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Interview: Breaks Co-Op

Friday 7 February 2014

Interview: Breaks Co-Op
Now in its eighth year, the Classic Hits Winery Tour has become a favourite fixture of the summer events calendar. For 2014, the organisers have put together a lineup of Kiwi music favourites spanning three generations - The ExponentsBreaks Co-Op and Stan Walker. We spoke to Andy Lovegrove of the Breaks Co-Op on the eve of the tour and their new album release.  

Is there a particular town you are looking forward to visiting the most?
Not really. The reason I say this is because I’m just really eager to visit the places that I have been before and they’re all beautiful in their own way. 

You are currently living in England, do you get to come back to New Zealand often?
Yeah, I come back whenever I need to, essentially. It’s not something you can nip on a plane to. It’s just about as far from the UK as you can go to. But New Zealand is a big part of my history so I’m always keen to get here as often as I can, either by playing music or by meeting up with friends. I’ve got a lot of friends here, so it’s always great to catch up with them.

Are you looking forward to trying out some new material with these audiences?
Oh yeah, for sure. I think predominantly we’ll be playing the new album and a couple of tracks from The Sound Inside, so yeah I’m very excited to a. be playing the new stuff and b. with a new band.

What can we expect from your live show this time around because it’s been quite a while since you played shows in New Zealand?
It’s a completely new band. Breaks Co-Op is really a cooperative of musicians so I was keen to have a new band and the rehearsals have gone very well. We’ve tried to interpret the new album as best as practically possible in a live situation, so I’m very pleased, and hopefully everyone who comes and sees it will be too.

Both you and Hamish [Clark] live in separate countries. How has the new songwriting partnership and the new environment influenced the sound of Breaks Co-Op?
Primarily the biggest difference is that on The Sound Inside, Hamish and I didn’t really work together that much in terms of writing. I worked quite closely with Zane [Lowe] on that record and he wasn’t involved on this new album. It was refreshing to me to actually sit down and try and write with Hamish. We had a slightly different attitude to writing this record. One of the negative things for me on The Sound Inside was that we had The Other Side and we didn’t have any other commercially viable tracks for radio on the record. On this album it is very different. I think we’ve got a good half of that record could live on radio, and I think we had our eye on that half of the time. Having said all of that, it still has a very distinctive Breaks Co-Op sound to it in the way we produced the record. The songs are stronger on this record. I think we’ve done a good job of them in terms of songwriting.

I read in another interview that you were most proud of this body of work out of everything you have released, are you able to expand on that a little bit?
What I meant by that was as a producer and as a writer you create a body of work and more often than not there will be something on the record that you are just not happy with. There will be either a track or it might be a production style you feel like you could have done better, or maybe this song shouldn’t have been on that album ultimately. It always feels like there is unfinished business, basically. But with this record, for the first time probably in my career, we finished it and it feels finished.

What is the “Falling in Love with Music Again” subheading on your website a reference to?
Originally that was a possible album title. It seemed a bit long-winded but we really liked it. That sentence sums up how Hamish and I felt about doing this record. After the last album, after touring and being in each other’s faces for three years, we were kind of all a bit tired of it. After being in the music industry myself for 25 years I felt a need to step away from the industry for a bit. Just to level my head out, and figure out if it was still something I wanted to do, or not. When Hamish and I finally did get together we wrote the first few songs in the first session that we got together and that’s kind of the feeling that we had, that we’d fallen in love with music again. Hamish came up with that, and it just felt completely right, so we’ve kept it as a tag, essentially.

What do you think of this year’s Winery Tour lineup?
I think actually it’s quite clever because The Exponents have a lot of history here and there will be a lot of people very keen to see them play again. Then you’ve got Stan Walker who will probably appeal to some of their kids. Maybe it’s not fair to say that, I don’t know! I can imagine that he appeals to that younger demographic, and then there’s us somewhere in the middle.

Have you had a chance to see The Exponents over the years?
No. I’ve never met Jordan Luck and I’ve never seen The Exponents play, so I am very excited to do that. Jordan is a good friend of the guitar player in my band – Paul McClaney. Paul says he’s a lovely guy, so I’m looking forward to meeting him. And Stan Walker of course. I wasn’t aware of him before the Winery Tour announcement, but he seems like a nice lad, and by the end of this tour I should know a little bit more about him.