Broken Links Q&A
Eastleigh, Hampshire goth / post-punk / electro-rock trio Broken Links have added a dance remix album 'Konflix:Statez' to their catalogue; 7 tracks from last year's excellent 'Conflict::States' album given a dance overhaul and showing the songs in an illuminating new light. Guitarist / Vocalist Mark Lawrence answered a few questions for BBMATB about the album, the band and named a few of their favourite other remix albums.
Broken Links are Mark Lawrence (Guitar / Vocals), Lewis Betteridge (Bass) and Phil Boulter (Drums).
Albums 'Disasters:Ways To Leave A Scene' (2012), 'Divide/Restore' (2015), 'Conflict::States (2021) and 'Konflix::Statez' (2022) are available on all the major digital sites or from the Broken Links bandcamp page - www.brokenlinks.bandcamp.com. Early EP 'The Fine Line Between Choice And Decay' can also be picked up from bandcamp.
Hi Guys, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with Broken Links, could you give a short history of the band?
We’re a 3-piece Alternative Prog/Goth Rock band formed in Eastleigh in 2008. We all vaguely knew of each other during our teenage years as we all went to the same school. Phil is one of my mate’s brothers, so soon after the demise of another band I was in he suggested I have a jam with his brother. I had a bunch of songs I had written so we just started going through them, after a few weeks of that Phil brought Lewy along to band practise and it all just sort of worked out really easy. This was at the very beginning of 2008. We then spent most of that year practising and playing around with our sound before eventually playing our first gig down The Joiners in Southampton at the end of the year! Since then we have produced three EPs and three albums and we’ve just released our first remix. We’ve also played shows across the UK from Bournemouth to Leeds and have been lucky enough to secure shows across Europe for a few small tours.
And who would you say were the main influences on Broken Links?
It’s a real mix. we’ve always listened to bands like Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers, Metallica, and The Cooper Temple Clause, because their music never gets old! But we’re also big on the classics, Bowie, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix...as well as a real mix of electronica like Kraftwerk, Leftfield, Massive Attack etc. I think it all gets gelled together in some way or another in our sound! Lyrically, we’re most recently about the state of the world and focussing in on things that piss us off personally.
You've recently released a new album 'Konflix:Statez' - a remix album featuring seven tracks reimagined from last year's 'Conflict:States' album. What was the thinking behind doing a remix album?
It was an experiment really, we spent years making 'Conflict::States' that it seemed a shame to release it and let it fizzle away to nothing after a few months. We’re really proud of the songs on that album, and there’s some quite deep themes and some of the tracks are a bit prog in places. So we were really of thinking that it would be great to just give someone the stems of some of these tracks and see what new lease of life could be put into them.
Plus, as I mentioned before, we’re dance-heads too....so to hear our tracks mashed up into absolute bangers would put massive smiles on our faces!!
You've asked remixers from across the globe (from Canada to Azerbaijan) to remix the tracks. How did you come to be in contact with these guys? And did the album take long to put together and what was the process in pulling the album together?
I guess part of the experiment was the question, would anyone even be interested in remixing our tracks?! So, we ran a remix competition on a Russian remix stem torrent sharing site in 2021 with a deadline of 4 weeks. Where, if we liked the submissions, they’d end up on our remix EP. It started off extremely slowly, naturally, you can’t bang together a good remix in a couple of days! But by the end of the competition, to our surprise, we had a fair few remixes sent to us and the quality of them were unbelievably good, and they came from all over the world! Once all had been submitted, it was really a case of listening to them over & over and trying to get a feel of the best flow for the tracks, before doing some final mastering of the tracks together and releasing. A special shout out to all the remixers for this EP, because they all put in a lot of time creating the remixes and a lot of love went into them, which we’ll always be grateful for.
Do you have a favourite remix on the album? Which track (s) do you feel has had the biggest 'metamorphosis' in being remixed?
It’s tough to pick out one particular remix as a favourite, they’re all brilliant in their own right. There’s quite a mix of styles throughout the EP giving a hugely varied sound, which adds a bit of charm to the EP, and it means each track stands alone from the rest really.
I think the biggest mutation was Nairod’s remix for 'Pioneers'. From the original stems, he basically threw everything away except some of the vocals towards the end and turned that into the new focus of the track, which is something we really wasn’t expecting! Not only that, but he’s made the track drive through dirty electro, to dubstep, then onto glitch!
Are there any other favourite remix albums (such as The Cure's 'All Mixed Up' for example) that you have?
'Fixed' & 'Further Down The Spiral' by NIN are ones that spring to mind. Linkin Park’s 'Reanimation' was a popular one as we were growing up also. I’ve also a few Global Underground albums floating around, the ones mixed by James Lavelle are always good, he usually drops in a few UNKLE remixes here. Also, Muse had an absolutely banging remix of Sunburn done by Timo Mass
In terms of live shows, do you have any in the pipeline that people can come and catch you at?
We’re playing Heartbreakers, Southampton on 5th June....and we’ll be playing The Cellars, Boscombe on 14th July! All Southern UK dates at the moment sadly, we’ve tried to play more gigs out of town, but getting the gigs are tricky at the moment!
Are there any particular venues / festivals that you would like to play and are on your 'bucket list'?
Playing a festival? That would be nice! Those offers are few & far between for us sadly!
I think the pinnacle for us would be to get a set at Boomtown Festival. It’s a local one for us as its only 10 minutes up the road. We went a few years back as punters, its a bonkers weekend, we’d definitely recommend it! We apply every year, we’ve had no luck yet though....we’re crossing our fingers there’s a few hundred pull outs and we get the call!!
Broken Links have been around now for ten years or so; what have been the highlights for the band since you first got together?
I think the ultimate highlights for us were supporting The Chameleons in Bielefeld, Germany, then playing the Karel Music Expo in Sardinia. The first just being an opportunity to support a band that we listen to in a packed venue, and the second just being a crazy experience, all of us flying to Sardinia, arriving in the boiling heat, and playing our band of moody goth rock on a stage high up in the mountains, over looking Caligari!
Do you think there is currently a good music scene down there on the South Coast? Any bands from the area that you'd recommend to readers?
Yeah, its got better over the years. There’s a few more music venues that have opened up in the Southampton area of differing capacities, so we get more touring bands through.
Check out Continental Liaison, then head down to The Cellars, Boscombe on 14th July....we’re both playing!!
And finally, what plans for Broken Links for the rest of 2022?
We have a few more gigs in us this year....they’re not booked yet, but they will be hopefully!!
Other than that, we’ve started dicking around with new ideas in the practice room. Trying to make our effects pedals malfunction again!! In the coming weeks all that will start getting recorded into the laptop and demo’ed.....who knows, there could be an EP on the way...maybe not in 2022, but probably 2023!!