Most of us know the allure of travel, from the excitement of careful planning or the spontaneity of hitting the road, to the mystery of looking up at planes in the sky and wondering where all of those people are coming from or headed to.
Canterbury, UK based rockers, Broken Hands, took their passion to new– ahem– heights, with their album, Turbulence, released in the US on November 4th via SO/Caroline Recordings. The obsession that inspired an album came when frontman Dale Norton dropped off a pack of jetsetting friends at Gatwick Airport, and found himself entranced by the strange sounds and bustling energy. “I was hearing the jet engines soaring into the sky from Gatwick’s runways,” he recalls. “They sounded just like fuzzed-out guitar feedback and festival sound drums crashing. Then came more images: planes taking off and people getting messed up. Turbulence and paranoia. Engines charging and pupils dilating…”
Soon, with the help of Brit Award-nominated producer, Tom Dalgety, who boasts work with Royal Blood and the Pixies, Dale Norton, drummer Callum Norton, bassist Thomas Ford, guitarist Jamie Darby and keyboard player Dave Hardstone had a scorching, 11 track alt-rock debut.
Today, Elmore is premiering the music video for “Four,” a track from Turbulence. A heavy guitar riff pairs with a sample of a NASA launch sequence to send this barn-burner shooting off into outerspace. Drenched in shadowy black and silver, the band members merge with footage of rockets blasting off, as the track packs serious punch in less than three minutes, the fuzzy crunch of guitar and slamming drum beat fitting with disorienting, extraterrestrial visuals.
Elmore Magazine: I know this album had pretty specific inspiration—can you talk about that a bit, and tell us if you see it as a “concept” album?
Broken Hands: It is definitely a concept album. Dale had an epiphany at an airport, he was hearing the jet engines fuzzed-out guitar feedback… flight and travel became the new obsession and a theme which we focused all the tracks on the album around.
EM: You guys recorded Turbulence in various studios throughout the UK, what made you decide to use multiple locations, and how did it add to the sound?
BH: The main tracking of the album was at Rockfield, which is where we first recorded with Tom Dalgety a few years back in fact, so it seemed like as we all knew the studio so well is seemed liked the only option really – the drum sounds captured there sounded amazing and there are definitely some ghosts in the the room of the past greats that have recorded there.
EM: What was it like working with Tom Dalgety, a producer who’s been involved with some seminal indie and rock ‘n’ roll bands? Were you guys ever intimidated? What was the relationship like?
BH: We’ve known Tom for a long time as friends, which really helped, as foundations of each others tastes didn’t need to be discussed, so it never an intimidating experience. Our first trip the U.S., Tom came with us– he’s really involved with bands outside the studio on a work and friend basis, so I don’t imagine anyone feels intimidated by him, there a lot to be said about that, I think it gives him a creative edge. The week we were in the studio was the week that the Royal Blood record went to number one in the UK charts, and it was great to be watching your mate having the biggest success off his career.
EM: Since this is your debut album, what was it like when the press started to roll in? Did you have a certain idea of what it would feel like to “make it?” NME called the music a “brutal sonic assault”—it doesn’t get much bigger than that…
BH: It’s been a real natural progression I think, the album was initially released just in the UK at first, so it wasn’t all at once “wham – here’s the world’s verdict” it has been a slower burn, and our following has grown at the same steady speed. I think this time frame has given reviewers and the audience a sense they can take a bit of time to decide– Turbulence is a grower, I think.
EM: Tell us more specifically about the making of this video. It’s pretty abstract– how did the concept come about?
BH: All of our UK shows we’ve been covering the whole venue in silver like in the video, it’s been a great way to get people in our zone. I said to Chris Wade that it would be great to fuse the show with all the imagery in the music somehow, and the video is how he did it.