Are you ready for one of the hottest new, young acts in Columbus?
Say hello to The Broken Relics. The band granted me the opportunity to sit down with them after practice last week to talk about what made them into what they are today, and what they are planning on in the future.
The birth of The Broken Relics came almost out of chance. Lead guitarist Zach Warmouth had bounced around in a few bands and was trying to find a direction for his newest project. He knew he had a solid connection with bassist Alex Jakovina, but despite their best efforts, the two had not been able to find a suitable drummer or singer.
As fate would have it, Zach’s younger brother Bryce came to him with an idea.
“It wasn’t even that I had reached out to him to join a band before,” said the elder Warmouth. “He came to my one day like, I wrote this, you could use it if you wanted. After hearing it, I immediately knew that we had to do it together.”
“We had always played with each other when we were younger, but never actually in the same band,” added Bryce.
It didn’t hurt that Bryce was already friends with the eventual final piece of the group, drummer Zach Potkanowicz, aka Potsie. The two had played together in mutual bands during their school days in Youngstown and decided to give it a go with their Columbus peers.
The group revealed that the name The Broken Relics started almost as an inside joke. Zach said that he liked the adjective “broken” and using it to admit that deep down on a personal level we’re all a “broken… something.” He and a cousin were at the house of a mutual friend when a Tiki head was knocked off of a shelf and almost broken. They laughed at the thought of “breaking the relic”, but as they dug deeper into it they found that it was perfectly relevant for what the band were trying to achieve.
“The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the perfect moniker,” he clarified. “We thought about all of our influences, and how they were relics from the age where rock and roll was just getting its legs. Rather than thinking of broken as a negative thing, we saw ourselves as multiple pieces become a whole, to make something even better.”
It seemed that the only hurdle that stood between the four of them becoming a band was the distance; Zach and Alex lived in Columbus, while Bryce and Potsie were still in Youngstown. The quartet quickly shot that thought down.
“We all have the same dreams, but it helps that we’re brothers,” explained Bryce. “Plus, in 2019 messages are pretty easy to relay. If we have any issues or questions, we can hop on a video chat and talk things over.”
“It’s honestly a lot of fun making that three hour drive (from Youngstown to Columbus), knowing that we’re about to have a great weekend together,” said Potsie. “We get to listen to music, play our stuff and then go back to our normal lives. It’s almost healthier than all of us being together all the time.”
In fact, the band explained that the four of them had virtually never spent time together outside of practice before John Burke, producer from Vibe Studios in Nashville, reached out to them with an opportunity to make an EP. They were equal parts humbled and excited, but they were initially hesitant to make the leap.
“Bryce and I were talking about it, and we had to ask each other – do you think we’ll be ready?” said Zach. “Instead of questioning whether we’d actually be ready, we decided together that we’d book it and make ourselves ready. Had we not given ourselves that ultimatum, we might not even be sitting here as a band getting ready to release music.”
“We got to explore a great city for music in Nashville. It was really cool to go down together and learn about each other,” added Alex.
“I’ll be honest with you… I thought I understood everybody before we got there. I was dead wrong!” laughed Bryce.
The band took their time perfecting their craft in the studio, and credited Burke in being able to bring the best out of each of them. They initially started with a dozen song ideas and started putting things together to make five complete songs. Their debut single, Don’t Look Back, is a testament to their will to succeed, as well as their creative process. They told me they felt it was the perfect way to properly announce The Broken Relics to the world.
“It was so appropriate because it was the song we had been working on the longest. We were literally still changing it in the studio,” described Bryce. “The rest of the songs came together so quickly and naturally that we were almost done before we even started. But when we heard the final mix for Don’t Look Back, we knew that had to be our first.”
“The thing about our writing process is that each song has its own identity. Each song was specifically influenced more by one member of the group or another,” clarified Zach. “A lot of bands seem to put out EP’s that are just one great song, but we wanted it to be five great songs that really spoke to who we were and told our stories as an introduction to the world.”
“Whatever you might want to call us, we definitely think of ourselves as a rock band with a lot of influences. At the end of the day, we want to make rock music,” finished Potsie.
Don’t Look Back was released on February 1. By mid-month the band already had 3000 streams on Spotify and over 1000 unique followers. They were caught off guard when I revealed that fact to them.
“We honestly don’t know where it came from outside of self-promotion. We told our families, who would tell their friends, and suddenly on there were people we had never even met sharing our song and telling us how great it was!” expounded Alex.
“Here’s what it really is… we started building the idea of The Broken Relics to everyone we knew before we even had recorded a single note or played a show,” admitted Zach. “We already joked that if you pretend something is big enough for long enough, eventually it will become that.”
“Besides, when it comes time to drop the EP, we don’t just want to share it to like, four followers or something. We started building our following early and it’s really paid off so far.”
You can immediately hear a variety of influences in the lead single, and the band shared with me their love for two core groups, Kings of Leon and The Eagles. If you’re going to lay down a musical blueprint, it doesn’t hurt to start with two massively successful groups from two very different eras. Each member brings their own unique flair to the table, with influences ranging from AC/DC to The Strokes, and Victor Wooten to Mitch Mitchell.
As of right now the group has finished recording their debut EP, With Reverence, and are trying to get a few more shows under their belt before setting a release date. The band isn’t looking to sell a million records or tour all over the world, although they would hardly be opposed to it. Moreover, it seems they want the world to feel their music.
“There’s so much music that has changed my life or helped me through difficult situations. If we could write music where just one song touched someone or helped them like that, then we’ve done our job,” mused Alex. “Music to us is always about the connection. Even if there’s only 20 people in a bar and only one person really gets it, it’s all worth it.”
“Even if it doesn’t get any bigger than Ohio, we’ve already seen people in Youngstown use it as something to come together with as a community. It was huge for us seeing the high school we attended playing our song during a basketball game and hearing people talk about it,” added Zach.
“At the end of the day, I could die a happy man knowing that I made the music I wanted to make, having made some money to live off of, and that my kids thought I was a cool dad!” Bryce said, again bringing laughter to the table.
I could certainly see that they were keeping their heads out of the clouds and in the game for the right reasons. Their second single will be dropping on March 1, and then it will be full steam ahead with booking shows until With Reverence is released.
The Broken Relics – Don’t Look Back