Breaking Laces Finds New Energy On Album
By Gary S. Angelo
TribToday.com - June 2nd, 2011
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Willem Hartong, front man of the acoustic indie pop trio Breaking Laces, believes the band's new release, ''When You Find Out,'' showcases a new power pop momentum.

''The new tunes tend to be coming out a bit harder and rockier than some of the band's previous material,'' Hartong said. ''We have always tried to stretch ourselves, but we are an acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and two voices kind of act and we've respected and enjoyed that fact. We've always had a tendency to create big music. The challenge and the fun came in trying to get that done with a creative bend to use our gear and the implementation of robots - that's what we call electronics. Recently we have been tending towards less coffeehouse soaring sweet acoustic and getting down with the louder side of ourselves. It's been fun.''

The Brooklyn, N.Y., band includes Willem Hartong, lead vocals and guitar; Rob Chojnacki, bass, keys and backing vocals; and Seth Masarsky on drums, programming and percussion.

Breaking Laces was originally a solo project of Hartong. He released the disc ''Sohcahtoa'' in 2003 under the name Breaking Laces. The release garnered success and positive feedback from Rolling Stone and Paste magazines.

''The band eventually formed around the success of 'Sohcahtoa','' Hartong said. ''It was important for me to me to try and develop a band with a static lineup. The rest sort of snowballed when we all realized that we were equally ambitious and crazy. Drummer Seth Masarsky played with the acclaimed musician, Melissa Ferrick and he also played with Rob Chojnacki in a New Jersey band called Darby Jones in the years before we formed.''

For Hartong, working with two other musicians has been a great venture throughout the years.

"It's easier to work on your own, but I enjoy being a part of a team. I enjoy the camaraderie, and it feels good to all be working towards the same goal as a band," Hartong said.

Breaking Laces worked with producer Ed Tuton on their latest release, "When You Find Out." Tuton has worked with artists such as Eagle Eye Cherry, Maxwell and Carly Simon.

''Ed Tuton is a methodical producer and he brings other people into the project, plus he has a great sense of humor. Producers who work in a dark room need to have a good sense of humor. He is one of the hardest working producers,'' Hartong said.

As a singer/songwriter, Hartong's musical kindred spirits and influences span far and wide from the college indie sounds of Evan Dando of The Lemonheads to contemporary artists like U2.

''I love bands. I love watching a group of musicians performing for and sacrificing for a common cause. Even if there is tension within that framework, it's fun to watch. A few influences off the top of my head are Radiohead, Built To Spill, Ben Folds Five, Pinback and the Beastie Boys. Any live band is welcome as well. A friend of mine recently had an extra ticket to the Dave Matthews Band concert and I tagged along. They floored me. The best arena act I ever saw was U2, they just embrace that big space and fill it up entirely. Then again, I like a lot of songwriters such as Cat Steven's (who can make an acoustic guitar and voice sound better than anyone I've known), along with Evan Dando, David Gray and Sufjan Stevens. I'm going to stop now because I could go on forever.''

Hartong's mission on "When You Find Out," is to strive for a more aggressive sound. Most importantly, the band wants to showcase their musical potential to the fullest.

"I suppose our sound changed with experience and the ability to access better studios and situations," he said. "The current album, 'When You Find Out,' was recorded with a focus on taking us 'out of the garage.' Our team / management / group of suits felt our earlier material was 'endearing and really solid,' but was selling the band a bit short. We disagreed with them and then we listened because they are probably right."

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