This is Big Pav Rocks of TBFM Online at Hard Rock Hell 2012 on day 4 and I am very lucky to have with me Paul Isola, lead singer of Breed 77. How are you doing Paul?
I’m running on empty almost but, hey man, we’re here, we’ve played it and its all good
How did it go out there?
Storming! Blinding! Couldn’t have asked for better. We’ve just come from playing with Soil & Fozzy in Leeds last night, we’re on tour with them, and we turned up here at 11 o’clock and started doing press then did the lunchtime slot and probably messed up everybody’s digestion, hopefully, [Laughs]. It was a blinding, blinding set!
My home town is Leeds, which venue did you play?
The Cockpit. Crazy times!
Where did the name Breed 77 come from? And is it true that the seven seven was because of Stuarts old motorcycle courier call sign (Kilo 77)?
[laughing] …TRUE!! That’s It!! How it came about is that we were called Breed for a few years and then it turned out that there was a drummer in the band Placebo that had a band called Breed and he apparently had the rights to or rather he had the money to pay for lawyers to threaten us so we were about to change the name to something else but we would hear Stuarts radio sometimes and it would go “crrrk kilo 77” and it had a bit of a ring to it. So we were going to call ourselves Kilo 77 and I was about to say on stage what our new name was, but I was still saying “Breed” and then the “77” just came up naturally afterwards and it was just like a no-brainer after that. It’s a band that makes a name after all.
Zombie, how does the band feel about the cover? Is it something that’s helped or hindered your career?
No I think it’s only helped, you know, it’s a fun song, you know, with the energy that it has but at the same time the message of the song is something that is pretty relevant today. The song was originally written about the troubles in Northern Ireland but the sentiment could have applied to any number of conflicts that were happening in our name through governments that we supposedly voted in so it’s been our friend. Zombie is one of our live staples now. People love it as well, so you know, we’re about giving people what they want to hear.
Yeah, and if you didn’t play it people would say “are you going to play Zombie”?
[laughing] …Yeah, we could just leave them wanting then!
Breed 77 seem to be able to cross a lot of the (supposed) boundaries between rock styles and are able to appeal to audiences from a lot of rock sub groups, is this something that the band intended right from the start or is it something that’s just happened?
We’re very organic and there’s not much thought process in what we do. We try to be honest about the music we make and I think the music you make is influenced by a whole manner of things that are around you all the time. It can be from bands that you listen to, that maybe you don’t listen to any more, or new bands that you are into, or even just walking by a radio and hearing something interesting like some kind of music with a vibe you hear in some other kind of music that you wouldn’t think you know wouldn’t have any bearing on what you do, and we try to remain honest and have every album be like a kind of snapshot of where we’re at sonically and every album seems to progress and change. We have our sound, which I think identifies us rather than defines us and within that we try to go with the flow of what we’re feeling at the time. So where our last album, “Insects”, was our most metallic kind of effort to date, our new album “the Evil Inside” is more rock I believe. It’s much darker, slower at times, but at the same time Breed 77 albums tend to be pretty complete. We always have ballads and other kinds of things. We are not just one sided kind of band and it keeps us interested and impassioned with our music and that translates – if you don’t really believe in what you’re doing how can you expect anybody else to?
The new album “The Evil Inside” release has now been pushed back to the new year (due to signing with a new label “Global/Demolition”)…
Yeah! Originally we were going to release the album on our own label. We’ve got our own label called LaRocka Records and it just turns out that you have a very positive thing when you have a couple of companies fighting over you wanting to release your album. We had the album recorded and ready to go when the new company came into the frame and we had to fit it in with their release schedule and for us the album is like the child of the band and you want the best for your child, you want it to go to the best schools, have all the best opportunities and so in the same way we felt that this release was going to offer stuff that we weren’t going to be able to offer on our own label. So we had to frustrate ourselves, sit on the album for a couple of months more, but I think it’s going to be for the best. In the interim, last week, we released the first single off the album, it’s a free download, called “Drown”. It’s available on all our sites and that’s started the ball rolling, and now we’re out on tour, we’ve just done Hard Rock Hell, the singles out, in the new year, we announce our headline tour in March (2013), we’ll release another single, do a video, all as a precursor to the album coming out on the 25th February (2013) and on the 25th February “The Evil Inside” will be released worldwide.
TBFM have played and reviewed the new single “Drown” in our magazine, is this single a good reflection of the material on the new album?
It’s a yes and no. I think if you have a diverse album its going to be very difficult to point at everything that’s happening on the album with just one track, but in a sense it also gives you an insight into some of the things we are doing on this album. It’s a tap your foot, bang your head kind of AC/DC style track – we really enjoy playing it! It’s been going down a storm live and its been getting a very favourable reaction everywhere we go. It’s kind of like a peek in the window, and when you peek in the window you can see almost anything, from a bare breast, to a man’s naked ass. That’s what happens to people who peek in through the curtains!
The Band always put on an amazing show! It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s an intimate club venue or a large festival stage. How do you as a band manage this?
We thrive on playing live. It is the only place where there is absolutely nothing between audience and band. It’s the purest kind of connection that you can make. It’s gold, those 30, 40, 50, hour, hour and a half, or whatever many minutes you are up on stage is your chance, your opportunity to show people you wares and to make new friends and to broaden your musical reach. For us we always play as if it’s the last day of our lives. We don’t know any other way, we enjoy it that way and our gigs are always an event. I don’t want our gigs to be just another date in the calendar or another concert I went to this week. If you see Breed 77 this week, you’re not goin to see a better band this week! I don’t care if you see Metallica tomorrow, the idea is that for that week, for that moment, they’re yours, and you are theirs, and you have got to make the most of it.
And you will go away from here today with a whole new set of Breed 77 fans…
And the established Breed 77 fans will go away being glad they’ve seen you today, you’ve made their weekend…
Exactly! You spread, the conspiracy has grown.
How damaging was the theft of all your equipment in 2010?
Earth shattering! By 2010 we had amassed over 10yrs worth of equipment, we were on headline tours, we were travelling with a full production… It was more than 60 grands worth of equipment and we are not a rich band and we have got nowhere near to replacing all that equipment, but what it did show us on the flip side was that we have loads of friends within the music industry who lent us EVERYTHING that night. It was the morning of the London gig, our hometown gig. It’s the main gig – it’s a big one and loads of bands stepped into the fray and showed us love and lent us loads of equipment, particularly the band Panic Cell which is now known as Seven Deadly, but Panic Cell and Luke Vell just turned up with a van and just gave us a full set of drums and drums are not cheap! People just put everything in front of us, our fans supported us through really really hard times, something had to give, we lost a band member, our old drummer left, but we brought in some new meat and revitalised the band somewhat but the show must go on you know, more serious things happen to people in the band and in our personal lives. At the end of the day you must soldier on and you have to go back to that 30, 40, 50 minutes that you have. You’ve got to be there and you have to make sure that on the day, and that’s why come hell or high water, Breed 77 will always turn up!
What does 2013 have in store for the band, assuming we all survive the Apocalypse?
The original idea was to release 2 albums this year (2012). We released an acoustic album in April and the electric album was supposed to come out before now. The idea was to release as many albums as we could before it all goes to shit but hopefully the Mayan’s or the Aztec’s had just run out of ink or something, I don’t know, like the printer cartridge ran out, who knows! We are putting out this album which as always we believe is our best work to date. We’ve got a headline tour as I mentioned before, we’re going to be doing things very differently. There used to be a time when we toured the UK and did 30 dates! We’re going to do that again – we’re going to be playing all the places people don’t play now. Lately tours have been governed by the corporate nature of touring, many venues across the country are owned by particular companies and promoters etc and sometimes if you play say Manchester, you can’t then play Liverpool; you play Nottingham, you don’t play Birmingham; you play Leeds, you don’t play Bradford, and what we feel is, there used to be a time where not everyone has every night free. If they can’t make Friday in Glasgow then perhaps they can go Saturday to Edinburgh or any other place, you know that kind of thing and our idea is instead of playing just the main cities and putting the strain on fans to travel… it is so humbling, yesterday we had people travel 7hrs from Cardiff, we had people come down from Newcastle, we had people from everywhere and now our idea is play more places. You don’t have to charge as much on the door, you can bring it back to reality and do something that is more tenable and ultimately it’s going to mean more to people, you can have a closer interaction with fans. Not to say we are not going to be playing big venues, if anything we are looking to play more of them. Its like a call to arms to us, the UK scene has been very very good to us. Last time we finished our touring cycle, with the world being such a big place, we spent a year and a half away from here and we had so many messages saying “Breed 77, are they still around?” Yeah we are still around, we’ve been super busy! We’ve been from Japan to El Salva, everywhere, and the idea is to payback the UK scene which we feel very much a part of. We’re a band that is comprised of 3 Gibraltarians, 1 Catalan and one Portuguese and we champion the UK scene like I don’t see many people champion it. We whole heartedly believe in supporting local and nurturing the stuff we have over here, not having to look at the other side of the pond for absolutely everything, not having our magazines full of poster boys who have big companies with deep pockets. It’s more about the local scene. It all started here (in the UK) – if you go over to the States you know where they look? They look over here, and we’re not doing ourselves any favours! It’s super hard over here, there used to be a time when you said that the States was hard to crack as it’s such a big place, but now if you go to the States you can do OK, while over here we are competing against a mainstream that is governed by the likes of X Factor with disposable music, with people that don’t care about the importance of music, with kids for whom music is just one other thing that fits their App on their phone, they don’t have a value. They don’t remember what it was like to wait for weeks for the album to be released, to go down to the record shop, to get the earliest numbered vinyl, that kind of stuff, that special feeling you had. I couldn’t let go, I’d come home from school, I’d got to the record store, grab the album, go home and just have it in your hands and you’d listen to it and it wouldn’t leave your hands, and you’d hear it 3 – 4 times over. Now people go and they’ll play 20 seconds of a track then skip, skip and with the ability and ease of accessing it so easily that they’ve lost the value of it and that’s what has got to be brought back. Stuff like this (Hard Rock Hell festival) is gold, one of the last remaining festivals that is not corporate. It’s a festival that is doing stuff that is important, there’s loads of names of bands that I’ve never heard of before, loads of bands from Northern Ireland, from all four corners of the British Isles and it’s a beautiful thing and its really honouring to be a part of this. We came here to destroy, we’ve not left much of a stage for them but it’s important and this music is important and that’s one of the main motto’s that we have: “bringing music back to the state of importance that it so deserves”.
Our youngest DJ, 6 yr old AJ, got a message from you guys – we wanted to thank you for that. She did an hour set, all on her own and played tracks from Ozzy, Rob Zombie, Hangfire and both “Drown” and “Zombie” from Breed 77. We wanted to say thank you for all your support.
Yeah I heard about this!! We were like “WOW” it was great! I was told about it and I went and checked it out and it was like “oh my god” it is kind of cool, please send her our best, it was the least we could do!
Paul, thank you very much for talking to us, and enjoy the rest of Hard Rock Hell.