A Broken Camarilla are a 4-person group, who combine love for electronic music and voices, to make amazing music for the mind and for the soul! Since getting to know them back in August, when they performed a hugely inspiring set at our RCK All-day Fundraiser, they’ve become good friends of ours in a very short time. Therefore, it made perfect sense to get them all together for an interview whilst a lot of us were in Manchester recently.
(shouts must go to Jef T-Scale, who has saved the audio of this interview from its deathbed. Apologies for the grainy quality but Jef's tireless audio restoration has allowed us to still showcase this wonderful chat, as well as its transcription here below)
We’ve just finished our Loose Lips takeover at Soundbase Megastore, where a couple of you work. Thanks so much for inviting us! Do you want to start off by telling anyone that doesn’t know about A Broken Camarilla how the name came about?
We had an idea when we first started coming together, about what we wanted to achieve as musicians. We’re four artists, four different stories, not just one entity and we show that through what what each of us does. A ‘camarilla’ back in the day was a group of people who support a king - they were the tradesmen and the philosophers, and basically we’re broken because we don’t have a king but we’re still those people.
What really caught our attention when we first heard about you was definitely your diversity–at our day party back in August you progressed through so many different styles, and then this Friday you have a late club night slot. When you started out did you know what you wanted to be musically? I do think there’s a soulful element to your music which stands out.
We’ve all got different styles that tie together, one way or another, and you can hear the eclecticism in our songs and in our DJ sets. Also, we all knew each other for a while and it’s that sort of understanding that really helps us vibe off each other, whether it’s when we’re jamming or just playing out tunes. But then also sometimes we don’t like the things we show each other, so there’s lashes there and then, but I think it’s all healthy at the end of the day. That’s how we open our minds up to different stuff; things that we might have shut off initially and then someone comes and shows it to you and you feel their energy and you finally get it. It’s like for our track “The New Continental”, Eva was just sat there watching this documentary and I was hearing these chants and I was like “yeah I wanna make a tune that’s got proper chants in it!”
Do you write your raps and lyrics together, or do you start by each bringing together your own stuff from home?
Sometimes we’ll be sitting down jamming, either starting with a beat, or starting with some vocals, like the chant that Eva got for us. And even when either Eva or Ceeow aren’t there for the jam session, we’ll leave a bit that works for them to help bring out their strengths in the song.
I find that really interesting. Whenever you’re playing out, you’ve got the live performance elements of a band, so you have a bit of a routine to go with, but there’s also that unpredictability that comes with DJ sets. Do you guys ever know the setlist beforehand?
Joe and Tom have been DJing for years and are always mixing at home, so we’re fairly confident when we step into the booth that we can just do our thing. And then this confidence is transmitted to Eva and Ceeow on the vocals. Different sets are planned according to our surroundings...but there is always a large amount of improvisation.
I wanted to ask you guys for musical recommendations. Anything you’ve been listening to recently that you think reflects your eclectic tastea?
Now that Eva’s got Spotify, we’ve been listening to a lot of Gilles Peterson’s playlists. He’s slowly becoming one of our favourites, because he’ll go from something like Floating Points to some mad Brazilian samba stuff. Let’s see, what else..? There’s also Craig David, big up the ting (haha). We’re listening to a lot of people from the Birmingham and Manchester rap scene as well - big props goes to Lady Sanity, Say Lay, Full Stop, Woddy green, Fox and the rest of the LVLZ boys. And a lot of rappers down in Brixton as well...they’re real people.
What would you say your motivations are as a group?
We just want everyone to vibe and feel like they can relate to us when they hear our music. We’ll say things metaphorically to keep the artistic appeal and not make it too in-your-face. As far as motivations, we just want to do it all, really. We want to run a label, run a radio station. We want to show people that you can do this whole music thing, no matter what background you’re from or what situation you’re in, and we want everyone to be involved because you do meet some of the realest people in this business.
How do you think your motivations are influenced by the Manchester scene?
We found that it’s a very inclusive community. Even though we’ve not been here a very long time, we’ve met a lot of people who’ve taken us under their wing, whereas in other places, it’s a lot more cut-throat and everyone is sort of stepping on each other. At the end of the day, everyone in Manchester just wants to put Manchester on the map. You’re not a threat to people, you’re a friend, even to the point that from a young age Eva was given a microphone at a jungle and DnB night and told to sing. Seriously, there’s no pretentiousness. You can be on the bus in the morning having a chat with someone and then planning to meet up with them at a studio later in the week. It’s a really exciting place to be at, because even though in London you have Fabric closing down, you have plenty of new places popping open here!
Thanks guys, good luck in the future. We look forward to collaborating much much more!
Interview conducted by Frederick Sugden.