CONTENTS A PRI L 2017
Editor: Stephen Ackroyd (email@example.com) Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Assistant Editor: Ali Shutler (email@example.com) Contributors: Andrew Benge, Chris Cope, Chris Taylor, Danny Randon, Jake Richardson, Jasleen Dhindsa, Jessica Goodman, Kristy Diaz, Phil Smithies, Steven Loftin All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Upset or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. P U B L I S H E D F RO M
THE BUNKER W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
IN THIS ISSUE... RIOT!
4 M ASTO D O N 8 A RCA N E RO OTS 10 RO C K DJ : WAT E RPA RKS VS SW M RS 12 M A L LO RY K N OX
ABOUT TO BREAK
14 B E L L EV U E DAYS 15 B ROA D BAY 16 D E L PA XTO N
18 D I ET C I G
26 28 32 42
B L E AC H E D PW R BT T M C RE E P E R P U L L E D A PA RT BY H O RS ES
46 C RE E P E R 47 F RE EZ E T H E AT L A N T I C 48 J U L I E N BA K E R 49 T R AC KS O F T H E MONTH 50 MODERN BASEBALL 52 TAKING BACK SUNDAY
These are troubled times. As the rights of those who need them most seem to get repealed by the day, it’s easy to feel like we’re going backwards as a society. Stateside an administration that appears barely capable of functioning comes down hardest on those that need support the most, while in the UK we’re driven towards a seemingly increasingly hardline outcome to a referendum where the younger generation was dictated to by one who has already taken so much. It’s at times like these we need voices to stand out and speak loud. This month, we’re highlighting just some of the most important. Bands who, as they see a world that still had so far to go challenged, are willing to put their foot down and fight. Stand with them.
RIOT ING IN ROCK E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N
MASTODON’S NEW ALBUM TELLS THE STORY OF A MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH IN THE DESERT; FILLED WITH CINEMATIC STORYTELLING AND EMOTIVE THEMES, IT’S A NARRATIVE CLOSE TO THE BAND’S HEARTS.
WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN. PHOTOS: JIMMY HUBBARD.
e bring an emotional darkness for people. If they want to be in that safe place, they can be.” Finding time before rehearsal for his set on The Late Show with Seth Meyers, Mastodon drummer and co-vocalist extraordinaire Brann Dailor delves deep into the psyche of the band and their fans. Mastodon’s latest studio release, ‘Emperor of Sand’ is once again a conceptualised epic tale that uses storytelling to resonate - though getting to this point is a surprisingly relaxed process, he explains. “We’re never quite sure what it’s going to sound like, there are never any predetermined notions when it comes to
anything Mastodon, and that’s what makes us organic.” ‘Emperor of Sand’ is a project fuelled by the band’s personal lives, and as the recording sessions progressed, their tales were used to flesh out the album’s narrative. “Over a few months, we put together a basic outline of what the story should be and then tried to tie it all into what everybody was experiencing - life, cancer. Bill [Kelliher guitar]’s mother was going through brain cancer, and it seemed to work metaphorically, but it had to be a representation.” Exposing such tender parts of your life isn’t easy. “It takes a little bit of extra work, but for me, it pays off emotionally. I just want to feel like I gave it everything I have and that I took all the
measures to make sure that it’s special and honest and truthful and interesting. Well, interesting to me at least - but I’m not that skilled of a writer.” It’s a statement loaded with modesty; if you’ve ever found yourself reading the lyrics to a Mastodon song, you’ll know they’re not run-of-the-mill. “I don’t consider myself a writer or anything,” Brann laughs. “I do my best with the lyrics and try to make them the least amount of embarrassing possible. I try to get them so my wife can read them without singing, and have me and her not laugh.” “It was a difficult period to go through,” he muses, “but what do you do? Do you side step it, knowing the emotions coming out of the album musically are steeped in all the personal things that
RIOT were going on? Lyrically think this song is about baloney sandwiches so that you don’t have to talk about what the emotionality connected to the actual music is? Or do you just confront it?” Brann recalls one of his first experiences in dealing with delving into his personal life. “For people who found out after [2009 album] ‘Crack The Skye’ came out, with me talking about it, ‘Hey, this is about my sister, she killed herself’ - that’s the last thing I want to talk about on a daily basis. I spent years being like, ‘I don’t wanna talk about that’, but on the flip-side, we had all these people connecting with it.” It was at this point that Mastodon realised they’d moved to an entirely new point in their careers - they were affecting people in ways they never imagined. This revelation brought Brann a whole new world to consider. “That’s what made me realise how important lyrics are, how important subject matter is and how important it is to people. They hold it near and dear and make it their own.” It’s an idea he wasn’t used to. “I don’t treat music like that, I listen to bits
and pieces people are playing but a lot of people listen to music lyrically, and I’d say the majority of people are more concerned with what the singer is saying and what the message of the song is. We found that we were getting a lot of people being like, ‘Thank you so much this record helped me through a lot’, or people sharing their stories. It’s like, man, we’re helping people. That’s far beyond what I thought we were capable of!” Mastodon becoming a beast of its own, helping people, as it always has for Brann, is unexpected yet welcome. “It’s always been integral to my life. It’s one of the only things I think about on a daily basis; it’s all-encompassing. I want it to be someone’s everything because it is for me. All I ever wanted from it, I guess, was someone to tell me that this album helped, even just a little bit, because this album helped me. Just being in a band and writing and playing songs is our contribution to the vast world of music, so if we helped in any way, then...” he adopts a comically serious accent, “mission accomplished.” Mastodon aren’t all doom and gloom
“ I WA N T IT TO B E SOMEONE’S E V E RY T H I N G , B ECAUS E I T IS FOR ME.” however, and Brann wants to make sure everyone knows they have both sides covered. “I never want to be the band that pretends that doesn’t exist - to be all fucking serious all the time. We’re just normal people, normal dudes, hanging out, being pretty ridiculous most of the time. But when it comes to the music and on stage we take it really seriously, that’s another part of us. The humour is the other part of us, and it’s all rolled into one. We’re not trying to create a false persona, that’s what it is.” P Mastodon’s album ‘Emperor Of Sand’ is out 31st March.
S T O S O T R O E O N R A E C N R A A C R A
AY S T I L L , WHILE THEY M R O OT S ’ C A R E EER T H E I R N E W A L B U M E N A C R A TO N I S PROMI A D ECA D E F S , T H E Y C A N ’ T L O N G -T I M E FA N S … LOV E T H E I R R I F I L I A R TO M FA DON. AT H T L L A WORDS: DANNY RAN WILL BE
016 was a chequered year for Arcane Roots; although it brought opportunities to grace new stages and embrace new crowds through opening sold-out shows for the likes of Enter Shikari and Jimmy Eat World, it also tested the patience and proficiency of the London three-piece as they strived to compose a longawaited second album. Thankfully, as they approach their tenth anniversary, the most dapper gents in tech-metal have bounced back to reveal that their next full-length will soon be conquering your ears and minds. “In hindsight, it’s been fortunate for us in a way,” admits singer/guitarist Andrew Groves, still putting finishing touches on the record. “For all the setbacks along the way, putting out the first track and reviewing the response has been quite uplifting and positive.” That first cut, ‘Curtains’, is a track of two dramatically contrasting halves; although its mighty climax takes everything we love about the band and builds upon it with an interstellar intensity, its opening segment throws elegant swathes of downtempo electronica into the frame. It draws the drapes on Arcane Roots’ mindset of old. “You can’t help but naturally compare yourself to other [bands], but I didn’t want to think in those terms anymore,” Andrew declares. “This album is very much about turning that off and concentrating on pushing forward. When we put ‘Curtains’ out, we still had
nine other songs to record. It’s maybe a good introduction to the record, but I wouldn’t give any assurances of familiar ground for any of our fans.” The more chorus-driven contents of 2015 EP ‘Heaven & Earth’ marked a daring departure from the unrelenting mathematic mindfuckery of their 2013 debut ‘Blood & Chemistry’. That said, the new one, in Andrew’s own words, is the soundtrack to “getting rid of my rock sensibilities” and venturing further into the synthetic rabbit hole. “We [already] felt like we could do rock music,” Andrew sighs. “We’re not spring chickens anymore. We’ve been doing this for ten years, and we’re all aware that we’re getting older and maturing, and that any album could be our last. For whatever reason, we became very
“WE STILL LOV E O U R RIFFS IN A RCA N E RO OTS!” enthusiastic about life – I mean, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow! As you get older things change, people move on and die, and I just felt like I didn’t want to waste time.” Andrew began to immerse himself in different spheres of music, taking influence from artists such as James
Blake, Bjork and Four Tet. Although he claims that making the record “totally changed the way I played guitar”, he also learnt both piano and violin, as well as playing around with synths and drum machines. “It’s been nice to be excited about new things,” he says, before taking a more reassuring tone. “There are still absolutely humongous riffs; we love our riffs in Arcane Roots!” The dabbling with these off-kilter elements on the album is something which has permeated Andrew’s approach – alongside bassist Adam Burton and drummer Jack Wrench – to the full Arcane Roots package. The band may have reached a milestone birthday this year, but as far as Andrew’s concerned, the focus is less on looking back at achievements and more on making their current lives shows the “most incredible, visceral experience”. “I’ve been very much of the mindset that we make the record, but also [make sure] that the songs could translate in many more different ways. I relish the idea of being able to make something that has a huge orchestra in it, but then play it live with a drum machine and an acoustic guitar. The theatricality of the live show is something which informed the songs before they had even been written, and so I’ve only promised to care about doing this record and a live show and making something which is worthy of my own attention…” P Arcane Roots’ new album is out later this year.
THE STUNNING DEBUT ALBUM
ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS IN STORES 24 MARCH FEATURING ‘SUZANNE’, ‘HIDING WITH BOYS’ & ‘BLACK RAIN’ CD • DIGITAL • 12” GATEFOLD LIMITED EDITION BUNDLES AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT SHOP.ROADRUNNERRECORDS.CO.UK
UK HEADLINE TOUR 2017 March 25 – Manchester, Academy 2 March 26 – Glasgow, The Garage March 27 – Newcastle, University March 28 – Leeds, Stylus March 30 – London, Electric Ballroom SOLD OUT March 31 – Southampton, The 1865 SOLD OUT April 1 – Birmingham, Institute 2 SOLD OUT April 2 – Cardiff, Tramshed
A W S T E N F R O M WA T E R P A R K S
VS VS VS
COLE FROM SWMRS
TWO BAND MEMBERS. F I V E C AT E G O R I E S . ONE WINNER.
veryone thinks they could be a superstar DJ. Everyone. Even your nan reckons she’s in with a chance of having it large behind the wheels of steel. But not everyone has what it takes. We’re putting some of your favourite bands to the test. We’ve given two musicians five categories. They pick a song for each, we decide who wins each round, and who takes home the trophy overall. There can only be one victor. This month, Awsten from Waterparks takes on Cole from SWMRS. Let battle commence... ROUND ONE T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY I F T H E P L A N E T W A S I N VA D E D BY A L I E N S A N D YO U H A D TO CONVINCE THEM THE H U M A N R A C E WA S W O R T H S AV I N G .
Cole: ‘Tom Sawyer’ by Rush. If Geddy isn’t the closest thing to alien communication we’re fucked. Awsten: ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Taylor Swift. Because i wouldn’t kill anyone who could make those sounds. W I N N E R While communication with an alien race is a good idea, you’d have to be mad to mess with Swifty. Awsten, 1-0. ROUND TWO T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY AT A WEDDING FULL OF G ROWN UPS.
Cole: ‘Sinner’s Swing!’ by Van Halen. Nothing puts adults more in heat like a little Eddie and Alex. Awsten: Probably some Mozart idk. Because we’re at a wedding and surrounded by grown ups and I’m not a 13-year-old punk, shitboy, ~*~sNoWfLaKeE~*~ that craves being looked at weird for attention so I can feel like I’m on the outside and different from everyone else and blah blah blahhhh, I just wanna eat cake and be nice. W I N N E R You can’t put bloody Mozart in a DJ set. You can put Van Halen in - though it is a wedding, so they’d be expecting ‘Jump’. Still, 1-1. Cole’s round. ROUND THERE T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY TO G E T R E A DY F O R G O I N G O U T.
Cole: ‘Party Rock Anthem’ by LMFAO. Helps me get my chastity belt on nice and tight. Awsten: ‘I’m Just A Girl’ by No Doubt. Hype. W I N N E R It’s actually statistically impossible to beat No Doubt. Can’t be done. 2-1 to Awsten. ROUND FOUR
T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY I F T H E W O R L D WA S A BOUT TO E N D.
Cole: ‘It’s the End of the World as we Know It’ by R.E.M. Cliché, but who wouldn’t want to listen to R.E.M while the devil takes you in whatever way he wants. Awsten: ‘This Town’ by Niall Horan. BECAUSE IT’S SO SWEET AND NICE SOUNDING I’D BE OKAY DYING TO IT. W I N N E R On one hand, R.E.M. are the default, obvious winner here. But then you read Awsten’s reasoning, and you think - yeah, okay, maybe I would want to slip away listening to Nine Inch Niall. Obviously Cole takes this round to make it 2-2, but y’know. Niall is dreamy. ROUND FIVE T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY AT A SUMMER BBQ
Cole: ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Kid Rock version of course. Awsten: ‘Coldest Winter’ by Kanye West. In case Kanye West shows up to my barbecue and happens to be WAY into irony. W I N N E R Nope. Nope. No Kid Rock. That’s not happening ‘round here. No way, no how. He may be suggesting playing a track called ‘Coldest Winter’ at the height of summer, but - almost by default - we’ve got to give it to Awsten. AND THE WINNER IS... AW S T E N F R O M WAT E R PA R K S W I N S 3 - 2 . ‘ C O N G R AT S ’ !
CAS E ST U DY
FRANK FRANK CARTER CARTER
W H AT E S S E N T I A L S Y O U R F AV O U R I T E B A N D S A L W AY S T A K E O N TOU R? W E L L, N OW YO U CA N K N OW !
PVRIS PVRIS PVRIS ARE BACK! THEIR NEW ALBUM IS COMING, AND THEY’RE HEADING BACK TO THE UK FOR A COUPLE OF
SHOWS THIS MAY.
+ Bose Headphones. + Red diary. + Pro arte prolene paint brushes. + Bert Krak tattoo machine + Rose of Mercy pin
badges + Pelikan 4001 black ink. + Layrite super hold + Ralph Lauren Glasses. + Polaroid of my girls. + Halves + Flash Sketchbook
he road to PVRIS’ second full-length looks to be well and truly underway. Increased teasing is one thing, but a run of European live shows and festivals proves there’s more than just a bit of hype to one of the most anticipated records of 2017.
The band announced first one, then two shows for London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire this May, alongside a run of shows around Europe in Paris [Well, obv Ed], Amsterdam and Berlin. They’ve also booked in to play this summer’s Lowlands festival, with more shows expected to follow. Eagle-eyed spotters may notice Lowlands takes place a week before Reading & Leeds... P
PVRIS ARE SET T O P L AY . . .
MAY 04 LONDON, SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE 05 LONDON, SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE 08 PARIS, TRABENO 10 AMSTERDAM, MELKWEG 11 BERLIN, COLUMBIA THEATRE
THEIR LATEST HIT ‘BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU’ IS ALL OVER THE RADIO RIGHT NOW, AND IT’S NO WONDER - WITH THEMES SUCH AS OVERCOMING DEPRESSION, DEALING WITH LOSS AND GROWING UP, NEW ALBUM ‘WIRED’ SEES MALLORY KNOX FINALLY HIT THEIR STRIDE.
WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN.
verybody grows up; it’s a fact of life - one that Mallory Knox frontman Mikey Chapman is becoming all too aware of. Twentyseven years old and releasing his third album ‘Wired’, Mikey is finding that the change of pace suits him and his cohorts well - even if it means drinking green tea and self-confessing, “I’m not very rock’n’roll, man.” This is clearly not the case. What he’s is doing is conceding to the unstoppable notion of time, something referred to immediately on ‘Wired’. “Clean, I think it’s time to come clean,” roars opening track ‘Giving It Up’, followed by a chorus of: “I feel like giving it up, I’ve done my time, I feel like giving it up / This time can’t tow the line, I feel like giving it up, I think about this every night.” Getting to the point of their third
album took Mallory Knox a bit longer than the swift turnaround between debut ‘Signals’ in 2013 and follow-up ‘Asymmetry’ in 2014. “In our defence, we had an incredible run with the ‘Asymmetry’,” laughs Mikey. “We got to go to some great places. We were holding out for those opportunities and waiting for the knowledge of the record to spread naturally, and with that comes time and patience.” The five-piece from Ely, just outside of Cambridge, found themselves on the right side of success with their second album. Though they wanted to keep this streak going, there was also a need to shake things up. “As much as we had an incredibly fun time recording ‘Asymmetry’, we had something like three months to do it, and it ended up being a bit too much time,” Mikey explains. When it came down to what the record would ultimately concern, he reveals: “An element that we reflect upon
within the concept is the immediacy of modern day. For all its benefits and its wonders and the incredible lifestyle that it can bring...” he pauses and snaps his fingers. “It’s never this chance to bud, develop and grow.” “There are so many facets of [being a musician],” he continues. “Anything from the actual industry and the politics of it to the band dynamic, development, and even the fans and their tastes. It’s a constantly changing creature, but it always has teeth. We’ve been very lucky in that respect; people have looked at us and maybe looked at the long game, but for young bands who want that opportunity, even in the six years, we’ve seen a very distinct shift to immediacy.” Mallory Knox took all of those obstacles and channelled them into ‘Wired’. “We do address quite a few poignant issues on this one. We’ve always had a melancholy and a reflective vibe on songs and
“A P S Y C H I AT R I S T W O U L D H AV E A FUN TIME BREAKING THIS RECORD DOWN.”
stuff, we’ve never been particularly happy-happy, but they’ve always been in a more abstract kind of way and never necessarily writing about specifics. You can talk about the loss of a love or whatever, and it will just be, ‘This has happened, it’s all it is, I can’t do anything about it,” he says in a mock-whinging tone. “And now it’s like, ‘Yeah, this happened’. I‘m a fucking twenty-seven-year-old man, what do you do when that happens? You don’t just dwell on it; you take responsibility for it, you grow, you develop, you move past it and work on ways of making yourself better.” ‘Wired’ is no holds barred regarding subject matter, you’ll even find a nod to antidepressant Citalopram on ‘Better Off Without You’, which highlights Mikey’s struggle with depression. “It was never an intention when we were writing it,” he explains, “but when I step back now and look at the album as a bigger picture, I find an underlying theme of accountability
and taking responsibility - whether it be mental health, or love, or even social, political, religious scenarios we find ourselves in.” “The band itself has such an impact on our personal lives and always has done,” he continues. “It’s affected relationships and lifestyle choices and all that kind of stuff; I suppose it’s part and parcel of the ‘rock’n’roll lifestyle’, whatever that means nowadays. It’s never just boyfriend and girlfriend when you’re in a band; it’s always a ménage à trois.” Summarising this soundtrack for the maturing and the isolated, Mikey talks with complete conviction: “I think it’s quite a poignant thing for people who are coming up to their thirties. Whether you’re a musician or not, this is the period where you realise you can’t have that one extra beer anymore; you can’t say that to people anymore, you can’t behave like that anymore, you can’t think that way
anymore. “I’m getting to that point where I need to take account and responsibility and keep an eye on what I’m doing and work to improve myself in that manner, so I think that underlying thing permeates. Our personal lives have done so within the music as well, without us necessarily realising it. I think a psychiatrist would have a fun time breaking this record down.” As ‘Wired’ is released into an increasingly uncertain world, Mikey has no qualms about its place in history. “Art is indestructible because it’s just an abstract reflection of our time and that will always be the case. Even in a thousand years time, there’ll always be someone in an abstract way reflecting.” P Mallory Knox’s album ‘Wired’ is out now.
B R EAK We hear you guys are working on a new EP - what can you tell us about it? Alan: We’re working on some new music, got some tracks recorded ’n stuff, and a few possible singles in mind for a release. It’s got multiple vibes I’d say, like there’s some heavy shit going on and some pretty chilled out sombre stuff as well. Good overall vibes though. Dan: Yeah, we got themes of religion and stuff in there. Faux pas in love and life. I hope it resonates with people. Where did you write and record this one? Joe: We recorded it at a cool
THE BEST NEW BANDS TH E H OT TEST NEW MUSIC
little studio called Stakeout, on an island near Hampton Court Palace, with a producer called Jason Wilson. Wrote it at this rehearsal space in Rosehill. Although I guess the original ideas were written in various bedrooms across South London. Have you learnt anything new about yourselves during the EP’s creation? Alan: Probably that I really need to learn how to re-string my guitar. I still manage to bribe Dan to do it with the promise of a few cheeky cans. How are you guys feeling about the state of the world
right now? Do you take any influence from politics or societal issues? Dan: We try not to get involved in it all or write about politics specifically, but recently it’s been hard to ignore, so maybe the general mood has crept in. We talked about all that shit a lot while recording. Joe: Plus our producer kept putting on Netflix documentaries of sex offenders and news clips of Donald Trump. Tomayto, tomato? What’s your favourite thing about being in Bellevue Days? Alan: Just being able to have a laugh 24/7 with some of the best lads, and play music together. Joe: Driving five miles in three hours to every London show and not being able to drink. Definitely Top 5 fave things. Guess it’s healthier...
the summer? You’re at 2000trees? Alan: Yeah we are playing ‘trees again which should be super sweet, it is one of the coolest festivals we’ve been to and last year was such a wicked crowd. Got more festivals in the pipeline, and we are planning on releasing new material before the summer kicks in. How do you prepare for playing festivals? Alan: Just practice shit loads and practice putting up tents and stuff. Also finding a car big enough to fit all of us in which is always fun. Joe: Getting the suspension on my Clio sorted out postfestival is how I prepare for the next one. Is there anything you really want to have done or achieved come the end of 2017? Alan: Number One single on the iTunes chart? Not much of an ask, innit. P
BELLEVUE DAYS What’re your plans for over
AHEAD OF THEIR APPEARANCE AT 2000TREES THIS SUMMER - AND A NEW EP THAT’S ‘ON THE WAY’ - BELLEVUE DAYS FILL US IN ON SOME OF THEIR PLANS FOR 2017.
BROADBAY BRIGHTON POP-PUNKS BROADBAY HAVE JUST DROPPED A NEW EP - IT’S A SIGN OF BIG THINGS TO COME.
Hey, Broadbay - introduce yourselves: who are you, and how did you guys get together? Yooo!! This is James; I play guitar, Angus plays bass and Bill plays drums. Bill and I have been playing in bands since we were 15 or so. I moved to Brighton in 2012 and Bill joined me a year later, we didn’t plan it so we could start another band or anything but it just worked out that way. We’d been playing in Broadbay for three years or so when our bassist at the time Ralphy left. We had a stand in for the next tour who unfortunately got ill and had to leave mid-way through. Angus was at the show and offered to help us out, learned all the songs the next morning, had a little practise in the van on the way and smashed the show. We’d all been friends for a few years beforehand, so we already loved hanging out. It was easy. So far we haven’t let him leave. What’ve been your highlights since forming? You’ve played some pretty cool gigs. When we formed the band the three main influences were Dinosaur Jr, Yuck and Cloud Nothings and since then we’ve played with both Yuck and Cloud Nothings, so
that’s pretty crazy - just Dino to go. That would be fucked. Other than that I’d have to say touring with Gnarwolves for the first time. We love touring no matter who we’re with, but going with them was real eye opener. The first show we did was in Newcastle, and the venue got changed last minute to a super small room. We played to a packed room, watched Woahnows play and fell in love with them instantly, and then Gnarwolves played and they had to keep stopping the show because the people downstairs thought the ceiling was going to cave in. We had people after the show asking us to sign posters and take photos. We’d never experienced that kind of thing before; it was surreal. What are your favourite places to hang out in Brighton? That’s difficult; there’s so much great stuff! If we’re going out to drink or watch bands, we’d be going to either Green Door Store, Sticky Mike’s or The Prince Albert. Normally on an average day, I’d spend most of my time at The Level drinking Buckfast and juggling…. Nah, I’m kidding. There is an amazing skatepark there though that
I’d spend most of my time at. I used to live in a house right next to the skatepark, so my friends and I would skate all day then like ten of us would go back there to make dinner and chill. The city’s got a strong music community, hasn’t it - can you recommend us some new bands? Yeah, it’s crazy how solid the scene is. We’ve made some of our best friends through playing there. All the bands are supportive of one another and want each band to do well; there’s no competitive element. Recently there’s been a resurgence of hardcore bands starting up and playing all the time. I can’t begin to name them all, but check out the shows that Charlie Piper from Gnarwolves puts on under the name Heshones. Other than that I’d say Gender Roles, Brvce Willis, Beachtape, Bloody Death, Moodhoover (snakes), The New Tusk, Fuoco, Muskets, Birdskulls and countless more. Tell us about your new EP. So the EP was written over the space of like two years, or maybe more. We weren’t working on it specifically for that long, but we just write songs and then when we
decide we should release something we’ll pick the songs that we like best and think work well together. There could’ve been like twenty different songs on there. So the subject matter varies a bit. Most of the themes are dealing with anxiety about the future, relationship problems and general worries that I think most people have. Writing lyrics is a cathartic experience for me. The subject matter is often downtrodden and negative, but it’s just my way of getting it off my chest so I can live my life without these thoughts rattling around my head so much. I like that most of the songs sound happy but are sad as hell. Do you have big plans for the rest of the year? What’re you up to? We just plan to tour as much as possible and release more music. We’re pretty unhappy with the amount of material we’ve been releasing so far, so that’s a real big priority for us to get more out this year. We have some tours planned and stuff, but it’s all hushhush at the moment. We’ll let you know soon enough! P Broadbay’s new EP ‘Long Term Plan’ is out now. 15
NEW YORK TRIO DEL PAXTON MAKE THE SORT OF LO-FI, SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS PUNK IT’S HARD NOT TO LOVE.
Hey Zack, Dylan, what are we interrupting? Zack: Hello! I do tarot card readings professionally, and you’ve caught me in between appointments - so you haven’t interrupted anything. So, how long have you guys been making music together and where did you meet? Dylan: I grew up going to see Greg and Zack’s old band, but I didn’t know them otherwise. When I was in college, my band toured with Greg’s band at the time. After that, we all found ourselves living in Buffalo, so we decided to start playing together. That was probably early 2013? Yeah. Being a band in New York must be great, right? What’s the scene like in Buffalo? Dylan: You’re right, being a band in New York is great! There have been so many great local bands from upstate NY, and I like being a part of that history. Buffalo has a great DIY and house show scene, and we try to do what we can to support that. Bands like Mapmaker, Slow Cooker, Yellow House, Hot Tip, Alpha Hopper, and VWLS 16 upsetmagazine.com
are locals that I’m really into right now, and I’m happy we get to play with them here in Buffalo. What inspired you to make the kind of music you do? Dylan: We’ve all been in riffy punk bands since we started playing music. I think that combined with our love of 90s emo is what inspired this record. We’ve also lived in upstate NY our whole lives, so the details and lyrics reflect that. What’s your favourite thing about your debut album, ‘All Day, Every Day, All Night’? Zack: I’d say my favourite thing about this release is its sonic imperfection. I get really tired of listening to bands in our genre whose records are super compressed, use quantized / triggered drums, and copious amounts of pitch correction. You get to a point where you feel like you’re listening to how good a studio engineer is at using software, rather than the band and the music they wrote. With this record, we were fortunate to have access to a beautiful, gold standard, state-of-the-art live room which afforded
us the opportunity to dial in natural sounds and tones we were looking for. We also recorded everything live (with the exception of vocals) to get the most organic sounding performance we could. We’re a genre rock band. If you’re making genrespecific music like we do, I think it’s important to do whatever you can to make it interesting. Album aside, what else are you guys working on at the mo? Are you touring much this year? Zack: We’ve got plans to play a few festivals. We’ll be touring down to SXSW in Austin, TX for the Topshelf Records showcase as well as one or two other showcases while we’re down there. We also have some other festival plans in the works which haven’t been announced yet. What do you think is music’s most important job in 2017? Zack: In 2017 especially, music’s most important job is to be a vehicle for political and social progress. As we’re witnessing the emergence of ultra right-wing white
nationalists into positions of power in Europe and the US, the idea of playing music just for music’s sake feels increasingly less important. Of course, playing music has always been and will always be fun and fulfilling. I’ve always enjoyed being involved with any form of creative activity, but have never made any overtly political music (this band is no exception). That’s why it’s important for us to make our views publicly known whenever possible. Whether people are aware of it or not, every word we do or do not speak, and every action or non-action we take has political implications. In an increasingly troubling political climate worldwide, I believe all creative people have a responsibility to use their platform to stand with social and economic justice and against systematic hatreds of all forms. So long story short, I love playing in my genre-rock band, but there are far more important things going on in the world than my genre-rock band. P Del Paxton’s debut album ‘All Day, Every Day, All Night’ is out now.
T H FIG FOR THE WORLD IS A SCARY PLACE AT THE BEST OF TIMES, BUT OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS IT’S GOT A WHOLE LOAD MORE FUCKED UP. AS NEWLY EMBOLDENED VOICES TRY AND TAKE AWAY THE RIGHTS OF ALREADY OPPRESSED GROUPS, THE VOICES OF THOSE WILLING TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER. WITH THEIR DEBUT ALBUM, DIET CIG HAVE NO INTENTION OF STAYING QUIET, AND THEY’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
aving fun and dancing is such a good way to say ‘fuck you’ to a system that just wants you to feel oppressed and alone,” explains Alex Luciano. A lot has changed for Diet Cig over the past couple of years but their desire for a good time has never wavered. Debut album ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is purpose-built to inspire wacky dance moves, beaming smiles and wall-to-wall excitement. But it’s bigger than that. “The fun is a way to subvert what is expected of anyone right now. The government and the patriarchy, they want us to be afraid. All these oppressors, all they want is everyone to be afraid of them, to put their head down and to not do anything. I think that it’s really important just not to do that. They want you not to have fun; they want you to feel like shit. It’s like, no, we stand together. We’re having fun, and we’re saying ‘fuck you’ to your idea of oppressing us. It is the biggest middle finger you can give to anyone trying to put you down, to just have fun. They can’t take that, or our sense of community while doing it, away from us.” Three years ago to the day, Alex and Noah Bowman met at a house party. Alex wanted to borrow a lighter, Noah was playing drums with another band. A bottle of wine exchanged hands mid-set, and they’ve been best friends ever since. A handful of songs - 2015’s ‘Over Easy’ EP and the ‘Sleep Talk/ Dinner Date’ single - were recorded on a whim and released with zero expectations. The world had other ideas. Diet Cig is the first time Alex has played in a band. Her wide-eyed enthusiasm was contagious and Noah, a seasoned-pro by comparison, got a new lease of life. It felt like they were doing it because they wanted to, not because it’s all they knew how to do. That wanton excitement, it draws people in. “Alex was 18 when we started this band, I was 21, and over these past two years, I feel like we’ve learnt a lot more than we would have learnt if we weren’t in this band. We’ve gotten
to experience more things than we ever expected. It’s shaped who we are, and it’s opened up our eyes to what’s going on outside of who we are.” Eyes open and aware, Diet Cig didn’t question the journey. Instead, they realised: “Fuck, we like doing this. We have this platform to say what needs to be said and we have people who want to hear it, listen.” Political or personal, “When someone comes up to us and says, ‘Oh my God, you get me’ it’s like, ‘No, you get me’. You can bond over the fact you’ve gone through the same shit. Feeling your feelings and telling people about it is such a radical act and I just hope we can encourage other people not to stay quiet. I just want everyone to know we’re feeling the same shit they’re feeling, and I want to scream that from the top of the building,” starts Alex. “Although, I guess putting a record out is the equivalent of that. “ Intimate, unafraid and without a sugar-coating, Diet Cig’s debut is as honest as they come. From the perils of dating someone with her own name, through slut-shaming, selfdoubt, sexism and shitty boyfriends to simply not feeling alone, ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ covers it all. There’s a joyous sense of self one moment, a frustrated “fuck off” the next. It’s proud and powerful, but the band never hide from their fears. Written and recorded during a tense and confusing twelve months, it sees the band reacting to the world that surrounds them. It sees them determined to make it a little better. “2016 was the most fun, incredible year ever, even though it was the worst year ever for everyone. We’re super lucky to have been playing all those shows,” reasons Alex. Their music is powerful because it’s personal. It’s personal because they know they’re not the only ones with these stories. “We had so much fun, learnt so much and it was incredibly uplifting to meet all these people who were coming to our shows, standing in solidarity together and to just be a part of something bigger than ourselves for a little bit.” During their time on the road, the pair realised their music meant something to people beyond something to simply dance to. There were shows were Diet Cig were the support band, miles away from home, yet Alex didn’t even need to sing. The crowd knew the words. They had her back.
“It’s always going to feel crazy that people want to listen to our music. After we had done this record, though, it felt like we maybe knew what we were doing a little bit and it all made sense. It’s still so overwhelmingly cool that we get to do this,” grins Alex. With songs written in the studio, ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ didn’t come together until the very end. “It was the best feeling ever. We realised we work well under pressure and oh my God, we made something, and it’s cohesive and beautiful and from our souls and hearts. It was like our whole soul got poured into it then regurgitated back into our bodies, mama penguin style.” For Alex and Noah, music has always reminded them of family connections and sanctuary. Noah grew up in and around his dad’s studio, his earliest musical memory singing a version of The Cartoonz ‘Witch Doctor’ from the Rugrats Movie with his twin brother (who the band recorded ‘Swear’ with). Alex learnt guitar from a guy her step-dad knew, but those lessons quickly transformed into the two families hanging out and having fun. The friendship between them all is still going strong, and the idea of music as a tool for bringing people together grows from there. The pair had to take a step back to get closer on ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ though. “We had a lot of people waiting on this record, and as we took longer and longer to write, more and more people were asking ‘Where’s your record?’ ‘It’s coming, I swear’.” At one point, they just had to say, “Fuck it, we’re just going to write this for us.” That breakthrough came via ‘Barf Day’. “We wrote that song so randomly, and it just rocks. We weren’t thinking about whether it was a Diet Cig song or an Alex and Noah song, we just wrote it. That’s when we got over the hump of thinking, ‘Are we good enough?’ ‘Can we do this?’ We just did it, and that felt really good. Once we let go of any expectations we had of ourselves, it came together quickly.” Messages aplenty, ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ comes packed with fuck-off fables, solidarity and community. It’s got a voice and, for the most part, it wants to be heard. “The thing is, I knew I had something to say,” explains Alex. “It’s just the whole articulation of it. How do I say it so that everyone will get what I’m saying? I realised I just had to be honest and I had to
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be myself because if I don’t even understand what I’m trying to say, no one else will.” The result is a record that doesn’t shy away from being direct or saying exactly what’s on its mind. “It’s hard showing the world who you are, isn’t it?” questions ‘Bath Bomb’. “Something nice about knowing everyone feels hopeless,” reasons ‘Bite Back’. “No one wants to think that they are all alone in this.” “We had to hunker down and figure out what we wanted to say. Is there a way we can help people?” The answer was right in front of them. “The world is spiralling into darkness, and it’s incredible to be able to put that on pause for our shows and be like, okay, we’re all standing here together. We can be a part of this for forty-five minutes and just let all the bullshit in the world go.” Solidarity is difficult to capture on record but ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is a war cry to be better. It encourages you to escape those who won’t. You are not alone. Not now, not ever. It’s also a personal mantra for the band. “It’s the whole idea of having to convince yourself you can do something. We said that to ourselves maybe 100 times a day when we were recording. I feel like I say it to myself constantly every day as well. This whole band has been me reassuring myself, ‘Okay you can do this, you’re good at this. We got this’. It helps pump me up. Everyone is their own worst critic, and I’m definitely mine.” It’s confident, but there’s still a flicker of self-doubt. It’s also a line that finds itself at home in ‘Blob Zombie’. “That track is one of the first tracks we wrote for the record. It’s about how you can be the most creative, driven, artistic person but also wanting to crawl into your bed and never leave again. It’s me battling those feelings of wanting to do everything, wanting to be the best, make a huge impact and be a rock star but also not wanting to get out of my bed. A lot of the record is balancing those two sides. I’m powerful, strong and a badass but I’m tired, insecure and trying to just figure it all out like everyone else.” Before, Diet Cig dealt in escape. Out the window, down the drainpipe and off somewhere fun. Now, they’re out to make their world a little more like the place they wanted to escape to. “I don’t feel I’m necessarily running away from everything anymore as
much as I’m confronting it and being like, this needs to fucking change. Something needs to change. I’ve grown up so much since the band started, I no longer wish to go somewhere that’s nicer, I want to take the place I am now and make it nicer. Or I’m going to fucking die kicking and screaming about it.” Positively rebellious, ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is “way more confrontational, and it addresses my feelings in a way more upfront way. I’m trying to turn my reality into something that I want, rather than an escape. This band has made me feel like I have a place in the world. It’s also been empowering as a feminist, just seeing what my voice as a woman in music can do. I’ve been super empowered to support the causes we align with and super empowered to speak our minds. We have a platform. We have a voice. We should use it,” declares Alex. “I would never have felt so strongly about vocalising what I believe in without this band.” It’s an awakening they want to share. “Being a woman is inherently political,” Alex reasons, and across the record, she twists, toys and plays with this idea. “It was deliberate, but at the same time, it’s who I am. I was just questioning what it means to be a woman.” There are sweet smiles as she repeatedly demands “Fuck off”, a sing-song warning that “I am bigger than the outside shell of my body and if you touch it without asking then you’ll be sorry,” and the unfair idea that “it’s hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt.” “The expectations that are put on you as a woman or a femme person in this world right now are fucking overbearing sometimes. Sometimes it feels really good just to toss the fucking table on it and be like, ‘Fuck that; I’m not going to follow your rules’. It’s weird, I feel like I’m constantly walking a line of embracing my femme self and pushing it away, I’m more than that, but it is such a part of my identity.” Blokes in music can say what they like; they’re encouraged to have Big Opinions and Strong Views. It’s the norm. Women, though, they’re ‘outspoken’, ‘loud’, ‘boisterous’. “I feel like women are taught not to be so loud, overbearing, emotional and to bottle up our feelings. I hope people listen to our record and learn that you can speak your mind. It’s okay to be
loud; it’s okay to be overbearing. It’s okay to say no. Scream your feelings and don’t let anyone tell you what you have to say isn’t important, because it is.” Despite being fearless and in your face, “that goes back to just being honest. We’re just in your face kinda people,” Diet Cig’s record is also sweet, fragile and delicate. It reflects the pair entirely. “If I’m feeling a feeling and we’re in the same room, you’re totally going to know it,” grins Alex. “This record is a total no-bullshit, in your face, raw emotional thing. I feel like we’ve almost been faking it the whole time and now all of a sudden, it’s so real. Can we be this band that everyone wants us to be? There have been so many times where we’ve got all these incredible opportunities, which should make us so happy, but they’re tinged with some form of anxiety or self-doubt. Can we do this?” Collecting everything that’s happened, ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is a culmination of different emotions. Some of the feelings are silly; some are bummed out, angry and frustrated. Every one is important, though. “It’s not just something to write off; it’s important that we all have every type of feeling.” “It’s pretty rebellious,” smirks Alex. “It rebels against the standards that patriarchal society has set for women, and it rebels against the idea that women should just be pretty and chill and not share their feelings because they might make other people feel bad. It’s pretty much my ‘fuck you’ to the idea that women, or femme people, should be any specific way and which emotions they should or shouldn’t respond with. Fuck it; I don’t want to be your manic pixie dream girl. I’m going to be emotional and moody and bossy, and all of those things wrapped up in one human being because we’re more nuanced than ‘Oh, she’s really cool’.” Done with being a chill girl, Alex wants to take over the world. “Fuck you, we have every emotion, and you should listen to it.” The world is a confusing, scary place but Diet Cig are figuring out where they belong. Sorta. “We want to be a band you can rely on,” declares Noah, without a moment’s hesitation. “You can agree or disagree with us, but at least we’ll make you think. It’s difficult; I don’t want to say we know who we are because we’re still 23
constantly trying to figure it out and we’re just going with the way the world is.” “It’s all trial and error,” agrees Alex. “The more people we meet, the more we’re realising who we are.” Conversations happen about songs, experience and inspiration and “sometimes it feels like other people know more about who Diet Cig is than we do. It’s such a cool and exciting thing because other people get our feelings. There are fucking thousands of people out there who are this big, weird reflection of myself.” As much as ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is utterly and completely Alex and Noah’s record, it’s an album for sharing. It reflects them as much as it reflects the world the want to live in. There’s hope, positive action and determination for change. Diet Cig are no different. Debut albums are A Big Deal. You only get one. And Diet Cig are as single-minded as any other artist; it’s just that their mind is thinking bigger. Beyond releasing a soundtrack of change, the band are using their platform to make gains other than their own. Alex has an Etsy shop - “I just love crafts, I’m such a ho for some good crafts” - that sells handmade brooches and patches with messages like “Muslim Lives Matter”, “Not My Prez” and “Immigrants Welcome”. The money goes to a different charity every week, including The Trevor Project, The National Immigration Law Centre and The Southern Poverty Law Center. Once band commitments got in the way of crafting, so the duo donated their own money to the ACLU instead. There’s no grand plan at play or good publicity to help sell an album, “I just needed to do something ‘cause I’m panicking right now, and it feels good to be able to use our platform to help causes we believe in. You might not always have a whole tonne of money to donate, but if you have your own time and effort, it’s just as valuable to these causes. You can make things and sell them online, you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, or you can host a benefit in your house as a potluck for a charity you like. I think that it’s really easy to feel hopeless now, but I want people to feel like they can do something too.” That encouragement is also mirrored by the support for Girls Rock Philly and Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. 24 upsetmagazine.com
Not only did Diet Cig give them centre stage in their video for ‘Tummy Ache’, but they’re taking Girls Rock Camp bands on tour with them. “I’m super excited about that,” beams Alex. “Girl Talk is such a radical organisation, they are not only teaching these girls music but about these awesome social justice issues and empowering them. I wish that I could have been in one of these camps when I was a kid. It’s about trying to help the representation of women in music. People still book all-male tours ‘because we couldn’t find any bands with women in’ - that’s bullshit; there are so many incredible women and femme musicians out there. But it’ll help to nurture the younger femme musicians coming up. We really wanted to share our stage with these inspiring young kids who are doing it even though the world is telling them they’re not important because they’re a girl. People constantly make fun of teenage girls and the music they listen to, but they’re badass.” All things considered, Diet Cig’s ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ feels vital. “It’s important in the way it’s giving us all a voice, but I think it would be important at any time,” reasons Alex. “It feels weird to use the current political climate to make our record seem more or less important than it is, because it’s a very scary time for so many marginalized people who are genuinely afraid. I do think our record will resonate with a lot of people right now, though. It’s going to help and make it clear we stand in solidarity with people who aren’t afraid to feel their feelings. We stand in solidarity with femme folk and other marginalised folk. I hope that it can make some people feel less alone and make them feel like someone out there understands them. They can have fun and say ‘fuck you’ to their oppressors by doing that and feeling their feelings.” Somehow Diet Cig are positive despite the world around them. “It is hard with everything going on to not feel hopeless, but I’m just really inspired by all the people around me who are busting through and kicking ass no matter what. The world is falling to pieces, but I’m surrounded by people still making their art and still chugging away saying ‘Fuck this, I’m not going to let this define me’. I’m just constantly fangirling over my friends. There are all these bands
who are using their platform for more than their own personal gain, and that’s so refreshing and exciting. I feel like the world wants to pit everyone against each other and make it seem like it’s a dog-eat-dog world.” It’s not, though. “Despite the fear that our oppressors are trying to instil in all of us, everyone is still going out of their way to join forces and help each other. It’s just fucking badass. We’re all in this together. We’ve got each other’s backs. We got this.” P Diet Cig’s debut album ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is out 7th April.
“PEOPLE CONSTANTLY MAKE FUN OF TEENAGE GIRLS, BUT THEY’RE BADASS.”
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BLEACHED BLEACHED TH I S I S A ‘ Z I N E , A N D A G O D DA M N A RM S R AC E .
esert pop rockers Bleached have recorded a new EP ‘Can You Deal?’, following the reductive, gendercentric comments the band received after the 2016 release of second album ‘Welcome the Worms’. They were constantly asked from vacant news outlets what it is like to be a girl in a band, and in true Bleached fashion, they’ve responded with a fuzzed-and-punkedup EP, and a zine of the
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same name. “We went into recording the EP really fast,” says vocalist/ guitarist Jennifer Clavin. “We had been touring a lot on ‘Welcome the Worms’, and then when we came home, we were like, let’s put this EP together really fast. We wrote ‘Can You Deal?’ in September and it was the first song that we all wrote together as a band, and I just had to come up with lyrics. I think it was so fresh in my mind that it just came out. Our manager was like, ‘This song is really good, you
should take this further, you have something to say here’.” The ‘Can You Deal?’ zine features a mighty list of contributors ranging from Paramore’s Hayley Williams to former Crystal Castles wizard Alice Glass. “The zine was something we were talking about in October, but we didn’t start it until January, and at first I had no idea what to expect. I was just like, I’m gonna write down a group of people I know in bands, like female musicians, and email them saying why I feel the need
Mecca Vazie Andrews (Sex
Stains) Julien Baker Alicia Bognanno (Bully) Jennifer Clavin (Bleached) Jessica Clavin (Bleached) Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz) EMA Alice Glass Micayla Grace (Bleached) Allie Hanlon (Peach Kelli Pop) Hinds Maryn Jones (All Dogs) Ali Koehler (Upset, Vivian Girls) Sara Landeau (the Julie Ruin) Lizzo Dani Miller (Surfbort) Kate Nash Liz Phair Jane Weidlin (The Go Go’s) Allison Wolfe (Sex Stains, Bratmobile) Tegan Quin (Tegan and Sara) Patty Schemel (Upset, Hole) Kim Schifino (Matt and Kim) Mish Way (White Lung) Hayley Williams (Paramore)
me cry too.”
“A LOT OF US HAVE A LOT OF ANGER WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING.” for the zine, and would they want to participate and submit something of their own like an essay, a poem or lyrics. I was so surprised by all the people that came back to me and were excited about it. Even now when we thought we would be done with the zine, these different artists started reaching out to us being like, ‘Can we be in your zine?’ “When we did the press release, that’s when we had a few people come to us saying ‘Yeah, we wanna be in this zine too’,” Jen continues. “There were even people we reached out to that we did not think we would hear back
from, like Jane [Wiedlin, guitarist] from The Go-Gos, and she wrote back with some lyrics. I was so happy about that. “There are so many; each one comes in I’m like, ‘Oh my god, wow’.” Jen’s sister Jessica, the band’s guitarist, adds: “The first one we got was from Tegan [Quin] from Tegan and Sara, and I feel like I almost cried when I was reading it. I don’t want to give anything away, but definitely read that one. They’re all amazing. A lot of people are getting personal and carrying stories, and it’s awesome. Hayley Williams’ [piece] is really good, Ali Koehler [guitar/vocals] who plays in Upset - hers made
The Clavins’ relationship with zines is something that’s been part of their history with music for years. “Jessie and I used to go to punk shows all the time when we were younger; there were always zines,” Jen reflects. “We used to go to this venue in San Diego called Che Café, and there would be a wheel of zines, and I remember just getting excited about always collecting zines, and I still have them all from when I was a teenager. So I went into my pile of old zines and found this one called Wives Tales, and it’s not like we modelled it after this one because this one is super DIY… [but] it talks about buying your own speculum in Spain and giving yourself your own gynaecological exam, and I remember reading that when I was really young, I remember them saying that if you need a natural morning after pill, you can just use a vitamin c tablet… like, I don’t know if that’s real, but it opened my mind up to a whole new world that I didn’t know anything about,” she laughs. “In zines, you can just read or write about anything,” Jessie continues. “I just love the idea that Jen got the zine together, and just growing up with her and knowing how much we collected zines and to see it still being a part of us… to put one out is really cool.” Her sister adds: “Yeah there’s no filter, it’s your time to express whatever it is that you want to express, what the mass media won’t let you express, what has to be kept hidden.” Importantly, the EP and its zine could not have come at a more appropriate time, given the current political turmoil America is facing at the moment. “I feel right now, with the current political state, if
you were afraid to express yourself before, or didn’t feel the need, now is the time,” Jen confesses. “We’ve seen how important it is to say what you think, and what you believe in. I feel a lot of us have a lot of anger with what’s happening, and being able to express it through music is really cool, and we’re making music now even harder than we were doing. For the zine, right now is the time to give a space for women to share their stories, and bring attention to this topic. It’s better to do something than not do it at all. “I feel like this is just the beginning of this zine, I feel like a lot of people are going to read it and be like, ‘Oh man I wish I wrote that!’,” she says. The ‘Can You Deal?’ EP also acts as almost an ode to the band’s earlier sound, with a handful of tracks from the record being recycled demos that never made the cut. “I feel like with ‘Welcome the Worms’, I loved the way it sounded, but sometimes it felt a little polished,” Jen admits. “With the EP, there’s something I really miss with our old demos, like the way they sound so raw, and obviously we can’t go back to that sound. So I feel like Alex Newport [the EP’s producer], was really good at bringing out those sounds of ‘Welcome the Worms’, and making it a little more raw, like it had a little bit of the demos in it.” “I feel like it’s cool to be rawer, because when you think about women living in this society, there’s pressure for them to be polished. It’s cool to come out with this rawer sounding thing,” Jess concludes. P Bleached’s new EP ‘Can You Deal?’ is out now. 27
PW R BT T M A R E A BA N D U N A F R A I D TO U S E T H E I R P L AT F O R M , W H I C H B E G S T H E QUESTION - “WHY ISN’T E V E RYO N E ? ”
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’m curious about bands who can exist in a world with all these conversations happening about safety and inclusion, and not want to get with the programme,” Liv Bruce challenges. Preaching self-confidence along contagious punk refrains, PWR BTTM are breaking through the mould of rock music stereotypes with a glitter-spangled attitude and a resolute sense of optimism. Ensuring the music they create occupies a space that’s safe for everyone is something that’s always come naturally to the queer punk duo. Performing in discount shop dresses, with faces adorned by makeup and glitter, switching roles between guitar and drums mid-set, this has never been a band to adhere to any sense of expectation. Using their voice to be positively rebellious though the simple act of self-expression, the duo promote empowerment and inclusivity for anyone who wants to hear it. “It’s important because it’s what we believe in. It’s as simple as that,” Ben Hopkins expresses. “It’s using our privilege of this voice to speak about things that we feel very strongly about, and also to stand up for people who don’t have the same voice.” Swearing that they will “never pass any opportunity to tell a group of people who have come to hear our music about how we feel about the state of the world,” PWR BTTM wear their hearts on their sleeves – and invite everyone who encounters them to do the
same. Presenting a united confidence against adversity is evident in everything the duo do, from their energy they embody to the lyrics they write. “There are men in every town who live to bring you down,” Ben cries on the band’s latest single, before rallying “my advice is to look incredible as you make their lives regrettable by being your damn self.” “There are so many things in life – especially right now, in this contemporary political climate – that make you stop in your tracks and dwell on how terrible things are,” Ben deliberates. “I wanted to write a song that would remind me to keep on going, regardless of how terrible the actions of others.” The feeling that the world’s becoming an increasingly darker place is becoming harder and harder to shake, but PWR BTTM are adamant in presenting hope, wherever they find themselves. “We got to see Diet Cig the other night – they give us a tonne of hope,” Liv enthuses. “They had food poisoning, and they still gave such an incredible show. Talk about carrying on in the face of adversity.” Whether it’s through checking in with their audience between songs, or requesting venues provide accessible gender neutral bathrooms at their shows, much like their peers, PWR BTTM make every effort to ensure their music embodies a safe space for any who wants to access it. “It’s a huge honour to be a band doing that,” Liv enthuses. “But it’s a huge honour that there are people who even want to show up to see the show
that we’re playing, and then use the gender neutral bathrooms,” they laugh. In America, in the wake of the recent rescinding of the right for transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, the safe space that bands like PWR BTTM offer at their shows has become even more valued. “If you can’t access the restrooms in public spaces, you can’t really exist in public,” Liv states. “It’s starting with schools, but that’s not necessarily where the people in power want to end this conversation.”
Making sure your voice is heard hasn’t felt this imperative for generations. “We all need to be working right now to fight back,” Liv resolves, continuing to express that “we also need to be working to take care of ourselves and make sure that we don’t burn out.” “History swings to the left and the right,” Ben mulls. “We’re feeling a very hard swing to the right, but that means it’s just going to go further to the left once we keep fighting for it.” It’s a conviction that PWR BTTM have the upmost faith in. “I’ve never seen
FIGHT FOR YOU R RIG HTS!
Continuing to do what they’ve always done best – offer validation and acceptance through their own
self-expression – PWR BTTM’s mission is simple. “Have you ever seen the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure?” Liv queries. “I don’t remember specifically where this comes up in the movie, but I remember that one of the takeaways from it is that people should be excellent to each other,” they depict. “I just want people to be excellent to each other.” Faced with an increasingly more heinous world, it’s a sentiment that everyone can get behind. Party on, PWR BTTM.
people be so politically engaged and stand up for disenfranchised folk as I think we’ve seen in the past two months,” Ben marvels. “Keep your ears open as to how you can help protect people who are vulnerable in ways that you are not,” Liv urges, “and also as to how you can show up for people who are being threatened in a way that you might not be.”
“WE ALL NEED TO BE WORKING RIGHT NOW TO FIGHT BACK.”
FIGHT FOR YOU R RIG HTS!
MUSIC FOR EVERYONE Taking Back Sunday‘s John Nolan is soon to release a new compilation, ‘Music For Everyone’. The record features new and previously unreleased material from not just his own band, but Frank Iero, Kevin Devine, Sorority Noise’s Cam Boucher, Allison Weiss, Anthony Green and loads more. All the money raised is going to help the American Civil Liberties Union, working to defend and preserve individual rights and liberties. Ahead of Taking Back Sunday’s show at London’s O2 Forum, John and Frank Iero explain what they’re up to. So John, what inspired the compilation? I’m sure you’re aware Donald Trump is president in America. I, and a lot of people, felt like the things that he’s promised to do and almost immediately started doing are things that are discriminating against a lot of people. There’s a lot of policy that’s taking people who are vulnerable and making them more vulnerable, singling them out and 30 upsetmagazine.com
persecuting them to some extent. The ACLU take on cases for people who are being discriminated against by the government, and they also take on the government when they do something that’s unconstitutional. I felt like that’s going to be one of the most important organisations to support in the next four years. Hopefully it’ll only be four years. I decided to put the compilation together and I felt like there’d be a lot of musicians who had a similar feeling about what was happening and supporting the ACLU. We just went for it and it’s coming together nicely. Do you feel like you have to use your platform to speak out? I don’t feel like I need to. I actually feel like there is a certain group of fans who would prefer I didn’t, or for musicians in general stay quiet about politics, but I definitely feel like I want to. I’m lucky enough to have a platform so it just seems natural to me to support something I believe in.
And there’s a new Taking Back Sunday song ‘Just A Man’ on the record. Where’s that from? We recorded a new song for the compilation. That was another thing I really wanted to do, to do something that would not be a bunch of b-sides or songs from people’s album., I wanted people to make something new for this, and hopefully something that’s tuned into current events. We recorded this track and I’m really excited for people to hear it. It’s an acoustic, quiet song but that was cool. A lot of times we don’t end up recording new material until we’re getting into an album so it was cool to just jump into the studio and do a song when we normally wouldn’t be doing that. I’m also doing a song myself with James Dewees from The Get Up Kids, so that’s been really exciting. I’ve known him for a long time, but we’ve never collaborated on anything so we’re working on this track together for it.
Was it difficult getting other artists involved, considering the political nature of the compilation? It was pretty easy. There were a couple of people we reached out to who weren’t in a place to make new music, or record anything for it, and I think some people were hesitant about getting involved in something so overtly political but for the most part, everyone we got in touch with was like, ‘Yeah, I’d love to do that’. It was refreshing seeing how many musicians we contacted said yes. And then, even as we were going, some people got in touch with us and said they’d like to do something and be a part of it. Why do you think musicians who normally don’t get publicly involved in politics, are speaking out now? It feels like things are at a different level than they ever have been in the country, so a lot of musicians are feeling compelled to speak out whereas normally they’d stay quiet. P
...AND A FEW MORE LOA DS O F BA N DS H AV E B E E N R A I S I N G MONEY AND DOING GOOD THINGS SINCE L AST N OV E M B E R’S E L E CT I O N - FA R TO O M A N Y TO F I T O N T H E S E PA G E S . H E R E A R E J U S T A FEW MORE.
THE NEW MUSIC FOR E V E R Y O N E C O M P I L AT I O N B R I N G S BA N D S TO G E T H E R I N S U P P O RT O F AC LU. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
Hello Frank, how did you get involved with the ‘Music For Everyone’ compilation? We were doing this tour, we’ve known each other for a long time and John was doing this thing. They reached out - ‘We’d love to have Frank on it too, do you have anything?’ Funnily enough, I do have this track. It’s a track I wrote and recorded around the time of ‘Stomachaches’ and just didn’t feel right putting it on anything else. All of a sudden, this came up and it would be perfect for it. So, that’s the track that’s going on it. It’s called ‘Getting Into Heaven Is Hell’. I’m excited. Were you worried about the political nature of the compilation at all? I like that the proceeds are going to the ACLU. I think now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of artists to speak up and to put a message out there. For me, the most important thing an artist can remind people of is the idea of humanity. The idea of unconditional love and acceptance.
What’s really strange to me right now is that that’s so political. That human idea of loving one another, and accepting one another for the differences we share, is political. That’s fucked. These alienable rights that, for some reason our fearbased cultures are deciding need to be taken away from people, it’s a rough time. Like I said, I think it’s our responsibility as artists to remind people what it is to be human. Using music, a universal language, is a powerful way to do that? Absolutely. We were having this conversation the other night that, in doing what we do, you get to tour these countries that predominantly don’t speak our English language but the music transcends that. They’re feeling what they feel through what you’re emoting and the sounds you’re creating and that’s a wonderful thing. It transcends age and race and creed, all of that and that’s the magic of music. It’s a cliché because it’s so true. P
Pinegrove made a bunch of music available on a pay-what-you-want basis via Bandcamp, with all proceeds being donated to Planned Parenthood. Cherry Glazerr donated a portion of the proceeds from their recent US tour to Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. Candy Hearts made their entire discography available on a pay-what-you-want basis for a full week in aid of the ACLU. The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die shared a new song, ‘Body Without Organs’, in aid of the ACLU. Topshelf Records have pledged to donate a portion of all proceeds for album pre-orders going forwards to Planned Parenthood, NAACP LDF and The Trevor Project. Wavves’ record label, Ghost Ramp is currently donating to the likes of ACLU, Planned Parenthood and National Immigration Law Center via their website. Sorority Noise made their entire discography available on a pay-what-you-want basis in aid of the ACLU. You Blew It put up a new shirt for sale and will donate all proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Charly Bliss released a new track called ‘Turd’ - inspired by frontwoman Eva Hendricks’ experiences of being catcalled - in aid of Planned Parenthood. PVRIS launched a limited edition t-shirt with all sales donated to the ACLU. All Time Low released a limited edition t-shirt, raising $12,000 for the ACLU. Joyce Manor and 100% released a split single on both download and 7” with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.
WE’VE BEEN WAITING. IT’S FINALLY HERE. CREEPER HAVE ARRIVED. EVERYTHING IS ABOUT TO CHANGE.
FLAME ETE RN A L
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: PHIL SMITHIES.
e appear to be the answer to a question that we never knew had been asked,” opens Will Gould. “We seem to fill a void in people’s lives, which is incredible. It’s an indescribable feeling that we never imagined or planned for. But at the same time that comes with a responsibility to keep being ruthless with our art.” Almost everything has changed for Creeper since their self-titled EP was released back in the summer of 2014. Two things have remained constant, though. The idea. And the excited disbelief that anyone cares about it. “Deserved isn’t what I’d say, but we’re more accustomed to what’s happening,” continues Will. “One of the greatest things about this past year is that we’ve become more confident in our ideas. That’s one of the things the record is a really important display of. We’re a lot more confident; I don’t think we could have made this record two years ago.” “This is a story,” promises Will, as he prepares to go off on a tangent. “This is not important, but it gets there in the end.” It’s something he does a lot. It turns out the original idea behind Disneyland Paris was that you bring your family along and see the characters from your favourite films, you watch the stories acted out on rides, and you can witness bits of fantasy in the real world. That isn’t what people wanted, though. “People who go to Disneyland Paris don’t want to watch these stories take place; they want to make their own memories.” Things changed, and now your memories are paramount. “I applied some of that logic to our music,” explains Will. “We’re trying to involve the listener and make their experience more important than whatever I interpret it as. “With Creeper, we are always trying to interact. The idea with the record is that each person will take away something slightly different. We’ve talked about immersion and escape throughout the majority of our career. Is that right, do we have a career?” he asks, looking at keyboardist Hannah Greenwood and guitarist Ian Miles before shrugging it off and continuing.
“Transformation is a really big theme through the band in general.” From The Callous Heart jackets to the constant dress-up and ownership of self in their music, Creeper celebrate shape-shifting. “It’s about wanting to escape and be something else. It’s becoming something more than you are.” Even with the band, “it’s trying to dress our hometown up as more than it is. It’s dressing ourselves up as more than we are to try and make us something bigger and more exciting. It’s not just about being bored; it’s about being uncomfortable in your skin, being uncomfortable with your situation.” That frustration with the world you find yourself in is threaded throughout the band’s debut album ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ but it’s a constant struggle with hope. The belief that you can escape is always present. It stirs up memories, fairy dust and happy thoughts so you can fly yourself out the window. “When I was a kid I liked the records that would take me another place. People seem to think everything we do is different and strange but I don’t think it is. I just think these are ideas people haven’t seen for a long time. Maybe it’s a little bit of what the world needs, and that’s what we try to do. ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is whatever you’ve listened to the record and taken from it. It could mean something different to what it meant to me. If I started telling you what it meant to me, it might ruin it. Sometimes it’s ridiculously over the top and dramatic and silly, and sometimes it’s a little bit scary, but either way, maybe we’re just a reaction to what is going on.” Creeper have always pushed at what they’ve been allowed to get away with. Every chapter in their story has been a little more, and their debut album is no different. Finding new ground at every end of the spectrum, it’s extreme but never jarring. And as for escape, what better way to offer that than construct a narrative to get lost in? There’s a story to follow, a mystery to solve and characters to offer reflections. Of course, it’s never forced. Participation is there if you want it. “The story itself is kinda unimportant in some ways.” Instead, says Will, “it’s how that story makes you feel.
When we first started merging Peter Pan with Creeper, it wasn’t about the characters so much; it was how I attached myself to them.” One of the aims of their debut was that it worked as a simple collection of great songs. If you just want to listen passively, “That’s fine, you’re not going to struggle to do that. I’ve seen people struggle with concept records in the past because if it’s pure concept, you can’t attach yourself to it.” “I used to dislike concept records because they were so linear,” admits Ian. “I always avoided them. This is so punk,” he continues, tongue firmly in cheek, “but I don’t want to be told what to think, y’know? I want it to be ambiguous. I want to apply my own meaning to it.” “And that’s what we’re trying to do here. If you want to go down the rabbit hole, you can, but you have to choose where you fit in with that story and how you attach yourself to that. On the surface, though, we put these songs on the radio, and people don’t know any different. They’re songs. When you take them apart, they can serve a purpose on their own which is strange because they weren’t built like that.” They were built with a very specific purpose, though. This isn’t just a bunch of songs following a loose theme. Every moment is scripted; the flow of the record, mapped out and the impact has been years in the making. “We figure out how we want the peaks and trough, the dynamics and where we want a fast song, a slow song, and how they all interlink.” Fantastical and fearless, there’s still a very human element to Creeper. From vocal cracks on the record to the fact their music revolves around loss, love and regret, at no point do the band detach from reality’s bite. Flipping between poetic metaphor and honest admission, this record is real life through a filter. Creeper aren’t just offering an escape. They’re living one. Ian and Will have used music to escape real world commitments since they were teenagers and touring is like some weird, make believe world. Putting on their The Callous Heart jackets transforms Will, Hannah, Ian, drummer Dan Bratton, bassist Sean Scott and guitarist Oli Burdett into something else. “A good deal of what Creeper is doing
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is character play. For the majority of the day, we’re weird cave people who smell awful, and we’re trying to eat and then at night time, we’re playing a version of ourselves that’s a little more fearless. It’s the sort of person you’d never normally be if you were just in a room by yourself. A lot of the time when we’re doing those big shows, The Callous Heart is almost like a mask to wear. It’s like a force field in a way; it protects us. It’s almost like armour, and I feel like it’s the same with makeup, we’re becoming something completely different. We’ll be grouchy and tired or whatever then, just before we go on stage, we all put the jackets on and everyone changes. “Oli has this thing where he has a bottle of water, and he’ll pour a little bit of water on your leg when you’re not looking, and it’s annoying because you won’t notice it straight away. Suddenly everyone just starts messing around and jumping on each other’s backs. Everyone’s singing, and it becomes this thing where everyone subconsciously goes into this gang. I think it translates on stage. You could be sat on your own all day, but as soon as you put that jacket on, it transforms you.” True to form, as soon as they’re together, they’re messing about. Will hides in some glittery egg and pretends to be an alien seeing the world for the first time as Ian captures it on his camera (“and thus, the king of disco was born”). They lean on one another, make up songs about each other and annoy, irritate and wind up like the best of siblings. “It’s like we’re putting on warpaint, it changes you. It drastically changes you. I always think it’s funny when we’ll see a video from a show, and you’ll hear me talking to the crowd in a voice that is a much more ridiculous version of my own voice because subconsciously I’ve fallen into this role of something else. That’s why a lot of the record chops and changes so much, it’s me taking from different styles and different genres; it has lots of different voices in its head.” Always different, from the opening twinkle of ‘Black Rain’ until the fourth wall break of ‘I Choose To Live’, every moment of the record fits together. It doesn’t matter if they’ve touched upon an idea before or not, the sparkling ownership sees them make it all theirs. “It’s all very thought out 36 upsetmagazine.com
and aware because we know there’s a lot of difference on the record,” explains Ian. Even the actual voice doesn’t impact the band’s voice. “We were thinking about Hannah’s input with ‘Crickets’ and ‘Room 309’. We thought it’d be cool to try something different and Hannah was receptive to the idea, I didn’t know if you’d be cool with the idea of coming forward at first,” Will explains, talking to Hannah. “I was keen because Creeper shouldn’t be just one person. It should be a combined effort of things. Obviously, there are different songwriters, different people who work in different areas of the band, but it shouldn’t matter if I’m singing or not. It can be a song from our band without me singing, much in the same way we did the piano sessions the other night and Hannah played a song Ian had written, and it didn’t matter. It’s everyone’s; it’s a shared thing. “ And there’s a power in that connection. “When I’m not onstage every day doing Creeper, it’s a terrifying, scary thing. By the very nature of doing these creative things, it’s constant self-doubt. It’s feeling like you’re a fraud in everything and feeling like you shouldn’t be there. I very frequently feel like a fraud, but a few shows into a tour and I feel comfortable. This is absolutely where I’m supposed to be. This is what I was born to do.” A lot of Creeper’s music ties into the aesthetic that comes with it. More than a shade or a hue, dyed black hair, skinny jeans, nail varnish and make-up litter ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ as the characters struggle to make their life their own. It’s the same with the people who listen to the music. It’s about finding an identity that isn’t dictated. It’s about feeling at home when you’re not sure what home is. It’s a counterculture you can count on. “You’re claiming your life for yourself, and I think that’s really important. You feel powerful taking on a different role. In my own life, in my day to day, I couldn’t get on stage and do a Creeper show. I just couldn’t do it. Even at this point where I’ve done it so many times in character, if I wasn’t in the mindset, and I think a big part of that comes from being dressed up and being presented in the way the character needs to be, I don’t think I’d be able to do it. I honestly don’t. I’d be a lot more terrified, and I feel like I would feel a lot more undeserving and I’d be a lot more conscious of
everything that was happening if I weren’t constantly in character. It’s nice to be able to be ridiculous and not feel the consequences of it because I’m under a different guise.” A lot of ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ feels hopeless which comes from being a certain age and doing the things Creeper do. “I don’t think it’s just me in that situation, though. I think it’s everyone our age. A lot of this record comes from being 25 and getting older. Passing that point, you realise ‘Holy shit, I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m not that young anymore.” As ‘I Choose to Live’ brings to clarity, “I thought I’d have it all worked out at my age.” “It’s that feeling of being my age and not knowing what’s coming in the coming years. I’ve got no qualifications apart from some film studies stuff from college, but I didn’t attend college very much ‘cause I was in bands. I stole my art teacher’s photocopy card to photocopy Tight Like Strings flyers [Will’s old, old band]. I feel like I have no handle on anything. And I think that’s a natural feeling as well. I feel like it’s the way a lot of people feel at our age, but we just have the extreme version of it because it’s all heightened. We spend all our time in really loud clubs with people who are drunk all the time, and often we’re drunk all the time, ‘cause there’s nothing else to do. “Every day we have coping mechanisms for getting on stage and living like this, it seems easy on the offset, you don’t go to work, you’re just on tour all the time, but at the same time, it drives you crazy. Everyone goes mad. We can all vouch for that; it can be damaging. Coming home, and everyone else being a grown up still and having a proper life, it makes it hard to adjust. Ian and I spent last night in a carpark. Literally, in a carpark, just sat in a carpark. It was all stuff to do with Creeper, but it was weird. “It’s frequent for us not to know what day it is and I worry about all sorts of things. How’s my girlfriend going to put up with me being away over summer? She’s got to put up with me going away all the time, how the hell’s that going to work? Is it going to fall apart? I hope not. What can I do in the mean time to worry about that? But by the time I’ve had that thought, we’re back out on tour somewhere. It’s
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just crazy,” Will continues, as Hannah and Ian agree. “It’s mad, and you have no control over anything. You have no control over how anything goes. All you can focus on is that your output, and that what you’re doing is the best that it can be and you’re expressing yourself properly, and you’re fulfilling your creative aspirations. I feel like I have no real handle on what’s going on but the nature of it is, we’re in a wonderful position, and I have no ambition to stop, but it’s hard to keep on top of, and I think we can all vouch for that. But in the meantime, you have to watch the world burn around you.” As much as ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is content to sit and watch the end of the world, or pour petrol on the fire to hurry it along, the straight-laced closer of ‘I Choose To Live’ offers a powerful moment of peace and acceptance. It’s “the only song on the record that doesn’t have anything to do with the narrative, as such. It’s probably the most important song on the record regarding its theme.” It’s why the record closes on it. Creeper are painted, and indulge, in this idea of being doom and gloom, but black’s never been their only colour. There’s shade, sure, but they also offer light to those who need it. There’s a story behind ‘I Choose To Live’, but there always is. The band have long received letters from people, opening up to them about the struggles they’re going through, but it got more and more intense over time. On the one hand, it was fucking awesome that people were coming to Creeper shows because they felt at home, but on the flip side: “I’m in the same boat as most of the kids most of the time. When I was that age, I went to gigs because things were weird at home or school or college and you go there because it’s a sense of home.” Will still gets that feeling every time he returns to The Joiners in Southampton. “But we didn’t know how to deal with it.” First, they’d reply via Twitter, but that felt like it trivialised things because it didn’t offer them the ear they were after. “I thought about it for a long time, and I spoke to a few people about it, and everyone’s solution seemed rubbish.” As always, though, music had the answer. He was inspired by ‘Diamond Dogs’, the David Bowie song where he speaks to the audience for the first time. “It felt like this would
be a nice moment for us to do that on our record. It’s the first song in a long time where there is no dress up on it. It’s very straight, and it’s a song to our audience. That’s why it’s quite a personal thing; we haven’t got any flamboyant lyrics for that song, the song itself isn’t very flamboyant, but I’m pleased with how it came out. “I feel like it was a really important one for us to get right. That was a way for us to address our audience and give something back, to let them know we’re in the same place. Going to the gigs, it’s as much as a catharsis for us as it is for them. ‘Misery’ was our last song, and “misery never goes out of style” was a lyric that completely made sense as part of that song. It’s a very honest song as well in a lot of ways, but I didn’t like the idea of that being our tag line. When kids come and see us, our tagline shouldn’t be us fetishising that sort of thing, so I wanted to make the opposite, a resolution song for that. It doesn’t stand much in the narrative of our storyline, but it’s an important song to end the record on.” “That’s another reason why we put ‘Misery’ on the album,” continues Ian. “If it’s on a record, you’ll have ‘Misery’ on the end of one side and ‘I Choose To Live’ on the other, so the record answers itself. It’s also that the relation with the kids who are into our band is also really helpful to us as people. You know people always say that if you want to get better at your craft, one of the best things to do is go and teach it, because you learn so much more as the teacher. I feel like a lot of the times kids have come to talk to us about these things, it puts a lot of your issues in perspective, and it brings us together even more. It sounds like a weird thing, but it’s helped me put a lot of stuff into perspective and make me feel less alone because you do when you’re in that place. You feel alone but knowing all these kids have opened up to us, it’s nice in a way for them and us.” Will and Ian took on the mantle of role models and grew into it. Hannah didn’t have to, but she’s stepped up anyway. “I don’t want to be like ‘It’s because I’m the only girl in the band’, but that does help. I have a lot of people that come to me and say ‘I love what you do and it gives me hope that I can do that in the future, and there is a place for women is this kind of music industry’.
“Obviously there was that incident of sexism in Amsterdam a few weeks ago [a local venue’s Stage Manager refused to let Hannah back in the building while the bands were loading out their gear]; that still happens, and I know it will probably continue to happen. When I first started, it’s not that I had a backseat role, but I was just quite happy bumbling along, doing what I was doing and then all these people kept coming up to me asking ‘How did you get into it?’ and saying ‘You inspire me.’ Since then, I stepped up to it, and now, I enjoy it. I enjoy that people feel they can do more because of me, which is weird,” she laughs. “It’s not even just with girls. I’ve had guys come up to me who play the piano, and they’re like ‘It’s great that an instrument like the piano, which you don’t really associate with this kind of music, is part of this. “Apart from keytar.” “Apart from keytar, which I’m planning on moving to at some point.” The thing with ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is “they’re never just hardcore punk songs. They’ve got a maraca in the background or a tambourine in the chorus; they still sound musical.” “The end of ‘Black Rain’ there’s a breakdown part, and we put the piano in it which makes it heavier, it doesn’t soften it.” “’Suzanne’ has trumpets on it.” “It’s ridiculous.” They all sound really heavy, but if you compared them to an American Nightmare song, they would sound soft. I was keen to have those elements there as well, so it’s visceral and angry at some points, and it would sound like ‘Hey Jude’ at the end of the record.” It doesn’t matter whether Creeper are being ruthless with their art or trying to find a segue between hardcore and heartbreak, they’ve always had a single idea at the core of everything; to inspire. “I genuinely believe that there’s a solution to everything and a creative solution is often the best answer,” explains Will. “It’s much more expressive, and it builds you a thicker skin because you have to go through a lot of shit to do some creative things, the sacrifices you have to make strengthen your character. I feel very, very privileged at this point because I was working in a call centre 39
when we started this band. I drew The Callous Heart on a bit of paper while sat at my desk, and now this is all I do. It’s crazy. “I think when you feel really out of control, a really good way to seize power in any aspect of your life is to make something you’re completely in control of. If you have a blank piece of paper, you’re in complete control of what goes on that piece of paper. No matter what situation you’re in when you’re doing something creative, or you have a project to work on, just starting on it and having that cathartic feeling of creating and putting something of yourself out there, is everything. “When you see a band who only care about doing their craft when it comes with some sort of financial gain or some sort of successful outcome, that does not interest me. I want to be secure, for sure. I don’t want to go back to work at the call centre, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to compromise with all the things that have got me here in the first place. That’s what makes it all go so wrong. When I see younger kids seeing our band and wanting to do it themselves, I can relate to that feeling of wanting to do something creative but not know the reason why you want to do it beyond wanting to create for the sake of creating. That is the most motivating thing about Creeper, trying to reach people on that level. It’s so cool because that’s what all my favourite bands did for me and that’s all you ever want to do, have the same effect all your heroes did. “At the same time, what comes alongside that is you can’t start making records just for your audience. ‘I Choose To Live’ is the first song we’ve ever written like that. As much as I’m proud of that song, you have to be really cold with your audience at the same time. I think I’d feel more comfortable with releasing this record if the band were the sort of band who’ve written songs for the audience. I feel like in this instance; there are times when we’ve been very self-indulgent and served our own interests. Once you’ve heard it, hopefully, you can understand when I say it’s not an original record by any stretch of the imagination, but in the position we’re in and the year we’re in, I don’t know who else is making a record like this.” P Creeper’s debut album ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is out 24th March.
F 42 upsetmagazine.com
FlASH S D A L -
R LEE VINCENT W H E N D RU M M E L E F T T H E BA N D, N’T U N E X P E C T E D LY BY H O RS E S D I D P U L L E D A PA R T H E Y W E R E G O I N G T O K N O W W H AT T L LY I T ’ S A L L C O M E D O - T H A N K F UR N E W A L B U M ‘ T H E TO G ET H E R FO 17 LO O KS S ET TO B E H A Z E ’ , A N D 2 0 B E S T Y E A R S Y E T. ONE OF THEIR A GOODMAN. WORDS: JESSIC
ulled Apart By Horses have long been famed for stirring up a ruckus. Over the course of three albums, the Leeds noiseniks have brought their rampant energy and raw anthems to venues everywhere from Sheffield to Sydney, leaving voices singing and ears ringing in their wake. So when the band describe the writing process for their just-released fourth record by saying that they “probably made enough noise to turn milk into cheese at one point,” it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. Relocating to a dairy farm in the Welsh countryside to focus on writing, the outfit certainly managed to make their mark. “One of the nights we got a bit carried away,” frontman Tom Hudson recalls, laughing. “We ended up basically doing our own karaoke night, fuelled on cider until about six in the morning. The farmer got up to go and milk the cows, and he was like ‘I heard you last night! Sounded good!’ We were like ‘we were singing Duran Duran pissed out of our heads.’” The rest of the band might be convinced that “James [Brown, guitar] has got an inner Simon Le Bon trapped within him,” but sing-a-long choices aside, the 80’s pop sensations are a far cry from the gripping racket the four-piece create. It’s in camaraderie, and with enthusiasm, the group discuss their latest efforts – but having had to forge their future having parted ways with one of the bands founding members, it wasn’t always that way. “We freaked out when Lee [Vincent] left because we didn’t know what the hell we were going to do,” Tom admits. With their former drummer now running a record label and performing in Greif Tourist out of London, the future undoubtedly felt uncertain. Recruiting Tommy Davidson to take his place, the band found an entirely new energy. “It kind of gave us a new lease of life, and a bit of a different angle,” Tom describes. Cutting their teeth together at live shows on both sides of the world, Pulled Apart By Horses refined their energy anew. Returning to Leeds to focus on writing an album, the group
"We hit a bit of a dead end. We had to do something." admit that energy started to falter. “We wrote half of it in our practice space when we had a burst of creativity,” Tom recalls of the group’s latest album. “Then it all sort of dried up. We hit a bit of a dead end. We had to do something.” Leaving Leeds behind for rural Wales, the group left distractions in their dust for ten days of creativity and karaoke. “We stocked up on loads of food and booze and locked ourselves away in this weird little cottage in the middle of nowhere,” Tom illustrates. Distancing themselves from everything they knew was a gamble that clearly paid off. “We wanted to push ourselves and do as much as possible,” the frontman states. “We ended up writing near-enough about twenty tracks.” Describing the whole process as being “quite intuitive,” the resulting album is a tour de force of the band’s capabilities. “It was kind of like the pressure was off,” Tom reminisces. “We just wanted to sack off worrying what the outside world would think, or what people want to hear, or any of that stuff, and be more like, ‘Let’s just do exactly what we want.’” So that’s exactly what they did. The resulting album stems from the confusion the group have experienced over the past year, written “about overcoming the uncertain and this weird mysterious world” in characteristically raw fashion. “It was partially going back to that charm
that we had when we did the first album,” Tom explains. “It was like there were no expectations. We were going with our gut a lot more and not trying to overthink stuff. It’s just us being a band in a room, playing for ourselves and playing stuff that we were excited by.” With ‘The Haze’ now released, Pulled Apart By Horses couldn’t be more enthusiastic to spend time on the road. “We’ve always been a ball of energy,” Tom exclaims. “We’re adrenaline fuelled. We all egg each other on.” Describing their shows as “a cathartic release of adrenaline and nerves,” it’s live on stage that the outfit are able to fully showcase the extent of their capabilities. “We want to keep it as raw and as enjoyable as always,” Tom alludes. “Even our first show, we didn’t know what the hell was going to happen,” he grins. “I couldn’t really even play guitar. We were just an absolute mess.” Quick to describe their unique brand of chaos as being conveyed “probably in a fun way,” the shows the band perform have remained unrivalled. “It all kicked off, and we were like, ‘Fuck - this is something that we’ve got between us,’” the frontman depicts of their first show together. “I guess the only difference is now we can actually play our instruments,” he smirks. More technically proficient, with an array of hits and a brand new record they describe as “an assault on all senses” in tow, Pulled Apart By Horses are ready and raring to leave their characteristic stamp on the world. “We’re just a band of guys that are really into music,” Tom enthuses. “We want to include the audience in everything as much as possible.” For anyone who’s seen the band throw themselves and their instruments around and off stage before now, these shows are performed with a conviction that continues to prove impossible not to get swept up in. “That’s probably part of the reason we all end up in the crowd half the time as well,” the frontman smirks. “We want to be in the crowd just as much as playing a gig.” P Pulled Apart By Horses’ album ‘The Haze’ is out now.
ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS
eeeee ternity, In Your Arms’ is an album about belief, whichever way you paint it. The record is also exactly what you were expecting it to be. And after everything, that’s no easy accomplishment. Wracked with heartbreak, terrified of loss and angry to the point of tears, the eleven tracks tell a story. But it’s not the one of James Scythe and The Callous Heart. From the West End opening of ‘Black Rain’, through the charged intensity of ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’ until the straight-to-camera admission of ‘I Choose To Live’, Creeper’s debut album is a struggle in making sense of the real world. The nostalgia provides an escape to when you were in control. Growing up was never part of the deal. Being young means anything is possible, and Creeper want that magic back. It doesn’t matter if it’s the vindictive nursery flow of “It’s breaking me to see you happy, I just want the worst for you” on ‘Winona Forever’ or the empowered pushback of ‘Crickets’, the record has loved and lost but refuses to submit. Death might be a constant presence, but defeat is never 46 upsetmagazine.com
an option. ‘I Choose To Live’ sees the band articulating and celebrating the shoulder the rest of the album provides in glorious confidence as the band realise every ounce of potential they’ve ever hinted at. Every movement is vital and while the album dances with the ridiculous, the silly and the flamboyant, it all makes horribly perfect sense. Constantly questioning what or who to believe in, ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is an album of faith and trust. They might not have the answers, but Creeper make it abundantly clear that whatever happens, this album is something to believe in. And always will be. Ali Shutler
FREEZE THE ATLANTIC
THE PEOPLE ARE REVOLTING
Freeze The Atlantic have an awful lot of rock history flowing in their veins and while they’ve never retread any steps, ‘The People Are Revolting’ does take that love for noise centre stage. Robust, weighty and with the confidence to get weird, the band’s third album sees them swap big choruses for bigger choruses. It’s not reinventing the wheel but with turns this good, why would you want to? Ali Shutler
A massive dose of hooks, monstrous sounds and howling vocals - the third full-length from Royal Thunder has it all. It takes a while for ‘WICK’ to find its footing, but it does so with ‘We Slipped’, featuring a massive, instantly memorable chorus. The focal point is Mlny Parsonz’s voice, howling and pushing above everything else. While not pushing boundaries explicitly, with ‘WICK’ Royal Thunder are a breath of fresh air. Steven Loftin
PULLED APART BY HORSES
Pulled Apart By Horses’ ‘The Haze’ sees the band in anything but. Yeah, it’s the murkiest, most other-worldly they’ve ventured, but after a period of question marks, their fourth chapter comes with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s still boisterous and barmy but there’s a smirking grin to the wig-outs, the boundless riffs and the weird yet wonderful rabbit holes the band tumble down. Pulled Apart By Horses have rediscovered their sense of adventure. Ali Shutler
A SHORT Q&A WITH...
FREEZE FREEZE THE THE ATLANTIC ATLANTIC F R E E Z E T H E AT L A N T I C A R E B A C K W I T H T H E I R T H I R D A L B U M - I T ’ S T H E I R M O S T H O N E S T Y E T, E X P L A I N S VO CA L I S T L I V P U E N T E .
Hi Liv, what have you guys been up to since the end of your second album? You’ve had a line-up change since then, haven’t you? Well not a line-up change as such, more of a revolving door moment. Our original bass player Jon has returned like the prodigal son. How’s life been treating you otherwise? Life is good, we’re all getting married and having kids at the moment, which is rather nice. Writing and recording an album as well as a bit of touring in the midst of all that feel like quite an achievement. When did you begin working on ‘The People Are Revolting’ , and what was your starting point? This has been a long process. We wanted to take our time with the writing. Things started to come together about a year ago when we all decided to get our arses in gear and get to a body of work we were all very proud of. How did you find recording in South Devon? It was a pretty quick process, wasn’t it? We recorded drums and guitars at Middle Farm Studios with Peter Miles on our last album so it was a familiar setting. We tracked the whole album in a week so yeah pretty quick process by anyone’s standard. But it was deliberate. There’s social commentary running through the album - are you worried
about the ‘state of the world’? This album definitely has a lot more social commentaries on current affairs than previous projects. Songs such as ‘Altogether Not Together’ for example, touches on the refugee crisis, ‘Gunnar Hansen’ points the finger at the military and PTSD, while ‘The People Are Revolting’ takes a dig at our forefathers and the huge backward steps Britain and the world seem to have taken in the last few months. All of these things are very worrying and we felt compelled to address them. What do you think we can do to make it better? Some things unfortunately we can’t do much about, that ship has sailed. As cliché as it may sound, all we can do is educate the next generation to learn from this and never replicate the division the world is going through right now. What are you most proud of with ‘The People Are Revolting’? We’re especially proud of how raw and honest this record sounds. We gave everything we had, worked very long hours and got the job done in a week, which I think surprised us all a bit. This album is a testament to hard work and determination. We all have day jobs and most of us have families to support. None of us really have the time to fit any of this in our lives. But we make time for it because we love it, simple as that. And we hope this honesty comes across on the album when people hear it. P
BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL
IN DARK PLACES
“Time is a very big theme of the album,” Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor said late last year about seventh record, ‘Emperor of Sand’. “How much time do we have left? What are we doing with our time?” Mastodon aren’t ones to shy away from going conceptual, and at the crux of the album is an allegory of someone going through cancer. By the time the kaleidoscopic finale ‘Jaguar God’ enters the fray, it feels like the issue of mortality is tangible. Life is certainly a lot better with Mastodon back in it. Chris Cope
Static Shock Records
eeee Sheer Mag have a reputation, and with their ‘Compilation LP’ you can see why. They write the most incredible songs. Sure, this is just a collection of already released material ahead of a debut album, but with this band, everything is special; full of soul, spirit and absolute resistance. There are calls to arms in ‘Fan The Flames’ and ‘Can’t Stop Fighting’ while the likes of ‘Nobody’s Baby’ and ‘What You Want’ are full of lingering gazes. It doesn’t matter if it’s social commentary or personal reflection, this band are an emotional powerhouse regardless. Bundled together, Sheer Mag’s back catalogue truly shows off their comfort in the discomfort, They’re an important band, as honest and mysterious as the come, and ‘Compilation LP’ is a twelve step reminder of why. Ali Shutler
Brutality Will Prevail lure you in with the consuming, airy intro to ‘Serpent’, which lays way to doomladen hammers. Not afraid of more tender moments, ‘Nybbas’ serves as a palette cleanser at the halfway mark. Finale ‘Elegy’ mixes everything you’ve heard along the way into a rapturefilled meteor which sends the album hurtling to its fading disintegration. Album number five suits the band - it shows they’ve discovered what works for them; brutality will always prevail. Steven Loftin
CAN YOU DEAL? EP
“Yeah I’m a girl, and I play in a band / Can you deal?” sings Bleached frontwoman Jennifer Clavin. After the success of second album ‘Welcome the Worms’, the Californian punk rockers still fell victim to diminishing comments about their gender. The EP’s title-track is a response, a punk pop earworm that gets to the point in a way that’s lively and invigorating. Though the subject matter may not filter into all of the tracks, what is consistent is the lo-fi feeling, striking in comparison to the cleaner edges of ‘Welcome the Worms’. The retro punk attitude fits perfectly with the nature of the record, and is a reminder of how great Bleached are. Jasleen Dhindsa 48 upsetmagazine.com
EMPEROR OF SAND
Father/Daughter & Lame-O Records
At just shy of twenty five minutes, with ‘Big Day’ Loose Tooth don’t waste a second. Breaking out with ‘Sleep With The State Concept’, a brazen guitar pop track that immediately hooks you, they take this ethos and run wild with it. What ‘Big Day’ does best is show the diversity in sound the band can achieve: one moment it’s full throttle in a power chorus and the next broken chords rain down, providing welcome relief. It’s another fine effort from one of Melbourne’s brightest acts. Steven Loftin
Every few years a record comes out that consumes you completely, forcing you to listen to each song ten times on repeat because you can’t let it go. ‘Sprained Ankle’ is that record. First officially released in October 2015 by 6131 Records, better known for hardcore punk, ‘Sprained Ankle’ has since been the singer-songwriter album of choice for punk fans. It’s no surprise; Julien Baker stands with a guitar, a pedal board, a devastatingly beautiful voice, and delivers them with minimal production. It’s the simplicity with which she approaches the complexity of faith, self-harm, substance abuse, love and loss that makes her songwriting so extraordinary. Perhaps the most astonishing thing about it is that it’s the beginning; that something this exceptional will not be her best. Kristy Diaz
TRACKS OF THE MONTH
LINKIN PARK HEAVY
Linkin Park are back with new song ‘Heavy’. But it’s not. We see what they’ve done there. While the very pop direction looks to be a warning of just where new album ‘One More Light’ is heading, we’re not as shocked as we should be. Linkin Park have been responsible for some of the biggest choruses of the past two decades, and ‘Heavy’ is no different. They have, in some loose way, always been a pop band. The group have constantly evolved, experimented and broke down walls. They’ve never played it safe and seven albums in, they’re still burning it down ready to build it up again. History aside, ‘Heavy’ is a total banger whichever way you look at it.
PWR BTTM ANSWER MY TEXT Another month, another superb track from PWR BTTM. This time around it’s ‘Answer My Text’ which is about, you guessed it, someone ghosting. Sounds simple enough but PWR BTTM have a habit of making the mundane glorious via a confetti-drenched outlook and the second track from ‘Pageant’ is no different. “Answer my text you dick” and “My teenage angst will be with me well into my thirties” are lines plucked straight from our own daily frustrations. Given a buoyant lick of neon paint and delivered with the knowing smile of PWR BTTM and they feel sage, important and like maybe everything is going to be okay and we’re all going through the same stuff. Which is probably the point. Maybe. Also bonus points for rhyming “thirties” with “nerdy”.
SWEAR I’M GOOD AT THIS
A WILL AWAY
Triple Crown Records
Connecticut alt-rockers A Will Away’s debut full-length, ‘Here Again’ displays an interesting mix of Americana and emo; lines like “Daddy’s got a shotgun, and he’s off out to blow-off some steam” could only come from a band across the pond. Taking note from Taking Back Sunday, they wear their influences on their sleeves. ‘Here Again’ shows promise, and there’s so much heart you’ll will them to succeed. Jake Richardson
eeeee “Ready?” questions Alex Luciano a minute into the diary confessional of ‘Sixteen’. Directed at partner in crime Noah Bowman, everyone’s listening, and she doesn’t wait for an answer. Excitement takes over. There’s a fizzing urgency to ‘Swear I’m Good At This’. Capturing the wacky feel-good disco of their live show, Diet Cig’s debut doesn’t waste time. Why bother with gradual builds or sugarcoating, when there’s a whole world to meet? If the band have
something on their mind or in their heart, it’s coming out. Honest admissions, shitty situations and being done with the bullshit they’ve had to endure, Diet Cig tackle their problems head on. ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is a party where everyone is welcome, and a sense of radical togetherness can change the world. We’re ready. Are they? Ali Shutler
TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER
eeee It’s not the machine Counterfeit are raging against, it’s the world. In your face, savage but full of soul, they’re a band you wouldn’t want to stand in the way off. ‘Together We Are Stronger’ isn’t just a title. It’s a promise. It’s a powerful message of community as they tear walls down and raise spirits up. Ali Shutler 49
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR MENACE BEACH BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, LEEDS
WORDS: CHRIS TAYLOR. t the end of a long journey, finally PHOTO: ANDREW BENGE. heading home is what it’s all about. You’re knackered and ready to put your feet up, of course, but there’s something about being in familiar surroundings, among people you know, that gives you the energy for that final stretch. By the time they reach the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds’ Menace Beach are at the end of their tour. Here, among friends in a venue they love, they are determined to end things with a bang. Bringing with them two of the best new Leeds bands (plus one Derby outlier), the night feels like a celebration of everything this musical city still has to offer decades later. The crowd twisd and turn through the grooves of Pet Crow, the darkness of Drahla and the exuberance of Bruising, Menace Beach’s brand of psychedelic occult oddity seems a fitting way to close things out. From the nightmare nursery rhyme of ‘Maybe We’ll Drown’ to the woozy psychedelia of ‘Can’t Get A Haircut’, they certainly deliver. Ryan Needham and Liza Violet’s wry humour and ear for insanely catchy hooks is on full display, especially on opening song ‘Give Blood’ as Needham laments, “Why do you always sing about death?” Mostly rocketing through tracks from their second album ‘Lemon Memory’, sharpened to a fine point and wielded with precision, we’re also treated to a few old favourites including the sweet ‘Tastes Like Medicine’. Cool, calm and collected, Menace Beach came with cursed lemons and made lemonade, ready to give their hometown crowd a show. And boy did they.
MODERN BASEBALL HAVE NEVER FELT SO BOUNDLESS
WORDS: JESS GOODMAN. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
t’s been a long journey that’s brought Modern Baseball here. With the release of ‘Holy Ghost’ last year, the four-piece opened up a space for conversation about mental health in a world that sees it sidelined all too often. Using their music and their shows to create a safe place for expression, the importance of these actions is matched only by the outpouring of sincere adoration that follows the band wherever they go. Touring across the UK and Europe while co-founding member Brendan Lukens remains at home to focus on his mental health, this is a conversation that remains vital. With signs dotted around the venue telling attendees to use the restroom that best fits their gender identity or expression, every step is taken to make it a space accessible for all. The band that takes to the stage might be in a slightly different guise to the group fans fell in love with, but with band tech Nick filling in on guitar, members of the two opening acts Thin Lips and The Superweaks jumping in to lend a hand, and even with fans being called on stage to play a part, Modern Baseball have never felt so boundless. Firing through old favourites and beloved newer numbers in fast succession, the reason this group mean so much to so many is apparent on the face of every person
THE FORUM, LONDON
in room. Brazen riffs ignite the room with an energy that encompasses everything present, guitar hooks driving the vitality of the moment acutely home. Leaving a full venue completely devoted while playing one member short is undoubtedly not an easy feat, but Modern Baseball have never been ones to do anything by half. A celebration of everything that got everyone here and wherever it might lead next, the night boasts no shortage of revelry. Incorporating the iconic riff from ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ into a song, and performing on a triumphant cover of The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’ (complete with a Brandon Flowers impersonation from bassist Ian Farmer), the night is a whirlwind of freewheeling levity and ardently felt emotion. With Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian stepping in on vocals, ‘Just Another Face’ resounds with even more poignancy in Lukens’ absence. Candid lyrics of self-loathing and the resounding impact of support echo throughout the venue with an almighty roar. “Even if you can’t see it now, we’re proud of what’s to come, and you” – a rallying cry of acceptance and assistance that continues to flood your core with warmth whether it’s the first, tenth, or hundredth time you’re singing along. Hands on hearts, fists in the air, it’s instances like this that remind you how vitalizing it is to be alive.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY CELEBRATE THEIR FUTURE THE FORUM, LONDON
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT. nce upon a time Taking Back Sunday helped shape emo as we know it today. Years have passed since the release of ‘Tell All Your Friends’ though and this evening, headlining London’s Kentish Town Forum, the band are so much more than a nostalgic look back. At one point Adam Lazzara is so excited, he can’t even finish his story and that energetic urgency for what’s next remains constant throughout. Black Foxxes are also excited for what’s to come. Their opening slot sees them debut three new tracks back-to-back and, tighter, more intentional but still blood red raw, their future already comes with a promise. The well-versed cuts from ‘I’m Not Well’ have become playful over time and seem to skip around the venue before they bring it back to a whisper and the emotion reigns. By all accounts, Frank Iero and The Patience probably shouldn’t be here this evening. Not that they approach their set with any caution. ‘World Destroyer’ was written to start something and tonight it does just that. Stomping, crashing and careening about the room, there’s not a moment to pause before the chaos of ‘Veins! Veins!! Veins!!’ takes
over but it’s the clarity anthem of ‘I’m A Mess’ that really draws the room out and unites it as one. Frank doesn’t have any time for self-doubt as the once-awkward-in-thespotlight frontman is bolstered by a new-found confidence. That drive forward gives the fraught moments from ‘Stomachaches’ – ‘All I Want Is Nothing’, ‘Joyriding’, ‘Tragician’ – a new weight while the intent of ‘Parachutes’ becomes glorious in reality. Every moment of their set is custom built to mean something and it turns out it’s crafted to perfection. Taking Back Sunday have a lot of great songs. Every snapshot of their career has come with bona fide bangers and tonight they play the lot. From the incendiary ‘Liar (It Takes One To Know One)’ through the abandon of ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ to the rousing ‘Cute Without The E’, each song connects to a different part of the room but no one is left out. The leap of ‘Tidal Wave’ is well represented and while the reaction to ‘Death Wolf’ and ‘All Excess’ is different to that of the classics, they still cause a reaction. Every moment is delivered with the same lust for life and it’s met in kind. Celebrating their past but proud of the band they’ve become, Taking Back Sunday are wickedly fun, and happy to show it all off. Sure, things have changed but nothing got lost in transit.
DREAMS COME TRUE FOR THE WONDER YEARS
KOKO, LONDON WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
he Wonder Years have been dreaming about a night like tonight all their lives. They’ve never overplayed their hand or tried to fly too close to the sun. In fact it’s taken them almost eighteen months to get around to playing the sort of venues that their fifth album ‘No Closer To Heaven’ was built for. However, none of that hard work or anticipation takes away from the majesty of their sold-out show at London’s KOKO. Using the reflect of ‘No Closer To Heaven’s title track to set the pace and the spectacle of the show, the band are out to make sure every moment counts. A handful of older tracks litter the set but really it’s ‘The Greatest Generation’ and beyond that carry the night. ‘Brothers & Cardinals’, ‘Cigarettes & Saints’ and ‘There, There’ unite the multiple-levels under one voice while ‘Madelyn’ exposes the band’s raw power. Dan Campbell is a force to believe in. Leading the charge, it’s hard not to get caught up in the joy of the evening. Balloons during ‘Palm Reader’ give The Wonder Years a new dimension to play in but it’s the ring of ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’ the seals the deal. After eleven years, The Wonder Years are finally where they want to be. And it’s like those big rooms are made to measure. like a man possessed, while Luciel Brown’s sinister vocals add a haunting malevolence to the sound.
What’s exciting you right now? “The prospect of getting back on the road is pretty exciting at the moment. I seriously cannot remember the last time we played a show, how bad is that?! We have a UK tour booked for April, doing a few festivals in the summer and probably more shows later in the year so it’s gonna be a busy year for us.” Liv, Freeze The Atlantic “We haven’t toured for like six months now so getting in a van and getting dirty with the boys. That’s all I’ve been thinking about for a while now. That and skating. I hurt my knee 4 months ago so haven’t had a chance to skate
much, recently it’s felt a bit better so I’ve been testing the waters a bit. I can’t wait to be at full health and be able to cruise without worrying.” James, Broadbay “I think the indie scene (in all terms of the word) is really thriving right now and it’s great to see so many unsigned bands having more opportunity to get music out there.” Jack, Bellevue Days “The fact that we are gonna be releasing new songs and playing some big shows later on in the year.” Alan, Bellevue Days
“Don Giovanni Records is a label that I’ve really been into lately. They’ve taken a truly radical approach to social justice with the artists they sign. Ironically, the punk/DIY scene (a space supposedly designated for counter-culture activity) finds itself homogeneously white and male, excluding non-white, non-male talent. They’ve done an amazing job rounding up talent with the reversal of that ethos in mind. They also have some compelling ideas about subversion of the music industry’s corporate structure, which are certainly worth paying attention to.” Zack, Del Paxton