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Three parts Midnight Oil, one part Violent Femmes make THE BREAK
It’s been a long time between drinks for Midnight Oil fans. The only gigs in the last eight years have been at the Wave Aid and Sound Relief charity concerts. These exhilarating performances prompted a strong desire in drummer Rob Hirst and guitarists Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie to start making music together in a new form. With that we introduce you to THE BREAK.
In what might at first seem an unlikely union, the three founding members of Midnight Oil are joined by Brian Ritchie bass player of US band Violent Femmes. The Oils of course have their roots in the surf pubs of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The Femmes on the other hand hail from Milwaukee Wisconsin. What is not so well known however is that the two bands have shared a history, a friendship and even a tour manager for over a decade, having met when they both played the inaugural ‘Earth Day’ concert at Columbia’s ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’.
When Ritchie recently moved to Hobart Tasmania the stars were aligned and the four got together for a jam in Jim Moginie’s studio. Kicking off with an old Link Wray track ‘Rumble’ (made famous in the movie Pulp Fiction) the sound that emerged took on an energy of its own and the new band was born.
THE BREAK bring a sheer raw vitality and phenomenal force to the surf rock genre. Their powerhouse sound does of course have that unmistakable whiff of Oil but unlike anything the band has done before. THE BREAK explore new horizons and obscure influences whilst tipping the occasional nod to 60’s legends such as Ennio Morricone, Joe Meek, Link Wray and Dick Dale as well as the psychedelic musical meanderings of San Francisco’s Mermen with whom Ritchie has played on numerous occasions.
Although surf music has very traditional boundaries, to quote Brian Ritchie “We’re not following those parameters. We understood it was a surf theme, but no music is fun if you are too much of a purist about it, or if you set too many constraints. You have to have some freedom.” “It’s always been music with energy that I’ve been attracted to,” adds Rob Hirst. “Drummers like the Who’s Keith Moon - the rolls he did on toms - all that was influenced by the same surf drummers that I’ve liked or going back even further, to people such as Gene Krupa, who inspired them”
Indeed, freedom and breaking rules is what the music of THE BREAK is all about. The dynamic musical interplay between the four members ensures that the music itself is fresh and not overly produced. “You don’t want it to become a big production,” explains drummer Hirst. “It’s good if everyone is still nervously looking around to see when the next part is coming up. The music materialized virtually out of thin air without any premeditation whatsoever. Nothing was written at all, someone would just say, ‘well, why don’t we try this feel’ or ‘why don't we try that beat’ or ‘why don’t we try something in E. We basically used the combined knowledge of the decades and the bands that we have been in to create something without any preconception. It was magical.”
Magical indeed and as the band’s name suggests, THE BREAK is all about harnessing powerful forces and then submitting to them, capturing those feelings of exhilaration and trepidation as they lure you in for a thrilling journey all the way to shore!