I’ve been a fan of Broadside since hearing vocalist Ollie Baxxter feature on a League MVP track. They fully capture everything I love about pop-punk; they are brimming with energy and their songs offer much more than what is on the surface. I met up with Ollie and Dorian at a show in Southampton, we talked about Warped Tour, poetry and R2-D2 headphones.
Where did the band name come from?
Ollie: We’ve always been a fan of just one word band names. I wish I had a really cool answer, but we picked out a couple of names that we liked and Broadside was one of them; literally a name in the hat. It stems from the idea of one band name, a single word.
How did you all get together?
O: The band now actually has no original members. They’ve all gone and left, but I’ve been in the band for 4 years now. I had a few covers on YouTube, I was doing RnB and Motown-ish sounding covers. Andrew, their drummer at the time, reached out to me because their vocalist had just quit and they were like ‘yeah we’re looking for a guy with your style voice, would you be interested in joining a band?’ And I did, obviously. [laughs] So yeah, we just carried on like that. Niles, who’s currently guitar, joined shortly after I did and we’ve just slowly picked up members. Then just after Warped Tour our drummer had to leave, because he has a wife and he’s older and didn’t think he could invest the time. Now we have a fill in drummer and a new bass player, we’re just kind of one of those bands who just has so many members. Now the team is pretty consistent.
What inspired you to become a musician? Was there a moment or was it something you always wanted to do?
O: Growing up I kinda found peace in artists and artistry, mainly the idea of like good lyricism. What pulled me to music was when someone can relay a story in a romantic way that wasn’t too overbearing, but elegant in the sense that it intrigued you. When you’re young you don’t want to be preached to, you wanna be inspired. So there were bands that really inspired me with their words and I was really blown away that they could do that in the form of a melody, and I think that’s what really brought me into music. I always one of those kids who would get in front of the mirror with a comb and sing and pretend I was somebody [laughs]. It’s funny to be that actual person now, just without the hairbrush.
At least you’ve achieved that dream.
O: Yeah, exactly. I’ve always been a dream chasing kind of guy. But I think that’s what it was; the elegance of lyricism and melody.
What song would you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard any of your music before?
O: I would say probably 2 songs. Maybe, ‘Light in the Dark’, that’s one of my favourite songs. It’s all over the map and kind of wild. It’s kind of free-form, so it doesn’t really have a typical pop-punk feel. And maybe ‘Come & Go’ because it’s our fun and energetic song. We’re a band that likes to joke, so it’s a very satirical song in the sense that it is a love song, but it’s actually quite sad. I think that’s the finest form of art, when you can portray it on the surface as a fun pop song. But in depth there’s something there.
What artists would you say influence you?
O: I’m really into a lot of old Motown artists like James Brown, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Just because I love the energy and the fact that they were trendsetters, there were no sounds with that. So they would really come out and people would go ape-shit and so that was really cool to me. But also, I was into bands like Jonny Craig and a band called Bright-Eyes, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday. All that era of music was really cool to me because it was a bunch of guys that were like ‘we’re kind of aggressive but we’re actually pathetic and sad at the same time’ and that to me was charming in a way.
What would be your dream collaboration? You can bring people back from the dead.
O: My favourite band of all time is a band called The Cure. So I’d have to go with The Cure, probably Taking Back Sunday, Broadside, Justin Timberlake, One Direction with Zayn and Usher. There it is. [Laughs]
You just finished your record a couple of days ago, how do you feel about it?
D: It’s taking all of the elements that made the last record great and trying to expand in as many directions as we could.
O: Yeah, you know we have a few bridge gap songs, where they’re like ‘oh this is original Broadside sounds’ and we did a lot of crazy stuff on there too. We used a lot of our influences, we really just said fuck it and put all of our inspirations in. There’s a lot of bands that think, ‘why break the mould when I know it sells?’ Luckily, we’ve done Warped Tour and stuff like that, so we know what people like. At the same time, I want people to grow with us as opposed to grow apart from us. I’m hoping with this record they’re going to be like, this is cool because it’s Broadside in its new format, with new members and a new feel because we want to be a band that people grow with and stick around with rather than the flavour of the week.
I think as well, when bands stay the same fans get mad and when they change fans get mad.
O: Exactly, so I was like let’s entertain the people, but at the same time lets engage a new idea. What’s like pure ecstasy for me is educating people and influencing people. If people can hear this record and be influenced or inspired to learn something, whether it’s to pick up a book or sing in a band or study, that’s the goal. I’m older than a lot of the kids in pop-punk and stuff so we’ve got a bit of a different motive.
This question is from my Mum; what is your favourite app?
O: That’s awesome. Dorian, what’s yours? My favourite app is probably VSCO, because I like to edit photos. The best thing about the iPhone or any phone is that you can take photos and edit the shit out of them to make your life seem really interesting. Or the Starbucks app because fast check-out.
D: I’m pretty torn, I like Snapchat a lot. I think that’s super fun, all I do is post stupid things to my story that nobody cares about all day long.
O: I hated Twitter for a long time, but I got one a year and a half ago and it’s just like so incredible. I love Twitter. I like it more than Instagram, which I never thought I’d say.
D: I’d say Instagram just because I love scrolling down my explore page and looking at videos for skateboarding.
My friend Grace asks; what is your favourite dessert?
D: I know the answer to yours [Ollie’s] I think. Dark chocolate covered espresso beans.
O: Yeah, I love them. Dorian’s favourite snack would be Lay’s potato chips, which are Walkers.
When you’re writing songs, how do you tend to write?
D: As far as this last process, Niles or I would present an idea to our producer and all three of us would try to build it together and give it our own personality in different places. Then as we’re starting to get a feel or a vibe for what it will be like, Ollie will come through and adapt an idea to it as we’re writing. We try to take an entire song and wrap it around an idea or an image, whether it’s like musically or lyrics. It’s really easy to build that way.
O: We’re a very vibe orientated band, so whatever we’re feeling is what we’ll do.
What’s the easiest, hardest and most important part of writing a song?
O: Okay, I feel like the easiest part is the drums. The most important, I would say, is the hook. The catchiness, what the remembrance of it is, the guts of it. I would say the hardest is melody, because you are constantly like is this taken, has someone already done this and does it really matter if we steal it.
D: Because everyone has influences in different places, everyone is influenced by different artists.
O: That’s what art is. Nothing is new anymore.
What would you say is the most challenging song to play live?
O: Probably for me personally, the most challenging song is a song called ‘A Better Way’ because it is pretty dear to my heart. I was a bit naïve when we came to this record and thought this was a subject that I’m ready to write and talk about. Just emotionally it’s kind of hard, I’m giving myself away a little bit every night like ‘oh shit I wasn’t prepared for this’.
D: Well, not being as emotionally attached to some of the songs, I’d probably just say rhythmically that song actually. It’s a powerful song and you have to get into it but there’s a lot of quick stuff on guitar. On a more technical aspect that song is hardest for me.
What would you like to achieve through music?
O: I had a very back and forth mentality for a while about success, it’s human isn’t. It’s natural to want to achieve greatness through whatever your craft is. Some people are blessed with knowing what their craft is and some aren’t, some are cursed with that too. I would say for me personally, I would really like to have an established living off the idea that people, not only respect me and appreciate what we’re putting into the world, but I would love to have a life where I can wake up and say I’ve done this, I’ve built this, I’ve created this and I’ve harnessed this and people really appreciate that. I would love that. It’s flattering that people in the UK right now are here to see us. Even if it’s only two people, I’d be a little bummed, but if there’s only two people who can say I like Broadside then that’s cool.
There have been a lot of people in the queue saying they are here for Broadside and I know that you guys are the reason Grace and I are here.
D: That’s fucking insane.
O: That’s crazy, we’re in a different country. That’s flattering but imagine if I can inspire someone who could care less about a pop punk band. Imagine if I could inspire someone who doesn’t give a shit about music at all. It’s taking that craft and reaching out to other types of people, like Morrissey and Bono. You love him or you hate him, but at the end of the day he’s a good guy. That’s what I want to do – I want to influence and inspire. But I also want to make a life out of this. One day I want my child to say ‘fuck yeah, my father chases dreams. He does whatever he can, he starved, he sat in a fucking van because that’s what he felt he had to do.’ I think that’s what’s most important to me and probably for every person in this band as well.
D: Oh, hell yeah.
Ollie, you’ve published 2 poetry books. How does that feel?
O: One thing I will say about myself, not to be an asshole, but if I have something in my mind and I want it then I’m just going to go and get it. I’m going to make it happen. It’s a weird feeling because maybe they only like it because it’s a Broadside thing. At the same time, there’s people in college that get it and people get it for their friends. In the end I don’t think it matters, because I write poetry to reflect myself without having to consider the feelings of other people in the band and what’s nice is that it’s a direct connect with myself and the people. The band is that, but also I want to represent these guys just as well. I wouldn’t write a song about sex, I would write a poem about that because it reflects who I am. I am obsessed with women, it’s just the way it is – not multiple women, but just the idea of a woman. It’s flattering to me and always has been, maybe it’s cause I don’t have a dad, who knows? But what it is at the end of the day is a connect and I just love reading and I love writing. So how it feels – it feels incredible. To answer, it feels empowering and that’s not something I can say about a lot of stuff. Broadside is empowering, poetry to me is empowering. It’s corny because you’re like oh you write poetry it’s cute – but you know what, it is cute. I don’t consider myself a good writer, I consider myself a translator. I’m able to paint a picture. I’m trying to figure that out with writing. That’s all I’m trying to do now. Eventually I’ll try to write a book, I’d love to be able to sit in my library and look at all these great books and some bullshit I wrote.
What would be your earliest and fondest musical memory?
O: My first encounter with music where I was really blown away, for my birthday I got a Walkman that was the shape of R2-D2 which is really weird. There was a cassette tape in there, a band called Echo and the Bunnymen and I listened to it and thought it was rad. I don’t remember the record but I remember it starts off with a really twangy guitar note which now I know is a chorus pedal. I remember hearing that and thinking what is this. I didn’t have access to that sort of thing, so when I first discovered a proper experience in shitty R2-D2 headphones it blew me away. For fondest I have a 2-parter, one is that I got to see The Cure live and I cried the first 5 songs. It wasn’t even anything other than the idea that someone that you confided in without them knowing performing in front of you and it sounded just like the record, to me that was awesome. The other part for me would be Warped Tour. I had a shit day, our RV broke down and we walked out and played a show on our small stage to 400 people. It was dangerously packed and I remember getting there and it being the moment where you’re like fuck everything else. We started the set and a tear formed in my eye because it was so powerful. Even if these people just wanted to check what we’re about, Good Charlotte were playing that day at the same time and those people chose to see us.
D: First; I was 4 years old and I was listening to an Allman Brothers record that I fell in love with. I stood up on this little stool that I had, I had this big giant measuring thing that tells you how tall you are and I tilted it sideways and pretended it was a guitar. Stood on top of this dumb stool in my PJ’s singing along to ‘Ramblin’ Man’ by Allman Brothers. I’ll never forget that. My fondest is Warped Tour in Las Vegas. Someone decided, I don’t know whose fault it was but thank you, was like let’s give these weird kids a chance to play on main stage and we did. I remember seeing our name, it was like Broadside, The Maine and Sleeping With Sirens and I was like what are we doing here, it’s not right. We played this show, I told a really bad joke in the middle and it was awesome. That whole day was euphoric. I watched my friends ROAM play in front of a pool and jump in which was so cool.
What would your advice be to any aspiring musician?
D: I don’t want to interject or anything, but I would say from past experiences, go to shows and meet people and try to make friends. People are just as shy as you are, people are just as passionate for certain sounds and ideas as you are. Those people are out there and do exist, if you find those people that have the same amount of drive and direction you can do anything. I truly believe that. It’s always a great feeling to have those people with that passion around you.
O: I would say, everyone who wants to be a musician and everyone that wants to play music and sold out shows – everyone is going to tell you; there will be two sides. They’ll say ‘oh cool’; they won’t believe you or they’re gunna say ‘don’t fucking waste your time’. If you want to do it take some time for yourself, think about whether this is what you really want. If you want it, don’t fucking quit because everything sucks until it doesn’t. If you know yourself and your band long enough and you suffer with the people around you, like any relationship, you know at that moment that you’ll be in sync and it’ll really count. That’s what it comes down to; opportunity. If you have that opportunity and your team is strong and you’re mentally strong and you’re cut out for it then you’ll make it. So just don’t fucking quit. Everything is going to say; you’re broke, your girlfriend/boyfriend cheated on you, you can’t handle the road, you’re sick, you can’t stand the bands you’re on the road with, you can’t understand why other bands are more successful than you; it’s all going to tell you to stop because it’s not redeeming. You have to respect the craft and the time and the people around you and anyone who gives a shit and don’t quit.
I had so much fun talking to these two, they’re both lovely guys who give their all to their craft. If you like pop-punk you will love Broadside. Make sure you follow them on social media to keep up to date on new music and tour dates. This is a band you’ll want to follow as they are sure to blow up soon.
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