Wolverhampton-based up-and-coming punk duo Broozer (and yes, that is the correct spelling), dropped their impressively powerful debut EP, “Are We Dead Yet?” a couple of days ago.
The pair, Duncan McHugh and Jake Goldsmith, invited Music Republic Magazine’s Simon Redley for a chin wag at their local pub, full of railway memorabilia, a real coal fire and freshly made cheese and onion cobs.
Nicely washed down with a pint of lager, while they chatted about real life gun and machete attacks, arrogant musicians, their no-holds-barred view of the local music scene and the band’s birth in a skip fire!
We start with some basic info’. Duncan McHugh, lead singer on all tracks apart from one, also plays guitar in the band. He is a firefighter for the day job, for almost a decade.
Jake Goldsmith hits the drums and provides some vocals, and he is a plasterer for a living, but spent two years as a retained fire fighter. He also spent a couple of years in Bulgaria as a snow board instructor.
On stage, the lads swap instruments when they feel like it, so Jake plays guitar and Duncan plays drums, and they both take turns on lead vocals.
Before Broozer, Jake was usually front man in previous bands, as the lead singer and lead guitarist. But he had learned the drums superfast when he and his pal formed Broozer.
Their marketing blubs says they are a “Punk/indie rock duo” and “Anti-silence pioneers”, whatever that is. They love noise. They hate awkward silences. Expect lots of feedback from the guitars and amps in between their songs at a gig.
So, what’s this comment on their social media that the band was created by a skip fire in the Black Country? Jake, the cheeky chappie joker of the pair, explains: “When you come in to Wolverhampton on the train from Birmingham, normally the first thing you see is a skip fire! That’s proper black country that is, a skip fire….”.
They were both born and brought up in the Wolverhampton area 28-years-ago and first met at school more than 10 years ago, close mates ever since. Playing in bands together on and off ever since.
Their four-track debut EP of all-originals is their second release, after the single, “Son Of A Man”, which dropped in November 2018.
Are We Dead Yet”, was recorded in the Spring this year, produced by local studio owner Ryan Pinson and Thomas Edward, lead singer of the punk band God Damn, who Broozer and another band share a lock up rehearsal gaff with.
Duncan and Jake describe the band’s style as having a deliberately “stripped down sound” and they say that their “pure rawness and energy, compensates for this”.
Formed in the summer last year as a duo, after their last band had two drummers pass through in a month and they got fed up with other musicians not being as reliable as they would like, the pair decided to jack it in and sit down to discuss, “what next?” Broozer was the result.
Broozer has played most of the venues in and around Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and built up a growing loyal following with decent support spots to bigger name bands.
Their previous single and tracks from this EP have been given plenty of on-air support by Wyatt Wendel on his Planet Rock radio show, were added to the A-list on Brum Radio and many spins by Tim Senna of BBC WM “Introducing”.
The EP features “I’m OK”. ‘Oi!’ punk writ large, on a theme of going out and getting rat arsed. Track 2: “Thank You Baby” is more melodic and commercial than the opener, with a good hook. Looking at how you often can’t rely on other people. “Give Um Hell” adopts an age-old punk mantra of “Fight the institution/Anti-establishment”.
The closer, “Hero”, is the new single, a song iabout depression… being at a bit of a low but wearing a mask to disguise it. We launch the accompanying video here at Music Republic Magazine, below. WARNING: * Lots of flashing lights in the video, so be warned if that may cause anyone health issues.
So, what makes this band stand out above all the other local and national bands on the scene right now? Duncan doesn’t mince his words: “By putting a lot of energy and attitude into our performance, rather than prancing around like 1975 wannabes. Lots of good song writers out there, but most are like watching paint dry, live.
They do not have much of an opinion of the live music scene in their area. Jake sums it up as “Dogshit. Unless you’re a same old Ed Sheehan wanna-be with an acoustic guitar playing to a few people in a pub.
“The rare few venues left nowadays want £7 from you to see someone you’ve never heard of. Whereas we have one go back to grass roots to play student venues, free entry and open mic nights, so instead of having the usual dross on it actually makes it worth missing ‘Bake Off’ for!”
Does Duncan concur? You bet your backside he does…“The music scene in our local area is pretty gash. But Wolverhampton and Birmingham do have some good bands and singers. But the Wolverhampton scene needs to work harder together to put our City back on the map for music.
“We’ve not had anyone recently do anything. At the minute, it’s living in the shadows of Birmingham’s Music Scene”. His pet hate: “Prima Donnas in our and the neighbouring music scene acting like they are a big deal, when they’ve achieved nothing.
Jake agrees: “Bands who turn up late for their own headline show, so no one (supports) can properly sound check. Then not speaking to any of the supports. Even though the only people watching them are the bar staff and the support acts.
“It’s embarrassing. You get bands that constantly keep asking for different shit off the sound tech during the show, and bands that don’t watch the other bands on that night. Even if it’s just one song, it’s not hard….”
So that’s the local scene. What about on a national and international basis. Is the music that is being released by bands and artists lately, mostly the ‘same old same old’ and boring, or do you think the current status is OK?
Beige bands and beige songs…
“Bands that should be getting played a lot more on the radio,are being forced out by ‘beige bands’ releasing ‘beige songs’. Bands Idles, Slaves, Fontaines D.C. all big names in alternative rock/punk but they only usually get late night plays or the rare daytime slot.
“Whereas the shit new song by a big band that sound like they’ve given up, is on every 10 minutes. Trust me, as a plasterer I listen to a lot of radio at work – and it boils my piss!”
Their single, “Son Of Man”, is a different style to the EP. Hard rock vibes and sounding more American than West Midlands in the UK. But it is a decent track. “We started off as a Stoner rock band. We wanted to be like Nirvana, with a grunge type sound”, Duncan explains.
He says the EP material and their live set are far more energetic and stripped down than what they started out sounding like, and compared to their first single.
Another duo, The Ting Tings – Jules and Katie – told me not too long ago that if they ever were to fall out, then their band was done, as they were the band! So, have Duncan and Jake ever fallen out in the decade or so they have known each other?
“You can have musical differences sometimes and different ideas, but we have not fallen out at all. It’s about compromise”, says Duncan.
Both have been in signed bands, separate indie bands. Jake was on an EP in 2010. Duncan on an EP and some singles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The pair looked at bands such as Slaves and Idles as influences, when they formed Broozer.
It is refreshing that these lads really do not have one single second of rampant ego or arrogance. No stock bullshit PR drivel to big themselves up. They love a laugh and the banter, and their answer to my next question confirms they are most deffo not up their own rear ends…
Question: If someone finds out you are in a band and asks what kind of music you play, what do you say? Jake chips in: “Don’t listen to us, It’s very loud”. Really?
You won’t like us!
Duncan has his ten pennorth: “First thing is, you probably won’t like us”. Wow! Jake has a second wind: “At least that way, they won’t be disappointed”. Both deliver belly laughs at the thought.
But don’t let their humour and chilled attitude make you think they don’t care about the music. That what they deliver on this EP is in any way below par. It’s cracking. Power, attitude and energy in bucket loads.
Melodic but ballsy, commercial without losing street cred’. As good as any UK punk-tinged fodder being released today, and I do include the likes of Slaves and Idles in that statement. No brown envelopes passed hands for me to say that, either. Only the cheese roll and the one pint!
When their tracks were pitched to my magazine, their in-your-face, take no prisoners sound blasting out of my speakers took me back to 78/79, when I worked with most of the big league punk bands of the day, as a music journalist and photographer.
If Broozer had been around back in the 70s, I have no doubt they’d have been among the big boys and girls and would be on their 10th release by now – not their debut.
But their sound is not all dated, even though it respectfully nods to the punk originators and that lively era. Like Idles, Slaves, Sleaford Mods and their ilk, Broozer are on-trend for the iPhone age, and if there are any bored A&R guys reading this, you’d do worse than to give them a chance.
Their personal influences… Duncan: The Virgin Marys, 21 Pilots, Idles. Jake: Damned, Slaves, Queens of the Stone Stage.
Claim to fame: Duncan used to be an extra for TV work and has appeared in Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Holby City.
Their worst gig: When they played to an audience of the sound guy, the gig promoter and the barman.
Their ideal support slot: Idles or Slaves.
Shoot Out Horror!
Not much shocks me these days, but Duncan’s revelation about his closest real-life brush with death or serious injury, literally had me choking on my cheddar!
It was not, as one might expect, while fighting fires. But while sat in the beer garden of a Wolverhampton pub with his wife and her family a couple of years ago.
They found themselves in the middle of a dramatic shoot-out and then a machete attack. Shots were fired randomly into the garden when the men were after a certain person, and then a machete attack followed.
Their target was hurt, but it was a miracle that no one else was. Bullets literally whizzing by Duncan’s head.
I’d bet that the overall reaction to the Broozer EP may well be a lot less frigging aggressive than that, lads!
Words & Photos: Simon Redley
- Insta – @broozeruk
- Twitter @broozeruk
- To buy the EP, from most digital sellers, follow this link: http://spinnup.link/260370-are-we-dead-yet
WARNING: If you have health issues that may be brought on by flashing lights, please avoid watching this video: