LOUDER FEATURES: Mixtape Medley with Branch to Root
With the future of our grassroots music scene now more uncertain than it has ever been, diving into the world of underground bands, and respecting the world that all our our favourite music giants originated from, is more important than ever. This is something that bands like post-emo quartet Branch to Root perfectly encapsulate. Their eclectic blend of fizzy guitar riffs, pop structures, brutally honest vocals and clean melody lines sees them harassing the integral elements of several genres, placing them firmly in the line of succession to tomorrow's big stages. This myriad of influence sis reflected both in their recently released debut album, 'Goodbye', as well as in their personal music collections! We caught up with the band to take a deep dive into their vinyl collections and Spotify playlists of the past and present.
All the songs mentioned below have been combined into this handy playlist - listen along here:
Which songs did you used to love as a child?
Fountains of Wayne - ‘Little Red Light’. I got their record ‘Welcome Interstate Managers’ and the Darkness' ‘Permission to Land’ as Christmas gifts in 2003. I had just started playing the guitar and what I was hearing in these bands definitely kept me going through the frustrating start of learning to play an instrument. Before this I hadn’t really taken much of an active interest in music and just listened to whatever my parents had on (not a bad thing, my mum has good taste!).
Which band/artist played at your first gig? Are there any songs that remind you of that night?
Deep Purple - ‘Hush’. I saw them at the MEN with my parents in 2004. It was my first experience of a rock band. The thing that sticks in my head from that night was just when we opened the doors into the arena and I felt the sound hit me like a brick wall! I’d never known anything to be that loud!
Are there any bands that you wish you had discovered earlier in your life/ music career?
Manchester Orchestra - Probably my favourite band of all time. When me and John (who would become Branch to Roots' first bassist) went to different universities we used to just send albums and bands back and forth to each other all the time. He sent me ‘Simple Math’ By MO and it blew me away. The honesty and depth in Andy Hull's lyrics completely changed the way I thought about songwriting. From that, I dove head-first into their back catalogue and followed everything they have done since. My favourite track by them at the moment is ‘The Silence’.
Are there any songs that you wish you could experience for the first time again?
First off - love this question it really got me thinking. It would have to be Blanket's 'A Sky Filled With Ghosts'. From the first time I heard the opening beat and riff I was sold. This track just builds and builds and is guaranteed goosebumps. Just headphones on, eyes shut and give it your full attention because there is so much to digest in this track.
Are there any songs that you have grown to love or grown to hate over time? Has this happened with any of your own songs?
Yes definitely! There are definitely tracks that if you could go back and tell me I'd like in time I wouldn't have believed you. Hopefully that means I’m actually growing as a person. So a song I’ve grown to love will be ‘Since U Been Gone’ by Kelly Clarkson. It did nothing for me back in 2004 but that will be down to me being too arrogant or insecure to let myself like it. In the band I think we can fall in and out of love with our own music regularly, but I think that comes down to overexposure and overthinking.
What is the best song to listen to while walking at night?
Green Day - ‘Waiting’. I used to listen to this track late at night walking home from house parties when I was about 16 like my own little ritual. I just associate it with having the world to myself and an iPod Classic at 3am.
Which songs make you feel like you could take on the world?
Eels - ‘Mr E’s Beautiful Blues’. I worry alot. I'm getting better at managing it now, but whenever it feels like the world is getting on top of me the hook in this song pulls me back to myself and puts a smile on my face. Goddamn right it’s a beautiful day.
If you could join any other band for one tour, which would you choose?
Kevin Devine. Been able to see him live quite a few times now and always love his shows. The guy is a fantastic song writer and performer. Each time I’ve been to his shows I seem to spot him taking the time to watch the local supports and talk to fans before and after his set. I like that he creates that sense of community at his shows. Check out his track ‘Yr Husband’
Are there any songs that move you to the point of tears?
Spanish Love Songs - 'Routine Pain'. So when this record came out I wasn’t in a great place. I had completely burned myself out and was off work due to stress. I was struggling to take pleasure in anything. I had never heard of this band before and by chance decided to give them a go. The opening track routine pain felt so close to home for what I was going through that I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I think I was crying from the relief the lyrics gave me that I wasn’t the only person who had felt this way.
If you had to choose one song to describe yourself and your music to a group of new people, which would it be?
'Best Disasters'. It was our first proper single and I think that it really sums up the energy of the band and the themes we wanted to explore when writing.
If you could cover one song at a show and everyone in the room would think it was your own, which song would you choose?
All Get Out, ‘Value’. I love everything about this track. The opening riff hits perfectly and sets the optimistic vibe of the track. They couple the music perfectly with some great lyrics about progression and growth.
Which is the song you are most proud of writing?
I love all the music I’ve been lucky enough to write with Branch to Root, but, gun to my head, I would say ‘Ashes’. I came up with the intro riff messing around on an acoustic guitar about an hour before we had band practice and I am really proud of the way the rest of the band helped develop the song and add flavour. I always have a great time playing it at shows and just lose myself in the outro.
Branch to Root's debut album, 'Goodbye' is out now as a self-release - check it out here.
Check out the video for the band's single, 'Chroma', below: