Stoke-on-Trent has produced many great bands over the years, and has since become one of the key towns that we look to for new music. One of its newest offerings is Broken Flags – a guitar band that are ready to shake things up. Consisting of Jack Dooley on lead vocals/guitar, Lewie Adams on guitar, Josh Buckley on bass and Ash Clay on drums.
The band’s debut track ‘Enemy’ takes on the world of politics, but rather than being the ones shouting about their own views, the message is simple. Saying that if we all united together as one voice, rather than bulldozing each other’s individual opinions, then maybe we’d reach a common goal and we’d be stronger for it.
What’s for certain is that Broken Flags mean business, it may be early days for them but they are developing a powerfully pertinent voice, whose battle cry is just about ready to take on whatever is thrown at them.
First things first, how did it all come together for you as a band?
“Myself (Jack) met Lewie (guitar) and Ash (drums) whilst auditioning for members in my last band, All the Young. They both got the job so when All the Young finished I always had them in mind. Josh (bass) is a friend of the band who came down, got stuck in and that was that.”
I presume you’ve all had individual experiences in other bands previously to Broken Flags, how did those initial learnings in band dynamics and the music industry in general, inform how you approach this band?
“I’ve had quite a lot of experience in my previous bands but I try not to dwell on the past too much, I have worked with major labels and played gigs all over the world which makes you a bit wiser I suppose, but generally our outlook with Broken Flags is to have a completely fresh outlook. The industry changes so much year to year as well, you can’t really hold past experiences with too much weight.”
How long were you working behind the scenes before the band launched?
“We spent about 9 months in the studio. The songs were improving all of the time so I could’ve easily done longer, but it gets to the point where you have to get out there and test yourself.”
So from the formation of Broken Flags up to now, what has been the most surprising revelation?
“The amount of attention we’ve received since going online I suppose. We always had a plan to get our heads down, write, gig, keep improving, and then in mid to late 2016 start knocking on a few doors. We’ve had lots of interest come our way though already and we’ve only been online for 3 months. That for me has been the most surprising, but also mega to see we’re getting noticed.”
From only launching the band in October, a couple of tracks have appeared online and you’ve played quite a few shows. Most recently your biggest one to date at The Sugarmill in Stoke, how have the past few months been for you? The response to the band seems to be building and building…
“It’s been a real buzz. When you’re in the studio writing new stuff, it’s easy to get excited and think ‘wow, we’re onto something’, but essentially you don’t know until you’ve got up there and played your songs to people. The response to the gigs has been immense, a lot of people have told me we need to try and recreate the sound we make live on record, which is something I agree with. We seem to go up a few gears live.”
Let’s talk more about the music. So the first song you put out was ‘Enemy’, how did that song come together?
“I wrote Enemy in all of 5 minutes at my house before the studio one night, played it to the lads and finished the rest of it in about 10 minutes. That’s not something that happens often, you have to enjoy it when it does, it literally flew out.”
I believe Jack is the main songwriter within the band? Where do you get your inspiration from when it comes to songwriting – is it a very personal form of expression for you?
“That’s right. All of the songs are quite personal to me, I’ll start off just warbling nonsense and then a topic will start to shine through. Love, money, politics, greed, religion, things I see in Stoke on Trent. Once I get that subject, the whole song tends to stick to it. Each song is the way I see a certain topic, essentially. When I run out of topics I might be in trouble.”
The tracks were recorded in Leeds with Jimmi from the Pigeon Detectives on production. Going from being long-time friends to working with him on a professional level, how was that? What did he bring to the recordings?
“Yeh it was great, especially from a songwriting and also a rhythm perspective, Jimmi implemented some ace ideas.”
‘Faith’ is the most recent track you’ve released, a taut guitar-led anthem. What’s it all about?
“That song is about religion, in all forms. When you think about it, none of us know if there is or isn’t a God, and if there is a God, what are the chances it’s your God? Life is a total mystery, so get on with it and enjoy yourself.”
What are your dreams for the band? Where do you hope to take Broken Flags in the future?
“I take each dream a step at a time, a few months ago I was dreaming about doing gigs. Now we’ve done gigs, I’m dreaming about doing more gigs in bigger cities. Ultimately though, I want this band to be the vehicle for every song I ever write. If we achieve that then we’re doing good.”
Can you walk us through the plan of the band in 2016 – new releases, gigs, touring?
“We’re pretty much playing anywhere and everywhere we can in 2016 across the UK, no stage too big or too small. There will also be a couple of EP’s, with the first one in April. 2016 is all about making new friends.”
Broken Flags debut EP ‘Strike Up The Band’ will be released in April. The band are also playing shows around the UK in the lead up to the release, see below for dates.