RATSmagazine spoke to Michael and Rachel Bright of Oakville’s punk band Dead Broke about recording, touring, and how their sound has changed. Touring across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Dead Broke has gained a loyal following. They will be on stage at Sneaky Dee's tonight; doors open at 9 pm.
RATSmagazine: What’s your recording process?
Dead Broke: We are essentially a live band. A living, breathing, sweating and bleeding entity that grabs you and doesn't let go. Realizing that, we can only record live off the floor.
RM: How did recording self-titled “Dead Broke” differ from recording your first EP “We Are Not Young Yet.”
DB: When we did 'Not Young Yet' it was our first stab at recording as a band and really finding out how we felt as a unit. We recorded it back in the summer of 2011, just capping off our first year as a band. Within that year we had 2 or 3 member changeovers, had our share of growing pains and really wanted to get our first batch of songs out. A lot of these were written in studio, and over the next year the songs had matured quite a bit.
With the new record, we developed the songs live for about a year. Then we knew a record needed to be made. Our sound had changed and we were really excited about what we were making. We made it in like 4 or 5 days at Taurus Recording in Toronto. So, a lot of firsts. First one in a pro studio, with a producer and mentors around, ripping live off the floor to capture the essence of our stage show.
RM: What’s touring like?
DB: Cue up ‘Highway To Hell.’ Actually, hit play on 'It's A Long Way To The Top.' "Hotel motel, make you wanna cry." Never understood that line when I was younger. Then we hit the road and everything clicked.
It's constant fleeting familiarity, while shaking hands with the unknown. The urge to get to the next city, and then get the hell out. It's a hard thing to put into words.
When we come home we're usually flooded with questions from friends and loved ones, but it's a struggle to answer them. Its my favourite thing in the world; traveling and playing music. It's an endless challenge; where's my next meal coming from, where are we sleeping tonight. It keeps you on your toes and brings excitement and danger into your life. Most of all you learn to trust people and forge meaningful friendships, even if only meeting once or twice. People helping people, what a concept.
RM: How do you choose your venues? Which was your favorite?
DB: Typically when we receive offers for tour dates the venue has already been decided upon. For the last year we've played the Silver Dollar in Toronto a ton of times. Another favourite is Call The Office down in London, Ontario.
RM: Michael, you have a pretty high-octane sound, so how does the crowd react?
DB: Usually the crowd starts off a little timid, but after a few songs they receive the energy we put off and they throw it right back at us. Sweaty, dancing, pushing, hugging, and surfing are bound to be found at a Dead Broke show.
RM: How has Dead Broke’s sound changed over the years?
DB: When we first started the band, we were hugely influenced by bands such as Against Me and The Clash. We grew up playing in the all ages DIY Toronto underground scene. For about a year and a half the only spot we'd play in the city was the now defunct Siesta Nouveaux.
After Siesta closed, a lot of the bands we were playing with and people we were playing to moved onto other things and the All-Ages scene really felt like it dropped off the map for a bit. It was around that time that we decided to take the band over to the UK, where we were exposed to a ton of Rhythm and Blues, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. This had an incredible influence on what we wanted to do; it essentially pushed us into our full-fledged Rock ‘n’ Roll sound you hear today.
RM: Does releasing your first, self-titled, full-length album on vinyl give you more confidence in Dead Broke the band?
DB: Definitely. There are so many format options and we are living in a strange time for music. CDs are an obsolete one-time use for most people, tapes are very niche, and online only still takes a lot of effort to buy and download.
In short, it's the era of streaming.
Our music is available online, however we needed something tangible and timeless to capture the album we are very proud to put into the world. It almost becomes more real… something that may stand the test of time. Anyone these days can make a webpage, choose a pseudonym and make music, but pressing it to wax is the real deal.