Cabbage frontman Lee Broadbent discusses their new single and kicking off their latest tour in Liverpool with Getintothis’ Lauren Wise.
“I’m helping out with an extension for a friend – I’m basically just lugging stuff around.”
After introducing himself, Cabbage co-frontman Lee Broadbent explains that he’s taking a short break from a labour-heavy day for our interview – a far cry from his position as singer in the politically-driven five-piece.
It’s been a quiet 2019 so far for Cabbage, who it seems have been taking time out to get reacquainted with ‘meat and potato Britain’. When away from sweaty venues and sticky floors, things are much more relaxed that we might expect for the lads.
“I’ve got a family you see, I’m a family man – I suppose the other lads go out and DJ and whatnot. I’m quite quiet when I’m not working or out on the roads.”
But even while off the road the band doesn’t cease working, and practice is key – which is why they ensure they’re keeping to a tight schedule.
Lee says: “We have a strict practice regime where we’re either writing, rehearsing or doing some form of creative output – whether it be a photo shoot or a video idea – we stick to at least three days a week where we’ll be working on that.”
But things are about to get a lot busier and downtime for the band is set to come to a close soon as they get ready to kick off a 10 date tour which will begin this on April 24 at Liverpool’s Arts Club.
If you’ve never seen the Greater Manchester-hailing band live, Lee explains how crowds should anticipate a ‘cathartic’ experience.
“We try and make it as cathartic as possible and I think that reflects on the crowd as well. In a time of complete and utter political unrest I suppose one hour and 15 minutes of pure, unadulterated loud, heavy music is exactly what young people and people who are in the midst of confusion need.
“Music’s always had that powerful energy.”
The powerful energy that Cabbage’s music provides is also a layered one, allowing fans to both escape from the absurd politics of the present as well as be faced directly with them.
Asked whether their shows are an escapism for the younger generation or an awakening, Lee says: “If after you have the experience of escapism and then you go away and take away something politically minded from the show afterwards I think that’s probably the best outcome that we could possibly wish for.
It’s funny that, whether it’s more politically driven, the actual shows, or whether it is the escapism. I think you can kind of sandwich both of those experiences from a politically-minded punk show.”
Cabbage have never been ones to shy away from brutal truths and their interpretation of the world, which is perhaps what makes them so refreshing in an over-produced industry saturated with distraction.
Their debut album, Nihilistic Glamour Shots, recognises this disconnect, and as a result we saw anger and frustration bubble to the surface of their 2018 offering.
However, with the band’s second album, people can expect less urgency and screaming – and more Beach Boys…
“In the collection of ep’s and the debut album I spent all my musical career being a drummer and I always wanted to get upfront and write songs and perform songs so I think the first two records that we’ve released were the angst of all those years of wanting to speak a message and perform a message.
Then I suppose you get to an age in your musical career where you feel it would be nice to do something ever so slightly different.”
Luckily though, fans have taken to the poppier sound the lads are creating, even though on listening to the first few bars of Cabbage’s latest offering, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been plucked from your cosy couch and dropped right into the indie-pop era of the early noughties.
Explaining the new sound of their latest single in more detail, Lee comments: “Torture just came out of the blue. Even the song when we mixed and mastered it, it didn’t sound anything like it was intended to but we were really happy with it as an experience and where it had taken us.
We kind of just put it out on a whim, expecting – it’s a lot nicer than the heavier, angst kind of music we’d released in the past – the message is still there, a similar notion of what we’ve been writing about from day one.
We were really taken aback by the actual response to it. We didn’t expect that it would at least get itself into that position.”
But don’t expect all the politics to disappear, Lee adds. “We’ve always taken the notion that the album will be completely of the time, so that everything that we’re thinking and experiencing at this moment – I feel a lot of people, especially in Britain, are terribly lost politically, it’s such a weird time where so many people are locking horns, people you’d never expect to be locking horns. The album will be of the time – which is a very confusing time.
Becoming so embodied in the politics of everything, I think that’s obviously going to become a massive focus point for the rest of our lives – or the rest of my life.
“It’s half the drive of why I would want such an artistic and creative output for the rest of my life, as we all search for a true altruistic dream I suppose.”
The politics remains, but it’s certain that Cabbage‘s sound is being recreated. However, that’s hardly surprising of such a young and eager band.
It’s even less surprising that a lightness has entered the punk band’s songs, considering that their debut album was written following a particularly dark period.
I ask Lee whether a second ‘poppier’ album will serve as an antidote to a darker period in his life, when a fan claimed the band sexually assaulted an audience member at one of their shows.
“I suppose so, yeah. I’ve never really focused it on being an antidote but I suppose it was returning back to a place that wasn’t so focused on the self.
2017 was an insular, self-deprecating, angry period – I think that was releasing all those energies and realising there’s a lot more to be won in the world, especially on a greater scale where it’s not so self-driven. I think that’s where we’ve come out now. An antidote is quite a nice little neat way of wrapping it up where we are, I kind of like that.”
And now we know where they are, what’s to come for Cabbage in 2019?
“More music, more of an output. There’s a lot we’ve been working on.
There’s always been the want to dabble in writing a screenplay – but obviously that’s a whole different ball game and that’s not really anything to do with Cabbage but more of a creative output.
I think we’ll be tying in quite a lot of short videos over the course of the next year to the music and the next record that we’ll be doing. That’s it really – just music and the current tour that we’re focused on.”
- April 24 – Liverpool Arts Club with RongoRongo
- April 25 – Manchester Yes (The Pink Room) – SOLD OUT
- April 29 – Manchester Deaf Institute – SOLD OUT
- April 30 – London Moth Club
- May 1 – Cambridge Portland Arms
- May 2 – Bristol The Fleece
- Friday May 3 – The Haunt
- Wednesday May 8 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
- Thursday May 9 – Leicester The Cookie
- Friday May 10 – Glasgow King Tuts Wah Wah Hut