TRACK-BY-TRACK: Broken Witt Rebels – OK Hotel
Photo Credit: A Ford
Tomorrow (Friday 13th March 2020) sees the release of Broken Witt Rebels‘ sophomore album OK Hotel, a record that sharpens the band’s sound while continuing to explore personal and emotive themes. We were keen to find out more, so we sat down with the band to dig deeper and discover more about the thirteen tracks that make up OK Hotel.
Running With The Wolves
This is a song about not giving up, “Don’t let the green light turn red,” I think that explains everything. Whether it be hard times in your personal life or not feeling you are good enough to succeed keep on fighting, you are good enough and you will get over the hurdles. …Wolves was the last song we wrote for the album. We wanted a track that had positivity in its tempo. JT (James Tranter, guitarist) had come up with that hook driving guitar for the chorus and had some verse ideas too. I mumbled the melody and it just felt right , it was what we’re trying to convey and I guess it’s as much a mantra to ourselves for when things aren’t going how we’d like them to. Wolverhampton Wanderers used it recently on highlights of their victory against Man City, I couldn’t believe how well it worked.
This song is a balls to the wall classic BWR banger. Writing riff-ready songs has always come naturally to us all. We wanted to pay homage to our blues rock roots and it’s so much fun to play live. Lyrically, I think most people can identify with the song. It’s about not having any money and trying to survive. Everyone’s world evolves around it, we don’t have it in abundance personally. But that’s fine! When you are skint it can inspire, it can bring you together and the experiences we have had together are priceless.
The title-track from the album, it was inspired by some of the places we have stayed while touring in Europe. We have stayed in some fucking horrible hostels/hotels. Most bands will tell you it can be tough trying to make it work financially, keeping your head above water whilst on the road. I remember this particular tour we were in Germany somewhere and we stayed in a hat-trick of dumps, our manger Iain used to ring us and go “hows your night’s stay?” The most positive we could be was “it’s an OK Hotel.” Laugh or cry moments, but some of the best moments we have shared are laughing about the state of the places we’ve found ourselves staying in. Making the best out of a bad situation, that is what life is all about and it’s a cracking song too!.
Caught In The Middle
A song about waiting for our luck to change. As a band we have invested so much of our lives in our music, we are Broken Witt Rebels, we want a win! When we wrote this album we had locked ourselves in a room in Luke’s mom’s house for like four months. Every day we would get together and write songs and bond and plan for this album. Go to the chippy and share a bag of chips and sausage and drink our body weight in tea. Great times, in our bubble, dreaming big and this song is about waiting for a payday from it all.
Take You Home
With this album I challenged myself to write lyrics from different perspectives for some songs, experiences through other peoples eyes. Take You Home became one of those songs. The night before I had watched a documentary about R Kelly and I was shocked and couldn’t stop thinking about some of the horrible shit that his victims alleged he had done to them. JT had got this killer verse and chorus guitar part down and Luke pushed it forward with a driving bass. The lyrics are through the eyes of someone who actually has the power to help a victim who has dealt with the kind of thing that this documentary was about.
This is a very personal song for me. My dad had died and I found it hard to talk about him and to be honest, I still don’t think I have begun to grieve his death properly. As a songwriter I wanted to go to these vulnerable/darker places in my heart and try to write about how I felt. The lyrics subsequently came quickly, JT nailed the emotion and we settled with arrangements very quickly. I’d poured out my feelings on a page and the rest of the lads went with me on it. The progression into that final chorus is like a rush of so many emotions, emotions that haven’t found their way out in any other way. I’m massively proud of this song, a very personal tribute to my Dad.
Give It Up
A year before we went the USA to create this album we toured some of the southern states of the US with a band called Whiskey Myers. We had like three weeks on the road with them. We drove ourselves around in a van, every road we turned into was like a fucking movie set, stunning. The final week we had a demo session with a guy in Austin, Texas called Dwight Baker (who later produced OK Hotel). Certain individuals in the American music business were saying that our lives are going to change and to get ready for this and that bollocks, selling us all a fucking dream. Although it was exciting at the same time, it was very scary, the fear of the unknown. We channelled theses mixed feeling into the song and Dwight pushed us to be honest about how we felt. Give It Up is about not giving up on what makes me who I am, my background, my home, my family, not losing sight of these things in order to trace somebody else’s dream. Luke had this crazy bass section he created in the studio, it was different, a result again of questioning everything.
Around We Go
Another very personal song. When my dad died, my mom had her own personal struggles with being alone as she’d never lived without him really. It’s about protecting and making sure I’m there for my mother. The love she gave me whilst growing up, I’m forever in awe of her. No one is perfect and it’s about the ups and downs we have shared.
This track was written at the same time as Give It Up. The uncertainty comes through in the lyrics too. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in my future, crazy thoughts would rush through my head like, “will I ever come home?” and shit like that. It was an uneasy feeling as I had stuff going on at home and I wanted to be there, but as a band we hold each other up when we are down. We were all feeling like this. Together we are stronger. We are Fearless. This was the first song we created and recorded in the studio in Austin. On stage we feel strong when we play this, particularly if the gig isn’t go well for some reason. We always smash this live .
Save My Life
This was the third and final track we wrote with Give It Up and Fearless in those first sessions with Dwight. Driving to the studio one morning, we heard on the radio that Chester from Linkin Park had died, we were all fans of his. My Dad wasn’t in the best of health at the time and that atmosphere of uncertainty was everywhere. The song is about merging their two stories. I felt sad and upset about how low Chester would have felt in those moments, and then writing about what my dad was going through with his health problems. Musically we wanted to give this song a mood, play it straight down the line and not lift to the chorus, it’s how I felt.
This song is about love, sex and alcohol, being drunk in love and having a great time. A lazy drunk love song. Saying certain stuff comes easier with a little booze. It needed something special to nail this musically, JT was playing with some crazy reverse guitar effects and JD immediately nailed the drums as he does on most tracks. Luke had loads of ideas for this song, it’s a vibe he finds easy. A real feelgood song that we are looking forward to playing on the upcoming tour.
Rich Get Richer
This was a merge of two different songs. A verse from one song and a chorus from the other. When we heard them stitched together and slightly tweaked it sounded like something straight out of an episode of Peaky Blinders or something. Being from The Midlands we were all over that. I wrote the lyrics as if I’m in the garrison, running with the a clan like The Shelbys. Angry, vengeful.
A homage to our home. Luke and I are from Birmingham and JT and JD are from Coventry, but we have always made music in Birmingham and deem that as the band’s base and the place we work out of. The song has so many references to certain landmarks, areas that have made us who we are today. To my knowledge no one has sang a song as bold as Birmingham about our city before. That was a surprise for us as we are inspired by the amazing music that has come from the city over the decades. We all co-wrote this one very drunken night with good friend and amazing musician Jamie Evans. It’s the perfect closing track, Birmingham will never leave us no matter where we go and Birmingham has made us what we are. Watch out world we are coming for you…
Up The Fucking Rebels!
Broken Witt Rebels‘ new album OK Hotel is due for release on 13th March via Snakefarm Records/Universal Music Group, available to purchase HERE.
Broken Witt Rebels will tour in support of the new album, including select instore signings. See them live at one of the following dates:
Fri 13th – SHEFFIELD – HMV Meadowhall (signing & acoustic performance, 5:30pm)
Sat 14th – BIRMINGHAM – HMV Vault (signing & full band performance, 2:00pm)
Fri 20th – MILTON KEYNES – Craufurd Arms
Sat 21st – WOLVERHAMPTON – KK’s Steel Mill
Mon 23rd – CAMBRIDGE – Portland Arms
Wed 25th – LEEDS – Lending Room
Thu 26th – LIVERPOOL – Jimmy’s
Fri 27th – LEICESTER – O2 Academy 2
Tue 31st – EXETER – Cavern
Wed 1st – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store
Thu 2nd – SOUTHAMPTON – The Joiners
Sat 4th – CARDIFF – Clwb Ifor Bach
Sun 5th – NOTTINGHAM – Bodega
Tue 7th – LONDON – 100 Club
Wed 15th – ABERDEEN – The Tunnels
Thu 16th – EDINBURGH – The Mash House
Sat 18th – DUBLIN – The Green Room
Sun 19th – BELFAST – Voodoo
Sat 23rd – ALDERSHOT – West End Centre
Fri 29th – BUCKLEY – Tivoli
Sat 27th – HAMBURG – Harley Days
Tickets are on sale HERE.