Interview: Ollie Baxxter of Broadside


A couple of weeks ago I connected with the lead vocalist of Broadside, Ollie Baxxter, to discuss the band’s latest single called ”One Last Time,” the lessons the band has learned from the previous records (including the great, and anthemic Into The Raging Sea), as well as some of Baxxter’s unique musical influences that he brings into Broadside. The band are currently signed to Sharptone Records and will continue to be releasing new music in the near future with the label.

Thank you so much for your time today. Your band released a new single called “One Last Time,” and it’s a pure blast of summertime energy. I love it a lot. So how did this song come about?

Pretty much that exact thing. First of all, let me say thank you for having me. I’m really happy to be here. Basically, we’ve written so many songs at this point, and I was actually thinking the other day, it’s like, holy crap we’re going on like 37 songs! To me, that’s insane. I was trying to think, “What do we need?” As of right now, we’re kind of uncertain in the trajectory of where we’re trying to go sonically. But one thing we do know is that we wanted to write a good summer “ripper,” and something that has some vague enough lyrics, where at the surface anybody can consume them. Let’s say they’re seeing us for the first time or we’re just kind of coming across the playlists. Not everything has to be so artsy and serious. We thought there’s a way to mesh both and it just kind of came organically like that with the end product. But the overall message is, “Imagine trying to get back to a place where you wanted to be, no matter what that means to you.” And I knew we can still relate to that. It’s just incredible. We’ve been playing it live on this tour, and it really feels like a summer song, which is nice. 

That’s a good, good explanation of it. Can you describe how the lyrical inspiration came about for that track?

Yeah, absolutely. So the concept is, we’re coming out of the world being shut down, there’s a good chance it’s going to shut down again, or who knows what the powers that be, or whatever tell us to do. It just feels like a lot of bands aren’t going to make it out of that, financially, and they can’t recover touring funds. There’s so many new bands that have come about and the space is thinning and dwindling. And even though we have these superstars representing pop-punk in our scene, in the mainstream, it’s even thinner now. It’s almost like that caliber of music is what’s expected from our scene. A lot of bands will not recover from that sort of atmospheric blow, essentially. So “One Last Time” is kind of just a call of, can we just get one more shot at making this right? I’m not saying that we’re at the bottom of our rope, or barrel, or anything, but we see online that you guys still like our music. But can we get one more chance to feel this opportunity and to feel like we still have a space here? 

That’s one way of diving into it. But then it’s also a plea of, can we just get one more night one last time, like we felt before? I think a lot of people have felt that way. They’ve just wanted to say, “Hey, I don’t want to argue anymore. I don’t want to talk tomorrow. I don’t want to spend any more money. Can we just get one night of normalcy?” That’s kind of what the song feels like. And then you put it over fun music and all of a sudden it turns into…

It’s a jam, for sure!

Thank you. Appreciate that!

So I understand you’re in the middle of a US headlining tour, I think you’re somewhere in Texas right now, correct?

Oh, it’s never ending, this Texas part…I think it’s Texas. <Laughter>

How have the fans been responding to both the new material and also your past records?

It’s incredible. I feel like because this is our first ever headliner, we have a “cheat code.” When we go up on the stage, fans in the crowd have been waiting all night for your band. Whereas before, when we were one of the openers, they were waiting for the headliner. They might know one of our songs. But with this, it’s given us the opportunity to see how many people buy tickets. And then we get to see the faces in the audience. It’s just that moment where, I mean, I’m 33. If you’ve been at the show all night, maybe you’re a little tired. Maybe you’re a little drunk at this point. You spent too much money or someone’s really stinky standing next to you. <Laughter> So we’re kind of given this opportunity to come out and say, “Hey, thank you for waiting.” That has honestly just gifted us this superpower of reminding people why they’re there. And then on top of that, they’re giving their superpowers and are singing along to the new song. Plus the old songs, and reminding you they’re just stoked to be back at shows. It’s been really good to be back. There hasn’t been a bad show yet. Everybody that’s there really wants to be there and that’s really comforting. Especially with the new song that kind of blows my mind. I’d say around 70% of the crowd already knows the words, which is incredible.

That’s a good sign that people are still into your band. For one, it shows people are into the new material, and not just having people shout out, “Just play the old shit!”

<Laughter> Yeah, exactly! It’s a great balance. Because like I said, we have records that stretch back to 2015 to the material from a week before the tour. I’d say every night, consistently, they’re singing every single song, in whatever capacity size room that is. They’re participating. So, it’s really going the best that it could.

I wrote the review for your last album called Into The Raging Sea. I think you guys checked it out and retweeted it, so I appreciate that. It had several great anthemic moments to it. So when Broadside does their writing now, how does that compare compared to the previous records?

I’m really good at pretending like I know what I’m doing in that I have a certainty about me. But with the first two records, it was sort of just stumbling blindly forwards. I wanted to kind of replicate the bands that I grew up listening to, or I thought were cool, or just sort of encapsulate their sound, but with my own personal story. So, those records were driven by what I would call “ego.” They were driven by ego in the sense of I just wanted to tell the world who I am as a person. And there’s nothing wrong with that general introduction across the board. But later, when it came to Into The Raging Sea, I felt like I was under so much pressure. I’d been doing this for six, seven years at that point, and it was like we kept hitting a wall. It was becoming a lot harder to convince people what you’re doing. You’re like, “Yeah, I think people like my band.” So we were writing the entire concept of the album, and it just felt like I was drowning. Every song is almost like pleading for help or a call. Is anyone listening to me? Is there anyone out there? I see the numbers online, I see that people appreciate us, but I feel like within the industry we will hardly get our respect or notice. Because you just have to make those communications or do the right things. I felt like we kept missing that opportunity, because of various situations, members leaving, etc. and the jump off point for us was delayed. It’s like when we were approaching the diving board, somebody was like, “Hey, it’s too dangerous, come back in.” So the first two albums were just me trying to convince the world that I belong here. Now, I feel like I no longer want to write music for myself. I want to write music to get help, or to try to create a bridge between the relationships that I built.

That’s great to hear, and there’s tons of great material on that record (Into The Raging Sea). And I think a lot of people from our site really connected with it, too.

Thank you again for the review!

Yeah, I’ll probably review the next one, too <Laughter>. What have been some key bands or albums have been a huge influence on your musical journey. You talked about wanting to make your own stamp, but what initially influenced you?

It’s funny because a lot of the bands that influenced me aren’t like us, which I find is the best. I don’t like to listen to stuff that sounds too close to us because I think innately, you’re going to steal, which is…fine. That’s just how it goes. But I generally don’t. I don’t do well with competition, so I try to avoid that. But my biggest inspirations, and some of my favorites are The Cure, Joy Division, and Taking Back Sunday. They would be a closer style to us. Plus The Strokes and that kind of stuff. 

I was actually raised on R&B, and Rap. That’s kind of where my life was. I was raised all over, but in Las Vegas, it was always around me. I really thought it was neat that in R&B, they were telling stories, but doing it in a cool way. And nobody was like, “Oh, this is corny or cheesy!” So I found that when I was applying that to the music we were writing – I personally am a big fan of hardcore and punk music. I love the fact that you can relay a story with melody and kind of have fun little R&B diva moments – but you can also be punk rock about it. You can mosh to it. And I was like, what’s a better place to do it than this? 

Then, as I started doing that, I realized there were a lot of bands with that similar sort of background. That really inspired me because I was like, “Oh, cool, it’s not a lonely, unexplored ground.” So I feel like it came really organically with that. I want to be so artsy that it’s too much! You could go deep if you want, or you can just keep it right here, cute in the pocket, smiling. I feel like that’s the best type of art. 

Those bands inspired me because they were all voice-driven. I’m not trained on that, like a lot of people in the scene. I don’t come from a big musical background. But I did come from being a fan and losing myself in my headphones, CDs, tapes, and all the really cool bands my uncle showed me when I turned nine years old. He gave me a Walkman with the coolest, weirdest looking 80s bands, and I was like, “this is incredible!” So a lot of my inspiration came from the fact that, because of my age, I was looking at lyrics before I was looking at pictures of people because I didn’t have the internet. I really had to break down the appeal of that. I’d think, what do these bands that I’m listening to even look like? I didn’t know what Ian Curtis, NOFX, or any of these cool groups looked like except for whatever I saw on the CD or in a magazine. So now, no matter how people approach the band, I want to make sure that it makes sense. Whether they’re diving into it lyrically, or I’d love to get to a point where we can make music videos that have a story, but I just wanted to ensure that if people found me on my voice or my lyrics, that they would be able to start to put a picture together, like I did. 

That’s a great point on connecting those things. And it’s a really fun time to be a music writer, because genre lines are definitely blurring. Bands are doing so much with incorporating things like on that last Turnstile record, I was blown away. They were putting hardcore elements with electronic elements, and then it all came together at their live shows. I wish the same type of success for you guys, too. You guys are doing similar things with really transcending those genre lines.

Thank you, man! That’s really inspiring to see Turnstile blow up. It’s funny because there’s always going to be people gatekeeping, but to me, it’s exciting because I can listen to a band like Turnstile and I hear all the inspirations. But let’s say a 14 year old kid just getting into music right now is gonna get turned on to that, that’s also really cool.

It’s definitely a fun time. How has your partnership with your label been going? This is the second major release on Sharptone Records…

Sharptone is incredible. It’s going very smoothly. Shawn had my back since the start. He was managing us in the beginning for free. Never paid him a dime. He was just a fan of the band. And then, once Victory got bought out by Concord, I was mentioning to Shawn that we had this record, and it’s really good. And without question, he said, “I’ll just buy it from you and we’ll keep it rolling” And that’s kind of his attitude. He’s very much a California guy. He puts a lot of faith in giving creative control to the band. So we just get to give them the stuff, and with the last single, we sent them the music video and the song and said “Hey, this is what we want to do.” And they were like, “Alright, cool.” SharpTone has a good roster too. It’s such an honor to be on a label with so many cool bands that I hope we can tour with one day,

Yeah, it’s got a stacked roster from the past and a stacked roster currently. The last question I have for you is, what advice would you give to young bands looking for their big break in the music business? You mentioned a crowded scene in the beginning, but what would you say to those just coming up now?

I’d say two things. No one owes you shit. That’s a big one, right? The hardest lesson you have to learn in life is that everything can be stolen, and nothing will ever be given. That’s the first thing you have to realize. It’s a little dark and convoluted. But a caveat to that, I would say, is you have to be willing to have some humility with yourself. You have to understand that failing is a part of this whole process. Yeah, you can make it overnight, or you can make it in 10 years. But either way, there’s a lesson to be learned. You either learn it over time, or you never learn it. Why doesn’t this work like this? The trajectory is always uncertain. And that’s the point. It’s not just about playing shows. It’s not just about connecting. It’s the entire journey. This shit is hard. It’s really, really hard. Even if you’re really famous or not famous, you’re trying to talk about music, you’re trying to talk to musicians, you’re trying to make music, it’s all a dream, and you’re trying to sell a dream. It’s increasingly difficult. There are people who do it so professionally on TV, and that’s why they get paid millions of dollars. It’s very challenging, but you really find the best version of yourself, the band, and people in your life by failing with them. You just can’t be afraid to fail. That’s literally it. And that doesn’t mean you’re going to. 

That’s a great way of encapsulating it and awesome advice. Thank you so much, Ollie. I wish you guys nothing but the best as you continue on your musical journey. Stay safe on tour and definitely rock it each night.

Thank you, Adam. Thank you for your time.

You’re quite welcome. Take care!