The Broken Bricks are an indie rock band from Toronto, Canada. Although extremely busy promoting their upcoming EP, Little Fugitives, Luke Kuplowsky and Marlon Chaplin kindly agreed to give Song Revelation an interview about their musical background to date, their influences and what 2011 has in store for them. It’s a really good read, showing that Luke and Marlon are not just accomplished musicians but also have a good sense of humour too.
(M = Marlon, L = Luke)
Q: What is your musical background?
M: I started out as a drummer, but I always seemed to have a guitar in my hand one way or another.
L: I started classical piano lessons at a young age, but my lack of discipline and a curious mind distracted me to play the trumpet, guitar, and harmonica as well. However, now I’m back at the piano. I’ve gone full circle.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
M: I got to travel a bit, I spent some time in New York. We found our two newest members thankfully, after hacking through a weedy forest for quite some time. We’ve actually been around for a little while already. We formed the band in 2007, the various incarnations of the band just kept changing so often that it feels like we’ve already had about five births.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
M: People that I play with a lot of the time, Freeman Dre is an inspiring songwriter who is a real force. No one that I know straddles the line between being authentic and sincere in his art as he is, while maintaining the order and discipline in the other side of the game. It’s a cool thing to see him do his thing at such a close range. The dear boys I play with in Broken Bricks. Just getting behind Matthew, our drummer when it really locks in is an absolutely exhilarating thing. Same goes for Luke and Joey. I’m grateful to be surrounded by such great musicians.
L: Yeats, my orange tabby cat. Most of my songs are written for him.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
M: In the popular realm, there’s not a whole lot. To look up to someone is to take a cue. To not emulate but be driven by a certain person’s actions, an artist or somebody that has some kind of relation to your world. And in what’s been going on lately, it’s a barren land.
L: There’s not too many modern day artists that I look up to, but, there is a lot to be excited about. The English band Wild Beasts has this massive, unique sound (some cross pollination of Sparks and Radiohead) and I’m very excited to hear their third album. Also the band Delta Spirit’s sophomore album from last year was fantastic and as a live band they’re absolutely incredible. I wouldn’t say both bands are very influential to our sound, but the confidence and presence of their music is rather refreshing.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
M: Yeah definitely, but who knows what might happen? There’s a lot.
L: Jackie Chan (he’s quite an accomplished singer)
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
M: I don’t have an iPod, but I’ve had on Some Girls lately, Gimme Some Neck by Ron Wood and a Gyorgy Ligeti album that a friend gave me recently. It’s fantastic. Specific songs I’ve really been digging into recently? 100 Years Ago, Who Are You by Tom Waits, No Shoes by John Lee Hooker, that kind of world.
L: No IPod, but I’m a Record junkie. I’ve been listening to Costello’s Imperial Bedroom, ELO’s Time, and Jonathan Richman’s Jonathan Sings (lots of fun pop music). Also, I’ve recently been getting heavily into 70’s and 80’s Chinese pop music.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
M: Usually, I’ll have a song or two kicking around or Luke will, and the two of us will get together and demo them. Then we bring them to the band. That’s when they sort of start to take their final shape. Matt and Joey will start to flesh out what might have been missing before. It varies, though.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
M: Depends on the song, sometimes lyrics you don’t think matter at the time turn out to mean something that holds more sway down the line.
L: Why choose?
Q: Where are you based?
M: In Toronto.
Q: What’s it like being in Toronto?
M: It’s like a limbo. I’m from a few different places actually, so I’ve had the pleasure of being exposed to contrasting ways of life growing up.
Q: What are you currently working on?
M: We’ve just finished our EP which we did at Green Door Studios, called ‘Little Fugitives’ and we’re prepping for the release at Lee’s Palace on February 11th. The CD will actually be available on Feb. 8th though. You can visit our website for more words on the matter.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
M: There’s been a few. I’m under contract not to talk about them though.
L: Drink tickets. How sad.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
M: We’re going to be going on the road, doing more radio, televison, hopefully making a music video and turning people on to what we do. Now that we’ve finally got together a band that works well and moves and twists and turns and makes us smile, we’re more eager than ever to play live again. We took a little break from doing shows when we were recording, so it’s nice to be back playing again.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
M: The release show of course. We’re also going to be doing a show at Rancho Relaxo that is being put on by the Indie Machine, part of Fusion Radio at U of T. We’re also playing Parts + Labour March 20th.
Q: What do you do to relax?
L: Watch 70’s Chor Yuen martial arts detective films
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
M: The new Wanda Jackson single, Thunder on the Mountain. Listen to it, it’s good.
L: A Giraffe has no vocal chords. It can’t sing. But it can laugh.
Could 2011 be the start of something special for the Broken Bricks? This recent press coverage suggests so:
“Opening the night were Broken Bricks. I realize that I tend to compare a lot of bands with The Kinks but hey, if the shoe fits, right? It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that their sound is steeped in the idiosyncrasies of the British music hall combined with the awesome shuffle of the distinctive beat era. The harmonies were beautiful, the performance was gold, the guitars were loud, the energy was high and we all know how I feel about that authentic 60’s sound!”
— Bobby B (Its not the band I hate its their fans)
“Broken Bricks has the unique ability to tap into the past, embracing a palate of Nuggets-era garage-rock, The British Invasion, and mid 90’s Britpop. Choose your decade. Gleaming guitars, shimmying keyboards, and melodies that drench you like a warm sheet of sunlight. A cheeky mod spirit and youthful enthusiasm, this four-piece embodies a vintage pop voice to irresistible effect.”
— Lonely Vagabond (Exlcaim Blog)
“Pasquale is the debut album from Broken Bricks, where they combine the catchy hooks of the Kinks and blend it with the raw production and tight arrangements of Goo era Sonic Youth. Broken Bricks doesn’t spare a second without providing the listener with a variety of candid vocals, elastic bass lines, magnetizing guitar leads, bewitching drum beats and dazzling piano work.”
— Alex Young (Fazer Magazine)
The Broken Bricks are definitely one of Song Revelations ‘Ones to Watch for 2011’.
If you want to learn more about the Broken Bricks, follow these links:
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broken-Bricks/76559289935
myspace link: http://www.myspace.com/brokenbricksofficial
web page: http://www.broken-bricks.com/