Interview: Bronston - Burnt Snakes

We talk to Edinburgh’s Bronston about Scotland’s healthy scene, working with Idlewild and the populist poison that inspired new single ‘Burnt Snakes’.

Interview by Chris Sharpe

Discovered via


Chris) Hi Bronston. Introduce yourselves please and tell us what's been happening over the past six months.

Bronston) We are Adam, James, Mark and Ryan. We’ve been really busy! We took a short break at the beginning of 2018 following the release of our debut EP ‘Salutations’ and after that we got straight back to writing and playing together. About six months ago we hit the studio to record some new music. The first of two new tracks came out in January this year and we’ve been firing on all cylinders writing, rehearsing, sending emails etc. With our new single ‘Burnt Snakes’ dropping we feel like we’re back in our stride and doing better than ever. We’ve also been lucky enough to have played a few Sofar Sounds shows over the past few months, and have even played one of its 10th anniversary shows. Those were incredible and I think they’ve helped us with a little boost of momentum.

 You’re from Edinburgh, what's the scene like there?

There’s a fantastic scene in Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland. We’re lucky enough to have shared the stage with some of our favourite local acts such as Acrylic, Redolent, Mt. Doubt and many others. Once you’ve been playing music around Scotland for a little while you realise it’s one big network of friends, playing good music together and helping each other out.

Which are your favourite venues in the area?

Between Edinburgh and Glasgow we’re really spoilt for choice. Top of the list has to be Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. We played our first ever live show there back in 2016 and it sold out! It’s flagged as one of the best independent music venues around and actually won an award for just that.

Who is the driving force behind your songwriting and how does it all start?

Everything begins with Adam. He’ll generally write a song that’s more or less finished structurally and lyrically and from there he’ll bring it into the studio. We’ll learn what he’s got and jam it out until we’ve got something that’s 90% done. We’re really lucky in that the way we work together musically comes so naturally and bringing a new song into rotation is pretty stress free. From that point we tend to take recordings of the tracks, go away, listen and come back to finesse the final points.

Idlewild’s Rod Jones produced your new single ‘Burnt Snakes’. How was the process – I'm guessing you are Idlewild fans?

This was the second time we’ve been able work with Rod and both times the process has been completely stress free. He seems to get exactly what we’re trying to do and is able to capture the music in a way that to us sounds like Bronston. In terms of being Idlewild fans we all came a little late to the party. We’re all a bit too young to remember when they hit it big but I always enjoy discovering a band far into their career because there’s a whole back catalogue to listen through. On top of that their new album is fantastic, I definitely recommend checking that out.

What’s the story behind 'Burnt Snakes'?

The narrative of 'Burnt Snakes' offers two contrasting perspectives on the bizarre state of modern populist politics. The first part of the song is told from the perspective of a bemused citizen who can hardly wrap their head around the utter nonsense that flows from the mouths of this new brand of politician. They attempt to somehow re-interpret or explain away the most jarring of these politicians’ utterances, yet they cannot reconcile themselves to this twisted way of thinking. As the syncopated march of the rhythm section grooves through the first section of the song, the citizen feels increasingly out of step with this new cultural and political movement. Just before the perspective switches in the second section, the citizen finally gets to grips with the arrogance of these newly anointed thought-leaders. The bigger, second section of the song comes from the perspective of one of the populist politicians themselves. This politician – blinded by their inflated sense of self worth and their overwhelming narcissism – wonders when those who do not already will recognise their undeniable greatness. Emboldened as the song hammers through a heavy breakdown and soars back into the final chorus, the disdain for those the populist is tearing down and replacing is laid bare. They liken themselves to a mythical hero and they compare their downed opponents – the former representatives of civility and order – to freshly charred serpents.

What would be your dream venue to play and who else would be on the bill?

In terms of a dream venue I think we’d like to play somewhere like the Roundhouse in London, or perhaps the Usher Hall in Edinburgh – we’ve seen a lot of incredible gigs there over the years. When it comes to other bands we’d always say we want to play with our idols, perhaps Queens of the Stone Ages or Foals, both bands we feel we’d pair pretty well with.

Any gigs in the pipeline that we should know about?

We’re super excited to be heading down to England in the middle of June for a trio of shows in Bolton, Tynemouth and London [Bronston play The Islington on 15 June]. Outside of that we’re working on booking as many gigs as we can up and down the country. We’re also super excited to be returning to King Tut’s in Glasgow for King Tut’s Summer Nights festival.

What can the audience expect at a Bronston gig?

The most common compliments we’ve received over the years have been regarding our live shows. We pride ourselves on them. We’re of the belief that you’re not just there to play a bunch of songs in a row and then leave, it’s about so much more than that, the ebb and flow of dynamics and energy levels. People aren’t just there to hear your songs, they’re there to see a show. The raw chemistry we share as bandmates really comes across on stage.

Is there any advice you can offer brand-new bands out there to help them on their way?

Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down as a musician, it’s only natural that there are moments when you feel like throwing in the towel. We’ve done some incredible things over the years and I personally don’t regret anything we’ve done because it’s all part of one big learning experience. Everything we’ve gone through as a band we’ve learnt from and used it to our advantage. The one piece of advice we could give would be to not give up, just keep practising, playing shows and putting your music out there.

Anything you’d like to add?

Check out ‘Burnt Snakes’, add it to your playlists and share it with your friends! We’re trying to get to as many parts of the UK as we can at the moment so please follow us online and come down. We promise you won’t regret it!

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