Music & Me with … Brave New Broken Hearts Club- 01 Jan 2021 -
Image: Neil, aka Brave New Broken Hearts Club, singer songwriter from London
In this interview, Elizabeth chatted all things music with Neil, whose first of three new singles, Love Is On It’s Way, is due out on 29 January 2021, ahead of his full album launch in July 2021.
When were you first introduced to music?
My dad used to record radio shows for us when I was really little, and I had some cassettes of my parents that I used to go to sleep listening to or we’d listen to them on long car journeys. Growing up we always had people living with us – students/family friends etc. Two in particular had big record collections which they’d play us. One of these, Tony, is entirely responsible for me knowing all The Beatles music. Mostly though it was my brother who was always buying records. He has always been way cooler than me and first introduced me to nearly all my favourite bands. Also, our mate Matt who was three years older than me. He loved music and introduced us to all sorts. Most notably he had a 7” picture disc of The Kinks You Really Got Me which I used to play over and over. It’s what made me want to play guitar originally. That song was old even then by the way!
Tell me about your favourite teachers
I was lucky, particularly at my primary school in east London. I didn’t enjoy school but had really fabulous teachers that I had a really good understanding with, mostly. Mrs Jaggers in particular ‘had my number’! Just the right amount of fun vs strictness. We moved out of London when I was 11 and I was not happy about it! The teachers at our new school weren’t up for banter like in east London and they were all a bit old and tried when I first got there. Then Ms Salisbury arrived. She’d also moved from London and she saved my life! Banter was back again and the right balance of strict vs fun. She is why I loved and excelled at English at school and went on to do a degree. Mr Tribe in London a music teacher who first introduced me to the idea of improvisation on guitar. Mr Bowen a Welsh P.E teacher and trumpet player who was very encouraging of my first efforts with a band!
What are your fondest musical memories?
Being in my first bands; feeling part of something – a band of brothers! Also, there is no better feeling than writing a song and hearing it in your head and then taking it to your mates and actually making it real; hearing in the room what you could hear only in your head before, sharing it with them. Used to make me feel totally euphoric!
What is your favourite TV theme tune and/or film soundtrack?
Probably Star Wars. I still get a thrill when it’s played in the cinema; in fact, every time I hear the 20th Century Fox fanfare, I always expect to hear the first bars of Star Wars immediately afterwards! John Williams music is unbeatable!
What was the last music download/ CD you bought?
I don’t buy CDs or download a lot of music anymore. I do still buy old vinyl though! The album that I’ve streamed the most this year is Folklore by Taylor Swift made in collaboration with Aaron Dressner of The National. Beautiful writing. Also, an EP called Bitter Sweet by a young upcoming UK artist called John Parry. He’s a very talented songwriter.
Imagine you’ve been given £250 to spend on anything music-related. How will you spend it?
I’d save it and put it towards a new Apogee Duet Interface for my studio. The outputs on mine are faulty but I love it.
How do you balance music with your other obligations?
That is the $60 million dollar question right!? Time and space (if you’re going to record) are what you need and both very hard to come by! I’ve tried to do jobs that allow me time but that always means I’m skint! I have slept on the floor under my desk in many different rented rooms so that I can have my recording-set-up in the room! I love being with people, but my music has become quite solitary so that is always a conflict of values which I always have to try and balance. Elizabeth Gilbert is good on this subject in her book Big Magic – she suggests approaching your creativity like an illicit affair – be passionate, steal any moment you can with the same fervency as you would steal moments with your lover! I liked that analogy! Gives it urgency and excitement.
Happiness is … Meaning. Having meaning. I think meaning comes from having an ‘aim’ in life; a distinct direction of travel. Getting comfortable with uncertainty, paradox and mystery is also very helpful, but without meaning happiness is very elusive.