Getting to know: 8 questions for Breakup Haircut

Getting to know: 8 questions for Breakup Haircut

Ahead of a set at Loud Women Fest this coming weekend (18 September) we caught up with Breakup Haircut and got to know the First Timers Fest-formed, Reckless Yes-signed, London band a little better. 

Breakup Haircut

First Timers Fest, where bands form and play their first show, has a growing and glowing list of alumni. Among them four-piece lo-fi pop punk band Breakup Haircut, who thrilled us with their 2019 debut EP for Hell Hath No Fury Records (aside, we miss this label so much) and then signed with Reckless Yes.

We’re not the only ones who love this band – Loud Women said they had, ‘the kooky quirkiness of early Television Personalities or Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, with a side order of Shonen Knife’ and have added them to the line up for Loud Women Fest 5 happening this weekend, alongside other Popoptica faves including Piney Gir, ARXX, GENN, The Empty Page and so many more.

When we fell for this band we fell hard. In their sound you hear all the reasons you don’t just want, but long to be in a gang. We said of that first EP that their sound, ‘is all feeling and zero fucks, snarling yet witty lyrics, driving bass and powerful punk pop melody. A pretty perfect five-track vortex of influences and fast-living with a slacker aesthetic’. The very memory of those songs is enough to get me excited and if you haven’t yet heard it, make sure you catch up here.

Now working on new material, and with live dates starting to reappear, we decided it was high time we got to know Breakup Haircut a little better so posed them a quick 8 questions.

8 questions for Breakup Haircut

What is your first memory of listening to or being affected by music?

Delphine: My brother (10 years my elder) listening to Nirvana and Metallica way too loud in his room.

Jordan: I think it was my mum listening to Elvis.

Ripley: Playing with my Dad’s Rock n’ Roll tapes, trying to find Poetry in Motion by Johnny Tillotson and also laughing while my Dad sang Elvis Presley songs at me. I think I would have been in pre-school or very early primary school.

Ishani: There was this one Bollywood movie, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which I watched in theatres when I was three and extremely feverish. I was obsessed with the soundtrack for years.

Was there music around you when you were growing up or something you came to later?

Ishani: I listened to a lot of stuff in the car because I grew up in a boring town where you had to drive everywhere. I remember hearing a lot of Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Cat Stevens – but I also had a solid rotation of Bollywood soundtracks.

Delphine: I remember my mom playing french accordion vinyls and also some French variety. She then discovered CDs and acquired a Boney M best of CD and some kind of compilation which initiated the switch to CDs and rendered the turntable obsolete. Otherwise there was always the recording the radio trying to cut out before the presenter would talk….I then started “borrowing” my brother’s CDs…. Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, AC/DC, Metallica, Pink Floyd to name a few….

Jordan: There was always music but it wasn’t something I was as drawn to as film, but it was always there in the background. Both in real life and in the films.

Ripley: When I was growing up we had a soundtrack that was a mix of my grandparent’s favourite rock n’ roll, Motown and ’60s girl groups music and my Dad’s favourite ’80s music, which was stuff like Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, plus a lot of ’80s post-punk, mod, 2Tone and ska.

What has music meant to you during the pandemic and lockdowns? Has creating come easily to you during this time?

Ishani: Creating has been in fits and starts. Listening has too. I normally use music to process stuff, both listening and making, and to be honest in this time there’s not been a lot of input to turn into output. I have written probably six or seven songs through the pandemic, but I tend to be very reactive as a musician.

Delphine: For me, it went in waves. There were times I disconnected totally from music and the only thing keeping me from drifting away was our weekly band zoom. Other times I would spend the day looking for some new things to listen to on Bandcamp/ Soundcloud. My brain did not allow for creating things. I just did things I knew how to do already (aka knitting loads of stuff).

Jordan: The lockdown didn’t change what it meant to me, just gave me a few more opportunities to explore it. I was also mostly in person working during the lockdowns so my creating ability wasn’t stretched too much by the pandemic.

Ripley: During the first lockdown, I found it really hard to listen to music, even though I pretty much listen constantly in normal times. I then went through a phase of just podcasts and audio dramas, then musicals, then back to regular music and I ended up finding a lot of new bands I love. On the creativity front, I managed to write a few songs (I missed writing lyrics on public transport like I usually do though). I also spent a lot of time drilling some particularly aspirational bass lines I wrote myself in our newer songs in lockdown boredom, so that I’d be able to play them consistently live.

Which artist or album has most influenced you and your work as an artist? In what ways do you feel this influence?

Ishani: I think my current approach to music is really influenced by Kimya Dawson – I try to focus hard on lyrics and pick simple chords. I used to be all about doing complex things (had big Radiohead phase) but now I want to relate to people and be relatable.

Delphine: I genuinely always struggle with this question. I listen to a variety of things meaning it usually isn’t one thing at the time. I guess I work more on feelings and maybe some muscle memory from endless guitar lessons where I was told to improvise.

Jordan: Probably Fall Out Boy, Andy Hurley is great at making beats that are familiar but fresh.

Ripley: As a bass player, my influences are cool melodic bass players like Bruce Foxton (the jam), Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Este Haim (HAIM), Kathy Valentine (the Go-Go’s) and just also anyone who can play super fast and energetic.

How do you most often listen to music? Do you have a favourite format, time, place to listen to music?

Ishani: I don’t often have time for listening to music right now because it’s a sensory overload on public transport already – so it tends to be putting on a record, often with some friends or my housemates.

Delphine: Headphones, on the go mostly because I am always so busy and traveling to some obscure corner of London. It helps me disconnect and set my brain to the task ahead. I have a couple of playlists I have curated otherwise I listen to songs I need to practice for my guitar lessons. At home it’s usually when I clean the house so I can channel my inner Freddie Mercury (we have an upright vacuum cleaner).

Jordan: I listen to music when I cycle to work, and on the train if I’m tired. I have an album that’s on continuously, then usually 3-5 random tracks that are supplemented throughout.

Ripley: I usually listen on headphones anywhere and everywhere. I usually listen most while travelling, exercising, on a walk, or while I’m at work to try and make the day go faster.

If you could form a supergroup from your favourite musicians, who would be in it with you, and what sort of music would you make?

Ishani: Despite what I said about making simple music, I would have liked to work with Jonny Greenwood and Damon Albarn – I think they’re both really prolific and I would say about 70% of their output is pretty good, which is a great average. I would really like to make something kind of Postal Service-y.

Delphine: Lars Ulrich from Metallica on drums, Matt Bellamy from Muse on guitar, and Flea on Bass. No idea if this would work at all but I reckon we could make some super awesome prog rock.

Ripley: I think I’d maybe combine by 2 of my fave bands. Like Screaming Females and Pat Benatar (full ’80s lineup). That’d be pretty awesome. Of course with Marissa Paternoster and Neil Giraldo doing epic lead guitar lines across the song and the songs shared between the musicians from both bands and singers, like in the most epic cover song I’ve ever heard where Screaming Females and Garbage teamed up to play Because the Night.

Jordan: I’d love to form an ensemble prog rock band with Robert Fripp, Mel Collins, Tony Levin, Gavin Harrison, Jakko Jaksyzk and Jeremy Stacy. I think from a learning perspective it’d be amazing as you’d have such a great mix of styles and experience. Plus giant drum kits are always cool.

If you had a time machine which gig or musical event would you travel to witness?

Ishani: The Polyphonic Spree, Halloween 2013, any pre 2012 Kanye performance, that Flaming Lips gig where they were in Zorbs.

Delphine: Any live performance of Queen and maybe Woodstock just to see what it was like.

Ripley: I would have loved to have seen X-Ray Spex live around the time Germ Free Adolescents album came out. They’re so awesome and they’re a band I wish had more albums.

If someone has never heard you before, which one song of yours would you direct them toward as a perfect introduction?

Ishani: Probably Berlin or Mum I Wanna Be A Greaser – doesn’t help that those are our most popular, but I think they’re kind of what we’re about and people can usually tell how much fun we’re having when we play them.

Delphine: Mum I Wanna Be A Greaser because of the fun factor.

Jordan: Jaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmyyyyyyy Booooooooooooooiii

Ripley: Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough to Move to Berlin off the EP, but when the album comes out, I might change my answer slightly – Although Berlin is still one of my fave songs to play and I will always love it.


Breakup Haircut play Loud Women Fest 5 in London on Saturday 18 September alongside ARXX, Piney Gir, and many more. You can find details and tickets here.

Find Breakup Haircut: Twitter | Instagram | FacebookSpotify | Bandcamp

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Disclosure: Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica and co-founder of Reckless Yes, to who Breakup Haircut are signed – but she really does only write about or work on music she loves.

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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