The Broken Eights Go Deep and Dark on Sophomore Album

Broc Seigneurie, photos by Corey Bauch

MUSIC THAT’S RIGHT UP THEIR ALLEY. The Broken Eights just completed their second album, Bitter Pill, with the help of Evan Middlesworth at Pine Hollow Studio. Expect a disc full of anger, angst, and emotional turmoil.
MUSIC THAT’S RIGHT UP THEIR ALLEY. The Broken Eights just completed their second album, Bitter Pill, with the help of Evan Middlesworth at Pine Hollow Studio. Expect a disc full of anger, angst, and emotional turmoil.

Nestled in the woods off County Road Z stands Pine Hollow, a recording studio that has served a plethora of local talent. Recently, Evan Middlesworth, the studio’s owner and engineer, has been busy working with The Broken Eights on their upcoming album.

Back in 2017, Middlesworth first worked with the group on their debut album, which was simply titled 8. Fast-forward to 2019 and he’s at it again – mastering the freshly minted tracks that will make up the Broken Eights’ sophomore release. Meanwhile, the band has been hard at work focusing on the album artwork and new merchandise for its fans.

The Broken Eights’ new album is titled Bitter Pill, but that’s not just a clever name. Filled with anger, angst, and emotional turmoil, singer and primary lyricist Brian Bethke touched on the themes surrounding the new release. “A lot was going on in our lives at the time (of recording), and I fed on all of that,” Bethke said. “The album is kind of a rollercoaster ride.” 

Along with the sincere themes, the group hopes its newest offering will let fans recognize how the band has grown and the depth behind its new music. “I think we were a little more brave … our sound has matured,” lead guitarist Mike “Riff” Johnson commented. “The first album was us dipping our toe in the water. This one is us diving in.”

When the group isn’t recording, members stay busy by exploring new endeavors to help get their name out to the world. After the band released its first album, it worked in conjunction with Northwoods Brew Pub to deliver a signature beer. The aptly named Broken Eights Hemp IPA has been a huge hit with fans since its debut. 

This time around, the Broken Eights are breaking onto the silver screen. Partnering with local filmmaker Jason Boehm, they are currently in production on a documentary that will be a complement to Bitter Pill. From writing to recording, the film will cover the band’s efforts to make what they hope will be its best work yet. Local DJ Scorch from 92.9 The X was brought in to hold one-on-one interviews with each of the members, which will allow fans to peer into the creative process behind crafting such a heartfelt album.

The documentary process has been an uncharted journey for the band. They’re anxiously waiting to see the finished product, although some of the members found filming to be a bit stressful. “Having someone there all the time, creeping around sticking a camera in your face. After a while, it was like, ‘TURN IT OFF!’ ” Bethke lamented. There aren’t many details yet on when the film will be completed, but at the very least the quartet expects the documentary will record their time together as musicians for posterity.

The Broken Eights will hold a soft release for Bitter Pill on Thursday, July 4, at the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series in Phoenix Park. The free show starts at 6pm.