Interview: Ollie Baxxter Vocalist of Broadside

We had Rebecca sit down and talk life, touring and new music with lead vocalist Ollie Baxxter from Broadside. Have a read on how they created the masterpiece that is “Hotel Bleu”

Hey Ollie, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

Q – First up, how are you?

A – Doing well, thanks for asking

You’re currently on tour with This Wild Life, how’s that going?

A – The tour has been great so far. I’m a big fan of touring with bands that we have a history with, it takes away the “icebreaker stage” and we can jump right into a perfect touring alignment.

We are here to talk about your upcoming album “Hotel Bleu”, which I’ve had the pleasure of hearing and can I just say what a fantastic record.

Let’s jump right into the questions.

Q –  What inspired you to create this new album?

A – We have been transitioning the sound of the overall band for years now. We felt like we needed to express our “adult sound” in the music now as this is our fourth album.

Q – You’ve spoken about “Hotel Bleu” being somewhat of a concept album with each “hotel room” being a different headspace, how did you come up with this concept?

A – Dom (the guitarist) and I fell in love with the idea of a bunch of ideas existing in one place. Like a collection of short stories essentially. Somehow weaving together if only just by simply passing one another in the hallway or in the lobby of a hotel room.

Q –  How does this album differ from your previous work?

A – It’s certainly more sonically unique. We’ve added a lot of production to this one. Trying to curate an overall tone and vibe as a backdrop to our music. I also speak less about myself in every track and tried to focus on scenarios. There are a few tracks that reflect me as a person, but I wanted to try and reach a broader audience whilst being more vague.

Q – You’ve always found a way to make a catchy hook with deep lyrics in all your records. How do you find having to be upbeat and energetic while pouring your heart out?

A – All of my favourite bands growing up wrote borderline pop choruses but were moody and self-reflective, The Cure, The Smiths, etc. I fell in love with the juxtaposition early in life and it definitely stuck with me. Cry with dancing, what a lovely thing.

Q – Can you share some of your favourite tracks from the album and why they stand out to you?

A – ‘How To Love, How To Lie’ – is my favourite track on the album because I approached it with the mentality of “What if Broadside, wrote a Cure song” The lyrics are also hard-hitting and pick apart the concept of inner beauty.

‘What Have I Done?’ is also a standout track to me as it’s about the fans in its entirety. “What have I done to deserve your love at all?” I just wanted them to hear those words.

Q – Can you talk us through what the creative process was like while working on this album?

A – The album was split between two producers. One being more loud and aggressive and the other being more anthemic/love song-focused. It was important to us to have both of those elements represented on the album. Big songs, big choruses, well mixed!

Q – Were there any significant challenges you faced during the recording or production of the album?

A – We had a member change at the beginning of writing that drastically shifted the overall goal of the band. Ultimately it was for the good, but certainly a setback and fewer minds to collaborate on the project.

Q – Can you give us some insight into the lyrical content of the songs and the stories they tell?

A – I am taking a more storytelling approach to my lyrical content now. I like a beginning, middle and end. It satisfies the listener but also allows the formula to be understood and digested as songs should sometimes. We’re not an incredibly artsy band in the sense of “what’s this about” but we are proud of the artistic vision of reflecting human emotions. I really just want to connect with the audience now.

Q – How did you approach the songwriting for this album, and did it evolve over time?

A – It stayed pretty consistent the entire time. We knew we wanted a solid balance between love songs and big anthemic songs. Our main preach was trying to write bigger songs to play in bigger rooms. I’m trying to break out on this album.

Q – What emotions or messages do you hope your fans will take away from listening to this album?

A – To listen to yourself. To love yourself. And to trust yourself, because in the end, it’s the only thing you leave this place with.

Q – How has your personal journey or experiences influenced the music on this album?

One of the songs ‘Bleu’ is about my Fiancé’s battle with breast cancer over the past year. It tore both of us apart while simultaneously bringing us together. I wanted to write a song conveying the raw emotion of potentially having a final conversation with someone you simply cannot live without.

Aside from that, it’s really just my last shot at the music industry. We stream well online and have people who love us but ultimately, I’m still begging for the opportunity to make this my job.

Q – You’ve put out an emotional open love letter so to speak about anyone who’s been affected by cancer. How has it been performing such an emotional song live?

A –  It’s been nice in the sense that people are reaching out, and telling me about their situations. But also, I feel the sadness creep in over the room, and I can tell that people feel awkward. It’s been both rewarding and a learning curve from a usual happy-go-lucky approach to our live performance.

Q – What do you want listeners to remember most about this particular album in your career?

A – That we tried, we gave it a thorough approach.

Q – You’ve previously said you’d like Broadside to be people’s favourite band after this record as you’ve been growing and finally found your sound. Do you think you’ve achieved this now? (I personally think the growth in each record and been phenomenal)

A – Hard to say but I really hope so.

Q – I think we have probably picked your brain enough now. Lastly, can you tell us what’s next for you guys?

A – Coming to the UK next year, also opening for Our Last Night on some of the biggest shows we’ve ever played! Hopefully, more growth and opportunities to follow!

Sidebar// Thank you for writing about the topics you do, they mean so much to so many people. I’ve seen and met you guys multiple times when you’ve played the UK and it’s always been a pleasure to watch you guys perform.

I appreciate your kindness and your time. Hopefully, we’ll see you in the new year!

Broadside’s new record ‘Hotel Bleu’ is out now via SharpTone Records, available HERE

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