Q & A With Mark Briscoe From Broken Lines

Q & A With Mark Briscoe From Broken Lines

XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?

Our debut album release is imminent! We have worked on it all year and are now putting the final touches on it before it goes to print. The album is an eclectic mix of all our influences, with something to please everyone. Be sure to play it loud!!!!!!

 

XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?

Broken Lines was formed in 2014. We are a 3 piece band playing unique and original music from Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Our emphasis is to create upbeat and energetic music with punk, rock, psychedelic and just about anything else that influences us! We play for the love and enjoyment of music and aim to portray that in our songs and performances. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow and serene, but always refreshing and uniquely our own. Strong beats and growling bass punctuated with searing guitar and vocal performance to match! Delivering an experience that is intense, exciting and emotionally charged.

 

XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?

There is very little else worth doing really. I’ve played bass since I was 12 so it’s all I’ve ever really known.

 

XS ROCK: What is your music background?

We’ve all been playing for a long time, been in a lot of bands with varying degrees of success, and have been around the block a few times. This has given us a lot of experience and a lot of hindsight to navigate our treacherous journey together!

 

XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?

Honesty, sincerity, and effort hopefully! There is something for everyone, we don’t like to label our music as there isn’t really a label that fits. It’s an eclectic mix and people react differently to each song.

 

XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?

We would love to be able to spend all our time writing, recording and playing music live. It’s what we do best. The more we are able to do this, the better we get!

 

XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?

Playing live definitely. Writing and recording are great fun and hard work but playing live is where we really shine. Our shows are exciting and dynamic, and we like to engage with our audience.

 

XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? 

You name it, we’ll probably cover it at some point. We are all politically motivated, who wouldn’t be given the current political landscape? But we also have a fun and loving side. Basically we write to reflect ourselves and our environment.

 

Q & A With Mark Briscoe From Broken LinesXS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?

Honesty. You can bullshit your way around in the earlier stages of your career but once you reach a certain level, the shit becomes very transparent and if you can’t back it up, you’re fucked!

 

XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.

Mark: I once toured as part of the support for Transvision Vamp. On the third night of the tour we had a “lock-in” at the hotel and by the end of the night, their singer (mentioning no names of course) was pissed out of her head, flashing us all and saying “don’t you think these are lovely?”. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t! 🙂

 

XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?

I played a punk festival at The 100 Club in London back in the day and I remember one fan approached me afterward and asked if he could have my plectrum. I had to decline as I only had one! We were poor but we were happy!

 

XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?

Absolutely, we all have very supportive families. Quite a few of them get involved with the band from time to time.

 

XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?

Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. Once you’ve done that, rehearse some more! You are learning a craft that takes time to develop. Don’t take yourselves too seriously and get good thick skin, you’ll need it. It’s a big hill to climb but if you persevere you’ll get to the top!

And remember, Just Say No to drugs! Well, the shit ones anyway 😉

 

XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?

Our intro track, Running Free, is a musical piece, was initially designed as a throwaway track to enable our sound man to get a good balance. It has now taken on a life of its’ own and gets us really buzzing with anticipation to get going! Also, our exit track, Sweet Lips, is a killer. It slowly works up to a frenzy at the end that can go on for ages with the right audience.

 

XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?

Musical influence s are:

Mark: The Stranglers, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, New Model Army, Bob Marley, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Steve Harley. It all about the bass for me!

Dave: Jimi Hendrix, Nick Cave, Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, The Clash, Bowie. Love to play free and unfettered guitar!

Jack: New York Dolls and The Pink Fairies. I am slightly off the wall and love to experiment!

 

XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?

Us and Cruelty, from Bristol. They are shit hot at the minute, and hands down one of the best bands we’ve seen in years. They’re exciting, have absolutely no limits and emit such a fierce vibe that you can’t help but be staggered! Go check them out now, you won’t regret it!

 

XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?

Broken Lines is our greatest accomplishment so far. All of our lives in music have led up to this point in time. We are the perfect storm and fit together hand in glove. No egos, equality and respect. That is the formula for a good band and that we have in spades!

 

XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?

Who knows? I guess you spin the dice and take your choices. There has never been anything remotely getting near to music. It is life, it is the reason for getting up in the morning and not going to bed at night!

 

XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?

Mark: Fender Precision Bass, Ashdown Amplification, various pedals, and Akai samplers.

Dave: Fender Stratocaster, Fender Amplification, various boutique pedals.

Jack: Ludwig Drum Kit, Roland Synth, and Roland rack mount processor.

 

XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?

There’s always something good going on somewhere in the world. If you ignore mainstream pap it’s quite easy to find good underground stuff that floats your boat and inspires you. You just gotta make the effort.

 

XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?

We are all only 26!

 

XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?

We are always looking for good gigs! If you have them, hit us up and we’ll come and play where possible. You won’t regret it 🙂

 

XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!

 

Broken Lines:

Mark Briscoe – Bass, Samplers, Vocals

I’ve been involved with music since I was a kid, it has been the one true constant in my life. People come and go but I’ve always had a bass, it is very special to me. For the most part, I have played bass guitar, which is my instrument of choice, but I am also accomplished with guitars and keyboards and will have a crack at anything. I have a solid interest in the technical side of music from engineering to sound production and have a studio setup where I record my projects.

I’ve got a diverse taste in music and, having grown up with punk, retain the same attitude and outlook that I had as a teenager, along with a wide-ranging appreciation of most music!

At school, I started a band with my (still) best mate Mick. We were right in the middle of the punk explosion and everyone was forming bands, so we thought we’d have a go. Like a lot of bassists, I started with the bass because I couldn’t play anything! Mick had a little knowledge of music, so we stumbled on in his garage playing Clash songs and writing our own stuff. I was hugely influenced by JJ Burnel of The Stranglers, I never knew the bass could be played like that, so I set about learning all his bass parts. To This day his style can be heard in my playing.

At 19 I played bass with The Varukers, co-writing the seminal album “Another Religion Another War”, which to this day is a very popular UK82/D-Beat favorite. After the Varukers, I put Fuse together with a couple of mates and we headed off to Brighton to seek our fortune. Once there I found employment in a rehearsal/pre-production studio and had the privilege of working with some great bands including Primal Scream, Felt and The Levellers.

We also managed to get ourselves on a nationwide tour with Transvision Vamp. It was a great introduction to “big time” touring but was also a very clinical operation. While we were on tour we played in Bradford and struck up a friendship with Rob and Moose from New Model Army, one of my all-time fave bands! After they saw us play they invited us to tour with them the following February.

The New Model army tour for their landmark album “Thunder & Consolation” was one of my greatest experiences. Playing to thousands of people who gave us massive support and friendship, not to mention playing on a stage with a monitoring system designed specifically for a loud bass player!

When touring with New Model Army, Sounds hailed me as “the best bass this side of World Domination Enterprises”, high praise indeed! 20 years later I was also one of the few bassists given the opportunity to audition for New Model Army in 2013 as a replacement for their bassist, excellent experience and somewhat of a highlight for me!

We then moved to London and ended up as part of the squat scene down there. We changed our name to “Tribal Energy” and soon established ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. Putting on alternative rave nights, in partnership with indie circus acts and artists, our crowning glory was putting on the, now infamous, “Squatters Ball”, where we invited The Levellers up from Brighton to join us for a great night. Fuse split after 12 years, having felt the band had run its course.

My next project was with a band from Cardiff called SlingShot. The guitarist, Simon (Daffy), was from “The Icons of Filth”, another legendary hardcore punk band back in the day, so we had a lot in common. It was with this band that I found a life-long musical partner in the shape of Christine, the singer in the band. We recorded an album entitled “Animal Farm” and released it via Wolf Entertainment, who have now also signed Broken–Lines. Once that was done the band drifted apart mostly because of the distance between the members.

Christine and I formed a writing partnership called Violet Wylde. Christine has the most extraordinary voice that never ceases to amaze me. I write and record all the music and she puts the most exciting vocals together, always something I am never prepared for, and always perfect for the music. We get together roughly once a year to add to our catalog but again, distance, and other band commitments, make it difficult to do much more. We are musical soul mates and that is fine by me!

I did an online band project with members from Internal Autonomy, calling ourselves Feroxide. We released a few albums to great critical acclaim. As an online project, it was a really good achievement!

Finally, I spotted a couple of wily looking characters looking for a bassist on FaceBook. As they were relatively close, and the music was to my taste, I messaged them. Jack and Dave came over with cake! It was shockingly obvious that there was a massive fraternal bond to be had, even before playing together, so we agreed to give it a go and, as they say, the rest is history (well… documented elsewhere on the site!).

Nowadays Jack and Dave are like brothers to me and things just keep getting better and better!

So, 40 odd years on since I first picked up a bass (thanks Nige) I still have the same love for my instrument and intend to grow old extremely disgracefully!

I am loud, proud and slightly round!

For those interested my gear is:

Fender American Standard Precision Bass – Black Fender American Standard Precision Bass – Olympic White Fender American Standard Jazz Bass – Olympic White

My amplification: Ashdown Engineering ABM EVOII 900 Head into 4 x 10 and 1 x 15 ABM cabinets. Ashdown Engineering RM-800-EVO 800w Rootmaster Head into an RM-610T-EVO 900w 6 x 10 cabinet.

I am very proud to be a listed Ashdown Artist and considers them to be the best bass amplifiers bar none.

Hare Krishna… Mark

 

David Wellan – Guitar, Vocals

I’ve always had an interest and a simmering passion for music, especially guitar and synth-based stuff. I didn’t start playing guitar until my early twenties, trying to get my head around the basic chords whilst listening to guitarists like David Gilmour, John Lee Hooker, and Hendrix and wondering why I was bothering!

My first true collaborative experience came in 2001 when I worked with a good friend of mine and amazing sound artist, David Handford. He introduced me to the world of synths and completely opened my mind to where you can go with sound, I am eternally grateful to him for opening my ears and guiding me to a totally different sonic world. He also gave me the confidence to go for it as I realized that I could do anything with sound and my journey really began.

My first band experience was with a group of good friends in 2002, we played a selection of our favorite, mainly blues-inspired covers. It was great fun and I worked with a good friend of mine Kev Griffiths who guided and inspired me with my guitar playing. This was my first introduction to Jack Jackson on drums. We played at a few friend’s parties and had lots of fun, but it also seemed to be the catalyst for pretty much every member of the band to split with their partners!! We disbanded!.

My next band project was with Bikini Red in 2008. I had decided by this point that I only wanted to write my own material and develop my own songs. The band was formed with some good friends; Alex Bray, Jake Hollyfield, Peter Kinsey and initially, Jack on drums. Jack was then offered the opportunity to play with a great local band; The Ray Guns and he went for it. Jack was replaced by a great local drummer, Joe Turner. We had a lot of fun writing our own music, I’d come up with the words and the basic structure and then we’d all work on making it sound like a proper song. We played a few local gigs and I learned a great deal from the experience. After our biggest and best gig in Tenby we realized that we now had different ideas on where to go next and with some of the band looking to moving away, we decided to call it a day.

I continued to work on and write new material and decided it would be fun to start jamming with a good friend of mine, Ed Edmonds. We got together in 2013 and made lots of noise with distorted guitars, like two crazy teenagers, it was great! He would come up with lyrics and I would improvise a tune and we were creating stuff at an impressive rate…so we decided we should try and get something more solid together. I got my friend Alex Bray (from Bikini Red) to play bass and Ed found a local drummer, Misha Burnham to come and play with us. The first session was awesome, if not a little cramped in our garden shed and we decided to go for it and found a space to practice and at a local brewery! The beginnings of Broken–Lines was formed. Over a period of about 12 months and after a number of personnel changes, Broken Lines had a set of solid songs and a committed band was formed, comprising myself, Peter Brierton on Bass and Misha on drums. We decided to practice at Misha’s house, which was fun as his place is totally off-grid! We had 3 years of great fun, creativity and a number of very successful local gigs.

In 2017, Jack became available to play with us and he joined the band on keyboards/synth. His contribution to the band was immense and we had a number of very inspiring practice sessions and gigs. At this point, I felt I really wanted to push the Broken–Lines further and took the bold step of taking a time-out as I needed time to consider how to move forward and what I wanted to do. I decided to part company with Pete and Misha, whilst Jack and I started looking for a new bass player. After a couple of initial possibilities, we were contacted by Mark Briscoe at the end of 2017. His experience, ability and musical knowledge have taken Broken Lines to a whole new and exciting level…

 

Jack Jackson – Drums, Synthesizers, Vocals

I started off small while thinking big, at the outset of my musical career. The main requirement that came with playing the triangle in a school brass band was the ability to count the exact amount of bars before a) it needed hitting, or b) you fell asleep. Whichever came first. This could sometimes be just once in a two-hour concert!!! I’d had my eye on the snare drum for some years but was no match, at 12 years old, for the predatorial six formers who guarded and played it on every occasion. I gave up the brass band and joined the orchestra where I got to play ‘second’, and then ‘first’, violin within a far more egalitarian environment.

My big break came a couple of years later at 15 years old when a friend’s Hungarian mother, Mrs. Domonkos, offered me a loan of £50 in order to buy a drum kit so that I could play in a band with her bass-playing son, Paul! I accepted the offer and along with Des on guitar/vocals, we formed a covers band, The Shy Tots… Geddit?

I left soon after having met some like-minded kids at school who were into both the newly emerging punk scene and writing their own songs.

 

At 15, in 1975, I became the drummer for The Vice Squad. We bought a clapped-out old green Ford Transit van and went on to play gigs all over the North of England supporting such bands as Adam and the Ants (I got to use the drummer’s drum kit) and Sham 69 (they wouldn’t share the dressing room so we had to change in the toilet). It was then that I also discovered that my nameless, but beautiful-sounding drum kit, bought with the loan, wasn’t actually a disgustingly tacky, wood-finished-crappy-vinyl-covered skiffle kit, but a beautiful off-white Premier kit! Ahhhhhhhhh! Somebody had spent a lot of time covering it!? More to the point, I’d discovered that I had an affinity with my drums and no regrets about leaving the brass band. Two albums later The Vice Squad disbanded and I went to art college to study Graphic Design, having re-sat my A-Levels.

I’ve played with an eclectic mix of musicians from cabaret-type-working-men’s club turns through to sultry late-night Covent Garden wine bar jazz ensembles. Not forgetting the three-piece Dolly Parton send-up skiffle band I performed with at many of the Vic Reeves comedy nights down at Goldsmiths Tavern, in London. Forever gleening and learning and eventually culminating in the band I now play with.

In 2008 I had a brief spell drumming with a band that Dave had just formed, Bikini Red, but it was early days for them and I was drawn to the brighter and more established lights of the Punk-Surf-Indie band, The Ray Guns, who were in need of a new drummer. The music was some of the best I’ve ever played and totally fits my style. However, after two successful albums, storm clouds began to form and I was pushed into leaving by the junior-school-playground approach of the ‘management’ i.e. the guitarist/songwriter’s missus. I quit.

In 2012-14 I had a fantastic time drumming and touring the UK, Europe, and Finland, thanks, Harry! with psychedelic space gods, Sendelica, before joining my present band, Broken Lines.

It just keeps getting better.

 

Links:

http://brokenlines.co.uk

 

https://www.facebook.com/brokenlinesuk

 

https://twitter.com/brokenlinesuk

 

https://www.instagram.com/ukbrokenlines

 

https://brokenlinesuk.bandcamp.com/

 

https://soundcloud.com/brokenlinesuk

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC6Yejfsxv7JRRjeFbdT2vQ

1 thought on “Q & A With Mark Briscoe From Broken Lines

Comments are closed.

Translate »