Interview: Break Fifty

Break Fifty have just released their latest single “The Pain” to much acclaim for those in the know. Mixing nu-metal from the old days with modern-day hardcore should give you a fair idea of what they sound like. After listening to the single, I would say this is for fans of Slipknot, Korn and Deftones with a little added touch of the band themselves. I felt like this would be the best time to catch up with the band and see what they have in store for us in terms of more tunes and tours. Good luck guys and look forward to seeing you on tour.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

The band is based in Guildford, Surrey. We come from all over the South of the country, but we all met at uni in Guildford, so we’re based there.

How long have you been playing together as a band?

We have been playing gigs for about two years now, and we’ve had a full lineup and a growing collection of songs for about that long – for quite a while before that we were trying to get the band up and running, made a little complicated by some lineup changes and members leaving, but we comprise a solid lineup now!

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Our music is a unique blend of a variety of styles – we predominantly lean towards 90s nu-metal music and modern hardcore, so our sound tends to come out as a mixture of the two, in a kind of old-meets-new way. That said, we all love so many different types of music, so it all works its way in there to some extent.

You recently released your latest single “The Pain”. How does it feel to get the new songs out there for the masses to hear for the first time and how has the response been?

For us, putting new music out is simultaneously very exciting and very nerve-wracking. Even if we love something we have come up with, we always want other people to as well, of course! The response we’ve had to “The Pain” truly has excelled our expectations and we’re really thrilled about it so far. We’d like to give a huge shout out to everyone who has been part of this release.

Being active for a couple of years now, how would you say it compares to that of your earlier material and do you think you have found the sound you strive for or will Break Fifty continue to keep experimenting?

Over the past few years we have definitely got through a process of finding and refining our sound, both in terms of songwriting and genre to our use of things like different tunings, drum sounds, vocal styles etc. We definitely are happy with our sound now and we love the music we are coming out with, but it’s also fair to say that we always want to push the boat out, and as such we are bound to keep experimenting with fresh concepts and ideas to find something that fits us and allows us to grow.

How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?

For the most part, we get together in rehearsal spaces at uni (as it’s a music uni) in order to write and rehearse our music, though we have done the occasional one at one of our houses. We perfect our material as much as we can before recording it, chipping away until we are happy. By the time we get to the studio, we like to be ready to record so the process can be as efficient and as problem-free as possible, which we have learned from experience.

How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Break Fifty a band where all members contribute to the songs?

The writing process is pretty much always collaborative for us, with everyone chipping in ideas. Often someone comes in with a riff or a lyrical concept, and we work around that to formulate a song. We tend to find that works well because it means we all get a say and we can all let out our creativity.

Is there a main lyricist within the band? What are the lyrics for “The Pain” based on?

Most of our lyrics are written by our vocalist, Hugo, but again we all chip in if we have a lyrical idea. More recently, a couple of songs have been co-written lyrically by Hugo and guitarist Ollie. Lyrically, “The Pain” is based on the themes of loss, manipulation and revenge, the idea of which was originally conceived by bassist Matt…emotions and concepts a lot of people can relate to on some level, and the song has personal meanings to each of us.

I thought the artwork by Sara Armstrong for “The Pain” was stunning. Out of interest, what information did you give Sara for the single and did Sara get everything you wanted in the cover?

Usually for artwork, such as in this case, one of us comes up with a vivid image that we think suit the feel of the song and we try and articulate this as best we can, then Sara goes away and makes it come to life. The artwork is visually in keeping with our other two singles which you can see when you look at them side-by-side. We are all really happy with how it turned out!

Being a four-piece band and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?

Being four musicians in a creative environment, there are of course sometimes clashes and differences in opinion, but we have always been able to work these through to come up with something we all genuinely love and we are happy to put out. This is another part of how we create our sound, as it is a collaboration of four minds’ ideas working to make one final product.

How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on more bigger tours and further afield in 2020?

Generally we just try to gig whenever and wherever we can, as it is such an important part of our existence as a band; we try to make our live shows as energetic and engaging as possible. This year we definitely want to crank things up a notch, playing more shows, bigger shows and hopefully travelling further afield than we have before.

How hard is it for a band like Break Fifty to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour nonstop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?

Of course, it’s a challenge to finance an up-and-coming band like us, which is why all the money we do make from merchandise and shows goes straight back into the band for future ventures, as well as us all chipping-in our own money individually. We hope to start selling our merchandise online soon, which will hopefully boost sales and get some more income for us to push the band even further.

Before the internet, magazines and fanzines were the places to find out about new bands and trends. Now publications are replaced with thousands of websites catering for all genres. Do you think that some of the passion has been lost or do you think that the internet has been a good thing for music and Break Fifty?

It seems to be that nowadays, it’s easier to get your name and music out there as there are so many ways to do it online, but it’s also harder to stand out and get noticed as a result of that. It helps that we were raised with things like the internet, as it means we grew up learning about it so we recognise it’s important as a tool for us so we can make the best of it.

What are your plans for 2020?

2020 is going to be super exciting for us – our next project will be to release our EP fairly soon and gig and tour more across the country. Near the end of the year, we plan to start work on our debut album…so keep your eyes peeled!

Being from the Guildford, Surrey area, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend and give a shout out?

Our local scene is really awesome and it has massively helped us get a start doing what we’re doing. It’s full of great bands and artists, but we would definitely recommend checking out our friends in Sunfall, for one!

A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?

After much thought and conversation between us… Slipknot – Iowa, Lotus Eater – Social Hazard, Korn – Issues, The Prodigy – Experience and Deftones – White Pony.

Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?

Well, of course, thank you, everybody, for your continued support and for taking the time to read this! We appreciate it hugely. 2020 is set to be a huge year for us, so watch out!

The Pain is out now

Artwork by Sara Armstrong: facebook | instagram

Break Fifty: facebook | instagram | spotify


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