Newly signed to SharpTone Records, Virginia pop-punks Broadside are forging ahead with their third album, 'Into The Raging Sea'. Just as the tumultuous title suggests, it's been a rough few years for the group. Since 2017's 'Paradise' they've undergone yet more line-up changes (most recently losing guitarist/vocalist Dorian Cooke to his new project, NeverKept), struggled through industry nonsense, and now, of course, there's a pandemic to contend with. "[It's] an album about learning to swim against the pressures of the world," frontman Ollie Baxxter starts. "Some would argue that it's too late once you've already stepped forward blindly, but those people still pace the beach, wondering, what if?"
How have you been occupying yourself during lockdown?
I'm a big fan of reading, and so this lockdown has privileged me with more of an excuse to isolate myself in various books. I'm currently reading a book called Sapiens by Yuvsl Noah Harari and started a Zoom book club discussing it once a week. It's blowing my mind. It's about the evolution of humans and essentially, the destruction that we've caused to our fellow species and to ourselves over time. Aside from that, I've actually become a big runner. Never thought I'd come to say that, but I run a 10k every week now and just find great satisfaction in the accomplishment.
Has the virus outbreak impacted you guys much? It must be weird releasing an album you can't tour.
It has absolutely ruined our entire unwrapping of the record. With the European tour being cancelled, that was our only booked tour of the summer in lieu of supporting our single releases / building to our album release in July. However, we are pretty much just hoping the long arm of Twitter promotion will suffice. For now.
Do you think it's going to lead to a bunch of bands getting new material out quicker, having had time during lockdown to write?
I'd have to imagine. We have almost half a record worth of new material. I think on top of the virus and other political issues at hand, bands are respectful to not take away from what the world needs to focus on. I imagine when the word gets out, we can all tour again, it's going to be a flood.
Are there any long-term effects you're nervous about?
Yes, first week sales are massive if you're trying to brand yourself and not get lost in the noise of the rest of the world. I've been trying to break my band for eight years now, I really want this. Aside from that, I imagine, back tour scheduling will probably overlap booking new tours etc.
What's 'Into The Raging Sea' about, then?
The idea is this. You approach the vast sea… it's crashing and roaring and screaming your name, "Come swim" "Breathe me in"… You're left with two options… swim or drown in its presence. I've been drowning for years now. I've found the voice of the band sonically. I'm going to swim until my fucking arms snap from holding against the current.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of putting it together? How was it?
It came together organically. We were in the middle of the countryside with little or awful cell phone service. We were dialled in. Jeff (our Drummer) and I were connected during 100 per cent of the process. Not much changed from the demo versions to what ultimately made the album. I can't say that about most songs I've written. These songs are just what they wanted to be, no outside influence. Except for whatever has influenced us as artists throughout our lives, yet still... organic.
Is it a step up for Broadside?
It's a new staircase entirely.
It sounds like the band has experienced a new lease of life, do you feel like you're in a good place?
Personally, I struggle with feeling like I'm always going to be in that shadow. I hate the idea that maybe I'm just another voice of people who died to be heard. I hate that maybe my light is fading. I'm obsessed with not being alone… I'm afraid that maybe everyone's already gone. I don't know. That's deep... but really I'm terrified to fail. In lighter news, I love my band, and I believe in the music, but with how harsh this business is, it'll make you swallow your tongue quick.
Has the record sparked any ideas for what you want to go on to write next?
Yeah, I want to continue pursuing my dreams of being a writer. I've self-published my books of poems, but I want an agent to take me seriously. I want to meet other writers, so I feel less alone. I made the mistake of selling my own sadness, and no "Official" people will take me seriously. It fucks with me. But I'm a good writer. So I'm open for the journey.
What else is coming up for you lot?
We hope to return to the real world whenever it resets. I am hoping that this record will show other bands that we're not just a pop-punk band anymore. I almost want to change the name of the album to "take me seriously" at this point.
Taken from the August issue of Upset. Broadside's new album 'Into The Raging Sea' is out now.
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