Formed in Swansea, South Wales in 2014, Broken Fires have earned a reputation for massive alternative indie songs about love, life and death. Self-releasing their debut album Silhouettes back in 2015, the band gained plays on BBC Radio 1, while singles Elephants, Flesh and Blood and Brand New Start gained them global recognition via MTV.
After a five-year gap, Broken Fires utilised the lockdown of 2020 to their advantage and initiated work on their forthcoming album Hymns. Dreamer is their latest single heralding both a new partnership with Cardiff-based label Phwoar & Peace, plus a fresh batch of material planned for release throughout 2021.
Recently, Broken Fires aka Tom, Gar & Justin spoke to Andy Howells about their music inspirations.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
Tom: Fleetwood Mac, The Chain. My parents were big fans. I can remember listening to it when I was a kid and thinking that outro was so cool.
Gar: For me it would either be Green Day – Basket Case, or Weezer – Buddy Holly. I was probably around 10 years old and I remember those songs coming on during an episode of Top of The Pops 2 and they just blew my mind. From there I just consumed music constantly. Those songs were definitely the start of my love of music.
Justin: Growing up my parents listened to a lot of Paul Simon and I was obsessed with a VHS TV recording we had of an early 90s concert in central park. I think seeing this huge show with loads of incredible musicians really cemented my love of music and the version of Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes with the big drum outro was definitely my favourite track
What was the first single or download you bought?
Tom: If I answer that question, I give away my age… I think it’s actually Eminem, Slim Shady. That cannot be my answer for this interview, so please accept Rage Against the Machine, Freedom. Also, a single I bought early on and a much more respectable answer.
Gar: Billy Joel, River of Dreams. The less said the better.
Justin: I’m not sure if it was my first but I remember buying Bran Van 3000 – Drinking in LA, absolute banger!
What was the first album you owned?
Tom: Nirvana, In Utero. There were a few more before that spanning Eminem, a Will Smith record and I’m pretty sure All Saints but I’m not sure I technically “owned” them… I’ll stick with my first answer…
Gar: I was a pretty confused kid. I can’t quite remember what was first, but my first few albums definitely consisted of Spice Girls, PJ & Duncan, Weezer’s Blue Album and Green Day’s Kerplunk (my dad wouldn’t buy me Dookie because it had the “parental advisory” sticker on it)
So, the cool answer for the purpose of this interview is obviously PJ & Duncan
Justin: Like Gar I was pretty confused too. I know the first album I ever asked for was Ace of Base – The Sign, my brother likes to remind me of that one.
Reckon the first album I actually bought was Oasis – Be Here Now, left school at break time to go buy it on the day it came out, genuinely thought there would be this huge queue, the shop was empty.
I pinched a few albums from my dad as well, so Colour and The Shape and Nevermind ended up in my collection early on, dad was cooler than me and had an expendable income
What’s your constant go to track?
Tom: At the moment it’s My Amsterdam by a band called Then Thickens. It’s a few years old now but still absolutely incredible. Wild guitar riff. Awesome melody.
Gar: it’s probably Under Pressure by Queen / David Bowie. I could never get tired of that song. David Bowie’s crescendo at the end gives me goosebumps every time.
Justin: Always like to hear Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill. His voice is incredible and the track is pretty timeless
What’s your constant go to album?
Tom: I have a few, but at the moment it’s Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher. It’s such a beautiful record. It doesn’t always have to be loud as hell to hit you right in the soul.
Gar: Tough to choose one, but I’ll go with Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit. Music that stirs the soul for sure.
Justin: Not sure I can choose one here, I’d say recently it’s Pinegrove’s live album Amperland, NY but albums that rarely leave me for too long include White Pony – Deftones, OK Computer – Radiohead and Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Who’s your latest music discovery?
Tom: Julien Baker. I knew of her previously as I’m a huge fan of Phoebe Bridgers and was into the Boygenius album, but her new album Little Oblivions is fantastic.
Gar: I think I’ll have to go with PUP. I can’t get enough of those guys right now. I’ve got a playlist of all their songs on repeat pretty much constantly. They’re definitely one of those bands that I just become obsessed with – buying all the t-shirts, watching all the youtube videos, buying their vinyls even though I don’t have a record player etc…
Justin: Not really my latest but I’ve been pretty obsessed with Pinegrove since seeing them live a few years ago! A few other artists have been added to my collection in that time, but nothing has grabbed me as much as them.
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
Tom: I think for me it has to be a track called Trouble, which will be on our second album out later this year. I feel like it’s the most honest song we’ve ever written, and even after all this time I’m still not sick of it. I should have said ‘Dreamer’ the single that’s actually coming out soon but I’m a sucker for trouble.
Gar: Hard to argue against Tom there. I think that track encapsulates everything we’re about. Musically, lyrically, dynamically… it’s all there. Oh, and it’s got a long outro too. We love a long outro.
Justin: Can’t really disagree with Tom or Gar but just to offer up something different I’m going to go for Float and Land. I just love the groove on it and can’t wait to play it live!