Christchurch trio No Broadcast have slowly but surely been building a strong following for their inspired vision of indie post rock, one that is coloured by a willingness to experiment with their sound. Nothing is off the table, especially if there is a chance it could make things sonically bigger or more interesting. Singer Josh Braden and comparitive newcomer bassist Kieran Colina spoke about their new sophomore album, ‘The Blueprint’, with NZM’s Darryl Kirk.
No Broadcast have a fearlessness when embracing new textures and songwriting approaches, something that has mapped their evolution. Each release has become more refined, more focused in finding the sonic and lyrical heart of their tunes. At times bombastic, at others crunching and terrifying, there is underlying a sense of melodic fluidity and a precision born of dedication and a love of music.
The line-up of the Christchurch trio has remained largely stable since their inception as Anthesiac in 2007. Originally comprised of Josh Braden (vocals, guitar), Sam Hood (bass) and Chris Self on drums, their only (and recent) change has been Kieran Colina taking over bass duties –– along with the name change ahead of the release of their first album.
“Chris, our drummer, and I put the band together at school, remembers Josh. “We had similar interests in music. We had classes together and just started jamming, so it was a high school band.”
The trio have expanded their vision in the eight years since with national tours and supports for the likes of Die! Die! Die!, Beastwars, An Emerald City and Mountaineater. Likened to some of the greats, names being tossed around include Tool, The Cure and Muse. Josh sees their main influence as much closer to home, citing HDU as being the obvious, and one that has been talked about before.
“For me a big one is the Deftones, and another is Sonic Youth,” counters Kieran.
Those influences might inform but don’t take over a band in control of their songwriting, skilled at production and prepared to work on every aspect of their shared vision for the band. The new album follows their self-titled and self-released 2014 album debut.
“Our songwriting has changed, the sounds have got cleaner, crisper and more refined,” Josh analyses. “The older material was more raucous and less focused in places. Regarding tones and structures of the songs, we’’ve introduced softer elements but at the same time it still has those heavier sounds from our previous records. This album is a more diverse beast with some songs being more pop than things we’’ve done before, but they have our signature on it.”
“We did the drums at my work. I work in a rug workshop, it’s like an art gallery for rugs,” tells Josh.
“We recorded the drums in the big main workspace,” Kieran elaborates. “We put mics all around the room – that’s a technique I learned when I was working at Quicksand Studios. Another thing we did, which might have started at York Street, was we had a couple of mics right down on the floor. It sounded awesome, it gives you that big sound.”
After they had captured the drums at Dilana Rugs the recording returned to a spare room in Josh’s place to do the guitars and bass.
“There were mics everywhere. It was over the winter, so there was lots of red wine and experiments going on, it was a lot of fun,” he laughs, before Kieran elaborates.
“Some of it wasn’t even intentional. Josh was playing with an e-bow, and the battery went flat, and it started making these weird, very strange sounds like a Geiger counter.”
They also did a field recording at the Tannery, a boutique shopping precinct in the redeveloping Christchurch, as Kieran explains.
“We just rocked in there and asked if we could set up some mics. It was a real spur of the moment thing. We said to ourselves, ‘We need a piano, where is a piano? There is one at the Tannery. Let’s go ask them.’ That was a lot of fun, the cafes and shops were all still open, and people were talking and so on, but it adds a bit of an ambience at the start of the album.
“It so happened that the piano was in tune, which was nice,” smiles Josh.
Although there were some early difficulties with the mixing and mastering end of the production, the band eventually brought in Thom O’Connor, who had worked at the since-closed Quicksand, and who they’d had dealings with before.
The trio are very happy with the final result, the self-released album titled ‘The Blueprint’ drops in December, with release gigs planned in Christchurch and Dunedin. No Broadcast are also heading to Melbourne for a series of shows in January and planning a nationwide NZ tour for the autumn months next year.