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Broken Vow is Exactly what Northeast Hardcore Needs Right Now - Interview

Written by Jennifer Moglia

Photo by Dalton Lampro

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put live shows on an indefinite pause, it’s definitely been a great time for creators to make more music and for fans to discover that music. Broken Vow, a new hardcore band from Connecticut, formed just before the shutdown and put out their first project over the summer, “Demo 2020”, which is available to stream everywhere right now.

Now, a few months removed from the demo’s release, we were lucky enough to be able to sit down with the members of Broken Vow (virtually, of course; wear your masks and social distance!) and talk about where they came from, where they started, and where they’re going. They’re definitely one of our favorite newer bands in hardcore right now, but getting to hear just how passionate they are about what they do and how that passion formed helped us gain a new respect and appreciation for them, not only as musicians but as people.

Jennifer Moglia: First off, I just want to get the basics for everybody down. So we’ll go around, give me all that fun introduction stuff, like name, age, hometown, and I guess just what being a part of Broken Vow means for you.

Tommy Harte: Alright, I’ll go first. I’m Tommy, I’m 18, I’m originally from Western Massachusetts but I go to school in Hartford, Connecticut right now. I think, if I had to sum up this band with one word, it would be “betterment.” Just the betterment of everything. Personally, for me, it’s about trying to live a better life and trying to make the world a better place through that.

Nicole Servetnik: I can go next! I’m Nicole, I’m 18, and I’m originally from Westfield, Massachusetts. I currently go to the University of Connecticut. Broken Vow is just such an outlet for all of us. It really just gives us a place to like, speak our word and bring that to so many other people, people we couldn’t even imagine. Like, we have people in Europe listening, which is so cool.

Mikey Karolyi: Alright, my name is Mikey, I’m 18, and I live in Bristol Connecticut right now. Honestly, for me, Broken Vow has always just been something that was a creative outlet for me. I had always been in bands before but they had never really fit exactly what I wanted to do. To me, being in this band just feels right, it’s a perfect fit for all of us, and it kind of came together pretty easily. I stand by everything we do, like, from all angles.

Matt Williams: I’m Matt, I live in Simsbury, Connecticut, but I go to Skidmore College which is in Saratoga Springs in New York. To me, Broken Vow is very much like what you would get if you put the Communist Manifesto into screaming music, but in the best way possible. (laughs) Just like everyone else said, it’s very much a creative outlet, and like Mikey, I’ve been in bands before, but the dynamic we have is a very open, very well-communicated, and everyone is just kind of on-board for whatever we feel is right for the group, instead of having like a pre-planned direction for us to go in.

Harrison Sacco: Alright, lastly, I’m Harrison, I’m 24. Basically, this is a project that I’ve wanted to be a part of for quite a while. This is the kind of music I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. I feel really lucky to have found these super passionate young people who just know what they want to do. It’s really cool.

JM: Next question is what I’d call your “origin story”, so whoever wants to grab this one can, just kind of take me through how you guys got together and what made you decide to start this project.

TH: We all kind of met at shows right before the quarantine happened. Mikey, Nicole, and I met each other at Restraining Order, Magnitude, and Terror at The Webster. Two days later, Harrison and I met each other at a Spite show, which was the last show I saw before everything shut down. A little while after that he just hit me up and was like, “do you want to start a band with Earth Crisis riffs?” And I was like “yeah, I do,” and that was pretty much it. (laughs)

MW: Before this, I was in a pop-punk band with Harrison, which was great for the time, but we definitely grew out of that music. Personally, I just really wanted something that had more substance and kept my attention for longer.

MK: The last thing I wanted to add to that is that when I met Tommy and Nicole at that Terror show, I kind of knew at that point that I wanted to be friends with them. Not even necessarily that I knew that I wanted to be in a band with them, I was just like, “I should probably be friends with them.” I had never really seen kids that were my age going to hardcore shows, everyone around me was always a couple of years older than me. I only had a few friends my age and the band that I was in was people in their mid-20s, which is fine, it was just awkward sometimes because I felt like I was just this kid and that was it. For a while, I felt like I was waiting for a breakthrough, and once I started hanging out with them, I was like “yeah, this works.”

TH: Mikey, I wanted to be friends with you so bad!

MK: Dude, I went home, and I was like damn, bro, this kid Tommy is so cool. (laughs)

NS: That’s it exactly though, when Tommy was like “I’m from Northampton,” I was like “that’s really close to where I live, there’s actually someone else around here?”

TH: Oh 100%, I was convinced that I was the only hardcore kid in Western Mass.

JM: That’s so awesome, I definitely get that. It’s such a cool feeling to meet people who are actually your age and are in the hardcore scene, because like you all said, it’s easy to look around at one of these shows and just feel like a child with all of the “grown-ups” around. For the next question, I kind of just wanted to hear about what the process of recording the demo was like? I’m sure it was a unique experience to do all of that in the middle of a pandemic!

MK: I actually think it went really well, despite everything going on. We went to our friend Jonny from [Connecticut hardcore band] Anxious to record it, and we stayed at our friend Grady’s house while we worked on it; they’re actually both in Anxious. It worked out perfectly because before this band was even a thought and said “hey, if you ever need anyone to record with, my house is always open.” Right when we started writing songs for Broken Vow, he was the first person that popped into my head, I knew I wanted to do it with him. He’s done other bands and they all sound great. Overall it was just a really fun experience for was our first time not being at home, practicing for hours, being away from our families, and like, doing some adulting I guess? (laughs)

MW: I think it only took us like three or four practices to write everything.

NS: Yeah, once we got on a roll of playing together, we were just writing constantly and it all went so smoothly. It was crazy, like, no writer’s block, nothing. It was just song after song after song after song and “oh, look, there’s a demo!”

TH: We got to this point where we were like, we’ve been a band for like a month, we have songs that we all really like…

JM: So just why not make a demo?

TH: Yeah, exactly. We just kind of went with it.

JM: This is a quick one, but I had to ask it, what’s everyone’s favorite song on the demo and why?

HS: Man, for me it’s probably “The New Resistance”, just because I’m really proud of the transitions in it, so I’ll give myself a pat on the back there. I think they rock.

TH: Mine’s probably “Expiation”, just because lyrics-wise that was the first song I ever wrote for this band. I wrote it before we started doing anything as a band, so it was just this idea in my head of “this is the first song I’d want to write for a band.” I think it still says a lot about where we’re going lyrically and musically.

NS: I’d say my favorite song is “Expiation” as well. That was just like, the start of everything for us which means so much to me. And I have a bass solo, which was really cool. (laughs)

MW: I would probably say “The New Resistance”, specifically for the breakdown and for how excited I am to eventually play it live.

MK: I would honestly say “Expiation” for myself too, just because that was like the “a-ha moment” for me when we were playing it. Like, this whole first song came together, we played it for the first time in practice, and I was like “damn, this is going to be good”, and that’s how I felt about the band from that moment on.

JM: My favorite track off of the demo was actually “Stronger” which none of you picked, but that’s totally fine. (laughs) This is a super fun one, what would your ideal lineup be for your first show back after all of the restrictions are lifted? Could be a lineup including you guys or not, bands that don’t exist anymore, no rules at all here really.

MW: Okay, so there’s this small like, melodic-hardcore band called Threads, I think they’re from West Virginia, and they had this album called “All I’ve Ever Known” which is one of my favorite hardcore records ever, so they would be on the roster. Fiddlehead, but they’re kind of a given.

JM: Oh absolutely, Fiddlehead is the best band in the world.

MW: (laughs) Oh yeah. I’m a huge fan of Have Heart and a huge fan of Basement so Fiddlehead is just perfect. They’re not together anymore, but Letlive, I love Letlive. Jason Butler is one of the most insane vocalists I’ve ever heard and that stage presence is unmatched. And like, not for any sentimental reason or anything, but I’ve been listening to a ton of Fuming Mouth, so I’ll say Fuming Mouth.

NS: I’ll say Lilac Queen! I’m a huge fan of theirs and we love every single one of their members. They’re so great, I’d love to play with them.

MK: Bro, this is hard.

TH: I mean, I think a dream band for us to play with, for me and for all of us, is Magnitude. That band quite literally altered the course of my life significantly. Like, we all met at a Magnitude show, so that would be a cool full-circle moment. After that show we could just quit, like we will have completed the cycle, that’d be it for us. (laughs)

HS: Should I go?

MK: I mean yeah, I’m still thinking. I should probably write this down.

HS: I’ll say my lineup would be Broken Vow, Guns Up, and Floorpunch.

MK: Why’d you have to go before me, now my shit looks stupid! (laughs) If I had it my way, it’d be Broken Vow, obviously, this old band from LA that’s not a band anymore called Busted Outlook, and probably Last Straw. They’re a really cool Connecticut band, they’re literally just Anxious playing a different style of hardcore. I would say Anxious but I think I’d want to play with Last Straw more, even though it’s all the same members.

JM: Okay awesome, next question! We’ve already kind of touched on this, but who were the main musical influences for this project? Like, who would be on the “for fans of” sticker on your CD?

TH: Earth Crisis I guess? I would say like Earth Crisis, Ecostrike, Magnitude. Those are the big ones that we kind of emulate. I’ve been describing it as Earth Crisis with fast parts here and there.

JM: This is something else we touched on earlier, but what role does the straight edge/hardcore scene in the area play in forming the band? I’m from New York so I don’t know what it’s like there specifically, but I know New York for example and even just Long Island has such a deep history of hardcore and straight edge which is so cool to learn about.

MK: I’ll start off. For me, like, I grew up here and I’ve spent my entire life here. I’ve been going to shows here my entire life, and I’ve been to shows in New York and Philadelphia and Massachusetts and shit like that, but I’ve never really felt the same. There’s nothing like going to a Connecticut hardcore show. And that can be good or bad in some ways. Sometimes it’s the best show of your life, and sometimes you’re like, “I literally might die here.” (laughs) It’s always one or the other! Like, there was a show here last summer that my friend went to and someone just randomly pulled out a gun. So you could have the best show of your life or literally fear for your life. The constant alertness of like, always being on your toes when you’re around dudes from Connecticut is something I used to be so afraid of but it’s something I’ve grown to love. I’ll be like “this is great, this is awesome, if my last show is in Connecticut that’s fine.”

TH: Mikey’s like the seasoned veteran so like, we hear all of those gripes from him. (laughs) For me, like coming from Western Mass, I automatically felt so welcomed in Connecticut, like right from the jump. Even though there is that alertness, it’s still so much fun. At that Magnitude show, I just couldn’t stop smiling the entire night. It was making me feel this way I had never felt before, and that’s how I think hardcore should be, just like, total elation.

NS: Tommy was so happy at that show, like you could tell just by being next to him that he was so happy to be in Connecticut. I could tell that hearing Magnitude literally changed his life, and I had only met him for the first time that night. I don’t know what it is but everything is just really cool here. There’s so much music in the scene, and so many people come out and support it. You feel like every band supports every single other band that’s in the community. The scene feels so huge, it’s great to be here.

JM: I love all of that so much!! And I agree with what Tommy said, that’s exactly how hardcore should make the “new kids” feel, just welcomed and accepted and safe and all of that. My next question is, what’s your favorite memory that you’ve made at a show? It could be a show you played or a show you went to as a fan, whatever you guys want to say and whoever wants to answer.

MW: Okay, so, my first hardcore show, I was in seventh grade. I just remember there being all these really buff dudes in these cut-off tank tops, looking like stereotypical like...fighters, literally just like fighters. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I was just like, flailing my arms, but some dude kicked me in the face. I was like “oh my god, I’m going to die here.” (laughs) The last thing I would have expected was that one of those buff dudes would come up to me and freak out and be so worried about me and care so much about if I was okay. And it wasn’t just one, it was a whole group, like everyone around us. That kind of compassion was great, especially for a young kid kind of figuring himself out, you know?

TH: I’ve seen a lot of shows, man. I think my favorite memory was getting spin kicked to “Ceaseless” [by Magnitude], just like, right in the ribs. They played “Essence” right after that so I was like, “I have to get up, I can’t just like not mosh to ‘Essence!’” That’s not how that works! So, that’s my show memory I guess. It’s weird, because that whole experience feels so distant right now during the shutdown. I get almost nostalgic for all of it.

MK: I think for me it was in December 2019, when I went to this festival that Triple B Records put on, America’s Hardcore Fest in Boston. I went up for both days, and I was exhausted. On the first day, it ran from like, 5:00 PM to like two in the morning. And I could not stay there, I really had to drive back and get home and get back to the venue for around noon the next day, because there was a matinee. I remember the lineup being really cool. And like, there’s this...okay so there’s this old dude, and he’s like a legend in Boston. His name is The Wizard. And if you look at any old concert pictures anywhere between the early 2000s and now, he’s there, just this big old dude with white hair and this really big nose, and his shirt says “The Wizard” on it. He’s literally at every hardcore show, it’s the funniest thing. I think I was watching like Magnitude or One Step Closer that day, and he was just simultaneously drinking his coffee and pushing kids off of the stage just not caring at all, and I don’t know why but I always go back to that in my brain. Like, “damn, I wish the wizard was here right now.”

HS: I would definitely have to say Have Heart Day Two at The Palladium.

MK: I went on night one, and it was just fucking insane. I wish I could’ve gone to both days. Tommy had an extra ticket but I didn’t know him yet.

TH: An extra ticket which I got from Lily from Lilac Queen, so full circle there too. (laughs) She was like, “you like screaming music, right? Did you want to go to the Have Heart show that’s like the only thing anyone in hardcore has talked about for months?” And I was like, “yeah.”

NS: Shoutout to my mom being like, “you’re going on a camping trip, so you can’t go.” I still can’t believe I had to get rid of my ticket, dude.

JM: This is going to be a whole other question for the interview, just “where were you during the Have Heart reunion?”

NS: (laughs) I’m just happy someone got to go for me! I gave my ticket to my friend Danny, so shoutout to him.

JM: My last real question is just a spot for anyone to plug anything that they want to promote!

TH: We put out a super low run of vinyl out of like 20 with Sunday Drive Records, and some Champion long sleeve shirts too. I’m really stoked to have my face on a shirt! So, shoutout to them, they literally hit us up the day the demo came out, and they’ve been amazing helping us with stuff.

MK: We’ll probably have another run of the vinyl at some point as well. I don’t see why not, I mean they’re pretty cheap, so that would be cool. I’m gonna shamelessly plug my zine real quick now. (laughs)

JM: Go for it!

MK: So yeah, I started this small little zine called “Don’t Stop Trying.” They’re available now with New Morality Zine from Chicago. You can pick one up there, or you can just hit me up on Instagram or Twitter and I can help get one to you. So that’s my shameless plug.

We want to give a huge thank you to Tommy, Nicole, Matt, Mikey, and Harrison of Broken Vow for taking the time to talk with us! They are truly one of the most exciting bands out there right now, not just in the northeast or in hardcore but in general, and we’ve been so happy to get to know them and get to work with them.

To make sure you’re one of the first to see what Broken Vow does next, you can follow them on Twitter @BrokenVowCTHC and keep an eye on the Sunday Drive Records website, where their shirts and vinyl were sold yesterday and where future pressings/merch will pop up in the future. If you loved this interview, let us know by tweeting us @lgndsoftmrw; be sure to tell us if there’s anyone else you’d like to see us interview in the future!


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