Heart of Oak aka Jimmy Broomfield, is a singer songwriter from the New Forest, England. A born storyteller, Heart of Oak is the culmination of many years of learning and a craft that is honed, perhaps, if you’ll forgive the cliche, even carved, from within. Jimmy took on the A-Z Questionnaire Challenge, read his answers below…
A song which made you want to make music?
“Slow Show” by The National. Man that song is just super beautiful, also, think about how many hipster weddings it’s probably been played at and how many Grandma’s have had to hear him sing about his dick. Equal parts moving, intelligent and dick joke? Sounds like a Heart of Oak song right there.
Best rider you have ever had?
Absolutely 100% Roskilde Festival a few years back, I was with another band at the time (so this may be cheating, I don’t really get riders as it’s just little old me). ANYWAY, as well as the usual cans of coke and beer, they also had a fridge full of this incredible danish chocolate milk, needless to say I brought a crate full of that home with me. Then they had all these super amazing barbecue chefs and they cooked probably the best steak and chips I’ve ever eaten, just absolutely outstanding. Of course I made friends with the chef and she cooked another one for me after the set, (my ability to get a SHIT LOAD of festival food is apparently a well known joke now).
Craziest moment you’ve experienced in the band?
Because i’m always driving I don’t get to party very much at all, so as lame as it sounds, I’m going to say mountains, any mountains, i’m a child of the sea and the flattest forest in the world, so getting to drive through, climb up, or generally see mountains is always the craziest thing for me, they also kind of scare me a bit, I get all claustrophobic and weird.
Deepest lyrics one of your songs features?
“for a while now, i’ve wanted to join my brother on the sea”, that’s a line and a story for my family that does not mean what it sounds like. It’s kind of like an in-joke between us all. There’s a lot of in-jokes in my lyrics, I won’t lie.
Easiest song you wrote?
Skin and Bones, 45 minutes, start to finish, I had all these lyrics floating around and suddenly it felt like I was in the matrix, the whole song went together like a jigsaw puzzle from what I thought was about ten different songs.
Favourite song in your set?
Right now, Better Weather, it’s super fun to play and means an awful lot, but i’m also going to say “the new ones” because I’ve been playing all those songs for years and years and years and years.
Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?
Maybe Bono, not because I like him, I think he’s a dick, but because I could walk around the studio calling to him like Alan Partridge, if he’s not available, i’ll say Katy Perry, but my girlfriend might have something else to say about that.
Hardest thing about being in a band?
Trying to keep it sustainable, trying to work out where to go next or feel like there is any momentum. Trying to keep my damn “lizard brain” from telling me i’m not good enough.
Interesting fact about one of your members?
I dunno, it’s just me! I can wiggle my ears? I’m the worlds shortest giant. I can’t juggle. I used to be allergic to certain brands of washing powders but I think i’ve grown out of it.
Jokes you have in the band?
When I was touring with the good gentlemen in Owls By Nature, The Lion and the Wolf and Worst Days Down, someone (I think Ben from WDD) started singing Skin and Bones in the style of Creed. I think about that version EVERY night and struggle so hard not to play it sometimes.
Key to writing a song?
It’s the same as everything else, stress, worry, hours of procrastination, deadlines. Either that, or having an idea and letting it cook for as long as physically possible, you can’t force ’em, they’l come when they come.
Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?
Fourteen hours. FOURTEEN HOURS of driving. Unless you count flying to America, I guess that would be further, but wayyyyy less exhausting.
Most inspiring musician you’ve ever experienced?
He’s not a musician, but I’ve got to be in the same room as a couple of really amazing writers, probably the most famous of which is Phillip Pullman and he’s such an inspiring dude to be around, every time I left the room with him I felt pumped to go and do things.
New band you’d recommend?
Let’s make a list, Max William, The Lion and The Wolf, and The Gospel Youth, they’re all pretty well known, but they’re my best friends, so I should probably mention them once every interview.
Opening for this band would be ideal?
I would die a happy man to get to open up for John K Samson, but i’d probably go all fan boy and weird, or maybe we’d talk books.
Place you’d most like to tour?
I’d really like to go back to the States at some point and up north into Denmark and Scandinavia, Iceland. I’ve been reading a lot about those places. Canada for the Ice Hockey, also Japan would be pretty cool. This is also my “places i’d like to go on holiday too” list, surprisingly.
Quote you’d like to pass on to readers?
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”. Groucho Marx
Reason for the title of your recent/forthcoming release?
It’s my first E.P and all the other good names sounded pretentious out loud.
See us live at?
House Show tour in Europe at the end of August/start of September, then bits and bobs between here and the end of the year, but hopefully everywhere in 2017.
The old days of music were better than those current, do you agree?
I could write an essay, yes, in terms of the experience (and potentially the money), no in terms of the internet being this incredible democratising force, yes in terms of it was easier to stand out and there was no social media bullshit to deal with, no because there was no social media bullshit to help you out.
I REALLY want to make a comic book, but I can’t draw for shit. Or maybe a Heart of Oak themed Strandbeest (google them, i’m OBSESSED with them).
Variations you’d like to do on any of your songs?
Gabba or Jump-Up remixes all round.
What do your fans mean to you?
They’re all my best friends and help me buy nice things.
X-rays or any other treatments needed for band related injuries?
I totally screwed my back up falling out of a van once, does that count? (GR: Yeah)
You’re late for a show, who’s fault is it?
Mine. Always mine. I’m permanently late for everything everywhere forever.
Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band?
I want to say something awesome like a bear or a shark or a fossa, but it’s probably a sloth. Maybe a bear works though, really busy and kind of big and hairy and awesome, but also asleep half the year.