INTRODUCING CANADIAN SIX PIECE ‘ THE BROKEN ISLANDS’, GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHO THEY ARE, THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘WARS’ AND LIVE SHOWS!

 

 

 

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What are your name?
Stephen Cameron
William MacDonald
Rachelle Boily
Kurtis Sheldan
Rachel Ashmore
Mitchell Williams
 

What is the bands name?
The Broken Islands
How did you come up with the bands name?
We were interested in choosing a band name that was from the Pacific coast of British Columbia where we all live. The Broken Islands are a small little collection of six islands in Johnstone Straight. It was a perfect fit for us being six very different individuals.
 

What is your genre of music?
Indie/shoegaze/postrock
 

Give us a little bio about you as individuals and as a band.
Back in 2003 guitarist William Macdonald who had an affinity for late 70s and early 80s post rock was sharing a design studio with fellow artist and musician Stephen Cameron. The gloom tinged melodies of Joy Division and Love and Rockets were hypnotically fresh, and the unique blend of both passive and compassionate melodies furthered Macdonald’s infatuation with the music. Cameron’s interest in virtuoso players, and adaptability as a multi instrumentalist, brought upon a natural collaboration. For over a decade the duo would rehearse alone and with other musicians, chiselling and re-configuring in hopes of one day forming a cohesive collective unit. A real band.
They were feverishly seeking out other musicians to fill out the rest of the group, when Kurtis Sheldan came into the picture. Following the demise of Dead Voices, Sheldan took a brief hiatus from the music biz, hanging up his guitar duties. Though running in the same circle as McDonald and Cameron, Sheldan was eventually coerced back into the game, dusting off his guitar to expand upon the sound Macdonald and Cameron were developing. Sheldan’s bluesy rock rhythms danced eloquently alongside Macdonald’s harsher, shoegaze melodies, forming a nickel plated bond heard seamlessly as the two switch back and forth between lead and rhythm guitar.
Though the thematic blueprints for the songs were succinctly forming, there remained the challenge of finding a voice to project their fervency. Following a chance encounter at a local cafe on his way to rehearsal, Macdonald was stopped by Rachelle Boily. Boily, who has been singing as long as she could walk, became immediately intrigued by the concept of the band. It
was no question, she had to join. With a voice that encompasses the tender harmonies of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, to the fierce shriek of Bjork, Boily’s voice rises like steam from a pond, bringing with it, the ability to capture all of the emotional ups and downs of the Broken Islands music.
Everything was connecting. Though Cameron, helming the bass, would need a partner in crime to round out the rhythm section. The band would go through 10-12 drummers before finally finding a groove with Ty Badali. His coercion of pulsing electronic beats and frantic punk drumming fused perfectly with Cameron’s deep and funky rhythms.
Session Keyboardist, Rachel Ashmore, would be the final piece of the puzzle. Not only does her complex knowledge of piano and synthesizers add a dance element to the Broken Islands songs, but the inclusion of her backup vocals add further texture to Boily’s already impressive range.
After the completion of the album, Badali moved to the UK to continue working on another project he is involved with and Mitchell Williams has taken on the drum and percussion duties.
 

What made you go in to music?
Being a musician is something that is always a part of you, and it is less of a choice and more akin to feeding a creative outlet. Essentially, you simply have to play, and we all feel that music is something that will always be part of who we are. It is our medicine.
 

Are you a signed?
No, we’re independent right now.
 

Your debut album is out ‘ WARS’, tell us more about it.
It started out as a year long writing process beginning in early 2016. We went into the studio to start recording in the summer of 2017 and we realized we had enough for a full album. By also recording the tracks in French, we had enough for an English album and a French album, but we had to decide what tracks to press onto a 12” so we chose one song that sounds better in French and there was one song that we couldn’t decide, so it gets both versions. Digitally, all versions of the songs are available.
 

What was the naming process like?
We thought it was an appropriate title given the current global political climate. We need to fight back.

 

What was the writing process like?
With six people, and many different influences amongst us, the writing process takes on multiple forms. Sometimes a song will be brought in from one member and then everyone puts their own stamp on it thereby making it sound different than originally thought. We record all our writing sessions and go back and review what came out of impromptu sessions. Three of the songs on the album were formed from jam sessions.
 

What was the recording process like?
It was fantastic! We had the pleasure of working with Dave “Rave” Ogilvie and we recorded at an amazing studio in Vancouver called Hipposonic. That studio location has a long history – it was the old Little Mountain Sound. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Mountain_Sound_Studios
We recorded the instruments in 2 days, English vocals in 1 day, French vocals in 1 day and mixed it in 10 days. Rachelle recorded her English vocals on the day Chris Cornell died. She locked herself in the vocal booth, dimmed the lights, opened a bottle of wine and sang all the tracks for the album in 8 hours straight. She said she was channeling Cornell’s death.
 

You also released the video for ‘No-one Left To Kill’ , what was the inspiration behind the making.
The song itself is about the isolation of falling in love. Knowing full well that you will break that person’s heart one day – that you will kill a part of them. Whether its unexpectedly shutting that person out, allowing them to see the real fucked up mess that is you, or by letting them love you unconditionally then you die and leave them empty and alone. You will break their heart. Realizing this leaves no one left to kill.
 

Do you have any shows coming up or a tour next year?
Yes! Were planning on a 2 week UK tour in May and a 3 week European tour in September. We will also play a few shows in Vancouver in between the tours.
 

Do you play any instruments?
One of the great things about being in a six piece band is the ability to switch instruments and play different things on different songs. We’re all multi instrumentalists and it really makes things exciting. We love to add percussion to songs so a set of free hands usually gets a chance to pick something up and add a new sound to the song.
 

Who are your influences?
We all have wildly varied musical references, which we believe is what makes The Broken Islands sound they way it does. It’s really great to gain insight into someone else’s perspective of a song that you might not have even heard before.
 

How do you get inspiration to write songs?
As was mentioned earlier about the songwriting process, it truly varies. William has written songs in a dream and brought them in, Stephen has written songs in Logic and brought them in. Rachelle has written songs about emotion and brought them in. Other songs come out of a late night jam. One never knows where the inspiration will come from, and we hope it stays that way.
 

Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
We would like to try to record a new album every year, and tour to support it. Between now and five years, hopefully we will all be able to quit our day jobs.
 

When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
We all have the aforementioned day jobs, a necessity of being an independent artist in 2017.
 

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“You could be the greatest musician or band in the world, but if you don’t get your music out there for people to hear, it doesn’t matter”.
 

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
“You could be the greatest musician or band in the world, but if you don’t get your music out there for people to hear, it doesn’t matter”.
 

What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Always listen before passing judgment.
 

Your straight off tour;
1/ where do you go? To the ocean
2/ who do you see? Family and friends
3/what do you eat? Vancouver has such amazing food, but probably sushi as it is plentiful, excellent and relatively inexpensive here.
Where is the go to place to go in your hometown?
To see a band? – The Commodore Ballroom for touring bands, or The Cobalt for all of the amazing local bands in our city. And there are tons of them right now.
To meet up with friends for a pint? – Definitely Hyde on Main St. It’s pretty much the clubhouse for East Vancouver musicians.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Enjoy yourself and remember to breathe.
The usual stuff like spare strings, sticks etc.
Make sure to leave between soundcheck and the show and have a band dinner
Beer!
setlists
 

If you had to give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Always look at the big picture and don’t get too caught up in the unimportant details.

 

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?

Spotify

Itunes

Facebook

Instagram

Youtube 

Twitter

Website

 

 

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