BROKEN FLAGS (from l-r): Jack Dooley (vocals/guitar), Josh Buckley (bass), Pat Barwick (drums), Lew Adams (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Things are certainly looking up for Broken Flags at the moment.
Led by vocalist/guitarist Jack Dooley, formerly of indie rock band All The Young, the Stoke-on-Trent four-piece have made waves with their loud, upbeat sound and thematic lyrics.
With their new single ‘Dare to Dream’ already enjoying rave reviews, I chatted to Jack about that, as well as the band’s music and influences.
How did you all get together initially?
I met Lew in my last band All the Young, as he played guitar for us towards the end. He recommended Josh, who was his old school pal, on bass and we found Pat through an online ad. Like Tinder for drummers.
How did the name Broken Flags come about?
If I’m honest, I’ve no idea – and I came up with it!
We had about a hundred names scribbled down and we just couldn’t make our minds up, it started to become a bit of a charade; so we started to canvass a bit of opinion amongst a few people in the know and this one seemed to stick.
I’ve since discovered it’s a Patti Smith song as well, which is a bonus.
How would you describe your sound?
Always the hardest question this! The sound kind of reflects what we’re like as people, upbeat, loud, abrasive.
We love big choruses and putting a message out that people will hopefully relate to.
Which bands/artists are you influenced by?
We’ve all got individual tastes, but mutually we’re all into stuff like the Stone Roses, the Pixies, the Smiths, early Oasis.
We like big tunes, upbeat tunes, the kind of songs that can turn a bad day into a good one when you listen to them.
It’s what we aim for when we write really, we try and get that feeling from our own music and hope others do too.
What inspires your lyrics?
Every song I write seems to have a theme, or a topic.
I never set out for it to be that way, I just start off by warbling nonsense to get the melodies and then the words come as time goes on.
I never rush them, as when I do I’ll only end up changing them as time goes on anyway.
Each song has a destination but the journey time is variable! The songs are about hope, love, family, friends, money, drugs, and problems, experiences both good and bad. All the things that most people go through in a small town like Stoke-on-Trent.
You have a new single ‘Dare to Dream’ out. How has the reaction been to it so far?
It’s been really good, just what we hoped for.
I think it really marks the start of what this band could be and how I’d always envisaged it.
We owe a lot to Ady and Lee at Sugar House, who produced the track. We really hit it off with them in the studio and they genuinely cared about every single element of the track and getting it right just like we did, which was really refreshing. We’ll be working with them again in the New Year.
You play often in Stoke-on-Trent. What’s your opinion of the current music scene there?
It’s really healthy, there’s a lot of great bands and artists about all doing really interesting and diverse things. It’s as good as it’s ever been since I’ve been around.
It’d be nice to see more people getting involved though, I don’t think people understand how much unsigned bands need the support of local folk in order to push forward.
It’d be good to see more people buying tickets and getting involved in what Stoke has to offer, they’ll need to in order for it to flourish.
How is it playing live?
Playing live is the best thing about being in a band for me.
Whether we’re playing in front of five people, 500 people, whatever, we will always give the same show.
You’ve got to engage people and give them a top gig if you want them to come back for more.
What has the band got lined up in the near future?
I think our new single has definitely pricked up some ears, so now we just need to keep writing, keep improving and get in the studio and do it all again.
If we keep improving the songs and perfecting what we’re doing then I think we’re gonna do well, there’s a great spirit in the camp and we all want the same things.
What’s your long-term aim?
Long term, we just want to be recognised for having great songs. I think if you nail that then you’ll be alright.
BROKEN FLAGS NEW SINGLE ‘DARE TO DREAM’ IS NOW AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FROM iTunes AND OTHER INTERNET MUSIC STORES.