Interview with Oliver Baxxter (Vocals) of Broadside
Interview by Rossy Maguire
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you guys all meet?
This current lineup all met in different ways. Pat and Dom were in a band that we toured with years and years ago from Florida. After that tour, their band went through a rough patch and ultimately broke up. We stayed friends for years and I eventually asked them to join Broadside, as a few of the original members had quit and I was banking on hiring someone who I could trust with the music. Jeff, we met via him letting us crash at his house when we were still sleeping 6 deep in a busted 5 seat van. He and I stayed friends and I had him fill in on a tour we had years later in the U.K. I was so happy with the dynamic he brought to the band, I asked him to join.
You’re a well-established band since 2010, what keeps you going so long in the music industry and how do you think it’s changed?
I am not a quitter, I am stubborn. I think that’s the biggest factor in us sticking around. Many red flags were pointing towards an open door, a decent job, members quitting, keeping better relationships with the people I loved, but I chose this. The music scene has changed only in a sense of how fast things are happening for bands. Bands will put out one record and get blasted all over the place by the hype. I’m jealous. True.
When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to join a band?
I’ve always had music in me. The very first time I heard the music it drank me up. I used to fall asleep in front of my stepfather’s boom box, listening to the radio. It’s boring but I just sang along to strangers. I never considered those voices had faces until we got cable much later in my life. I found music videos and it was all over from that point.
If you weren’t able to get into music, what profession do you think you would’ve done instead?
I want to work in movies. I want to write screenplays or direct. My favourite moments in life are when you feel that gut-wrenching pain from a scene in a movie. That’s the real art. It’s so beautiful to evoke such a feeling in just a glance or to watch the dynamic between two people play out.
You’re about to release your next album, ‘Into The Raging Sea’ on the 24th of July 2020 via SharpTone Records. What is the concept behind the album and what makes this album different to your previous releases?
This album has a much more serious tone. I pull the attention away from just me and try to look at the big picture. Humans suffer, and we love, and we make love. All of which are beautiful. I tried to embrace what it feels like to be human. I think that’s where my mind is trying to land as of late.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Pop-rock with a little less pop and probably less rock.
Who does your artwork and is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with, be it an artist/photographer or producer?
The artist who designed our album cover is named Carol Aldrighi. She’s incredible. I want to work with a lot more artists. That’s one perk of being at Sharptone, Shawn lets us collaborate with whoever we want. I am intrigued by other artists, so I’d love to work with many more, on multiple projects.
What is the procedure of producing a new album/EP? Do you have a set way of doing things?
We just want to make sure it feels right with our band. If it doesn’t sit well after walking away, we throw it out. With this latest album, I wanted it to be as organic as possible. Sit and think and say what comes to your mind. If it’s trash, let’s throw it away. No ego just create.
What is your writing/recording procedure like? Do you have a preferred way of doing things or a favourite studio/location?
When we first started, I wanted to be in a big city where I could escape and get myself nice and distracted. Now, I’ve realised that I am VERY easily distracted and prefer to work in closed places. Places where I have to walk miles to get a coffee.
Speaking of producing a new album, what was it like to work with producer Seth Henderson as he is known in the industry?
He was so incredibly kind to us. He listened to all my crazy ideas and allowed me to explore all the weird inside of my head. Vocal delays, reversing lyrics, singing in rooms away from the mic. I appreciate his workflow as well. He treated it like a 9-5 job. Work while you work and fuck off in your own time. He’s amazing.
What has been your favourite gig to date and why? And where would you love to play in the future?
I think our shows in Germany were amongst my favourite. I couldn’t believe that our band had such a reach. Hearing people sing along to us in another country, blew me away. I’d like to tour Japan. I think that would be massive for our band.
Do you have a favourite track from ‘Into the Raging Sea’, and if so, why?
I really enjoy a song called Seasons. It’s a song confessing the problems I face with my emotions. I may never know what’s wrong with me, why I doubt myself so often but I’m lucky to have people in my life that distract me from that.
Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics?
I am really into moments. In film, novels, poetry, and music. If something can stop you from whatever you’re doing and make you say “isn’t that peculiar” I think that’s just magic. A lot of my influence comes from all those moments I keep locked up inside of me, like a diary.
If you could only listen to three bands for the rest of your life, who would they be & why?
Daft Punk for the out of body experience, The Weeknd for the feeling of self and Bright Eyes for the poetry.
What is the music scene like where you are based in Richmond, Virginia?
It used to only be Hardcore bands. Tough. It’s since opened up to a lot more shoegaze and pop-punk these days. It’s a college town, so lots of influence always coming in and out.
Do you think image is important when being in a band?
Of course. We see with our eyes, first. No denying that. You must at the very least grab attention in that sense. Especially when the rest of the world is screaming “look at me.”
Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society?
I do not. If the music is good enough and the band can fund their projected outcome, they will be fine. It comes down to having the resources to navigate into the music scene. Unfortunately, everyone wants to be famous. The road is long, being on a label makes it a little shorter.
What are your views on bands who give away their music free on social media? Do you think this is a good beneficial marketing idea, or should fans be paying to purchase tracks?
I suppose it depends on their expected outcome. I firmly believe that you have to protect your art. If you can’t put a price on your own music, who will?
If there was anyone you could tour with, who would it be and why?
Twenty One Pilots. I think they engage with a crowd in such a way that I’d like to study. I love their energy and desire to make a show feel like an experience.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a band or were you given any advice from other bands before starting out?
Don’t study other bands, study the crowd watching those other bands. They’ll tell you everything you need to know.
What do you like to do outside of music? Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy reading and I’m currently writing a book of short stories. Before the quarantine, my girlfriend and I got a puppy miniature dachshund, so he’s kept me very busy the past 4 months.
What are your plans once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted?
I want to fly to New York and walk through Central Park. I miss the city. That and a good cup of coffee.
Thank you for your time and all the best with the new album release, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Thank you very much for the opportunity – Ollie