Why did you choose The Victory Theater?
We Broken Toys assembled the caravan and made the long trek out to Holyoke, Massachusetts to record in the abandoned Victory Theater. The location really chose us, as all good locations do.
We were approached by the Live From Nowhere team after they discovered the place. They told us they immediately wanted us for the space as it matched our aesthetic, and we were super excited to be able to team up with them on the video shoot and recording, as we are big fans of their other collaborations.
How did that location affect your recording process and/or playing?
We didn’t get to see the theater beforehand, but being no strangers to the decrepit underbelly of abandoned places, we imagined it would be a place stopped in time and full of the echoes of patrons past. We wrote “Animals Like Me” specifically for the space. We wanted a wide open, dusty sound full of booming echoes and silence. We only had a few short days to write and perfect the song before we recorded it as the theater was scheduled to start undergoing renovations after resting in silence for nearly 40 years.
Any stories from when you were recording?
As you can imagine, in a building that has sat empty and unloved for so many years, there are places one should not tread, or at least should tread lightly. We were able to explore the theater, but had to do so very carefully so as not to fall through the cracks or disturb the ghosts. There was evidence of the former glory of the theater at every turn. A gold filigree balcony here, cracked marble floor tile there, fancy brochures for movies which premiered decades ago littering the aisles.
We were particularly taken with the bits left behind from the old concession stand, drink cups and popcorn boxes with stunning designs; candy for pennies, ice cream for a nickel. It was a fascinating spelunk into the history of a middle-of-nowhere place in a time long past.