Brave New Broken Hearts Club is the vehicle for north London born songwriter and producer Neil Phillimore. Neil’s writing and producing skills in recent years have been put to running a not-for-profit organisation songwriting and recording for the wellbeing and mentoring of youth. The origins of this project were simply the exercising of that same power of creativity for the sake of wellbeing in his own life.
Take a sniffter of Billy Bragg’s London vocal styling, the tiniest pinch of Damon Albarn’s lower register, a dash of Richard Hawley croon (southern style)… an acoustic, a tremolo guitar and a good old glug of classic songwriting aesthetic. Arrange on a generous bed of beautiful backing vocals and harmonies from the exquisite Peckham folk singer Pearl Fish, et voila. Whether all theses flavours come through for you or not, Brave New Broken Hearts Club songs are lyrically prosaic, emotionally rich, hopeful, warm and heartfelt.
A new single ‘How Old Is The World?’ will be out on Friday 21 May. Get yourself in the draw for a free Brave New Broken Hearts Club t-shirt by pre-saving it on Spotify. Here’s what Neil had to say about the new single and his upcoming debut album.
“I had been thinking about the age of the world and wondered to myself “How old Is the world?” to which instantly and amusingly the answer popped into my head… “Old enough to know better!”. The song formed from there and turned into a question for the world and for myself which is simply “when will we ever learn?”. It seems quite apt with the way things are going right now…”
“When releasing a song you have to try and tell your distributor what or who your song sounds like.. and I never know! I kind of feel too close to it to give a reliable comparison!”
“All but one of the songs from this debut album that’ll be out in the summer, are acoustic guitar based. ‘How Old Is The World?’ is unique on the album because it features a cajon and percussion for the rhythm section, which gives it a slightly ‘jaunty’ vibe – the song definitely has a little bounce to it!”
“It has what I think is a fantastic backing vocal part which was – at least in my head – gospel inspired… I was thinking of old Aretha Franklin songs’ backing vocal parts when I wrote it. And there is a Quincy jones inspired guitar part. I love Quincy Jones production ideas and sound.”
“For anyone who has never heard me sing I have quite a distinctive singing voice which I guess is possibly a love it or hate it kind of vocal style, a soft tone but sung with my actual speaking voice rather than an affected one – most commonly likened by others to Billy Bragg’s voice.”
“Many of the songs from the album were written when I took myself off for a couple of years and lived up in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales away from everything. I worked from home three days a week and spent the rest of the time writing and recording and walking in the mountains! Very happy times. It’s such a privilege to be able to have time and space to follow abstract trains of thought to their creative conclusions. Two of the happiest years of my life.”
“The whole album that ‘How Old Is The World?’ is from was a joy to record. I had no agenda for it at the time (I was back in London). I was simply making music for its own sake which made it all the more enjoyable. I got my friend Pearl to bounce ideas around with me and discuss the kind of sonic palette that would suit the songs best and she kindly agreed to do backing vocals for me. It was good to have her around as she is an absolute joy to me, so I really enjoyed her company while making it and her voice elevates the record! Also I could check in with her that I wasn’t doing anything too cheesy or slipping too far into ‘crooner’ territory!
“I recorded most of it in my home studio, which has a view out onto a little adventure playground and some lovely trees. Its a rare view for a London home on an estate and I love it…and I am never more alive than when I am in my flow, recording and writing parts, developing songs to maturity!”