As It Should Be: Hanging Out With Athens’ Breakers

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Last year Athens-based power-pop stalwarts, Breakers, found themselves outside a former funeral-home-turned-DIY-venue near Youngstown, OH. Although the band had formed in 2015, the outfit was in the midst of what they playfully referred to as their first “two-or,” since they literally had booked only the funeral home gig and another show at The Happy Dog in Cleveland, OH.

As they waited to go on, a man on a hover board rolls up, vape in hand.

“Do you know how much my vape is worth?” he asks, extending the cedar wood vape to bassist Daniel Aguirre, who hesitantly takes it.

“I told him I didn’t know how much his vape was worth,” said Aguirre in an interview with WOUB in late December 2017. At the time, Aguirre was was getting over the flu, and he and lead vocalist/guitarist Max Look were sitting outside on a chilly afternoon in late December in the fenced in backyard of Athens’ Cider House. “The guy goes ‘$300,’ and he yanks it back and heads off on his hover board.”

The outfit will kick off their first official tour Thursday, January 4 at the Happy Dog in Cleveland, and round it off a few days later on Sunday, January 7 at Extra Muscle in Cincinnati, OH. On Saturday, January 6, Breakers will perform with Yellow Springs’ Speaking Suns and Columbus’ The Worn Flints.

Breakers started out the way that all great power-pop bands do: as a group of pals with diverse musical interests and a sincere investment in the development of their sound. As their name suggests, the band has been through a number of member line-ups, and the outfit has played more than one “final show.”

Given the nonlinear development of the group, it’s really no surprise that their debut, self-titled release (“Its somewhere between an album and an EP,” said Look,) is coming out in 2018, and features songs that they recorded three years ago in Ohio University’s Schoonover Center.

“We’re still playing most of the songs on the record, even though we haven’t really done anything with the recordings since then,” said Look. “It’s weird listening back to them, because a lot of them are super clean – and we’ve never played a show like that. This release is really more for posterity than anything else because we’ve kind of been stuck playing the same eight songs since we recorded them. We will still play some of them live, but we’ve been learning a lot of new stuff, so it’s kind of a turning point for us.”

The cover artwork for Breakers’ debut, self-titled release. (Submitted)

Look said that every time the band reforms, they have an expiration date of sorts, and this time is no different. Shortly following the tour, Aguirre will be leaving for Grand Rapids, MI for two months.

“Whenever we’re all in Athens, we all end up playing shows together, and we have all the Breakers stuff down pretty well,” said Look.

The frequent breaks for the group have allowed various members to hone their personal sounds, such as guitarist Wyatt Zelle’s solo projects and Breakers offshoot outfits Nasty Jazz and Niño Guero.

“We’ve all been developing our sounds during the breaks, and sort of blending that together, so I would say that by now we’re a lot better than the original Breakers,” said Aguirre.

Look mentioned that the group is looking forward to putting together more home recordings as they go forward.

Although Breakers is a local group that is particularly loved by The Union, they were once more often a part of Athens’ DIY venue circuit, performing one of their most icon shows at The Pink Mistress early in their formation, before Aguirre was a part of the outfit.

“I have some footage of our last show at The Pink Mistress, the day before Joel (Nadler, drums) left for California, and Dan is in the crowd, freaking out,” said Look. “Everybody looks so sweaty, and I think the floorboards broke that night. It was just a bunch of sweaty, excited DIY kids, as it should be.”