Supporting Giblet on Sat 7th March, we have ‘box fresh’ Sheffield three piece Brötchen. I had a chat with Anna from the band to find out a bit more about who they are and what they are up to.
Why don’t you start by telling us who’s in the band?
Anna M Hawkins (Bass, Guitar, Vox)
I’ve been writing songs and playing bass for 4 years and playing guitar for 2 and have just started playing and recording at Brotchen in the last year or so.
Iain glitch – (Guitar, Bass)
Iain is sickeningly good at most things he does and has been writing and performing music since he was 15. I love Iain for many reasons, he left instruments lying around and gave me space and support to pick them and learn to play them in my own time and in my own way, which is massive and not to be underestimated. He is patient and knows how to plug all the shit in while me and Chuffy learn on the job. He also agreed to marry me, which was v cool of him.
Chuffy Stanley (Drums)
Chuffy is the cool one in the band, she would absolutely agree with that I think. She started playing drums around the same time I did bass. She is finding out who she is as a drummer as I find out who I am as a guitar player, which is really fun and exciting, we try new stuff, we learn, we push each other and we have a laugh doing it. She is very relaxing for me to be around (she might be surprised to hear that) and makes me brave when I might feel a bit wobbly coz she says all the things out loud that I’m worrying about quietly in my head. I know if she says she likes something, she means it, because she can’t lie.
You described the band as ‘box fresh’, where are you at in terms of writing, recording, gigging etc?
We are recording and self producing at the moment, we released Broken Bubble a few weeks ago which evolved in mine and Iain’s annual boxing day improv recording session in our cellar studio. Something dark and moody usually emerges! I love BB but it is a rare instrumental, most of the things we produce have some words somewhere but this felt complete without.
We are planning on releasing our latest single ‘Litha’ end of Feb which we will be premiering live at the Buds & Spawn gig! This is a lovely dreamy one I wrote sitting looking down over the Rivelin Valley from the park at the end of our road on the summer solstice. It’s got a proper dreamy summer groove to it and I’m hoping it will warm people up when they listen to it.
All three of us have been in bands over the years, but rather typically both me (Anna) and Chuffy (drums) fell away from it, had children, lost our confidence. I didn’t start playing instruments or writing songs until I was 40. I decided to finally pick up one of the bass guitars I share a house with and figure out some bass lines and write some songs around them. At the same time Chuffy was thinking of doing the same with her other half’s drumkit – and we took the plunge and here we are!
This time round the primary drive was to make music I enjoyed playing and listening to, with people I care about, having fun along the way and not being too driven by the opinions of others, that’s a wonderful thing that has come to me with age. Giving so much less of a shit about nonsense.
Future projects: I’ve been trying to assemble a female production team to work on the album, getting a female studio engineer hasn’t been as easy as I’d hoped. If anyone out there reads this and likes the sound of the music then please get in touch. Paid work obviously!
What previous music projects have you all been involved with?
Anna – I was in bands in the 90s, including a brief spell as a lead singer in all-girl band Treacle (for like 3 gigs, but the fact that I was the lead singer in a 90s all girl band is pretty epic isn’t it?, it wasn’t a great fit and they found someone more suitable pretty quickly with my absolute blessing !), and also backing vox and keys in Sheffield indie angst band Bear back in the 90s / early 2000s.
[NB the brilliant thing about doing a quick internet search for Sheffield bands called Treacle, is that it pulls up a fascinating sample of a chapter called “Is it Different for Girls? Unpacking Sheffields Scene” by Josie Robson in an academic text called “Stereo: Comparative Perspectives on the Sociological Study of Popular Music in France and Britain”.]
Chuffy was the lead singer in Food? back in the 90s and did support vox for loads including Little Glitches.
It should also be noted that Iain and I play in the Crookes Community Panto Band with our son Sam 😉
Have you got any other gigs coming up?
You have the great pleasure of launching us into the world as we are only just starting to gig and figure out how to get bookings / put together press packs etc! I would totally pay someone to do this for me (that’s what managers are isn’t it?)
If you were going to try and convert someone to your most recent musical discovery, what track would you play them and who is the artist?
I would play them Lost Heads by Moon Duo. It’s perfect! Deeply melodic groove, some super cool beepy high end stuff and amazing dreamy Vox. I basically want to be the Moon Duo when I grow up. If I could play a guitar solo like Ripley Johnson I’d be happy with that. I’d happy plateau after that.
Brötchen wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for…
Ooh… probably She Shreds magazine. They got me out of my imposter syndrome, got me playing and sharing riffs with an online community of (predominantly) female musicians. Made me realise music is who I am and what I needed to do.
Tell us about some of your favourite ways for discovering new music.
Currently I love listening to NTS radio for new discoveries, a real mix of amazing stuff there. Love Annabel Fraser’s show and Ripley Johnson’s headzone.
I shop mainly in Beartree Records in Sheffield but the breakthrough record shop for me was Sounds of the Universe in Soho, which is the store front for Soul Jazz Records. That was the first record shop I was brave enough to ask the guy behind the counter what was playing and then buy it. The record was a Digital Mystikz / Code 9 white label and the first record I bought for Iain. Threw down the gauntlet with that one. He was impressed.
Which artist do you consider to be an underappreciated genius?
Juana Molina is a total legend. I’m not sure whether she is underappreciated because she appears to be doing whatever the hell she likes in her own time and pace and rarely ventures out of South America. But she is a total genius and plays the game by her own rules and never panders and never compromised. Bonkers and Brilliant.
Which live band would you cross hell or high water to see?
Juana Molina – I’d even go to London, seriously.
Tell us about another bit of art / culture outside of music that has made a big impact on you recently
I love the Sci-Fi genius Becky Chambers, especially her Wayfarer trilogy. In my day job I’m an environmental social scientist trying to figure out how our species can live in the future by changing the ways in which we consume. Becky imagines a brilliant future for the human race out in a diverse universe. Totally joyful and inspirational – plus spaceships.
Can you share a collective top 5 favourite tracks or tour bus playlist?
We’ll put you together a playlist you can share. But while I still have the mic I will nominate
Lost Heads – Moon Duo
Peacock Trail – Boards of Canada
Heavy – Les Amazones d’Afrique
Tuesday Tastes Good – Algebra Suicide
Old Jam – Maya Jane Coles
…. I’m sure the guys would agree with me 😉
Brötchen open our show on Saturday 7th March 2020 at Cafe Totem, 23 Furnival Gate, Sheffield S1 4QR, supporting GIBLET, who are performing their psychedelic rock opera ‘Clayton 2020: The Tripedal Cat’. Tickets are on sale now, priced £8 + booking fee in advance, £10 on the door (£6 / £8 concessions) from budsspawn.nutickets.com. Over 18s only.