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Transcontinental post-punk trio, BREAK TO BROKEN break down their new EP, “White & Gray + 2”

8 mins read

Today, we offer you a deeper look into BREAK TO BROKEN’s latest EP, “White & Gray + 2,” which delves into profound themes of human connection, self-reflection, and societal norms.

Today, we invite you to uncover the layers of each track with exclusive commentary provided by the band in the special feature below.

This limited edition 7″ vinyl is available through Engineer Records.

Starting with the title track, “White & Gray,” the band brings a powerful collaboration with Tim Steward of SCREAMFEEDER. The song was born from a creative accident, with a bass riff inspired by Rutger Bregman’s book “Humankind.” The lyrics touch on the innate human capacity for empathy and community, countering the often bleak messages from the media. It’s about finding optimism and accepting that we can’t control everything, and that’s okay.

Next up is “Still Breathing,” a track that dives into personal introspection and change. Written during a time of significant self-reflection, the lyrics narrate a journey of transformation and self-discovery. This song captures the band’s signature intensity and raw emotion, making it a standout on the EP.

The final track, “Normalcy,” brings a nostalgic nod to the 90s punk scene. Inspired by old lyrics and the styles of bands like BAD RELIGION and early BAD BRAINS, it addresses frustrations with societal expectations and hypocrisy. The fast-paced energy and biting lyrics make it a classic punk anthem.

Dive deeper in a special commentary below.

Track 1: White & Gray

Justin: “White & Gray” began as one of those happy accidents that sometimes occur in the creative process. While working on a bass track for another song, I opened my recording program with my bass already plugged in. Unexpectedly, it was on this chorus setting that I would typically use for guitar. The effect on the bass sounded cool, and as I noodled around, the opening bass riff for “White & Gray” emerged. Once that initial part was down, I built from there, crafting a rough outline of the song.

Initially, the track didn’t quite sound like a typical Break to Broken song. It was a bit different from our usual style. However, I shared the sketch with Clint and Eli, and both of them liked it. They felt it could fit well within our repertoire, so we decided to develop it further as one of our own.

One of the many things I love about being in this band is that I have the opportunity to contribute lyrics, even if I’m not singing or didn’t create the vocal melody. Typically, the person who brings the initial song idea also writes the lyrics. So, since “White & Gray” originated with that initial bass riff, I took on the writing duties.

The lyrics were heavily inspired by a book I had just read called Humankind by Rutger Bregman. I often draw inspiration from books, art, or current events. After reading this book, I had a lot of thoughts swirling in my head, which I tried to channel into the lyrics. The book explores how humans are innately wired to care for one another and form communities, which is quite the opposite of the messages we often receive from the media and other sources. The author does an excellent job of examining different perspectives on what holds society together. He also debunks some popular theories that support the idea that humans are inherently combative toward one another. It was uplifting to read something optimistic about humanity, especially in these times. I wanted to reflect that optimism in the lyrics and also convey that nobody really has any control over anything, but that’s ok! That idea is kind of reflected in the opening lines of the song. It refers to the notion of “It’s Nothing” from one of my favorite Fugazi songs, Song #1.

Clint: We had always talked about featuring a guest vocalist on one of our songs, and my friend (and musical hero!) Tim Steward, a vocalist and guitarist for the Australian band Screamfeeder, seemed like the perfect choice as I believed this song would suit Tim’s voice perfectly. When writing the vocal parts, I intentionally crafted a few segments that would complement Tim’s distinct style. I really love how the song turned out and we are all very grateful to Tim for contributing and making the song better than we could have ever imagined.

White & Gray

All controlled.
Actually, It’s Nothing so I’m told.

I don’t want to believe we are doomed to Veneer Theory.
I’m not gonna say what I need.
I know that it’s ok to say I don’t know.

Now we’re really in trouble. Yeah?
I’m lost. I’m really not scared.

I don’t want to believe you won’t see the humanity hiding in a social disease.
You’ll know that it’s ok to say you don’t know.

Now we’re really in trouble. Yeah?
I’m lost. I’m really not scared.

I don’t know what to say to you.
I’m white. I’m gray.
I’m really not there.

I don’t know how to say to you your tongue is black.
You really don’t care.

The tree is down.
I’m a seed until the end.

Fight it.

I just woke up, although I’m in a dream.
I can never recollect what I really want to see.
I just woke up, although I’m in a daze.
I can never find the words that I wanted to say.
I’m in denial that it’s going well for us.
I’m in denial that it’s going well for us.
I lay back down and fight it to the back with the will to believe it won’t happen again.

Track 2: Still Breathing

Justin: “Still Breathing” started as a simple guitar riff but evolved into something entirely different as more layers were added. Interestingly, that original riff didn’t even make it into the final version of the song. My writing process usually involves piecing together various ideas and snippets that I’m constantly stockpiling. “Still Breathing” is a prime example of this method, and features three distinct sections that flow into one another.


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The lyrics are semi-autobiographical, reflecting a pivotal moment in my life. I’m not sure if it was turning 40, the impact of the pandemic, or a combination of both, but that period of my life sparked some deep introspection. I began to assess my accomplishments to that point and the person I had been, versus the person I aspired to be. I suppose the lyrics represent the ideal version of myself speaking to my past self, offering advice on what needs to happen in order to change. In simpler terms, it’s basically about me having a midlife crisis, haha.

The vocal performances from Clint and Eli on this track are stellar, showcasing what I think has become our signature sound. I feel incredibly fortunate to have such talented vocalists bring the words to life and serve as my mouthpiece on this song.

Still Breathing

Went through my salad days at my weakest.
A portrait of disgrace hiding around the corner.

On display: Incompleteness.
I’m terrified to see it’s barreling down.

What’s the problem? What’s the reason?
Pulled my harvest past its season.

I try to swallow but I’m breathing through the machine that you’re suffering.
Choke on screams that I bought from you.
Realize what I’m offering is a chance to wake up anew.

We’ve got to wake up.
We’ve got to wake up.
Separate. Recalibrate.

I throw my sour grapes into the evening.
They left a spiny-shaped scar on the ground.
It’s hard to fill the space after bleeding.

About as fun as the futility bound to the machine that you’re suffering.
Choke on screams that I bought from you.
Realize what you’re offering is a chance to wake up anew.

Separate. Recalibrate.
Separate. Recalibrate.

You’ve got to release all the things you dare dream of.
We’re drawn to arenas but that won’t appease them.

A carcass picked clean from the bones but still breathing.
You’ve got to release all the things you dare dream.

What are we supposed to be?

I sent it back.
We meet again.
I sent it back.

Track 3: Normalcy

Eli: Sometime last year I came across a forgotten box of old lyrics I’d written 20+ years ago. One particular little torn scrap of paper contained just one line on it. I liked it and thought it could work well for the first line of a song. A vocal melody came about almost immediately based on the phrasing of the words. I started noodling around on the guitar and landed on a chord progression I felt worked for the verses. The music was a bit of a nod to the style of punk bands such as Bad Religion and early Bad Brains. I’d never quite written in this way, which felt fun and exciting. Through more guitar noodling, a chorus and bridge came together quickly. The song structure was complete!

I wanted to keep the momentum going, but lyric writing is generally the most challenging part of songwriting for me. I went back to the old lyric box…and of course, that little scrap of paper was nowhere to be found. I did my best to remember the lyric and wrote down what most closely resembled it from memory: “Breaking it down to the smallest of chores / Never responding to reason.” I forced myself to keep going until all of the lyrics were complete up to that point.
I recorded a demo with guitar, drums, and vocals pretty quickly just to get the idea down. I thought it could work well as a Break To Broken song but wasn’t sure if Clint and Justin would feel the same. I shared the demo with them, and luckily they both said they liked it! Clint quickly came up with a great vocal pattern/melody for the bridge section and I wrote up the lyrics for it.

Most of my guitars and vocals heard on the finalized version of the song were from that original demo that I shared with Clint and Justin. I redid the drums and some vocals, Clint added some guitar, and Justin added bass. Both also contributed some stellar vocals to the bridge.

As I mentioned earlier, the lyrics for this song were written very quickly so that I could get a demo recording to share with my bandmates. For me, when writing lyrics quickly like this, they often do not make sense to me right away. However, upon further inspection, it appears that the subconscious mind can blurt out some repressed ideas when summoned in this way! These lyrics are not about any one specific thing, but it’s clear to me that they came from a place of deep frustration. Some themes seem to be the idea of not being able to meet the perceived expectations of others, or society as a whole…the idea that many people talk a big game about how noble and righteous they are but when it truly counts they’re nowhere to be found…and turning a blind eye to ideas we know are fundamentally wrong, playing along because it’s the “easier” thing to do.

I suppose that “Normalcy” is a good example of a song that wrote itself. This doesn’t happen a lot for me, so I feel very fortunate when it does! It’s also a slight departure from our typical sound, which we view as a good thing — to us, this represents that we’re continuing to progress as a group. We look forward to writing more songs like this.


Breaking it down to the smallest of chores
Never responding to reason
And all are invested and wanting for more
Awaiting the change of the season

Feeling the scorn of impossible norms
Unfeasible notions are endless
Talking the talk but unwilling to fight
How much of this can go on

Playing along
but we know it’s all wrong
And I don’t understand how we end this
Pick it apart, maybe that’s just the start
Only to find that it’s endless

So how much longer do we wait around
Accepting this fate as we’re told to
Expected to speak but unwilling to fight
How much of this can go on

They doubt me, reject you
Playbook telling their truth

They cut me, protect you
(From) who’s eyes, we see it through

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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