The Broken Ravens have been fine-tuning their ear-infecting, stadium-pleasing rock recipe over the summer months during a time when the band have also brought their music to the masses across central Scotland and Highlands.
Catchy, rock riffs dipped in sugary hooks and built upon a hard hitting metal cased spine combine to grab listeners by the scruff of the neck, but in the best possible way.
The Ravens have graced stages in Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Stornoway over the summer months while two blockbuster festival slots confirmed their potential can no longer be bottled.
An energetic four-piece who are taking aim for a well deserved shot to prominence, the band - singer and guitarist Bugsy Maclean, guitarist Thrash Macaulay, bassist Lotto Ferguson and drummer Kevin Clark – are finally preparing to head into the studio to deliver four mighty slabs of recorded rock n’ roll to fuel their ever burgeoning reputation.
“The plan is to release an EP, of at least five songs, every three months for a year,” says Clark with a grin.
“The first one would be led by ‘White Gold’ which is the song which seems to connect the best with people and seems to be very popular.
“The focus is on our four EP’s and we will maybe do a wee documentary about the recording and a video of one of the songs as well.
“We have loads of songs either ready to go or ready to be finished. We have plenty of stuff so we definitely want the first EP out before the end of the year. That’ll hopefully buy us enough time to get something else out by the end of Spring.”
At least the first EP, which will be released on a limited edition gatefold vinyl as well as digitally through every major digital retailer, is to be produced by Stone Sour drummer, and producer engineer Roy Mayorga, who Kevin explains has ‘expressed a real interest in the band.’
“We have the roughs which we start off with which is literally just a rough guitar part to a click. All the songs are well played in and we simply email them to Roy (Mayorga) who works on them,” he explained. “I have spoken to Roy several times and said we’d be happy for him to be as involved as he wishes to be with any ideas.”
The last time I spoke with Clark and the band they had been planning a full-length début album after fielding contract offers from both sides of the Atlantic.
Today though a combination in a shift of priorities and industry snobbery has changed their focus.
“An album is just a vehicle for touring nowadays really unless you are a mega-band selling 10-million at a time,” continued Clark between thirsty gulps of coffee.
“Nobody is willing to invest the money in an album. To record an album we would have to go away but we think we could do it for £2,000 but we put so much money into the touring side of things.
“We have been offered a huge deal with Adrenaline PR who are a massive label who look after the likes of Lamb of God and Motorhead. They said they’d love to work with us but they need an album or a product to do so.
“We were also offered a deal in Glasgow and a PR deal from a company called A Badge of Friendship.”
All four boys are juggling family life and full-time jobs with their drive to help The Broken Ravens take flight but they are having to claw, scratch and spit blood every step of the way after finding rock bands don’t seem to fit the criteria for industry help.
“There is no help for a rock band,” sighed Clark. “We are not indie, folky or singer-songwriter which seems to be where all the financial assistance goes. As requested to, we spent two weeks working with a business manager for Creative Scotland to try and get some help in recording an album but they rejected us. Our plan looked immense on paper but they said our music wasn’t of a suitable quality to qualify for a grant for quality production.
“Speaking after to a producer we met at GoNORTH, who has won a Grammy in the past, he laughed at this and said the whole point of the grant is to bring a bands’ music to a professional quality – that’s what it is there for.”
Far from letting the setback derail the band they used it as a catalyst for a Scottish mini-tour to put the Ravens name on the musical map.
Clark went on: “We started in Edinburgh at Bannerman’s which was our second time there and we had at least four times as many people there this time around. Job done.
“King Tut’s in Glasgow was rammed which was so amazing. We saw how busy it was before our set and we really hoped they would stay for us and they did. It was wow and we got a cracking reaction. We left a really good impression which bodes well.
“In Dundee it was good again and people were cheering us after every song. They couldn’t have been any more welcoming. The tour cost us a fortune to hire the van etc but it is a labour of love. If you don’t do it then nothing will ever happen.
“We even had some merchandise for the first time on our tour and we sold out. The t-shirts sold really well so we are putting in another order.
“Even at Belladrum and Brew in the Bog we pulled in big crowds despite being on at the same time as Tom Jones at Belladrum but we had a good crowd in the tent..
“We plan to do a gig at home towards the end of the year. We would like to maybe find a weekend to have a gig at An Lanntair in Stornoway. It’d be nice to tie any gig in with the launch of our first EP and play with another two local bands too.
“We have only played once at home this year so it’d be good to do something at home.”
With national recognition, scope for international growth with bona-fide mega star Roy Mayorga lending the weight of his name and expertise to the forthcoming EP’s, the Broken Ravens are on the cusp of an exciting adventure, bringing a much needed spark to the emerging Scottish rock landscape.
“People try to pigeon-hole us all the time but we fit so many genres,” Clark says. “We could sit well with a metal band or even an indie band although a bit more energetic and full on.
“We seems to appeal to all kinds of people. We are not metal but we have such diverse influences. “I’m metal, Lotto loves Dr Hook, Bugsy is bluesy and Thrash is an all-rounder. Its when we get together all our sounds go into a blender and we get our sound – The Broken Ravens.”
“All the feedback we have had from people we have sent our demos to has been amazing but we’ve only just got started.”