Danny Core knows what he wants.
“We want to be the best band in the world,” declares the Broken Witt Rebels frontman. “There’s no point trying for second best.”
He’s not arrogant, just confident that the band he formed with childhood friend Luke Davis is destined for greatness. With their third EP, the excellent ‘Georgia Pine’, they’re certainly well on their way – and already a world away from teaching themselves to play the Argos guitars they’d saved up to buy as teenagers.
“Eventually we decided we don’t want to play in our bedrooms anymore, we want to get out of those four walls,” remembers Core. So, with a name snatched from three headlines in The Metro, they began gigging, initially playing at local acoustic nights in Birmingham before becoming a full band – with all the usual dramas.
“I used to think I could drink loads of alcohol and go on stage,” recalls Core of their earliest shows. “I was stumbling over guitars, spilling drinks on stage. At one show I snapped three guitar strings in a half an hour set. It was ridiculous,” he admits. “And then I realised I’m not rock ‘n roll enough, I can’t drink too much and perform.”
By the time James Tranter joined, the band were no longer playing to audiences of one.
“The crowd was very rowdy,” says Core of the guitarist’s first gig. “It was very good. People were throwing drinks, there was a stage invasion, and I think James was actually a bit frightened for his equipment. He’d never experienced anything like it.”
As the audiences have grown, so have the musicians.
Take Core’s voice, which has a rootsy timbre far more mature than his 27 years. “I never took myself seriously as a singer until the last couple of years. I’d always looked at myself as mainly a guitarist and it’s just grown with confidence,” admits Core, who grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and old Irish country music.
“I feel like I’m just finding my instrument in the voice and I feel like I can push it, like I’m not even halfway to where I want to be.”
That same drive has fuelled Broken Witt Rebels’ ascendency at a time when their blues-based rock was out of synch with Birmingham’s music scene.
“We’ve been knocking on the door for so long, howling to be heard,” says Core of the band that also features drummer James Dudley. “But we wanted to stay true to ourselves and we never bent for anyone. We just kept going, kept fighting, and believed that good music will prevail.”
And prevail it has, with new songs like ‘Low’ bristling with all the gritty authenticity of early Kings of Leon, but boasting melodies and choruses big enough to rival ‘Sex On Fire’. If you haven’t already heard it on the radio, you’ll certainly be seeing it at a live venue near you soon.
“The greatest thing is to go out and play – that’s the first thing you fall in love with,” says Core. “Playing live is the fundamental, most important thing for us. We don’t want to be keyboard warriors sitting at home, watching ‘Game of Thrones’. We need to be out there, getting on stage, performing.”
Georgia Pine UK tour dates
15 April: Birmingham Sunflower Lounge (tickets)
16 April: Sheffield Rocking Chair (tickets)
30 April: Bedford Esquires (tickets)
Brantley Gilbert UK tour with support from Broken Witt Rebels
5 May: Glasgow Oran Mor (tickets)
6 May: Manchester Academy 2 (tickets)
7 May: Birmingham O2 Institute (tickets)
8 May: London Shepherds Bush Empire (tickets)