The Broken Ravens are the latest group of ‘bearded noiseniks’ from the Highlands that have been poking away at our eardrums over the last 18 months or so.
After a string of solid performances at goNorth, Hoots and Brew at the Bog they’ve been given top billing on the Seedling’s Stage at Belladrum.
Described as a ‘hotbed of emerging’ talent they’re clearly chuffed to bits to have been given the chance to rattle more eardrums. We managed to get a quick chat with drummer Kevin Clark and he told us, “we are really excited to be given the opportunity to play; it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.We were delighted to be asked to play Belladrum full stop, it’s a gig we have always wanted given its great reputation, following in the footsteps of some amazing like Casual Sex, Fat Goth and Roman Nose. We couldn’t believe our slot when we got it, still can’t, absolutely delighted!”
They’re obviously not a band ready to rest on their laurels have always impressed Inverness Gigs reviewers with consistently good shows (see our review of their goNORTH 2014 slot for an example) regardless of the size of the stage…”We try and squeeze as much music, passion and energy in every gig we do. We are a little nervous, but that’s always a good thing.
We aim to leave a lasting impression and win over some new fans, helping us get our name out there a bit more. Playing our music to any audience in a live setting is an honour, and we hope that the passion and energy infects the listener and draws them in to our slightly strange world. At the moment, our main goal is to get our album recorded and finished, and play it live to anyone that wants to listen.”
Subsequently the hard work is consistant, although it does have it’s perks “we are always writing, jamming and trying new stuff, having meetings and consuming vast quantities of tea and fresh baking to keep the inspiration flowing, kindly provided by my wife.”
Talking about the band’s music Kevin’s favourite song is ‘S.W.B'”I love the energy, vibe and crazy bit in the middle.” However he also adds “White Gold is always a live favorite as is Blood, one of the first songs we ever wrote and one song in particular we constantly get asked about. I would have to say “Scars” is the best song (recorded) that sums up TBR, it has done the most for us to this point, and the video, given that it was the b side to our single “Pressure”, has had over 38,000 views on youtube!”
The current state of the music scene causes its own problems for bands like The Broken Ravens. They have their own studio (Kevin’s garage) but gigs are never that lucrative for a band still in its early stages and the costs of getting to gigs can be difficult to meet.
Getting from Stornoway to the mainland is expensive enough, but try doing it with a full backline and you’re looking at around £500 per trip. Not easy when you don’t have a record label to fund you and there are mouths to feed at home.
Stornoway like many other towns across Scotland and the rest of the UK suffers from a lack of venues, many closing because of the recession. This leaves very limited options for playing locally. Depressingly, and bear in mind I grew up in Stornoway and remember a reasonably lively music scene, Kevin reports that the local music scene is almost non-existent so playing live, other than rehearsals, is very rare. Food for thought when you consider the strength of artists coming from the Western Isles at the moment (Colin Macleod, Miss Irenie Rosie etc) and yet the Heb Celt pulls in a healthy attendance every year.
However despite all this, their hard work seems to be paying off; “The Broken Ravens are very fortunate to have had substantial interest from the U.S., both East and West coast, shows and deals have been offered but due to the lack of financial resources available to musicians, all our progress is at a standstill until we have a finished album and the means to travel, but communication is constant, positive and like they say, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way!’
After Belladrum The Broken Ravens will play Bannerman’s in Edinburgh on Thursday 21st August followed by their first headline slot at King Tuts in Glasgow on Friday 22nd August.
Catch The Broken Ravens headlining the Seedlings Stage on Friday the 8th of August
From interviews with the organiser and the the special guests to previews of the acts, you can keep up to date with our coverage on our our Belladrum site and to keep updated with all of the things going on in Inverness, sign up to our mailing list.