STORNOWAY rock band The Broken Ravens were one of the buzz bands of this year’s goNorth festival and – not surprisingly – it appears that some exciting offers are knocking at their door. With songs like Scars, White Gold and SWB attracting rave reviews – as do the live shows – the band features singer and guitarist Bugsy Maclean, guitarist Thrash Macaulay, bassist Lotto Ferguson and drummer Kevin Clark. "Classic rock" and "stoner rock" have been a couple of the tags attempted when hit with the full-on, die-or-take-it-like-a-man maelstrom of their music. But don’t get the wrong idea – it’s tuneful too – the lyrics busting with great storytelling. "We call ourselves ‘rock rock’," said Bugsy in a recent interview. People allege they can hear everything from Howlin’ Wolf to Slayer in the music. Get a blast yourself by downloading track Pressure, out since Monday (the video's below too), with all the money from the single raised going to the Lewis Bethesda hospice. The band play Inverness on Thursday at both HMV (6pm) and Hootanannys' Black Star Riders' aftershow slot, then they return to Lewis on Saturday for a gig at Stornoway golf club. Below, they answer a few burning questions ...
1 You’ve got Pressure out as a digital download single. How and where did that song get made?
Pressure came about one night we were messing about at practice. We hadn’t been together long, a few months. Bugsy asked me to play a beat so I played and Thrash had the riff over it in seconds. Musically, it came together very quickly and naturally and was the first song we really all contributed to too, which is how we always work. It seems we have a kind of sixth sense where we all know what the other one is thinking and bounce off each other brilliantly.
Bugsy wrote the lyrics on the Braighe, a road with a vast beach on one side and a rugged shoreline on the other, based on blowing off steam, letting the coil unwind, coping with life’s everyday trials and tribulations.
2 Why did you decide to donate the proceeds to your chosen charity?
Bethesda is the only cancer hospice here in Lewis. We wanted to donate to something local, and being from a small island community where everyone knows someone that’s been affected by cancer, we wanted to do something to help, to add to the vast amount of money that’s needed to provide this essential service.
3 You’ve got a few tour dates following the release. Are any of these new to the band? If not, what have been your best/experiences there before?
The only venue we have played before is Hootanannys which we love. The last time we played there, Thrash and I were outside smoking when a strange couple came over to ask him if he’d been on Jeremy Kyle that week, to which I said that he totally was. They were calling him "The Daddy" all night.
Inverness is fantastic, we were at goNorth this year and the atmosphere in the venues, the city and just in general was electric. HMV is a first for us all, very exciting! An in-store that’s not acoustic and we are not a quiet kind of band. Hope we don’t put anyone off their Christmas shopping. Honestly, we are really excited about every gig, we give 110 per cent when we play and looking forward to making new friends and seeing new places.
4 Will you be popping along to the Black Star Riders gig before your own aftershow set in Hootanannys next Thursday, or will you be too busy at HMV and setting up in Hoots? If you are going along to see Black Star Riders and Dead Daisies in the Ironworks inbetween, are you fans? And, if so, have you seen either band before?
We will definitely be heading to see BSR and Dead Daisies. We are on from 6pm in HMV so hope to be set up and sound-checked in time for the show. We have never seen either band perform live, but having grown up listening to Thin Lizzy and The Almighty. We know we’re in for an awesome show.
5 For people who don’t know the history of the band and members, give us the edited highlights – and the one thing we wouldn’t suspect about the band!
The band was formed for a bit of fun by Bugsy when he moved back to Stornoway two years ago. We have all been in bands since our teens including Her Voice Resides, Black Smoke and Our Lunar Activities. We just seemed to click as friends as well as band mates – albeit we have a totally different taste in music, yet every practice-night we are provided with fresh baking and have tea and cake at the end of each rehearsal – how rock and roll is that! A band highlight was goNorth this year. It just helped us focus on what we want to do – make music and how to do it. The seminars were informative and inspiring, the bands were great and the craic was good. We work so well, not just as a band but as a unit.
Armed with inspiration and confidence in what can be achieved with a little hard work, we set about making plans on the ferry home.
6 You hinted that exciting things have been happening recently – with a producer, a label and "Hollywood film interest". That all sounds incredibly intriguing. What can you say about it …?
We have been getting a lot of attention from the US recently after putting up the Scars video earlier this year. At the moment we are looking at contracts sent to us by various producers who are all very keen to work with us on a debut album. A major Hollywood film company has asked for submissions of music and we are talking to a couple of labels, one in Miami and one in San Francisco.
We are looking into funding to make it all happen – and that’s all I can say just now, don’t want to jinx anything.
Having all been in the music industry before, we don’t want to fall into any pitfalls and our main goal is to get our album recorded with the right person.
Everything we have done so far has been produced by ourselves, from demoes to videos.
We have had a few nods from our peers which is totally amazing, just the fact that they have heard of us.
Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden said he loves driving to our track Scarlet Waves and would love to visit our island, that’s awesome!
The Broken Ravens will play live at 6pm in HMV Inverness on Thursday (December 5). Then after the Ironworks’ Black Star Riders and Dead Daisies show, the Ravens will be playing at Hootanannys as an aftershow set. For more details, go to: www.thebrokenravens.com The band then return to Lewis and their Stornoway golf club gig on Saturday.