Interview: The Bloodstock Tapes – Broken Calling

We caught-up with Connor from Kent’s Metal 2 The Masses Broken Calling to discuss their triumph, growing as a band, and how much is too much pyro.

I’m here with Connor, the vocalist from Broken Calling – thank you for taking the time to talk to us. So you guys were the winners of the Metal 2 The Masses Kent regional – how was it the moment it was announced that you were the winners?

Connor: “A moment that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. It was just crazy because we got to the final last year and came up short, so we decided to come back and have another go this year. You know, fine-tune some elements of the show, with the recent addition of our new vocalist Tanzy Velayne as well. That probably helped us get to that next level in the show as well – she’s been an absolute star from day one when we asked her to join the band. But, yeah, it was just a case of fine-tuning all that stuff and tearing it up in Kent, at the Leo’s Red Lion in Gravesend.

The competition was so fierce. Any one of the six bands in the final could have run away with it. So I was actually very surprised when we got announced because there was [SIC] a couple of bands there that I thought had kind of pipped it, and I was just like, “Oh, man, another year. But maybe we’ll come back next year, whatever”, but no, we got announced then I was on FaceTime to my mum because she wanted to hear the announcement. “Oh my God! What is going on?” But yeah, and then obviously we all started jumping around, “Oh my God, we’re playing Bloodstock! What the hell?” I mean, none of us have ever been to Bloodstock, but we know Bloodstock’s reputation. So the fact that we get to play a festival like this, it’s just a dream come true.

It’s that stepping stone for so many bands that they want to get. And with Metal 2 The Masses, every band kind of feels like they’ve properly earned it because you’ve gone through heats and semis. And you’ve been judged by crowds and judges and people who know what it’s like to play the New Blood Stage and know what it’s like to play at this level. So yeah, it’s just been crazy. We’re just grateful.”

Congratulations. There are plenty of bands that started there and they’ve now moved further up the stages. So it could be you next!

Connor: “That’d be amazing. We will see what happens at the end of the day, we can only do the best we can, and hopefully that’ll impress whoever’s there enough to go, “Hey, we’ll put these guys maybe on the Sophie Stage next year”. Or the main stage, you never know! Might just put us straight on the main stage!

They announced Architects and Amon Amarth for 2024, so if we get the chance to join the line-up… I mean this year’s lineup was amazing as well, like Killswitch Engage last night killed it. In Flames, Meshuggah, Sepultura… I mean if we could be in the conversation for the line-up in 2024? That’d be amazing.”

You’ve already touched on the sort of things that you did in preparation for the big show at the Metal 2 The Masses final. Did you do anything different pre-show to what you would normally do in anticipation or were you trying to keep it simple?

Connor: “I used to have a really bad habit where I wouldn’t warm up. As a vocalist, that’s a big no, no. Tansy has also helped us with a lot of that as well. But I do a lot more warming up. In terms of the band and stuff we’re just kind of honing what we’ve got and doing things slightly differently. Like how we kind of block ourselves on stage, certain things we’ll do with certain songs. Obviously with having two vocalists you have to split who talks to the crowds in certain sections. Make sure everyone hits their moment like on stage. Because obviously I could just stand there and be the frontman of the band, but obviously there’s five other people in the band. I like to think Broken Calling isn’t just one person. I like to think the whole band is an entity, and I think the guys tend to agree with me on that as well.”

So when you go out to shows, when you go and see bands like those that you’ve mentioned, do you try and take little bits of inspiration for what they do live and then incorporate them into what you do?

Connor: “When you’re seeing bands do what they do like Killswitch Engage and In Flames, you can’t help but think you could maybe do that kind of movement in that song or you could say this to the crowd and you could have a bit of banter with them like Adam D in Killswitch does. But you know. You can’t help but see these bigger bands and go, “Well, you know, that’s what they’re doing at that level, maybe I have to take some of that and put it into my own performance”. Kind of up my game or up the band’s game. It’d be rude not to, and, you know, imitation is the sincerest form flattery, so…”

So let’s jump on to a hypothetical: if you’ve had just a bucket full of money and blank cheque to put on a whatever kind of show that you would want to do, then describe the ideal Broken Calling show with no budget constraints

Connor: “Fire!Lots and lots of fire. Kind of very similar to Killswitch Engage’s show, but more nuts. We’re talking like Rammstein levels of fire.

Well, I mean, we have a song called to “Start The Fire” and to be fair, we used to have quite a lot of fire references in our music. Not so much now, but I mean to be fair, despite all of that, everyone loves a good fire show on a stage, the pyro going everywhere. Fireworks and stuff as well. That would be cool to have. Just a lot of pyro and fireworks, really. And massive backdrops, maybe something that’s animated in the background constantly, because that was really cool during Killswitch’s show because they were like going back to different eras of the band, they were going back to like different albums with their backdrops and chasing them up.

You could kind of tell what era and judging the reaction of the crowd you could tell which Killswitch Engage fans were, like, getting happier at certain points. Yeah, but I mean my all-time favourite Killswitch song will always be “The End Of Heartache”. So that was the song I grew up with and I grew up with bands like Killswitch Engage and In Flames. The kind of early days metalcore and… But in terms of shows, yeah, lots of pyro, lots of pyro. We’d love that.”

Yeah, great so go on then. Let’s describe a typical Broken Calling show?

Connor: “Energy. Nothing but energy. We’re just gonna go straight from the gate. We’re gonna make sure that the room is bouncing. Everyone’s moving, everyone’s having a good time. Mosh pits… Our guitarist Martin, might jump on someone so if you’re in the first two rows, you may catch a flying Martin. But we like to put a lot of energy in our shows. And again, it’s just all about having fun and translating that energy out to the crowd. We really want the crowd to be involved with us because the energy thing is a give and take. We give as much as the crowd gives back to us. We give as much as we can to them. They’ll give as much as they can back to us. And then everyone has a good time for that.”

Have you got further music in the works?

Connor: “We are writing at the moment, so Tansy has only been in the band, like, pretty much for a hot cup of coffee, so we’re definitely writing new music with Tansy at the moment, and obviously because she’s had to learn a lot of the older Broken Calling songs, we’ve had to incorporate her into those. But obviously, once we get new music done, the new music with Tansy is gonna be there and some of the stuff we are writing at the moment.

We’re grateful to be in the position we’re in and we really hope that we could just build on it and we can just keep going and going and going and you never know, we might be on bigger stages.”

For sure! Thank you so much for speaking with us today. So last thing, is there anything that you’d like to say to the Devolution readers?

Connor: “If you read Devolution Magazine, if you’ve seen, if you’ve read from 2019, when we were first featured for our first EP ‘From The Ashes’, or you’ve seen us just recently for us announcing Tansy and the single “Virus”, we’re grateful for every single one of you. And yeah, we just hope that people continue to support Broken Calling and help us grow because that’s what it’s all about. And as long as we have fun, we’ll keep doing it.”

Amazing – thank you so much!

Connor: “Thank you so much, man.”

Interviews by Lee Carter

Photo by Rebecca Bush