In Session: Limit Break
Words: Jamie Haworth / Photography: Marc Barker
Limit Break are one of the most respected acts on the Sheffield music circuit. Loved for fusing hard-hitting samples with drums, guitar and bass in their live shows, the electronic band consolidated a more fully-fledged sound when vocalist Kelsey Fothergill joined two years ago.
But those less familiar with the city’s underground haunts can be forgiven for not knowing too much about Limit Break. Their only EP available online was released back in 2014; as impressive as Limit Break is, the band are the first to admit that it doesn’t represent their current sound or potential. Following regular appearances at Peddler Market and a riotous gig supporting fellow Sheffielders Vuromantics at The Leadmill in December, Limit Break have a new album in the works and are ready to make themselves heard.
Tucked away inside The Broadfield on a rainy Tuesday night, we met with Leon Gorka, Kelsey Fothergill, Danny Masters and Josh Wright before their Exposed In Session appearance this month and discussed how Limit Break forged their electronic live sound over the years and look ahead to the band’s exciting plans for 2019.
Let’s start with the Limit Break ‘origins’ story. When did you guys meet?
Josh: It must be five or six years ago by now. Us three *points at Josh and Leon* lived together for quite a while – we knew each other from school.
Leon: Josh was already clued up on music production, but it was a new world for the rest of us. I had a little MPK mini board and came up with this really easy riff one day. Pretty soon, we were making our own version of drum and bass, 8-bit music.
And Kelsey, you joined in a few years later didn’t you?
Kelsey: Yeah, I actually got introduced to these guys through a friend of mine – I heard they’d lost their singer and were desperate for a new one.
Danny: That’s right, we were desperate! Anyone who could string a few notes together would do.
Leon: *points at my recorder* Best edit that one out!
Kelsey: I initially started by doing my own versions of the band’s existing songs, then we came up with our own stuff. It’s changed quite a lot in recent years, I think.
You seem to cover a lot of musical ground between the four of you. Do you bring different influences to Limit Break?
Josh: I’d say the big one for me is Phantogram. They’re kind of closest to what I’d imagine us being like live.
Danny: Massive Attack are obviously a huge influence for all of us. Portishead too – that sort of alt trip-hop.
How do you take those influences and incorporate them into a cohesive sound?
Josh: It all generally stems from being in the studio and someone coming up with a sound we all like, and everyone sort of piling in afterwards.
Leon: It can even just be one synth riff. You’ll start with it and keep tweaking it into something. Each person will add their own layer, and we’ll find the base of a song before long.
I’ve been stalking your Facebook, and it looks like you’re setting up for an album release.
Danny: We’ve been working on it pretty heavily behind the scenes. It’s very hard to project sitting behind a screen and making that look exciting for the whole Instagram aspect to a being a band these days. But it should hopefully come together by March.
How do you find that ‘online’ side to being a musician now? I guess you didn’t sign up for it, but it’s kind of essential.
Josh: I think part of social media can be a lot of fun. If we were out gigging all the time, there would be a lot of material for us to put out there. But as Danny said, a lot of our time at the minute is spent in the studio mixing.
Leon: There are only so many photos of us looking unhappy at desks that you can get excited about…
What has been your favourite Limit Break gig so far?
Josh: I’d say both of the Leadmill shows that we’ve done with Kel have been amazing. The sound is fantastic there.
Danny: Oh, we also played a cool gig outside Plot 22 in Castlegate this summer. Everything ran a bit late; we were meant to be done by 10pm, but we were playing our first song just after that.
Kelsey: We got through three songs before the police came and shut us down!
You can leave that last bit out of the story though, can’t you? Add to the Limit Break mythology.
Josh: Ha ha yes, exactly.
Do you enjoy being on the Sheffield circuit then?
Danny: Absolutely! You meet so many great people here. Because it’s a bit smaller than the London or Manchester scene, everyone chips in for each other and that’s a really nice environment to get started in.
Kelsey: Everyone supports everyone and is willing to give anything a listen. Having said that, we feel like we’re ready to spread our wings a bit further now.
Josh: We’ve probably played most of the venues that we would’ve liked to play in Sheffield. Certainly for where we are at the moment, in terms of size.
Leon: Tuesday Club would definitely be on the list though, wouldn’t it? *Everyone agrees*
Sheffield has given you a manageable starting ground, and now you’re ready to take the next step.
Danny: It’ll be great to properly share our new music with Kelsey on board. We’ve got the sound that we want now.
Josh: Exactly. We want to get those gigs outside of Sheffield, to expand and play in front of new audiences. That’s plan for 2019!
Keep an eye on exposedmagazine.co.uk for Limit Break’s upcoming live session with Exposed and follow Limit Break on their Facebook page.
In association with www.sivtickets.com, the local box office.