For fans of The Replacements, The Cure & Ash
It's with great pleasure that we present todays Inbox Interview, with the awesome Indie Rock three piece, Animal Breakdown. We booked the band for one of our live events (remember when real gigs were a thing?) back in February 2020 and were blown away by their harmoniously huge sound!
With their exhilarating latest single 'Night Garden' just recently released on 26th May, we caught up with the East London rockers to find out more about their journey so far...
The band is made up of Martin Lynch (guitars & lead vocals), Marco Nikic (drums & backing vocals) and Josef Mitchell (bass & backing vocals).
So why the name Animal Breakdown?
Martin: We went through quite a few different names some were animal based and some weren’t - nothing was really sticking though. At one point just before we settled on Animal Breakdown we were called Parting Glass and even did a few open mics under that name which we thought we’d sort of immortalise as the name of our first release. We wanted a name that was easy to find and to put together 2 cool words that you wouldn’t really see paired together unless you were looking for us, which has worked really well so far!
Another bit of Animal Breakdown trivia is that we’re big Suede fans and on their first album there is of course their mega hit ‘Animal Nitrate’ and another track called ‘Animal Lover’, also on the album there’s a song called ‘Breakdown’ I think this had something to do with those two words coming together; for about a day I think we might have just been called Breakdown haha?
Joseph: You know when you are at a party and it's gone on for too long, usually at around 4 am people have coupled off, there are some people smoking talking bollocks and there's that one person who is drinking and crying in the corner? Well, that is an Animal Breakdown - an alcohol induced emotional episode, seemed like a fitting name.
Marco: Because it sounds cool and no one had it yet!
In just one sentence, explain your sound…
Martin: Like a meeting of the minds of Albert Camus and Albert Steptoe.
Josef: A bit like a mixture between an empty pub on a Saturday night and pie and mash.
Marco: Cocteau twins meets progressive metal and fails, so we settle for the easy version.
How did the band form?
Josef and Martin went to the same secondary school and have known each other for years, both had their own previous bands that had ended. Martin had been trying to form a new band for a little while, but nothing was really sticking with other musicians he’d met. Both Martin and Josef were at a bit of a life cul-de-sac after together going though heartbreak after heartbreak, the worst kinds of self-destructive behaviour, family tragedy, loss, mourning, and unemployment so now felt like the time to try their hand at seriously making a band together; an idea they’d only ever really played with since leaving school.
At the start we went through so many different drummers, in true rock ‘n roll form it was beginning to feel very much like we were putting Spinal Tap to shame until we finally found the one: Mr Marco Nikic on the 14th October 2017 (Josef remembers the exact date because it was the day before his birthday but I’m pretty sure it was the little glint in Marco’s eye that made it so unforgettable for Jo!).
Marco had been putting adverts out online after his band split up and Martin messaged him at the right time – the stars aligned. Martin, Josef and Marco became Animal Breakdown in our home away from home the Engine Rooms studios in Bow East London.
P.s Marco is French and thought he was auditioning for a metal band, but he didn't understand Martin and Joe's Eastend accents. He just pretended to so they could play, rumor has it he still doesn’t understand anything they say, but just nods anyway.
What have been your best moments as a band so far?
Josef: Playing at the Camden Assembly, it was a pretty big crowd and we’ve seen biggish bands play there before so to be up there felt pretty cool.
Martin: Going on a little road trip to Brighton to record with Wynter Pryor at Audio Beach Studios for our upcoming run of singles, was really fun and brought us closer as a band. There were some hilarious moments which Marco might elaborate on.
Marco:…Piss…Kettle… (already Too Much information haha!)
What can we expect from an Animal Breakdown live show?
Sticks thrown at musicians, insecure banter, terrible jokes and attempts to hype the crowd, occasionally a good song! The wheels looking like they’re about to fall off a car at high speed yet somehow never quite falling off. Our shows are loud, sweaty and emotionally intense affairs like three disgraced shaman we channel a beautiful dark energy.
If you could support any band/artist, who would it be and why?
Asylums and False Heads were both really nice when we met them we reckon it’d be a laugh hanging out with those guys.
The music industry can be incredibly difficult, especially for upcoming music artists - there is a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication needed to make it. What has your experience as an upcoming band been like so far, and how do you manage to balance ‘doing band/musician things’ with also running the business side?
It is not unusual to hear of anyone in the arts finding it difficult and we’re no exception. Anything you try to do in a band can so often be an uphill struggle, so much time goes into planning and organising stuff before you’ve even played a note - often for such little return.
We all got into this because we enjoy playing music and gigging but by the time you’ve kept your never ending social media feeds busy, finished your day job, fed the cat, done the laundry, had some quality time with your family, friends, girlfriends and boyfriends you find yourself with this little bit of essential time to write that new song you’ve been yearning to write and then after all that the song might not be as good as you hoped and then you’ve gotta redraft it again or even axe it completely.
Sometimes you just wanna play the remake of Resident Evil 2 and pass on music that night! A lot of stuff is done on stolen time here and there sometimes whilst we’re actually meant to be at work! But we were under no illusion getting into this about that side of it. If you’re not careful you can become obsessive and it can drive you and that black dog on your shoulder up the wall. It’s very easy to feel like you can never do enough (and it’s true you can never do enough at our level) there’s always unfinished work to do, so it’s always worth checking yourself before ya wreck yourself so long as your not totally neglecting your dream.
It’s really easy to look at the success of others and how they’re getting on who are sometimes at best in your eyes mediocre and then wrongly try and measure up to them, so often it doesn’t feel fair – but life don’t work that way.
It’s well documented how so many artists already have a foot in the door, come from privileged backgrounds, from trust fund parents or musical families.
That financial backing or having those special links and contacts doesn’t exist for us and can mean half the battle is won before some of these guys have even played a note, to a lesser or greater extent they can’t fail with that support. Which is why we really love anyone who comes up from humble beginnings makes a noise, and something of themselves against the odds – ‘indie’ in the truest sense of the word.
Being in a band requires solid teamwork, respect, communication, and sacrifice – all that is as, if not, more important than how good a musician the person is… not being an arsehole helps too! If all your members aren’t on that same page you’ll find you’ve just got passengers - and guaranteed - your favourite band didn’t have passenger members. It all sounds so fun glamorous now right kids!?!?
Who are 3 other bands/music artists that we should all go and check out?
Is it possible we can say more than 3 bands? We really believe in supporting the scene of smaller bands like ourselves, so any little shout out here and there is always worth it if it just turns one person on to one of these groups.
False Heads – Are a band based in East London not too far from us, they’ve recently released their debut album ‘It’s All There But Your Dreaming’. The Covid-19 outbreak really messed up much of their plans for their release which is unfortunate cos it’s a rock solid debut with riffs galore. People keep comparing them to Nirvana which feels a bit lazy, there’s a lot more going on here than just grunge, they’re great live too!
Tiger Mimic – Who hail from around Camden have just released their single ‘It Was Still Dark’ it’s really good and has a little bit of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs vibe to it. Their guitarist Bram made a really cool animated video for it you should check out. Haven’t been to see these guys live yet but heard great things! After lockdown they’re on the list to see.
Asylums – Joe our bassist heard their single ‘When We Grow Up’ and showed the rest of us and we’ve loved em since then really. The 3 of us went to see these guys twice a bit over a year ago at Rough Trade and in Camden and they’re really great really melodic.
On that night in Camden they were supported by October Drift who smashed it too, their recently released debut album Forever Whatever is gorgeous. Asylums just released their single ‘Catalogue Kids’ which is to support their 3rd album ‘A Perfect Life In A Perfect World’ coming mid-July that will be huge.
We’re big 80s Matchbox B-line Disaster fans so have been quietly following what Sym and Guy have been doing since. Sym’s released some new music with both Piano Wire and Primitive Ignorant and Guy on the other hand is doing stuff with his new band The DSM IV. Both are working on some beautiful stuff there - well worth checking them both out.
Lastly just want to mention the band Medium Love –We got to catch these guys just before the lockdown at the Underdog Gallery by London Bridge and they were brilliant. We were huge fans of Casey Underwood’s last band Big Deal and the new band look set not to disappoint, their recent single ‘Light Gets In’ is stunning can’t wait to hear more.
What’s next for Animal Breakdown?
We’re really excited to announce that on Friday 29th May we are releasing our next single ‘Night Garden’ the few people who have heard it are really loving it, the three of us are really proud of it. It follows up our debut double A Side Parting Glass / Black Horse from last year, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused us to have to shift about and cancel most of the plans we had so it’s nice to at least feel like we’re moving forward a bit after being in a period of stasis.
After this we’ve got a few more releases and a bit more recording planned – really, we can’t wait to get out and gig again whenever that’s sensible and possible - Covid-19 we hope you’re happy!
And so concludes our interview with Animal Breakdown. A massive thank you to the guys for giving us a wonderful insight into their world!
You can listen to more Animal Breakdown on Spotify!
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