Broken Hands had a particularly fascinating epiphany whilst creating their debut album, and it led to an even more innovative creation process. Frontman Dale Norton was wandering in London’s Gatwick Airport when it hit him: the airport could be applied as a metaphor for life itself. As jet engines and muffled noises could translate to the instrumental components of a song, so could the feelings of sadness when saying goodbye to your loved ones, the paranoia when your plane hits turbulence, or the tranquility when that sleeping pill finally kicks in.
Hence, the four-piece UK band comprising Dale Norton (vocals), Callum Norton (drums), Thomas Ford (bass), Jamie Darby (guitar) and Dave Hardstone (keyboards) enlisted Brit Award-nominated producer Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Pixies) and even incorporated NASA sample recordings to create a bonafide rock album called Turbulence. They took their other-worldly tunes on the road for a UK headline tour, as well as festivals including SXSW, CMJ, Canadian Music Week and a BBC Introducing slot at Reading/Leeds festival, Isle of Wight and Sonisphere. They have also opened for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Cult and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Read more about Broken Hands’ debut album, inspirations, touring, and more in our exclusive Q&A below.
OTW: How was Broken Hands born?
BH: Broken Hands was born as means for a bunch of friends to just make music together and give it a go.
OTW: Who are some of your influences and inspirations?
BH: At the time of recording the album, we were very much influenced by bands like Secret Machines and Air.
OTW: You guys incorporated NASA sample recordings made in space into the Turbulence album. What is the significance of space for you?
BH: Space was one of the things that came into the the album’s concept of traveling. It’s a place that very few of us will ever see or travel in, yet we are all so absorbed by the thought of it.
OTW: Can you explain the airport epiphany for the new album?
BH: Dale was dropping off at Heathrow Airport, and as he was there, the accumulation of all the noise, passengers traveling, and the thought of all the people at home but still traveling in their own heads using substances seemed to spark something. He came back and played jet plane noises really loudly and explained the idea.
OTW: What was your favorite festival play and why?
BH: Really enjoyed Y Not, a new festival here in the UK. There was so much happening there for a smaller festival; 10 out of 10 would go again,
OTW: You guys have opened for some pretty big name acts. Any stand-out moments?
BH: Opening for The Cult at Brixton Academy tops this year’s list!
OTW: What do you aim to achieve in your live shows?
BH: We used to cover every venue in silver blankets top to bottom but we’ve scaled it back as the venues get bigger, the point was to create our own place that people would walk into and feel a part of but to also help us convey what we were about play at them.
OTW: Who are 3 artists on your Ones To Watch list and why?
Syd Arthur, Gang, Fuoco. All with roots in Canterbury; we all drink in the same pub.