Oklahoma indie-rock band Broncho has a songwriting system that makes every album its own unique piece.
“Our process is really just like turning in an art project,” says vocalist/guitarist Ryan Lindsey. “We all have our ideas, and then you piece it together into this puzzle. You don’t ask a lot of questions—you just do it.”
Broncho will headline HI-FI on Wednesday, Dec. 12, with opening support from energetic Indianapolis five-piece Bedforms. Beforehand, our Seth Johnson chatted with Lindsey about growing up in Oklahom, childhood cars, and the band’s 2018 album.
NUVO: I know Broncho has roots in Oklahoma. Tell me a little bit about the city you grew up in and how it impacted you early on.
RYAN LINDSEY: Two of us live in Tulsa, and the other two live in Norman. I live in Tulsa. I grew up in Stillwater, which is a college town like Norman. I moved to Norman for college, and now I live in Tulsa. Tulsa is an old city that’s having a rebirth of sorts.
NUVO: What’s the music community like in Tulsa?
LINDSEY: It’s kind of all over the place. We’re friends with everybody. We’ve been in all different worlds.There’s the singer-songwriter world. There’s country. There’s hip-hop. We kind of have everything here, like anywhere else I’m sure. The more I travel around…it seems like everywhere seems to have similar cultures going on in our age group, probably because we’re all growing up in a more similar world with the internet and everything. It seems like it’s bringing all parties together.
NUVO: I know that Broncho has set up a home base of sorts in an old industrial building. Tell me a little bit about that.
LINDSEY: We’ve had it for three years. When I moved to Tulsa from Norman, part of the reason was I knew there was a bunch of warehouses there. Any warehouse in Norman was just crazy expensive. We cruised around Tulsa and just found our perfect little spot. You can make noise where we are, and nobody gets upset. We can be as loud or as quiet as we want to be. There are people melting metal next to us, so they’re being pretty loud. And then, there’s a sandblasting company on the other side. They both have told us we can be as loud as we want. [laughs]
NUVO: You have a song titled “Get in My Car” on your latest album, Bad Behavior. On that note, tell me about the first car you ever had.
LINDSEY: My first car was a Pontiac Grand Am. I remember Maaco was having this sale where it was $80 for a paint job. So my brother took it on his way to school in Oklahoma City. He dropped it off, got it painted, and then delivered it back to me. It was really the exact same color as my guitar. [laughs] So I guess I’ve been into midnight sparkle for a while.
NUVO: You touch on topics of religion, sin, and “bad behavior” on your latest album as well. What was your family like growing up?
LINDSEY: I grew up in a Christian family. It was a pretty chill upbringing. It was all about love. My parents were very supportive. They encouraged us to do whatever we wanted to do in the arts. My parents wanted us to be well-rounded. My dad would coach in our little league, and our mom would take us to choir and theater. So I grew up in multiple worlds.
I was in a boys choir at a really young age, so I learned how to sing properly at a young age, which was good. It taught me control and breathing techniques that I still use today. Over anything that I learned in school, the one thing I use to this day is breathing techniques that I learned in boys choir during elementary school. It’s interesting the way stuff turns out.
NUVO: Did you play in bands growing up as well?
LINDSEY: Yeah. My older brothers had a band called Kids Eat Free. I was like 13 or 14, and they said if I bought a bass I could be their bass player. I saved up paper route money and bought an Ibanez bass and this Peavy 115 bass amp. I’ve been playing music ever since.
NUVO: Shifting gears, how did the modern times and current climate of America influence the new record (Bad Behavior)?
LINDSEY: It almost felt like we had no choice in the end with the name. It felt like somebody told us to call it Bad Behavior. It’s almost just us soaking in the climate over the last couple years, and then it winding up in our lyrics.
I think there are multiple ways of looking at things too. I think a lot of things could wind up being for the better through this whole circus we’ve been going through lately. And in lots of ways, it makes sense because of where we are technologically. Everyone can see things way more often. People are spotlighted more than they used to be because there are more cameras and media around.
NUVO: Some of the fun-loving sounds on Bad Behavior have been compared to that of Tom Petty. What are your thoughts on Petty? Is he an inspiration to you?
LINDSEY: I love Tom Petty. Ben and I actually saw him on the first show of his last tour. He played in Oklahoma City, and we went to that show. It was very inspiring because I could see how much he loved playing those songs. I loved Tom Petty, and I had never seen him live. I just didn’t expect for them to be having as much fun as they were having. They were just having a blast, and that made the most sense to me. It was like, “Of course they’re having a blast. What else would you expect?” Seeing them play pumped me up.
We went back and toured some more, and then we finished our record. So in some ways, I feel a connection to Tom Petty on this record. He’s an inspiration to simplify. His recordings are simple and straightforward, and that’s what I love about ‘em. I feel like that’s what we did on this record. All of our records are pretty simple, but this one is even more so.