Jesse Litwa (Broadcaster) On The Band’s Tour With Hard Girls
Posted on August 18, 2014
August 18, 2014
by Bryne Yancey
Broadcaster are something of an outlier in the DIY punk scene, but they’ve earned that distinction not by creating overly avant garde music or using weird tropes in their performances, but by simply being a relatively straightforward, four-on-the-floor rock band. The Long Island, N.Y.-based trio have just begun a tour with Hard Girls on which they’ll hit basements and bars all over the east coast, south and midwest, so we caught up with guitarist/vocalist Jesse Litwa to discuss the upcoming tour, what he likes and dislikes about touring, food and most importantly, beer.
A Million Hours was released last fall. Being a year removed from these songs, how do you feel about them now vs. how you felt about them then? What’s changed within the band, personally or professionally, in the past year?
Jesse Litwa: Some of those songs were written as far back as May 2011, so I definitely feel differently about them now. Lyrically, certain songs seem less relatable to me now, personally. But then there’s others on the record that seem even more relevant than when they were originally written. There’s always some parts I wish we had maybe added a harmony here or there, but overall I’m proud of it. “Show Me Something New” is one of my favorite songs we’ve ever done. This record is the definitely the most cohesive project we’ve worked on and we really put a lot of time, thought, and energy into it.
Since its release, we got to do our first ever tours in Europe and Canada and a run of fun shows with our friends Iron Chic. It’s definitely been the most memorable year so far.
Lyrically, a lot of Broadcaster’s songs, at least to me, seem to be little snapshots of very personal memories–(mostly) literal in favor of the metaphorical. Is that an intentional thing or is just how your writing style turns out when you spill ink on the paper?
I don’t think it’s an intentional thing. Most times, the lyrics I end up going with for a song are ones that I end up singing to myself while I’m driving, or working, or lying in bed. I’m pretty bad at getting myself to sit down and just write. I definitely favor literal lyrics most times over metaphorical stuff for myself though, it usually feels more honest to me.
Are you content with your writing style, or is there something else you’d like to eventually try to perhaps evoke a different style out of yourself?
Definitely not content. I hear songs every day that make me think I suck [Laughs]. Like everyone else, I’ll put on a Replacements record or something and be like “Welp, I’m done. How the hell do I do this?,” which is a good thing. If you love writing music, stuff like that keeps you going.
I’m one of those people that wants to write a different style record every week. I would really like to do a fast pop-punk record of like one-minute long songs someday, as well as something real slow and heavy, and maybe even an acoustic record. So, whether it’s with Broadcaster or other projects, I definitely hope to be able to try some other things stylistically.
What’s your favorite thing about touring?
One of my favorite things, which a lot of other people seem to hate, is driving. I really enjoy driving the van and being on different highways and passing through different towns. Sometimes, especially in the States, you start to feel like it all looks the same, but usually there’s little subtleties about every area that make them interesting and different. Plus, then you get to pick the music!
Follow-up: What’s your *least* favorite thing about touring?
[That] would probably be loading out after a show. I hate that part, man.
This upcoming tour is with Hard Girls, who aren’t out on the east coast very often. 1) Are you flipping out about the new Hard Girls record as much as everyone else is and 2) how much are you looking forward to watching them play every night? Do you know the guys at all?
Hell yeah, it’s definitely one of my favorite records of the year. Very excited to hear them play every night. I really like the way those guys write songs and it will be fun to dissect them in my brain every night for like 15 days straight. I’ve never met any of them, but I think our bass player Tom [Kelly] maybe knew them through doing some guitar tech/driver stuff with Bomb The Music Industry! or something? Not entirely sure, actually [Laughs], maybe it’s just through lots of mutual friends, but basically they asked us if we wanted to do a tour together this summer and we said sure!
Other than the drives being longer, what’s the biggest difference between touring the west coast and midwest and touring the east coast?
In my experience, the east coast shows have always had a lot more bands on them. 4-6 bands on a show sometimes versus maybe three on a show a lot of times when we’ve been more west.
Other than that, there’s a lot of different fast food chains and I wish we had Del Taco in New York.
What places are you looking forward to seeing/eating on this tour?
Looking forward to seeing Little Rock and St. Louis. Those are two cities we’ve never played with Broadcaster before. I’m excited to hit New Orleans on this tour. It’ll be my fourth or fifth time there I think, but it’s one of my favorite places in the world, I’ve always had a blast any time I’ve been there. Definitely will be eating at Reggae Shack and Boca Fiesta in Gainesville, hopefully Happy Dog or Melt in Cleveland, and some sort of jumbalaya or po’ boys in New Orleans. As much local/regional beer and coffee as we can consume as well.
This tour has a mix of DIY spaces and traditional venues. Do you have a preference between the two, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other?
I like doing a mix of both, it keeps the tour a bit more interesting. Whether you’re playing 20 basements in a row or 20 bars in a row, the scene is going to get a little boring. It’s nice to play in different enviornments. Sometimes, it’s nice to have monitors and be able to hear what you’re playing on an actual stage. And other times it’s nice to just be on a concrete floor with kids holding up your mic stand. If I had to pick, it’d definitely be the DIY spaces, just because they can usually be all ages, but I really do enjoy being able to do both.
Your label boss, Jeremy Myers, is also the head brewer at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co.
(one of the best local breweries in the Philadelphia area). How much free beer, if any, do you get from him and what’s your favorite Neshaminy beer? For me it’s either the Trauger Pilsner or the County Line IPA.
Everytime we see Jeremy, he loads up our vehicle with beer [Laughs]. I’m a big fan of the Trauger Pilsner too. That, and the Tribute Tripel are probably my two favorites at the moment. The Philadelphia show on this tour (8/18 at Boot & Saddle) will actually be a NCBC event, so I’m hoping to maybe try some other new ones at that. I’ve never had a bad beer from Jeremy.