Interview; Kevin Thomson (Broken Stories)
Broken Stories are a two-piece acoustic folk-punk band from rural Perthshire. They’ve been together just a shade over 6 months and have released the very well received self-titled EP in that time. The fiddle-driven two piece will be playing at Cerberus Bar, Dundee on Monday 24th June alongside Bloomington, Indiana’s folk-punk pioneers Ghost Mice, Scotland’s finest acoustic punk poet Billy Liar, travelling piano-punx maestro Turtle Lamone and Glasgow-based singer/songwriter Nyla. I caught up with front man Kevin Thomson recently for a bit of banter about how the band came together and to indulge in a little cowpunk nostalgia.
WYAZ; Hey Kev, how you doing?
Kev; Hi, I’m very well thanks.
WYAZ; You’ve been playing music for a long time. What’s the “story” behind Broken Stories?
Kev; Broken Stories is something i’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I have been THE biggest Flogging Molly fan for over 10 years and I’m also a huge fan of Chuck Ragan. Their music has had a bigger impact on me than anything else. Listening to their music made me want to put a band together that used traditional instruments and punk rock. I contacted Gillian a few years ago about putting a band together but the rest of the band just never happened. Story of my life. Last year, I spent 7 months living in Vancouver, Canada. I barely played any music while I was out there and felt completely lost without it. I contacted Gillian before I came home to ask if she would like to meet up for a jam when I got home. She said yes and within 2 weeks of me being home, Broken Stories was born.
WYAZ; The “Broken Stories” EP has been very well received. How did the EP come about and how do you feel about it now that it’s out there?
Kev; The EP is made up of four older songs and one new song. The old songs completely changed as soon as the fiddle was added and now feel like brand new songs. The new song “First Impressions” just seemed like a great first track and a great way to introduce us. The EP is about as DIY as it gets. All the songs were recorded in my living room using a couple of mics and an old version of Cubase on my laptop. The artwork was made on my iPad using a photo from my travels in Canada. All the CDs were burned on my laptop. We put everything together ourselves. It’s not the best recordings you’ve ever heard and it’s not the best artwork you’ve ever seen but we’re happy with the final product.
WYAZ; Your songs have a distinct honesty to them. Coming from rural Perthshire, do you think this influences your song writing? What inspires your writing?
Kev; I’ve always been a country boy. Living in a city is something that has never interested me in the slightest. I do a lot of walking around Alyth and the surrounding area. I just love being outdoors. It’s usually when I’m out walking that I think of song ideas and lyrics. I usually just take a note of my ideas in my phone and then work on it some more when I get home. My songs are very rarely about anything serious and when they are, there is usually a few light hearted or optimistic lyrics to balance it all out. I write songs about things that affect me and hopefully there are a few folk out there who can relate to what i’m singing about.
WYAZ; You’ve been involved in MTAT activities since the beginning. Do you have any special memories of those house party shows “back in the day”? Do you think things have changed since then?
Kev; I was actually thinking about those house party shows just a few days ago. I’m a very nostalgic person and sometimes I just sit and think about old times and how much fun we used to have. Those house parties were so good! We would spend whole summers just hanging out, drinking and playing guitar. The highlight would always be playing “Pints of Guinness makes you strong” by Against me with absolutely everyone singing/shouting along. Good times. Things have changed a bit since then. For a start, we’re all older. My hairline has receded dramatically and it’s taking me longer to wash my face every day as a a result. MTAT has just grown and grown. There is such a huge amount of bands connected with the MTAT name now. It’s great to see so many bands coming to play in Dundee. It’s a real community that’s been built here. I hope it continues to grow for many years.
WYAZ; You’ve got your first Glasgow show booked for July. What are the plans for the rest of the year? Can we expect a follow-up to the EP?
Kev; We’re really looking forward to playing Glasgow. We’re playing the 13th Note on July 24th with Jake and the Jellyfish, Billy Liar and The Screichs. Hopefully we’ll get some more shows there and in Edinburgh between now and the end of the year. I can’t rule out a follow-up to the EP before the end of the year but we have no plans for it at the moment. We’re just going to keep writing new songs, play shows and see where that takes us.
WYAZ; You played with Ghost Mice and Paul Baribeau in Drouthies back in 2007. What do you remember about that show?
Kev; That show was actually the first solo show I ever played. I was super nervous! It was a great show from what I remember. I think there was a decent crowd that night too. I remember Paul Baribeau hadn’t brought a guitar on tour with him which I thought was rather silly. Ghost Mice were great!
WYAZ; Why is the Ghost Mice show at Cerberus on Monday going to rule?
Kev; This show is going to rule because the line up is awesome and Cerberus is a cracking wee venue! I’m looking forward to hearing Nyla for the first time as well as hearing Turtle Lamone properly. I’m sure I had to leave during his set at BYAF. Billy Liar is always superb and Ghost Mice will kill it again. We are really looking forward to it!