of the keyboard…

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Garrett (singer/guitarist) is originally from upstate New York, Paul (drummer) from central Connecticut, and Sara (bassist) hails from northern Sweden. We currently live in Savannah, GA.

How did you meet?

Paul started the band with two childhood friends, one of whom knew Garrett from attending college together. Sara became acquainted with the group in 2011 and joined in 2014.

How long have you been playing together as a band?

We began in 2008, so this is our 8th year as a group.

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

We combined lyrics from two of the group’s favorite bands. “Broken” is taken from The Beatles’ “Across The Universe”, while “Glow” comes from Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days”.

What are your influences – individually or as a band?

Musically we draw from large pool of inspiration ranging from the classic rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s (Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Doors, Cream, etc), old blues masters (Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker), as well as grunge and metal (Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, System Of A Down, Primus). Sara’s tastes tend closer to garage and punk rock, while Paul is more steeped in hip hop and metal. Garrett’s classical training inclines him towards symphonic music and jazz. The band has been known to cover Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan in the same set as crooning Otis Redding or blazing through Steppenwolf. Good music exists across the arbitrary borders of genre and style, and we keep that in mind always.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Our sound has certainly evolved over the years – early on we fancied ourselves more along the lines of Guns N’ Roses or Aerosmith, but our tastes and skills have developed over time and our music has reflected that. We think of ourselves as a rock n roll band, heavily influenced by blues yet striving to reflect our diverse influences. This mindset is particularly noticeable on our latest album Filament, whose songs consciously span the stylistic gamut of rock music from piano ballads to riff monsters, straight blues to meditative drones, punk barnburners to radio-friendly singalongs.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

There are certain thematic elements we typically employ when writing lyrics. Many of our songs contain a healthy dose of social critique (“Iconoclast”, “Blue Dream”, “Sun Comes Up”, “Mr. Suit & Tie”), generally in the form of decrying power structures and rallying normal people to realize their power and importance in a society (ie. America) which focuses on transient material concerns rather than those cosmic import. Others deal with personal struggles of the band’s members (“Smoke”, “Running Scared”, “Cage”, “Get Out”), sometimes touching on addiction, other times on dealing with grief or paranoia. Here and there we employ tounge-in-cheek humor (“Blister”, “Sun Comes Up”), and from time to time we draw inspiration from literature or other cultural veins which speak to us (“The Great War”, “Now It Can Be Told”, “Gunshovel”). Generally rhyme schemes are heavily emphasized throughout.

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

Depending on the gig, a crowd member can expect to see any number of Broken Glow sets. As we’ve been playing for nearly a decade, we’ve accumulated a lot of original material, and will randomly insert a familiar cover. We do our best to vary the setlist in order to maintain interest. Some clubs only allow for 40 minute sets, during which we generally stick to originals. Some of our favorite gigs, however, are 3-hour marathon sets during which we can showcase the various sides of our sound. We like to jam and improves, so a longer set allows for that. We’re a pretty loud band, and we like to kept groovy. Here and there, however, we’re afforded the opportunity toppled acoustic sets, which gives us the freedom to explore more of the nuances of our sound, as the toned-down volume leaves roomful more space. Generally, though, we like to crank to 11.

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

The wildest thing we’ve seen at a show was in Savannah, GA during the set of the notorious New Orleans Slayer-meets-surf band DAIKAIJU. As the set continued, the members further engaged the audience (licking faces, crowd surfing, rubbing sweat on the crowd, all while playing). AT one point the band wordlessly coaxed the audience into carrying all of the gear off stage onto the floor, after which the drummer set his kit ablaze. After dousing the set (mid-song), we grabbed all of the band’s gear and marched it outside (thanks to the extra long chords the band knowingly uses) and the last song was performed on the street with onlookers dancing around the group in a circle. Legendary. The wildest thing to happen during one of our sets was probably in 2010 as we played the entire set while one of our (late) members was in an ambulance in the parking lot.

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

Paul plays a 5-piece Ludwig Legend Series kit with Zildgian A Custom cymbals; Sara plays an old Ibanez bass through an Ampeg PF800 with a 1970’s Peavy 4X12 cabinet; Garrett switches between an Epiphone Custom Les Paul with a quilted maple top in fireburst with gold hardware, a surf blue Fender Mexican Strat with Seymour Duncan Hotrails in all 3 positions, and a 3-tone metallic prototype Wild Custom guitar with 2 hardwired custom humbuckers, a one-off axe not available on the market. He’s got a 30watt 2×12 Peavy Delta Blues tube combo, and for bigger stages he’ll also run through a 100watt all tube Marshall JCM2000 TSL and a 4×12 Marshall slant cab.

What are your plans for 2016?

We’ve been playing a lot of regional shows in the southeast USA following our February release of “Filament.” In August we enter the studio to record a new single at Hybrid Audio Solutions in Charleston, SC. This fall will see us planning a special event called Blues & Brews alongside local brewery Southbound Brewing Company, where we’ll brew a custom beer and feature various local blues musicians.

If you could be part of any 3-band line-up (as support or headlining) who else would you have on the bill?

Tough question. As each band member has somewhat divergent personal tastes we’d likely all have our own answers. Regarding which acts would gel the best with our sound,it’d be great to play with Royal Blood and Jack White. That said, Rage Against The Machine has just announced a reunion tour, and it’d be something to play alongside them and, say, The Deftones.

Broken Glow: official | facebook | bandcamp

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