Do you think rock 'n' roll is the relic of a past generation? Think again. BreakTime champions an upbeat, optimistic pop-rock songwriting style with generous vintage touches culminating in a sonic celebration from their studio to your ears. Founded in 2018 to keep the original youthful energy of beloved classic rock tunes alive, BreakTime has developed from a standard-issue Jersey cover band into its own songwriting collective. The collection of songs on their latest album, 'Great Times,' resembles nostalgia through the eras influencing their reminiscent sound. With a jaunty ambiance propelled through the album's introductory single, "Mastermind," BreakTimes instills an upbeat and energetic atmosphere through our speakers as we bask in rhythmic basslines and a swing that's bound to get you grooving to the music. Infused with an analog touch to further enhance the old-school characteristics streamlining through each song, "Mastermind" kicks off the album with a frenzy of danceable doo-wop music that continues to catapult glimmering elements of musicality to the forefront. Now, we get the pleasure of revisiting a realm much like this one when we get to the sixth track, "Jam Sauce." Although this record ditches the smooth croons for a purely instrumental narrative, the effervescence of BreakTime insists on shining through each melody performed. From crunchy guitar solos to the dynamic percussion, not only carving out a path for the drum hits to leave an impact - but also leaving space to caress each shake of the glimmering tambourines, there's a well-thought-out plan of attack in each song conveyed. Some take down tempos to bask in the fruitful sentiments delivered, while others use the opportunity to put a pep in your step and have you bouncing from wall to wall. Meshing the golden era of music in a time of modern soundscapes is no easy feat, with the influences of today being vastly overpowering. Then you hear the joy captured in the recording of "Maybe No, Maybe Yes" - the second song to grace us as we carry ourselves throughout "Great Times." BreakTime manages to do this quickly and gives us songs that sound like they could be played at school dances as jocks wrap their sweethearts in their letterman jackets to seal the deal. A myriad of loving themes is dispersed through 'Great Times.' Following through with poise yet taking the tempo down a notch, "Good to You" is fueled with adorned emotion and whisks us away in those loving feelings you get by leaving it all on the table when professing your love to that special someone. While a song like "All That I Need" touches on a similar narrative, the energy disbursed through the sanguine instrumentation leaves us feeling struck with different emotions. Ones of hopefulness that send us on a mission to find our special one. Better yet, could the apple of BreakTime's eye be named "Tammie?" Well, she may be with the buoyant ballad falling seventh on the tracklist. Taking us to the final record of 'Great Times,' BreakTime has us savouring every sweet moment endured with "Catch A Ride, 425." As tightly-knit percussion and an intriguing harmonica solo take the helm before sending us off, BreakTime leaves us off better than they found us. With the same energetic swing that they won us over, we're immersed in the lively dynamism conveyed throughout this single. Wrapping up the essence of the album in a way that resembles BreakTime perfectly - 'Great Times' must be named that because it's what you'll experience when soaking up every melody through the collection of songs.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, BreakTime, and congratulations on the release of “Great Times;” with all the eras, what made you gravitate to the 1960s?
Sean: Except for music I would hear on my morning rides to school from WCBSFM 101.1, The Beatles' and Beach Boys' respective catalogues dominated my formative years. I grew more appreciative of other eras and artists (such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Queen from the 1970s) as I matured through my teenage years; however, my melodic and harmonic instincts emerged from the 1960s oeuvre. Thus, BreakTime gravitates to the 1960s under acting on instinct (of which I have written in this style since 2018).
What is your creative process like, and where do you get most of your inspiration?
Sean: My process is flexible and dynamic. I occasionally receive inspiration from reading or hearing a lyrical word or phrase. Oftentimes, I conjure up a melodic idea and hum it to myself. In either situation, I must remember the word, phrase, or melodic idea to be considered quality. It's only ever to be filler-at-best if it's forgettable. Once I have a basis from the memorable snippet, I elaborate and build around it according to what best allows it to develop freely. If it's melody-first, I then write chords around the melody (it's important not to write the melody around the chords as they are supposed to be a vehicle for the melody) and scrawl lyrics together to help me remember the whole tune. In the case of lyrics-first writing, place the "scrawl lyrics" step from the melody-first process at the beginning instead of the end. I commonly bring complete songs to the studio for arrangement and recording.
Thommy: I'm a progression-first writer. The progression then reveals the melody to me. Lyrics are last, as I sometimes have trouble with them. With the structure in place, I create my solos based on mixing and matching scales and finding ways to rephrase the melody into a unique, memorable, and expressive musical thought. It's magical when it happens!
Doug: I don't subscribe to "formula" songwriting. Like Sean, I regularly get inspired from reading or hearing lyricism daily. My process leans heavily to the lyrical side as I endeavour to communicate abstract meaning. Progressions that are not overdone are a must as well. Only 12 pitches and many combinations sound pleasant together; however, I like to work for my creativity.
Peter: Drums come first. I assign themes to sections, and these themes inform my chord progressions. Like Doug, I attempt to sound unorthodox yet pleasant in my songwriting and pull from various genres. I'm a jazz enthusiast, so I prioritize jazz-oriented choices and integrate other genres like Latin, hip-hop, and reggae.
Who came up with the name “BreakTime,” and what does it mean to you?
Sean: "BreakTime" comes from a conversation my uncle and his friend engaged in at a local bar called The Starting Point. They ruminated over band names, and my uncle's friend arrived at "BreakTime," remarking: "You know...Everyone needs a good BreakTime." My uncle thinks it's a stupid name. He's wrong, though! It held the original "Everyone needs a good BreakTime" meaning until we collectively continued to write in a vintage style. Our catalogue is growing fast, creating a substantive meaning for "BreakTime" as a "modern vintage sonic celebration." The songs are new and youthful, yet, they are created from classic techniques unreasonably abandoned in today's popular music. Since our songs are typically "happy," "sunny," and "warm," like the summer, we've adopted the slogan "BreakTime's a Great Time!"
What are your top 3 picks for cars from the 1960s?
Sean: Like the Beatlemaniac I am, I would have to submit the 1968 "Lotus White" Volkswagen Beetle 1500 model into the top 3. Note: You can find it on the Abbey Road album cover behind George Harrison.
Thommy: I'll take the Beatle spin and raise you a Monkee-inspired pick! That would be the 1966 Pontiac GTO Monkeemobile. You must admit The Monkees exuded "cool" driving around in that car on their show.
Doug: Let's go with the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray. What a retro look!
Peter: I don't have one, but I didn't want FOMO on answering the question...
If you had to choose another era to pull inspiration from, what era would it be?
Sean: That's a tough question! We enjoy the jam band and prog output from the 1970s, so the 1970s would be another era we would be curious to pull inspiration from.