Monday, March 31, 2014

10 Questions with Broadcaster

I first discovered Long Island’s Broadcaster in 2011 when I came across their killer EP Joyride.  Then in 2012 they did it again with the excellent Tightrope Walker EP and followed that up with what is probably their best record to date, 2013’s A Million Hours (you can read my reviews of each here, here, and here).  Each release ended up on my best of lists for 2011, 2012, and 2013.  So needless to say, I’m a big fan. 

Broadcaster’s music is that perfect mix of ‘90s influence power pop, indie, and punk rock.  In other words they play catchy as hell pop rock songs with big hooks that dare you to not dance and sing along.  But what makes Broadcaster so great is that they aren’t simply a nostalgia act.  This is music that is as new and modern as it is familiar, making Broadcaster a must for fans of power pop, indie rock, and punk (or anyone who just likes great rock ‘n’ roll). 

This interview was conducted via email February 23 – March 4, 2014.

For more information on Broadcaster check out their Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, BandCamp, and Instagram pages.

Dave:  How did the band get together? 

Anthony Vito:  It started out as a fun project between the three of us, who were all in different bands at the time. We recorded an album over a weekend and threw it up online for free download, and people really liked it. As time went on and our other projects fizzled out, Broadcaster became the main focus.

Dave:  For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your music?

Vito:  I just call it rock 'n roll. Plain and simple.

Dave:  In 2013 you released your sophomore full-length album, A Million Hours, on Jump Start Records.  What’s the story behind the record?  How did you get connected with Jump Start?

Jesse Litwa:  All the songs on A Million Hours were written over the course of 2011/2012, in between whatever tours we were doing. We went down to Magpie Cage in Baltimore for a week to record it with J. Robbins, our friend JP Flexner did all the artwork, and it was released by Jump Start in September 2013.

We started working with Jump Start a couple years ago. They were the first label to ever express any interest in us. Since then, Jeremy and Kevin who run the label have become great friends of ours and we're grateful to have them helping out our band. Jeremy also runs a badass brewery called Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, and Kevin plays in one of our favorite bands, Aspiga.

Dave:  Lyrically and thematically A Million Hours feels like a far more personal, serious, and darker record than your previous releases.  Was that something that happened consciously? 

Jesse:  Definitely not consciously. I think we all started to notice that as we started demoing them out though. I guess 2011/2012 weren't my favorite years haha. Either way though, we just try our best to write catchy music. Whether it’s light-hearted or a bit more serious, hopefully there’s a melody that will get stuck in someone’s head.

Dave:  Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?

Vito:  Normally, Jesse will demo out a song idea and bring it to us, then we'll jam on it. The songs usually come together rather quickly. We try not to over think things and just let it all happen organically. This method works well for us.

Dave:  Your music has a distinctly 1990s feel to it.  Were you a big fan of the music of that decade?  As one of a number of bands that have drawn heavily from the ‘90s, do you feel any camaraderie with those other bands (like Cheap Girls, Crosshatch, Great Cynics, Candy Hearts, The Termals, etc.)?

Vito:  It was never a conscious decision for us to be a '90s style band. For most people our age, that decade was when we first picked up our instruments, so of course the music of that era bears a huge influence on our playing. I think the same can be said for all the bands you've mentioned. We're all just putting our own spin on the music that inspired us.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in New York?  How is being a band from Long Island different then say a band from NYC or Manhattan?  (Note:  I’ve never been to New York, so this might seem like a dumb question.  I tend to think of the greater NYC metro as one place but after my time working for an airline, I learned that no, places like Long Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan are very, very different.  Also, I love to hear band’s thoughts on their hometown scenes.)  

Vito:  Long Island has always had its own thing going on, and being that we're so close to New York City, we can kind of exist in both circles of bands, which is cool. Since we live in such a densely populated area, we're never at a loss for a venue to play at or people to play with. There's always something going on. On the down side, the cost of living has gotten ridiculously expensive, which makes it difficult for bands to commit to what they do full time.   

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top five favorite bands, albums, movies, television programs, books/authors? 

Jesse:  That’s tough. Like everyone else, the favorite bands list could go on forever, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Limbeck, American Hellfire Club, The Wannadies, and Randy Newman’s early stuff, specifically the album Good Old Boys. Some favorite albums of all-time are Cheap Girls - Find Me A Drink Home, The Get Up Kids - Four Minute Mile, Weezer - The Blue Album, among a zillion others. I think our collective favorite movies would include The Sandlot and anything with Tom Hanks, especially Forest Gump and That Thing You Do. My favorite TV show was Stella, which lasted one season. Charles M. Schulz is my favorite author.

Dave:  What’s next for the band? 

Vito:  We're heading out on tour again next month, hitting up the midwest with our friends in Iron Chic, then we're doing our first ever Canadian run.

Jesse:  After that we'll be working on some dates for summer/fall. We'll also have a new release or two before the year is out.

Dave:  Any final thoughts? 

Vito:  Rest in peace, Harold Raimis.

Jesse:  Print is dead.

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