S SA AF FE E
I IN N
S SO OU UN ND D
INCLUDING ‘WORK ID NU CM LB U’ DIA NN GD‘‘ WH OA RD K ‘ ‘DUMB’ AND ‘HAD
FOR IT’ FN OO RUG IH T’ E ENOUGH’
CONTENTS CONTENTS M A RC H 2017
Editor: Stephen Ackroyd (email@example.com) Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Assistant Editor: Ali Shutler (email@example.com) Contributors: Alexander Bradley, Corinne Cumming, Danny Randon, Dillon Eastoe, Emma Swann, Jake Richardson, Jasleen Dhindsa, Jessica Goodman, Nariece Sanderson, Rob Mair, Sam Taylor, Sarah Louise Bennett, 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
Dear Donald Trump, Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off.
IN THIS ISSUE... RIOT!
4 SO RO RI T Y N O I S E 8 C O U N T E RF E I T 10 RO C K DJ : M A L LO RY K N OX VS G REY W I N D 12 JA M I E L E N M A N 14 LOS CA M P ES I N OS ! 16 B I G SCA RY M O N ST E RS 18 N EC K D E E P 19 F EST I VA LS
ABOUT TO BREAK
20 I D L ES
22 LOW E R T H A N AT L A N T I S 30 VA N T 32 C O D E O R A N G E 34 M E AT WAV E
36 LOS CA M P ES I N OS ! 37 CA N ’ T SW I M 40 D ECA D E 41 T R AC KS O F T H E MONTH
Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off. Fucking fuck off. Fuckity bye.
RIOT ING IN ROCK E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N
FILL IN SORORITY NOISE UNDERSTAND THAT SOMETIMES LIFE IS A SHITTER - BUT ITâ€™S IMPORTANT TO KEEP UP THE FIGHT. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
it is important that you tell the people you love, that you care about them and just be there when you see people struggling. Know it’s important to reach out. Even when you’re dealing with loss, it’s important to think about yourself and take into account how you can be a better person because of it.” “It’s just important to write for yourself,” he continues. “Writing is a pretty selfish act; it’s like therapy, you know what I mean? I don’t think about how people may perceive it because that compromises what you’re actually writing about. Then, at the end of the record when it’s mastered, I have to sit down and go, ‘Okay, this is what I’m doing. Maybe people will enjoy it; maybe people will take something positive from it’.” Instead of some grand message or conceptual theme, ‘YNA_AYT’ is simply ‘This is how I’m feeling in this moment, unapologetic or not’.”
orority Noise’s ‘You’re Not As _____ As You Think’ is an important album. Deeply personal, it sees Cam Boucher ask questions about survival, loss, addiction, self-destruction and salvation to the tune of incredible songs. All dynamic emotion and human want, you could hear it tremble and crack on your shoulder but also feel it in your bones from the back of the arena. It’s a record that could change everything for the band. Not that they know it. “I feel like we made something that was to the best of our abilities and the most concentrated effort we’ve been a part of,” starts Cam, who’s getting ready to head the Women’s March nearby. “But I had no expectations, just like I have no expectations with anything I do. I get to do music, and some people listen to it, and that’s really cool. I’m eternally grateful for it, but I never think ‘Woah, we made a difference’. I’m proud of it, and that’s the most important thing.” The record is bigger than anything Sorority Noise have done before. It’s robust, intense and doesn’t stop shifting for the duration. “I spent four months of
my life fully and totally involved in it. I wasn’t talking to people; I was totally not myself. I felt like I was losing it trying to get everything out of my head,” Cam explains. Pressure mounting, he had forty or fifty songs written that he eventually cut down to ten. “I was pretty out of it. Recording them and putting it to tape felt like an exhale. ‘This is out; there is nothing more I can do’.” But it’s exactly what he’d been planning to do all along. “When I phoned Mike Sapone, who produced the record, I told him ‘I know exactly what I want this to sound like. I want you to help. I want you to know ahead of time that I could lose it’.” The edge is ever-visible throughout ‘YNA_AYT’. That teetering dance makes it that much more intense. It feels like these songs mean something. “It is very heavy-handed with loss, but I think that we, as a band and I, as an individual are much more than the loss of friends. It’s something I’ve been focusing on lyrically because I can’t really think about anything else. It’s important to know it’s not just a story, it’s real.” This isn’t a voyeuristic record. Death is never a selling point. “I don’t want people to listen to this because it’s sad. I do want people to know that
There used to be no filter to Cam’s words, but now: “I do just write things and throw them away. Some things are too real.” ‘It Kindly Stopped For Me’ almost crossed that line, he explains. “This album is almost too much, but there are things on top of this that don’t need to be in the public eye. It plays an important role in what I’m able to do and what I feel confident about. I don’t know where I draw the line; I just know it gets drawn.” “I’ve dealt with death and loss to a weird extent,” reasons Cam. He feels like he’s been running from it his whole life. Writing about that is an important mechanism for him, and this record sees Sorority Noise questioning the healing process. “It’s an interesting dichotomy. You never want to get over it because they’re so important and you know as soon as you get over it, that part of them will be somewhat lost in you, no matter how deeply crushed you are by their loss. But it’s also important to live your life positively, knowing that everything you do is going to have them by your side. You are the continuation of their life. It’s a weird thing to process.” As a Cradle Catholic, the losses also inspired questions about Cam’s religion. As well as conversations with friends, this album sees him talking to God. “When I started losing people, there was this teetering point where I wanted to abandon it.” Half of him figured, “there can’t be justification for this happening or there being a higher power. But on the other hand, if I don’t believe in a heaven or an afterlife, then my friends are just rotting in the ground. The idea
RIOT they are watching me continue what I’m doing helped give me solace.” Becoming friends with Julien Baker helped him come to terms with a lot of these feelings and helped him explore, through song, a lot of things he hadn’t touched on before. “It’s scarily close to a Christian record, but it’s more interrogative than it is stating those ideals. I don’t want the answers; I’ve just got some questions to ask.” As delicate as it seems, Sorority Noise aren’t afraid to poke fun. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen God and I’m not trying to lead him on, but he’s always trying to fuck me to the tune of my favourite song,” sings ‘A Portrait Of’. “I think that’s one thing we’ve always done, even the band name as a whole is ridiculous. It is important to interject some of that lightness because things can be too heavy unless you look at it from that point of view.” The title is meant to inspire something similar. Knowing firsthand how open to interpretation even the most personal and intimate songs can be, ‘You’re Not As ____ As You Think’ plays into that. The album contains real people, real conversations “to the point of uncomfortable” but any word you put in the title makes it instantly and directly speak to you. It brings people to a level
and leaves room for improvement. And that’s just what Sorority Noise have done on this album. With two years of touring behind them, as opposed to the single five-hour practice they got before ‘Joy, Departed’ due to half the band quitting, there’s nothing but chemistry here. “We had that time and space to collaborate with each other in a very positive force or in a way we all felt was cohesive.” The record sounds bigger because of their attention to detail. “We would just write and work on songs until we felt like we couldn’t do any more to it. And then Mike came in and added a whole other dimension to them, which was crazy.” There’s growth throughout. “No one wants to hear the record you already did again. Constantly evolving sound and striving as a unit to make yourself think or sound bigger than you are, that’s important. At least it is to our band. It’s cool to be able to do something different, and I think we executed a lot of the ideas we intended to. I’m super happy with it, but we never thought it was going to be bigger than we are, or bigger than my bedroom. This was a solidifying way for all of us to know the sound that we’re going for, and from here on, we can progress in this manner.”
“I DON’T WA N T T H E ANSWERS; I’VE JUST G OT SO M E QUESTIONS TO ASK.”
In their three and a bit years, Sorority Noise have built a cult following. Now signed to Triple Crown and with ‘YNA_ AYT’ as jaw-dropping as it is, the door won’t hold forever. This is the record that’ll connect the band to a much wider audience, and Cam embraces that. “Whether you find out about our band via Spotify, social media or seeing us open for another band, I would hope that you took something away from it positively. If you didn’t, that’s totally fine. Some music is just not for people. You can dig yourself into a hole by paying too much attention to the opinion of the public court. I’ve seen it happen with friends. It’s important to go into this knowing that your music can be disliked.
“Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Europe.” “Europe who?” “No. You’re a poo!” *Everybody laughs. LOL.* (Is this a bit, y’know, Brexit - Ed?)
BRAND NEW EYES Signed to Triple Crown Records, produced by Mike Sapone. Are Sorority Noise ready for all the Brand New comparisons? “I love Brand New. If you listen to the music, you can’t not notice that. When we play live, I’ll do a lot of covers in the middle of the set. Why ignore the fact your influences are apparent in your music? But also, you don’t need to rip people off. You job is to expand on sounds and then do your own thing. If you want to compare my band to Brand New, I’m not going to stop you. They’re one of my favourite bands but at the same time, I would hope you wouldn’t think in any way we were taking so much from them that is was distasteful. I think it’s important to draw from as many influences as you can and create your own sound. I’m going into the studio next week to record a jazz record with some friends. Take all your influences and do the things that make you want to continue to pursue or re-realise the things you love.”
“If one person cares about your music, it’s more than you can ever imagine. When you start of writing music, you can’t even conceive the idea that your parents or your friends would like what you’re doing, let alone someone in a different country. It’s incomprehensible and still continues to be. It is a learning curve, but it is important to not think about what other people think, as long as you’re steadfast in your convictions.” Alongside their peers like Modern Baseball, Petal, Julien Baker and PWR BTTM, Sorority Noise make sure conversations about mental health are an ongoing concern. “I feel like there can never be enough bands doing that. I’m super grateful for my friends for also speaking about their struggles. It’s important we all talk about it, but it’s also sometimes difficult for people to do that. We have to have each other’s backs and keep the conversation up, so we’re all on the same page and trying to spread an idea that is healthy and constructive for all people going through what they’re going through, as well as ourselves. It’s important to contribute everyone’s story to a whole piece.” Instead of competition, “It’s important to boost your friends’ band because you’re all trying to do the same thing. As long as you’re saying what you need to say, your band is the biggest band in the world.” P Sorority Noise’s album ‘You’re Not As _____ As You Think’ is out 17th March.
B R U TA L I S M UK TOUR 2017 MARCH
06 CAMBRIDGE 08 BRISTOL 09 COLCHESTER 10 LONDON 12 SOUTHAMPTON 14 BIRMINGHAM 15 GUILDFORD 16 BRIGHTON 17 TUNBRIDGE WELLS 18 BEDFORD 20 OXFORD 21 SHEFFIELD 22 NEWCASTLE 23 ABERDEEN 24 DUNDEE 25 EDINBURGH 27 YORK 28 HULL 29 NOTTINGHAM 30 LIVERPOOL 31 WAKEFIELD APRIL 03 STOKE-ON-TRENT 04 PRESTON 05 CARDIFF
PORTLAND ARMS THE FLEECE ARTS CENTRE MOTH CLUB THE NOTES CAFÉ THE HARE & HOUNDS THE BOILEROOM THE PRINCE ALBERT FORUM ESQUIRES THE BULLINGDON THE PLUG THINK TANK TUNNELS BUSKERS SNEAKY PETE’S THE CRESCENT THE ADELPHI THE BODEGA O2 ACADEMY 2 UNITY WORKS THE SUGARMILL GUILDHALL CLWB IFOR BACH
D E B U T A L B U M ‘ B R U TA L I S M ’ OUT 10TH MARCH
IDLESBAND.COM • X T P / IDLESBAND A LIVE NATION & SJM CONCER TS PRESENTATION IN ASSOCIATION W ITH CODA AGENCY
RIOT Don’t blame us if these photos are a bit dark - the band did them themselves on a disposable camera so they could feel ‘intimate’ - Ed.
TO G ET H E R , STRONG ER.
C O U N T E RF E I T F RO N T M A N JA M I E CA M PB E L L BOW E R H AS A N I M P O R T A N T M E S S A G E F O R T O D AY ’ S Y O U T H : W E A R E STRO N G E R TO G ETH E R. WO RDS: A L I SH UTL E R.
COUNTERFEIT COUNTERFEIT ith their debut album done, Jamie Campbell Bower had a moment of reflection with bandmate Tristan Marmont. They’ve known each other since they were eight, and twenty years later they’re closer than ever. On paper, though, they “shouldn’t be mates”. “He’s a very intelligent guy with a degree in computer science, I’m this crazy musician, actor thing,” explains Jamie. So what drew them together all those years ago? “Tristan said, ‘You’re a weird dude, I’m a weird dude. I saw that, and I wanted to share in our weirdness’.” Simple, really. That spirit of community, of being weird, of banding together
and celebrating who you are is the beginning, middle and glorious end of Counterfeit’s ‘Together We Are Stronger’.
Written in the latter stages of 2015 and shaped by a year on the road, Counterfeit’s first full-length has been a long time coming, but now it’s time to relinquish control. “There are days when I wake up and realise, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to give this away now’.” There are nerves. There are always nerves. “It’s in my nature.” But that doesn’t take away from just how excited, stoked and superhappy the band are to let people in on what they’ve been building. “If you had told me three years that I’d be making a record, releasing it with my best mates, touring the world and having a really good time doing it, I would have told you to go away,” laughs Jamie before dialling up the denial. “I would have told you to get fucked.” The songs took shape while Jamie was at his most stressed. “I seem to be able to tap into whoever this monster is inside me
FACT F I L E :
Title: Together We Are Stronger Label: Xtra Mile Recordings Released: 17th March Track titles: 01. Washed Out 02. For The Thrill Of It 03. Close To Your Chest 04. As Yet Untitled 05. Romeo 06. You Can’t Rely 07. Lost Everything 08. Addiction 09. Enough 10. Letters To The Lost
for the writing process when I’m super slammed, up against it, or I’m over emotional. I’m one of those people who is everything or nothing.” Once the rough idea was sketched out, they were fired over to Tristan, Roland Johnson, Sam Bower and Jimmy Craig to colour them in and make ‘em whole. Sometimes a song comes together in a day, sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes it’s not right and is left by the wayside. “I’ll always keep those in the bag,” grins Jamie. “Just in case Taylor Swift wants a song.” From the walk in thrash of ‘Washed Out’, Counterfeit are out to cause the sort of trouble that you knew they would. “The main thing with the record was that we wanted it to sound frantic and like a bunch of guys playing some rock songs in the room, as well as having that modern feel and glistening edge to
That unease seeps into ‘Together We Are Stronger’. The band move quickly, their it.” Naïve and frayed around the edges ideas are a push back against the walls but perfectly formed, the album relishes that feel like they’re closing around the unexpected without thinking them and the snarling fury carries them too far ahead. “Do I think it will freak forward as they try to keep their heads people out? I don’t think it’s expected,” above water. “There is that feeling of grins Jamie. There’s a moment in ‘Close helplessness. As an artist, I’ve never felt to Your Chest’ that quotes a passage more helpless or terrified than I have from The Bible’s Book of Mormon’ just in the past 24 months. That’s a really because one happened to be laying big thing for me ‘cause that feeling around the studio. “I have no idea what of helplessness has been present the fuck it was doing there. There are throughout my life.” Banded together, moments where people though, Counterfeit will think it’s crazy but I champion “that feeling think they’ll be able to of rising above it, but grasp it and hold on. It’s “DO I THINK not fighting it. I never our first record, and it IT WILL want to fight how I feel says who we are. I want FREAK or be aggressive towards people to be freaked out PEOPLE OUT? how I feel. I want to and love it at the same I DON’T accept it and work time. I’m not asking for THINK IT’S through it, and that’s much, c’mon.” E X PECTE D.” what a lot of the record From self-releasing their music to dreaming up, writing and recording their album, Counterfeit are a band who have done things on their terms. It’s been an education, but “it’s important to learn these things because it’s our art, our craft, it’s what we love to do, and it’s who we are. The moment someone starts messing with that is the moment you lose the soul of the band. We’re very lucky we’ve been able to hold onto the soul of the band. The record was made by us; it’s all our own doing, so we’ve only got ourselves to blame.” The record, united by the beating heart of togetherness, deals with a lot of ideas. “Listening back I’ve noticed I’m quite a possessive person and it’s great to be able to check yourself in those moments. There is this general feeling of acceptance and love, though. We’re not a band who sit around and get fucked up. We like to share ideas. We philosophise about current political situations, who we are as people and what it means to be young adults
addresses. It’s about rising above it, rising above the doom, gloom and bullshit and the crushing despair of everyday existence. You wake up and look at the news and every day, it seems like something worse has happened. We can choose to lie down and give up, this is going to end everything, or we can choose to push against it. Change is a terrifying thing, especially to change oneself. ‘Together We Are Stronger’ is the acknowledgement of the people who have come to shows and supported the band thus far, they have helped me on a level that is so deeply personal. Without those people, without the support of people, I don’t think I could have done what I’ve done over the past 18 months with this band or personally. It’s pushed me to try and be a better artist. It’s pushed me to do things out of the box. It’s pushed me everyday to hammer down doors, to keep going and to keep trying to make it better.” After all, together we are stronger. P Counterfeit’s debut album ‘Together We Are Stronger’ is out 17th March.
FA K E N E WS !
TH EY’RE TH E H OT TEST BAND ON THE BLOCK WITH THEIR DEBUT A L BU M SET TO D RO P R E A L LY V E R Y S O O N , B U T HOW MANY OF THE ‘ FACT S ’ B E L OW A R E TRUE, AND HOW MANY A R E FA K E N E WS ?
1. Will from Creeper’s mother claims the first words her son ever spoke were ‘I am overwhelmed by the beauty of darkness, I will meet you in the shadows 2. Ian cuts out and collects every photo of Mel from Mel and Sue he can find. He sticks them in a special book. 3. At least two members of Creeper are actually dead and appear as ghosts from the afterlife.. Nobody is quite sure which. 4. Will was expelled from his first school for hiding in the caretaker’s cloakroom and jumping out to scare passing classmates. 5. Creeper all live together in a stolen Soviet submarine of the coast of Southampton. On Domino’s two-for-Tuesdays the delivery boy is instructed to throw the boxes out to sea and wait for the money to arrive in a bottle. 6. When Creeper ‘disappeared’ last year, it was actually because they’d forgotten to pay their broadband bill. They just styled it out. ANSWERS: 1. FALSE. 2. FALSE. 3. FALSE. 4. FALSE. 5. FALSE. 6. FALSE. WE MADE THEM ALL UP, BASICALLY. FAKE NEWS! SAD!
because for me, and everyone else in the band, our generation is looking around at everything going on and asking what the fuck. What the fuck is happening? There’s this camaraderie in being a young person, in being weird and in thinking differently. We should be thinking differently.” From ‘Enough’’s inception in the aftermath of the Bataclan attacks and beyond, “it’s confusing for my generation, there’s this feeling of fear, anger and frustration. Those themes are present throughout the record.”
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, Steph from Greywind takes on Mikey from Mallory Knox. Let battle commence... ROUND ONE 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 B O U T T O E N D.
Mikey: ‘Brothers on a Hotel Bed’ by Death Cab for Cutie, because it’s one of my favourite songs in the whole world, and I’d quite like that last thing I ever hear to be something beautiful. Steph: ‘The Final Countdown’ by Journey If this was playing as the world was
STEPH FROM GREYWIND
VS VS VS
M I K E Y F RO M M A L LO RY K N OX
about to end, it would make me laugh a lot, so at least I wouldn’t be sad in my final moments! W I N N E R If you pick Uncle Gibbard, you’re probably gonna win with us. Round one to Mikey. ROUND TWO T H E S O N G YO U ’ D P L AY
TO M A KE
E N T R A N C E I F YO U W E R E A PRO WRESTLER.
YO U ’ R E S U P E R C O O L .
Mikey: ’It’s All Coming Back to Me’ by Celine Dion. All the cool kids are listening to Celine nowadays, didn’t you know bro? Steph: ‘Degausser’ by Brand New. Brand New are super cool and I love them. So, without forcefully listening to something just so other people think I’m cool, I think I just already am... W I N N E R Oh Mikey. Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. You’ve had a post-ironic ‘mare there. Steph ties it up at 1-1. ROUND THERE
Mikey: ‘Hail Destroyer’ by Cancer Bats. Have you heard ‘Hail Destroyer’? Who wouldn’t want to walk in to that song? Steph: ’Forest Ablaze’ by Greywind. I’m going to pick my own song for this but I have a good reason! The first line of the song is ‘I don’t know what to do’, and if I were in this situation, I literally would not know what to do because I would be the worst wrestler ever, so it’s very fitting. W I N N E R She’s picked her own song. She’s actually done it. Oh no. DJ rules mean by default Mikey ties it up at 2-2 draw.
T H E S O N G YO U ’ D P L AY I F Y O U
WERE STILL 14.
T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY I N T H E CA R O N YO U R OW N .
Mikey: ‘Pure Morning’ by Placebo. To relive all the beautifully shit aspects of being a teenage Greebo in the early 2000s. Steph: ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’ by Fall Out Boy. I listened to this song probably every single day when I was 14. I do still listen to it now, though, cause it’s great! W I N N E R Fall Out Boy are the DJ equivalent of a thunderbastard into the top corner. Steph is 2-1 up.
Mikey: Anything from Tenacious D. Always good for an in-car sing-along. On a really long drive once I sang ‘The Pick of Destiny’ from start to finish full pelt to keep me from falling asleep at the wheel. You could say Tenacious D saved my life. Steph: ‘Spin’ by Taking Back Sunday. If you can listen to the chorus of this song WITHOUT screaming it at the top of your lungs then you’re lying. I always have to! W I N N E R We can’t even look at you Mikey. No words. Steph wins this one.
ROUND FOUR T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY TO S O U N DT R AC K YO U R
AND THE WINNER IS... STEPH FROM GREYWIND W I N S 3 - 2 . ‘ C O N G R AT S ’ !
A L I V E N AT I O N & F R I E N D S P R E S E N TAT I O N B Y A R R A N G E M E N T W I T H U N I T E D TA L E N T A G E N C Y
CAS E ST U DY
CHRISSY CHRISSY F RO M AGA I N ST T H E C U RRE N T
EVER WONDERED W H AT E S S E N T I A L S
JAMIE LENMAN •LIVE 2017•
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
BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE 3
YO U CA N K N OW !
C A R D I F F C LW B I F O R B A C H 29 APRIL
Skin oil for me is a MUST. Bus air is so dry that my face just turns into a desert. If I didn’t have this you’d see me dipping my face in olive oil out of desperation.
BRISTOL THEKLA 0 1 M AY
MANCHESTER SOUND CONTROL 0 2 M AY
LONDON SCALA 0 4 M AY
MILTON KEYNES CRAUFURD ARMS I always have to have my beanie! This is my “cartoon character beanie” aka I just end up wearing it every single day like a cartoon would.
0 5 M AY
LEEDS KEY CLUB 0 6 M AY
GLASGOW KING TUTS
I always bring photos from home. Even though I could easily just save them on my phone I like having physical copies to keep with me.
My little Ewok! He comes with me everywhere when I travel, you always need to have a travel buddy.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. I always need to plug so many things in so I have this amazing surge protector strip with four outlets and four USB that has adapters for any plug. So key.
Against the Current tour the UK from 8th March.
L I V E N AT I O N . C O . U K | T I C K E T M A S T E R . C O . U K
N A M N N A E M L N E E I L M E A I J M A J
UR YEARS. I A L I N OV E R F O Y. S T S O L O M AT E R R I F S ALEXANDER BRADLE I DS: H H WOR T I W I S BAC K
Z AC’S BAC K
“I’M JUST LETTING THIS RIDE, THERE IS N O G R E AT PLAN.”
he surprise return of Jamie Lenman is one you didn’t know you needed. With his new single ‘Mississippi’ tearing up the airwaves, the smartly dressed rocker has newfound vigour and still the ability to serve up a shock or two. ‘Mississippi’, in his own words, bridges that driving and crunching sound that came from his 2013 debut ‘Muscle Memory’ but also finds the often quickwitted and upbeat singer with a more personal tone as he deals with the loss of his father. “It goes into deeper areas that are harder to talk about for sure, and it is one of a few songs that I’ve written that are actual quite difficult to sing because they are so personal. I’ve put it out as a single now so I’m gonna have to play it every night when I’m on the road,” he jokes. “That’s okay because when I’m on the road and with my audience, if they’re my audience, then we’re usually in a pretty comfy place, a safe place to have those sorts of feelings. I guess that is pretty fucking personal.” Whether it’s the untimely end of his former band Reuben, the half-thrash / half-jazz-folk solo album, rare live 12 upsetmagazine.com
shows or his guest appearance on Black Peaks’s debut, keeping you guessing is all that Jamie Lenman is about. And, despite more new material expected over the coming months, it’s still a mystery if a full album is on the horizon. While musing, “I do think in terms of albums, and I would like this material to at some point be collected onto an album,” he also admits, “I’m just letting this ride, there is no great plan.” One thing is for certain, though: Jamie Lenman will be back on the road in the next few months with a string of dates confirmed for May. Having toured ‘Muscle Memory’ with a full band and then refining that to solo shows, for the upcoming dates it’s been suggested that, like the recording of new tracks, it will be a double act of just Lenman and his drummer. Previewing those dates, he buzzes: “No matter what the arrangement is, I’m going to sing 15 songs, and we’re all going to have a great time.” Promising a typically charming show of new songs and older hits, he’s also careful to point out that not all your favourite Reuben bangers will get an airing. Discussing picking out tracks for his setlist, he concludes: “You have to
It’s official, then. Zac Farro is properly back in Paramore. The band announced the news with a brand new t-shirt, titled ‘I’m Back’, featuring a childhood photo of the drummer. Zac, who originally left the band along with his brother Josh back in 2010, was already on record as having recorded for the band’s forthcoming fifth album. He’s been working on his own really rather ace Halfnoise project for the past few months, but now he’s returned to make Paramore a trio again. Hopefully that means it’s not too long until we hear about that new record.
strike a balance between what people want to hear and what you want to play. I know there are some songs that people want to hear... I’m not going to play fucking ‘Return Of The Jedi’. Jesus Christ! It’s so long and complex, ain’t nobody got time for that!” While you can guarantee nothing with his music, you can be sure that Jamie Lenman doesn’t do half measures so catch him while you can! P
FAIL YOU AGAIN
LOS CAMPESINOS! “WE “WE QUESTIONED QUESTIONED WHAT WHAT THE THE POINT ANYMORE.” POINT WAS WAS ANYMORE.” our years between albums is hardly untrodden terrain, but for a band with such a tireless reputation for studio output, a new record from Los Campesinos! in 2017 might just leave the hiatuses of Dr Dre and Guns N’ Roses to pale in comparison. Their absence may be marginally less prolific, but in their sensational sixth album, ‘Sick Scenes’, the indie-rock septet have marked a return that’s not only unanimously welcome among their cult of admirers; it’s a reminder of simpler and more sincere times for the band, having independently funded the making of the record – with a little help from their friends and fans. “It was something that, in hindsight, I think we should’ve done years ago,” says frontman Gareth David. “We’re very proud to have started managing ourselves and going out on our own
to make an album. I feel like we’re a good example of how to stick to your principles and make sensible decisions that preserve you as a band.”
A reinvigorated compilation of eleven odes to their loves and loathes – relationships, depression and, of course, football – ‘Sick Scenes’ follows 2013’s ‘No Blues’ which, while undoubtedly charming in the band’s self-deprecating fashion, felt a bit deflated.
Another factor which further marred the band’s ability to show ‘No Blues’ to the wider world was something which has eroded the hopes of countless millennial mid-tier artists: the everpresent fact that being in a band won’t always pay the bills. When each Campesino! reached the daunting age of 30, this startling realisation, along with the financial necessity of ‘the day job’ became even harder to ignore.
It may not necessarily have been down to a waning in the energies that drive LC!’s flamboyant, excruciatingly honest choruses, but more because of the fifth album’s obligatory promotional cycle – or lack thereof.
“Once we had moved in that direction [of getting jobs], we all needed to take the time to get settled,” Gareth reflects. “Some of the band have mortgages and businesses and other non-musical projects that take up time and energy.”
“The sad thing was that there wasn’t really a ‘No Blues cycle’,” says Gareth. “It came out, and we only played about ten shows supporting it, which was a frustrating thing. We’d previously always done huge US tours.”
With their futures in mind, multiinstrumentalist Rob ‘Sparky Deathcap’ Taylor made a living as a freelance illustrator – his bold and brilliant work can be seen through the cover art for ‘Sick Scenes’ – and Gareth’s sibling
In retrospect, Los Campesinos! shouldn’t have listened when Dave told them it was a fancy dress funeral.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, AFTER THEIR LAST ALBUM ‘NO BLUES’ LOS CAMPESINOS! WERE WONDERING WHETHER COMING BACK AGAIN WOULD BE WORTH IT. THANKFULLY, A RUN OF FOOTBALL SHIRTS PUT THEM RIGHT… WORDS: DANNY RANDON.
‘Hold On Now, Youngster’. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be dusting off his glockenspiel and re-treading the band’s ‘tweexcore’ roots anytime soon…
LC!FC are in the Premier League when it comes to kit design. keyboardist Kim Paisley opened a tattoo studio in the south coast town of Worthing with drummer Jason Adelinia. Meanwhile, bassist Matthew Fidler went into the marketing business, guitarist Neil Turner began working his way up in the restaurant industry, and other guitarist Tom Bromley set out to write music for television and adverts, as well as becoming a touring guitarist for Seattle chamber-pop artist Perfume Genius. “It was a frustrating couple of years, and it was kind of disheartening,” says Gareth, who “fell out of love with the music industry” while working for a record label, and now takes on managerial duties for his bandmates. “I don’t think we ever really wanted to finish the band, but the way things had gone had made us question whether people still cared or were even interested.” Nevertheless, it was their tenthanniversary celebrations last year – along with an indulgence in their love for ‘the beautiful game’ – that proved the band’s speculations over being gradually evicted from their place in their fans’ hearts to be somewhat unjustified. Releasing a limited line of 100 LC! football shirts which were authentically created with Adidas, it was hoped that the milestone celebrations would also make a dent in the studio bills. Within just one week, in a Leicester-esque victory for the underdogs, they had flogged 1,000 shirts. “We suddenly had enough money to record a whole album,” beamed Gareth, “and buoyed by that faith from our fanbase who, after a long wait for a new album, were still sticking by us, we were impassioned.” Gareth would even go so far as to compare their attitude towards making the record as they would’ve done when they were just delightfully naïve students penning their animated debut,
“We’re all in our 30s now, and while that’s not over-the-top old, it’s conceivable that we wouldn’t have the same energy and enthusiasm that we once had for being in a band. I think we still do have that energy, albeit we’re just a little bit slower at everything we do.” The darkest recesses of death and other depressing matters have always given Los Campesinos! a bitter but palatable undertone to their quirky pop noises. With Gareth writing lyrics for the record while battling the notion of “having no fucking clue” what to do with his life, ‘Sick Scenes’ is far from becoming an exception to their rule. “I’ve got less of a clue now than I ever have!” Gareth chuckles. “I’m at a point now where there are a number of elements in my life which I’m incredibly happy with, but then there’s always this lingering illness and depression that just, however good you’re feeling, is always there in some areas [of your life], it
NEED TO KNOW
doesn’t shift.” In the absence of any particular trigger points for his anxiety, Gareth was left having to channel a general social malaise into his contributions towards what might be the band’s most personal record yet. “As far back as seven or eight years ago, I was singing about the same feelings, but I guess I was thinking that it was all going to be alright in the end because I’ll get older and I’ll grow out of it,” he ponders. “Then, in reality, I’m realising that the older you get, it’s actually more difficult to deal with because you keep thinking, ‘When is it going to end?’” His voice perks up quickly to make a crucial point. “There’s been a massive improvement in bands writing about depression and mental illness these days, and that’s a huge positive, because it’s breaking that taboo and it’s allowing people to talk more openly about it. They can see that if bands they like are singing about it, then it’s okay to feel however you feel.” Of the generation of bands that emerged out of what Gareth derides as the “stupid NME-indie boom” before filling every available corner on festival bills in the latter half of the 00s, Los Campesinos! are one of a few which have been granted the luxury of longevity – even if it’s not on a commercial level.
Upset faves (and former cover stars) Bully have confirmed they’re currently in the studio working on an upcoming new album. Posting on Instagram, they reveal: “Been making a goddamn record.” The Nashville band are working on the follow-up to bloody excellent debut ‘Feels Like’, released back in 2015. There’s no new music to hear as of yet, but it’s expected to land later this year, so watch this space.
However, if there’s one thing that they’ve learnt after eleven years, it’s that everything has a shelf life. Gareth levelheadedly accepts that Los Campesinos! is something which he may not be able to do in ten or twenty years’ time, but that’s a bridge that he needn’t think about crossing just yet.
Bleached have announced a new EP, ‘Can You Deal?’, for release on 3rd March. The release will be accompanied by a ‘zine that features contributions from Hayley Williams, Tegan Quin, Alice Glass, Julien Baker, Alicia Bognanno, Hinds, Kate Nash, Lizzo and loads more. All net proceeds from the ‘zine will go to Planned Parenthood.
“We used to be happy to sleep on sofas and have no money, but now we can’t really justify that if we’re thinking about having families and things like that.
“I think we’re very sensible about [the future of Los Campesinos!]” Gareth admits. “We know that gone are the days where we’re going to be able to go on tour for 75% of the year because people’s mortgages and businesses won’t allow it.
“Making this album has shown us that we still really like being in the band, and however long it takes between albums, there’s absolutely no reason for us to stop being a band as long as people are reacting to the music and wanting to hear more from us.” P 15
RIOT PUT A LABEL O N I T. . .
THROUGH HARD WORK AND A KNACK FOR PICKING BANDS, KEVIN DOUCH HAS TRANSFORMED BIG SCARY MONSTERS FROM A BEDROOM LABEL TO ONE AT THE FOREFRONT OF ITS SCENE. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: EMMA SWANN.
nyone can do what Kevin Douch has done. Starting his label Big Scary Monsters while at sixth form with no help, money or real idea about what a label even did, he’s spent the past sixteen years making mistakes and using his victories as fuel for pushing forward. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the name, you’ll know the music. Pulled Apart By Horses, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., Andrew W.K., Tubelord, Meet Me In St. Louis, PWR BTTM, Joyce Manor: BSM has worked with them all. And the rest.
BSM celebrated 16 years with a London pop-up shop earlier this year. This is what it looked like. 16 upsetmagazine.com
Today, at the label’s pop-up shop in London, he’s sat in the same corner that’s hosted shows from Gnarwolves, Beach Slang, Modern Baseball, Kevin Devine, Tiny Moving Parts and Tall Ships in the past two weeks alone. Somewhere along the line, Kev has taken Big Scary Monsters from something he did in his spare time to a ‘proper’ thing that has released some of our favourite ever records. Anyone can do what he’s done, but few actually do. BSM started out of “idiocy and pure glamour,” says Kev. “I couldn’t play an instrument; I couldn’t be in a band. I was writing a little ‘zine, but I didn’t really like it.” Writer’s
block meant it was released every six months. “It wasn’t me, and then someone suggested a record label. That was it, really. I didn’t even know what a record label did. I’m still not completely sure, but it seemed like a fun thing to do.” In the beginning, he didn’t know anyone. “I knew of labels, I was buying magazines and listening to music all the time, so I heard record labels’ names mentioned but I didn’t really know what their role was and I had no one to ask advice. It’s why if someone contacts me about starting a label now and they want advice, I’m happy to help. I wish I’d have known who to contact back then.” He looked up to Drive-Thru Records (“I liked the family vibe they had”), Sub Pop, Fierce Panda and the handful of great local Oxford labels. “[But] I didn’t really feel confident enough to cold call someone and say, ‘Hey, we’re doing this in a similar place. Can we have a chat about it?’ I just figured it out by myself.” Although Big Scary Monsters is sixteen this year, it’s only really felt like A Thing for
Gnarwolves. Don’t smell those fingers, kids. the past ten. The first couple of years just saw Kev walking around town, telling everyone he had a record label even though he had no bands. “Then when we started getting bands, it was one at a time. It was quite sparse with no real cohesion musically. ‘I like this’. There was never any long-term thought; there was never a consideration that it could become a career. It took a few years before I quit my other jobs and went full time at the label. “At that point, we were working with Get Cape., who was doing well. He’d just signed to a major label and was growing considerably. We also had this UK math-rock scene that was beginning to develop. We had Meet Me In St. Louis that led to This Town Needs Guns, Tubelord, Colour, Blakfish and various others. We had a little scene that was exciting to be a part of. That led us on to Pulled Apart By Horses and Kevin Devine which led us to the American side of what we now do. There’s never been one single point where it felt like ‘this is it’, it’s just been a lot of gradual things. It’s hard to say how we made it. I couldn’t turn and say to another label ‘you’ve got to do this’ because everyone finds a different path.” “It’s the easiest job in the world,” he continues. “It was never rocket science; it was just a case of making lots of mistakes and being sure you don’t make them again. It would have been nice to have been someone’s apprentice, but I think things would have been very different if I had of been. I don’t think we would have found our way quite like this. I’m glad it took a while to get to where we’re at. Sometimes I do still think of myself as an 18-year-old running this as a bit of a laugh, and I have to stop myself.” From the first release, compilation CD ‘A Taste Of The Horror To Come’, BSM has steadily grown. A few years ago though, it began ramping up. The realisation that “we’re a good a label and we do things pretty well” excited him again after a few
months of wanting to do something else. “I just got over myself. I think everything we do is good, but sometimes things feel slightly easier, or there’s a bit more to it. Last year we released albums from Modern Baseball, PWR BTTM and Beach Slang. All these bands are very important. They all have things to say that transcends the music. That reinvigorated me, feeling like we’re doing something good rather than just releasing music people quite like. I felt like we actually had a message. That helped me stay excited by it.” The label works with everything from Totoro, instrumental math-rock to Gnarwolves, skate-punk. “There’s not much connecting them. I’m probably one of not many people who like both those things,” admits Kev. “With all our bands, it’s that two degrees of separation. I like that every one of our bands is just one or two steps away from each other. Even though it’s an eclectic roster nowadays, you can connect them all very easily.” First and foremost, BSM sign bands on the music. “They have to sound good. Beyond that, we have a lot of conversations. ‘Where do you want to take it? What sort of band do you want to be? How can we help?’ It’s a lot of trust on both sides. We are that bridge. We’re trying to take a band to a new audience, and we need to find that audience ourselves. We act as that voice for them. We’re also a filter and a stamp of approval. We do have that platform, and so do the artists. It’s important they are saying stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a band sometimes that’s just dumb fun, you can’t take yourself too seriously, but I think with these bands and their platforms, it is important they use them. We’re trying to as well.” Once upon a time, Kev drunkenly emailed Andrew W.K. asking to work with him - he said yes. Funded by a football bet gone right, they put out a square 7” of ‘I’m A Vagabond’. Nowadays, things are a bit more considered. He knows which bands he wants to work with. “Things feel stable and structured for the first time, and it’s led me to dare to plan ahead. Where do I want to take this? It feels like we got to this stage accidentally. Now I’m excited to see what we can do when we really try.” P
2017 sees Big Scary Monsters release a number of worthwhile records. “Our first four albums are Meat Wave, Sorority Noise, PWR BTTM and Gnarwolves,” says Kev, “which is the strongest line-up we’ve had in a very long time. “They have something to say, capping it off with PWR BTTM. The way they handle identity, sexuality and their fanbase, to the way they address their fans on public forums, to the way they are on stage and the way they are as people, everything about them is just incredible. In the six months we’ve worked with PWR BTTM, I’ve learnt a lot about the LGBTQ scene just from talking to them and going to see them play. Seeing their crowd, that atmosphere, what it means to people and the way it pulls it all together, it felt very welcoming and inclusive. That record is going to be a very big record. And it’s a brilliant album too, it’s bigger and better than the first one, and I love that first one. “Sorority Noise, in a similar way to Modern Baseball, are dealing with some important issues and it’s their best work yet. That’s a running theme with the records. They’re not even peaking; it’s just moving up. We also have a lot more things that will be coming up. I think we did twenty records last year and we’re aiming to beat that this time.”
NECK DEEP “THE “THE SONGS SONGS WE’VE WE’VE GOT GOT DOWN DOWN ARE ARE ALL ALL BANGERS.” BANGERS.”
A LOT HAS CHANGED FOR NECK DEEP SINCE THE RELEASE OF ‘LIFE’S NOT OUT TO GET YOU’ IN 2015. BUT WITH THE BAND ABOUT TO HIT “CRUNCH TIME” ON ITS FOLLOW-UP, FRONTMAN BEN BARLOW, BACKSTAGE AT WEMBLEY ARENA AND ABOUT TO SUPPORT A DAY TO REMEMBER, ASSURES THEY HAVEN’T “TURNED INTO A JAZZ-FUSION BAND.” GOOD TO KNOW, EH?
WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN. PHOTO: CORINNE CUMMING.
So, how’s everything going with the new record? We’ve got a good chunk of it as good as written so, you know, that’s always good! Going into the studio and having a good idea of how much work you’ve got done and how much work you need to do helps. The songs that we’ve got down are all bangers, and it’s all coming together quite nicely. We’ll be heading to the studio in about two-and-a-bit/three weeks and then it’s crunch time, time to get it done so you’ll be hearing a lot more about it over the next couple of months I’m guessing, but at this point it’s all coming together quite nicely. Where’s the inspiration coming from for this new stuff? Neck Deep records tend to be quite varied in their messages, or can be, a little bit. We don’t want to be one trick ponies, but it still sounds like Neck Deep; we haven’t turned into a jazz-fusion band. There’s a lot of overriding themes, we’ve all been through various things this year and that sparks various creative processes, generally you can expect it to be about life’s current situations in regards to the state of society and politics. Everything. From life and death to love and fucking society I guess. Try and cover a broad range, you know? It’s not going to be a concept album, we’re 18 upsetmagazine.com
not going to tell a story or anything like that but maybe just comment on how we see the world and how life has been for us over the past couple of years. That makes sense. Even though we’re in a band we’re still very regular people, we try and remain fairly down to earth when it comes to it, so we’re not going to write a record about being on tour, that’s the one thing that I’ve always tried to kind of stay away from, is to try and make it relatable. I feel sometimes bands get to a certain point and all they can write about is what it’s like to be in a band but not everyone can relate to that because not everyone is in a band, you know? We’re trying to keep it fairly real, try and keep down to earth and relatable for people. How have you coped with your success? We know that we’ve got a good thing going, we know we’re very lucky to be in the position we’re in and have as many fans as we do, but that’ll never overwhelm the fact that we are just people with regular views, and I think that’s been the theme throughout Neck Deep and part of the reason people like us so much. We’re not like these crazy fucking rock stars whose heights are completely unachievable.
We kind of say to people like, if you want to fucking experience what we’ve experienced just do it, just try. It’s not like we’re putting ourselves above other people, we’re very aware of who we are and where we want to go with it. I think that’s a key part in Neck Deep, we’re trying to remain somewhat relatable and real, we don’t want people to think that we’re fucking shitty rock stars because we’re not, there are no egos here. Do you have any goals for the future? We’ve done so much. We’ve collaborated with our heroes, played shows with our heroes, toured the world. We’ve seen the most amazing things, played the most amazing shows. Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to consider where to go next, but I suppose the aim really is to write consistently good records. My dream now is instead of supporting bands at Wembley that we’ll be headlining. You know, it might be a little off but I think it’s an achievable goal. We’ve always said from the start we want to take it all the way, and that’s not a selfish thing, or an indulgent thing - who wouldn’t want that? It’s everyone’s wildest dreams to be able to do those kind of things. Just keep chasing the dream and keep just trying to get bigger and better every time, that’s all we’re trying to do I guess! P
FESTIVALS YO U CA N N E V E R B E T O O P R E PA R E D F O R T H E S U M M E R
D OW N LOA D A D D S A D AY T O REMEMBE C R E E P E R A N D RL, M O O S E B L O O D , OA D S O F OT H E R AC E BA N DS
ES A PA RT BY H O RS S L AV E S , P U L L E D E R O M D N A S L MUNCIE GIR 0 0T R E E S A R E P L AY I N G 2 0 he first batch of bands for this year’s 2000trees festival have been announced, including the first headliner. Slaves will top the bill on the Saturday of the event, where they’re joined by Upset faves Muncie Girls, Black Foxxes and Petrol Girls, as well as exciting names including Pulled Apart By Horses, Jamie Lenman, Greywind, Bellevue Days, Weirds, Personal Best, Cassels, Doe, Tigercub and a whole bunch more. 2000trees takes place from 6th - 8th July at Upcote Farm in the Cotswold Hills. Tickets
for this year’s event are on sale now. The full list of bands announced is... Slaves, Nothing But Thieves, Pulled Apart By Horses, Jamie Lenman, Feed the Rhino, Dinosaur Pile Up, Muncie Girls, Black Foxxes, The One Hundred, Queen Kwong, Area 11, Greywind, Strange Bones, Grumble Bee, Shvpes, Bad Sign, Bellevue Days, Weirds, Personal Best, Cassels, Doe, Fizzy Blood, Sœur, Jonah Matranga, Giants, Tigercub, Away Days, Apologies, I Have None, The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, Louise Distras, Milestones, Polary, Making Monsters, wars, Vukovi, Straight Lines, Steven Battelle, Petrol Girls
load more bands have been announced for Download, including our mates Creeper appearing on the Main Stage (!!), former cover stars Moose Blood, As It Is, State Champs, Casey, The Dillinger Escape Plan, IDLES and
Baroness. Also confirmed are Steel Panther, A Day To Remember, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The Devil Wears Prada, In Flames, Hacktivist, Northlane, Touche Amore, Trash Boat and loads more. Download will take place from 9th – 11th June at Donington Park.
A N D I N O T H E R F E S T I VA L N E W S . . . ArcTanGent has revealed Glasgow Green from 7thits headliners for 2017: 9th July. Converge and Explosions in the Sky. They’ll be The latest batch of bands joined at the Bristol event has been announced for from 17th-19th August Slam Dunk. Neck Deep, by Tesseract, Sikth, Wot Citizen, Turnover, Set It Gorilla? and loads more. Off, Memphis May Fire, I Biffy Clyro are headlining Prevail, Ice Nine Kills and Oceans Ate Alaska are all the first ever TRNSMT joining the three-legged Festival in Glasgow. Put event, which kicks off in on by the organisers of Birmingham on 27th May, T in the Park – which is heads to Leeds on 28th taking a break this year May, then finishes up in due to site issues– the event will take place on Hatfield on 29th May.
that we weren’t proud of.”
Listening to the grieving yet purgative debut, you wouldn’t NEW MUSIC think that the Bristol five-piece started off as a passable indie lot of my friends band. “[When we started] we came fresh have been playing from a lot of indie bands around at that in bands since time. You speak the language of what they were kids, you’re surrounded by, and we were trying [but] we all new things out all the time. We were started out late, probably accidentally mimicking [the so we wanted to bands we loved], and it just took a long get it right, and if we released an album time to find our voice. With the early four years ago it would have been shite.” stuff, it was us treading shallow water, IDLES frontman Joe Talbot explains why not going in too far, and I just found with it’s taken his band seven years to release time, I have more to say with aggression their debut album, ‘Brutalism’. behind me. I felt more driven to write things when there’s a more formidable He continues: “We needed to find what we rhythm section behind me. ‘Two Tone’ were good at, it takes a long time to learn about yourself, and we didn’t want to just waste an album and make it a piece of shit
B R EAK
TH E H OT TEST
[taken from 2012’s ‘Welcome’ EP] was when we managed to meet in the middle, and write something that we were almost all appreciated on; we all wrote our own parts, and there’s this more aggressive side of our music from early on.” Aggression is the most obvious thing that comes to mind when listening to IDLES as they are in present time. ‘Brutalism’ presents a new assertive punk that’s as witty as it is savage and valiant. “The concept of ‘Brutalism’ is about three years old. I was fascinated with Brutalist and Modernist architecture and the idea of reforming architecture. We wanted to get a whole body of work together under the guise of ‘Brutalism’, and I was messing around with ideas and more industrial sounds with our rhythm section and giving ourselves a brief.” He talks about the initial stages of the album. “With things like subject matter, I’ve always wanted to talk about the same things politically and emotionally. I’ve always been interested in grief and expressing pain through an immersed perspective. It all came together, and my mum
BRISTOLIANS IDLES HAVE CHANNELLED THEIR ANGER INTO A FURIOUS DEBUT. WORDS: JASLEEN DHINDSA.
“NONE OF IT M AT T E R S I F IT’S N OT
F U N .” died, and everything just started to move a lot quicker.” The album’s lead single is the mocking and boisterous punk anthem ‘Well Done’, where Joel quips about The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry and a man called Tarquin – they’ve got degrees, jobs and like reggae, so why don’t you? “What we have received [with ‘Well Done’] is massive, it’s life changing really,” Joe admits. “This is all mental, you want it to happen, and you work for it, and I don’t think it’s not deserved, but it feels like a lottery. We’ve been playing for six years, and I know for a fact for half that time we were shite. After that, you think why did I just support that band? They don’t give a fuck; they don’t care, they’re clothes horses, they just look good, they just play boring, tepid music, they look bored on stage. You just have to wait for your turn, keep working hard, keep turning up, keep being polite, remember the sound engineers name, write better songs, and enjoy yourself. But none of it matters if it’s not fun. I’ve always wanted it because it allows us to go to other countries and spend more time together, and have fun on a better platform.” “I wrote it [‘Well Done’] as a grime song, I sheepishly brought it to the rest of the band, but we all thought it worked well. It’s the first time I’ve injected humour into our songs, [but] it’s got that spite in it that still comes across. I’m not a spiteful person, but I do fucking hate that attitude people such as Tories have towards the working class like, just get on your bike and if you don’t have a job get a job.” “It’s all a bit of a blur, where we are,” he infers. “We’d never have guessed, especially from ‘Well Done’. It doesn’t matter where it came from; we were never going to stop making music. Our reactions from our live shows are always so positive, and we get so much love [from them]. You’re never going to fail, as long as you enjoy what you do
you’ll retire happy.” Subject matter for IDLES on ‘Brutalism’ manifests itself in the form of politics and in parts pop culture figures. “I think people might misconstrue why I write what I write. It’s not important to me for a song to be political, it’s just important for me to write about what I’m interested in. When I’m in a pub with my friends, I’m not saying lines from a Black Eyed Peas song; I’m saying lines from my own songs. I’m not there saying tonight’s going to be a good night, I’m saying, I hate that Tory prick. I’m not forcing myself to be political in my songs; I use whatever’s in my head which is normally what I’m interested in or pissed off at, or find funny. There’s more validity in political songs than there are in love songs, [but] they all mean something, it’s just at [that time] I’m going to write about grief and politics because that’s what my life was about at that time.” “It wasn’t ever difficult, it felt the best way of release,” Joe says about expressing emotions on the album that came from the time of his mother’s death. “It felt like a natural progression from spending five years looking after her and walking back and forth from the hospital every day. I did a lot of my writing in transit, so it was a good time to reflect. I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed, nervous or worried about expressing grief or anger, as long as it’s not violent. As long as you’re expressing yourself in a way that doesn’t harm anyone else, then go for it. I’ve never been one to shy away from expressing myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to shut the fuck up. The album’s just perfect timing, it helped me.” For Joe, the song on ‘Brutalism’ that immediately comes to mind in terms of importance is ‘Divide & Conquer’. “There are only two lines in the whole thing, but it’s something I cried a lot about in frustration, just knowing our NHS is fucked. Half the country doesn’t seem to give a shit, and the other half are laughing at us, and it makes me sick. I watched someone deteriorate in that situation; she probably would have lived longer had there had been more funding for better drugs to keep her comfortable and alive for a bit
PE A N ESS SI G N TO A LC O P O P ! Indie-pop trio Peaness have signed to Alcopop! Records for the release of a new EP. Titled ‘Are You Sure?’ and due later this year, the release follows on from AA Single ‘Same Place’ / ‘Seafoam Islands’, released back in January via Odd Box Records, and has a “coming-of-age vibe.” “‘Are You Sure?’ is a continuation of the sound we started to create on our last EP [2015’s ‘No Fun’],” the band explain. “All our songs have similar themes and subjects, we write about the things that frustrate us, the things we love… “It has a coming-of-age vibe which we feel that most people at the moment, not just our generation, can relate to. There are tracks about wasting resources, a particular group of politicians, staying in the same town for years with the same group of friends, and escapism.”
longer. My mum was lucky, but there are people who are dead because they make cuts, and it’s happening all the time. ‘Divide and Conquer’ is this monolithic thing that says, ‘What the fuck is going on?’” “I’m really looking forward to touring [the album],” he concludes. “The hometown show at The Fleece in Bristol is on the anniversary of my mother’s death. We’re going to play the whole album in full, all my family and friends will be there, and it’s going to be the start of the end, in a way.” P IDLES’ debut album ‘Brutalism’ is out 10th March. 21
“J U S T P U T I T O N A N D F O R G E T
A BO U T T H E R E A L WO R L D, YO U ’ R E
SAFE IN SOUND WITH US.” EVEN BIG BANDS HAVE ROOM TO GROW. LOWER THAN ATLANTIS JUST WENT SUPER SIZE. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
e just worry about making good music and being legends,” exclaims Mike Duce, leaning back in his chair. Turning on a frontman bravado that’s never far away, it’s exactly the sort of statement you’d expect from him. Even offstage there are still people to entertain. Maybe he’s outspoken and mouthy; maybe he’s just a little more honest than most. Either way, Lower Than Atlantis know what they want. Very much a gang of four, Dec Hart sits next to him shaking his head while Ben Sansom and Eddy Thrower are grinning a little way down the table getting a head start on signing a mountain of preordered albums, the band have weathered, endured and grown. They’re a tight-knit group, but there’d be no issue asking them to borrow a lighter. Hell, they’d probably let you keep it. Earlier in the day, all four were joking about getting a stamp to make the job of signing records easier, but it was just that. The band care too much about their audience to cheat ‘em because a few years ago, they were the same kids getting excited about music. As Lower Than Atlantis open the boxes containing their new album, seeing the physical copies of ‘Safe In Sound’ for the first time and pouring over the pictures, words and eagerly taking pictures to send to friends, family and anyone who’ll listen, maybe they still are. “A lot of people use music as an escape,” starts Mike, still leaning back. “For me, I do my thinking when I go running, and I’ll have headphones on. I’ll listen to music, and I’ll escape. Whatever you’ve got going on in your life, for those three and a half minutes of a song it doesn’t matter. You feel safe in sound, that’s what the title means to me and maybe this album could be that for people. It could offer that escape. Just put it on and forget about the real world, you’re safe in sound with us. It’s kinda cheesy, but it is what it is,” he shrugs. Even when the band are being sincere, it’s with a devil may care
attitude. “At the end of the day, our full-time job as grown men is to play rock music,” laughs Mike. “You can’t take that seriously. We’re not doctors.” “You just look like a dickhead if you take it too seriously, continues Dec. “Once the dust has settled after that first year of the album being out, you look back and question what the fuck you were saying if you take it too seriously.” ‘Safe In Sound’, a record that’s never anything less than seriously good, just sorta happened. Building it bit by bit, the band focused on writing good songs and let the album take care of itself. There was never any discussion or well-laid plans announcing “this album needs to sound like this”, and for good reason. “If you do that and it doesn’t go to plan you’re just going to be disappointed,” ventures Dec. “It never works like that. Just go and see what happens. “Yeah, just do whatever,” adds Mike. “Do whatever and fuck it.” For better or worse, it’s an attitude that Lower Than Atlantis have lived by. Drawn to music for no greater reason than the simple fact they’ve always loved it, the band have remained rock steady and determined together for a decade but “only ‘cause we had nothing else going for us. It had to work out, or that was it.” It never works out according to plan, though. “[Success] is not what I thought it would be,” reflects Mike. “But it rarely is. The grass is always greener, but that makes us want to make it like we saw in that dream, y’know? I always thought if you’d sell out [London venue] KOKO you’d be driving around in a fucking Bentley, snorting cocaine off of someone’s bumhole.” “Did you really just say that?” asks Eddy, laughing. “Huffing farts out a bong in the back of a transit is the reality,” Mike continues. “When you start a band, your dream is to play The Underworld. That was the goal. Then it was to sell out The Underworld. It’s just a bucket list you keep adding
things onto. You’re never quite where you want to be, which is good ‘cause you’re always achieving things in life. You’re always enjoying the journey to somewhere. Everyone’s trying to get to the top, but once you get there, the only way to go is down. You can’t get any bigger than the biggest so just enjoy it on the way up there.” Getting to this point has been hard work, but the band don’t believe they’re owed anything. “You can’t think like that,” ventures Mike. “Don’t get me wrong, there have been a million bands that have come overnight,” he says; groups with the excited hyperbole of being the new best band ever, which means LTA have to deal with talk of being shit or not liked anymore. “[But] you see those bands shoot up and then shoot back down again. The first time you see a band blow up, you think you’re doing something wrong. Something really wrong. “It used to piss me off but once you see it happen two or three times… We’ve always been on this steady progression. You’ve just got to be confident in what you’re doing. If you think it’s good personally, that’s all you can do and,” pauses Mike, distracted by Eddy and Ben. “I can’t remember what I was saying.” Lower Than Atlantis don’t really take anything seriously apart from their music, and they’re confident in ‘Safe In Sound’. “The first thing, the natural thing is that we wanted to top our last record,” explains Dec. The band’s 2014 self-titled album saw Lower Than Atlantis play with the big boys. Well loved across the board, it gave their steady progression a grand leap forward. “I remember Eddy saying ‘I’m actually pretty scared’ before we started the writing process. There was this realisation that we’ve got something we have to beat now. We’ve never had that before.” “Smashed it though mate,” grins Mike. “You smashed it out the park.” Coming back with ‘Work For It’, the band launched ‘Safe In Sound’ with a clear focus. Bigger, better, wilder and with those big shows in mind, it’s the sort of track that makes people stand up and take notice. “It’s heavy, innit,”
“ W E K N O W W H AT W E A R E N O W.
W E K N O W W H AT P E O P L E
WA N T F R O M U S . ”
“WE’RE JUST NORMAL. NORMAL,
BUT LEGENDS. NORMAL LEGENDS.
T H AT ’ S T H E T I T L E O F T H E N E X T
shrugs Dec. “We knew we had the main stage slots at Reading & Leeds coming up, so we thought, ‘What’s a simple, catchy song that’s heavy as fuck?’ It was so glaringly obvious that it was that song. That was it really,” adds Mike. Not that the rest of the album was anywhere close to being done. “It keeps you on your toes,” offers Dec. “It was really not done, though,” continues Mike. “We had a couple of months until it was due to be finished, recorded and everything and we were still missing five songs. It’s only a ten song album.” A European tour with You Me At Six saw the band freaking out and pushing it to the wire. “We had all this shit to finish because the deadline was during that tour. We had to have everything done. Eddy was on the bus, sorting out artwork. We were listening to mixes on the bus, doing mix points and sending them back. It was mental, but we got it done in the end,” smiles Mike, defiant and proud. “We’re so fucking blasé about everything. I find with this band, we need something to push against. We need that deadline. Half the time I’ll leave lyrics until the last minute. We’ll have songs with no lyrics until we’re about to record them, and I’ll just make ‘em up there and then on the day. We just work better under pressure like that.” Ever-defiant, ‘Safe In Sound’ sees Lower Than Atlantis with their backs against the wall once more and determined to push back. “It’s just the way we are as people,” starts Mike. “All four of us are like that. We don’t take it lying down.” It also comes with acceptance, though. “We know what we are now. We know what people want from us. There are so many different styles of LTA, but we know what one is the one most people want from us, so we’re happy to just fucking be that. Well-written, heavy pop songs with guitar riffs that’s what our band is about now. And we love it. Well, until we get bored of it and decide to become a jazz-fusion band.” ‘Safe in Sound’ sees LTA cover
the most extreme ends of their emotional reach. ‘Work For It’, ‘A Night To Forget’ and ‘Had Enough’ are fuelled by a lust for life, while ‘I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore’, ‘Long Time Coming’ and ‘Money’ aren’t so sure. “I just write about my life, I don’t understand how people can write about anything else,” admits Mike. “I guess there’s political music, but I just write about myself because I’m just me. It’s always going to be reflective.” Despite the bravado, there are lines on the record that see Mike question who he is. There’s uncertainty, “but everyone does that. It wasn’t intentional ‘cause we don’t ever think about stuff too much. It just happens.” “People like to make it up. ‘We wrote the lyrics when we created this vision when we were doing this thing at this place’. No, it doesn’t work like that,” offers Dec. “When I was a kid, I found out Dave Grohl didn’t really care about his lyrics, and I was a little bit disappointed, but as an adult, of course he doesn’t. He doesn’t go on some journey to write ‘Everlong’.” “Normally when I’m writing a song, I’ll try and tell a story, and it’s usually something that’s happened to me or something I’ve observed,” continues Mike. “I always, for want of a better word, try and make it vague so that more people can hear it and take from it what they want. I find for me personally, lyrics are important but realistically, half the people who listen to your band when you’re successful don’t even speak the language. Does it matter what you’re saying? You want it to be about the music and the chord progression and the note choices and the rhythms. My lyrics used to be very informal and chatty, in that British way and it got lost overseas. Our music was never going to get out of Watford if I was carrying on like that. More people can get into now, I guess. “I just do whatever, sing whatever. Don’t think about it too much because you’ll go mad if you do.” Taking a cue from the music, the lyrics reflect what the song sounds like sonically. “If it sounds like an angry song, I’ll ask myself what pisses me off. And I just write. This one sounds sad, okay what makes me sad? Well, I was sad that time
because of this. It’s easy.” But never meaningless; ‘A Night To Forget’ is the perfect getaway, ‘Could Be Worse’ is a song designed to make Mike stick to his own advice. “I wrote the song and I have to adhere to it because people are going to say, ‘Oh, could be worse mate’. That song is for me because things could always be worse.” ‘I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore’ is frank, unapologetic and to the point, tackling feelings of hopelessness and giving up. “I don’t mind sharing it because I think it’s nice if someone else is feeling like that, maybe just knowing someone else has been through something like that is enough to let them know it’s okay - especially when it’s someone in their favourite band. That’s the reason that it’s out there. And it’s a good song, so it’s silly not to release it for the sake of personal reasons. Whenever I’m writing a song, in the back of my mind, I know that people are going to hear them. I’m a career musician; my job is to write and release music.” Through everything, though, Lower Than Atlantis have remained relatable. They sing about being skint, traffic jams and proving people wrong. They’ve opened up more on ‘Safe In Sound’, but there is still no distance at play. “That’s the thing with being in this band; we are just normal as fuck. We don’t make loads of money, we’re not hanging out with celebrities, we’re just geezers from down the pub. We’re the same as anyone else. Why would our music not be relatable to a normal music fan? That’s what we are. That’s why it’s relatable; we’re just normal. Normal, but legends. Normal legends. That’s the title of the next album,” exclaims Mike, and you wouldn’t bet against it. “That’s always going to be the case. Until we make loads of money, buy a solid gold house and become absolute wankers.” Every year sees them more successful, but they remain the most attainable band around. There’s nothing about them that inspires doubts of ‘I could never do that’. “The whole band separation on stage really pisses me off,” starts Mike. Those speeches about ‘we love you guys so fucking much’ are bullshit. Maybe it’s because of where we’re from, but we should be encouraging
“ I F Y O U WA N T T O C A U S E D R A M A
O R B E A D I C K H E A D, YO U CA N
the next Lower Than Atlantis instead of making out we’re from another planet, and we’re untouchable and amazing. Though we are. We’re all for encouraging new musicians and new bands, ‘cause we had that, and it’s nice.” Despite being legends, the band still have something to prove. “What’s the point of doing it otherwise?” asks Dec. “If you think you don’t, you become Iron Maiden. You just make the same album over and over again. Sure, you’re selling a million records, but you’re not proving anything to anyone. In general, we do care. Last time we literally just threw the album out there, and we had no idea what was going to happen. It could have binned, but it didn’t. This one we thought about, but not too much.” The band believes in little changes and keeping people on their toes. “You’ve gotta push boundaries, continues Dec. “I think we’re known for changing, like a chameleon, all the time. I think our fans know we do that and they like it, so we get away with fucking murder now. Hip-hop album 2k18. Lower Than motherfucking Atlantis, bitch. It’s fun for us as musicians, wondering what people are going to think of it ‘cause you’ve done something new.” But reactions either way never change their minds. “If you do that, you end up writing for some kid in his bedroom who’s 25, lives in his mum’s house and is going to mug you off. You’re going to listen to what he’s going to say? You’ll go insane. It’s like looking at a tattoo and seeing the imperfections in it, which is insane ‘cause that’s on you forever. You’ve done it now, so shut up and get on with it.” “You can’t please everyone,” adds Mike, “but you can please yourself. So fuck everyone, basically.” Lower Than Atlantis are taking the band more seriously nowadays, if not themselves. “There was a wake-up call when the shows got bigger. Kids are saving up their pocket money to come to these gigs. There are a lot of people coming now so we should rehearse and put some effort in and maybe not be wasted when we go on stage. Be the best band we can because people have spent their hard earned cash on coming to see
us. They could have gone somewhere else, and they haven’t. They’ve come to see us, and it’s what we’ve always wanted to do, so let’s do it properly. That’s a thing that we only realised in the past few months or so.” The band may not talk about politics on stage - “Everyone has an opinion. I like your music, but I don’t care what you think about politics. ‘The government is bad, and you’re doing naughty things to other people, and we don’t like it’. Yeah, great.” - but they do know they’re in a position of influence and have to watch what they say. “Only because some of the shows are 14 plus, and there are parents there. It’s a bit awkward if you’re 14 and you already feel embarrassed your mum’s taken you to a gig, and the singer starts talking about snorting cocaine out of someone’s arsehole. It could probably get quite embarrassing for you, so I don’t really say things like that anymore. And because we’re professional musicians and we take things very seriously.” With the likes of Brixon Academy and their biggest ever headline tour on the horizon, there’s a confidence to how Lower Than Atlantis are approaching things now. But hasn’t there always been? “If we weren’t confident in what we were doing, we would not have been pursuing it for ten fucking years, living in vans and having to nick food to survive.” “We could have booked a smaller venue and sold it out in two weeks, but that’s a bit boring, innit?” asks Dec. “It’s so safe. If you know you’re going to sell it out, why bother? It’ll take two years for you to get around to do the show you actually want to do then you might not even get there, and you’ve gone and wasted two years of your life.” “This could be the biggest our band ever gets,” adds Mike. “I’d rather just go hell for leather and have it out instead of playing it safe and doing the big show at the end of the tour. I’d rather put that Brixton show on sale and just sell it out by the skin of our teeth than wait until we can sell out two of them and then just put one on sale and be like, ‘It’s obviously going to sell out’. That’s not very exciting, is it? If you don’t take risks, it’s never going to pay off. We’re big
risk takers.” Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t, but Mike doesn’t regret anything. “You learn from your mistakes, and you move on. You grow as a human, Regretting something once it’s done, what can you really do? Unless you’ve got a time machine.” The band’s growth has gifted Lower Than Atlantis more freedom, though. “It takes some pressure off. We’re older and all we’ve got mortgages, and we all want to have families one day and stuff like that. This band is four peoples’ lives and the bigger we get, the less pressure there is. It becomes fun again,” beams Mike. “My life has got progressively less shit as I’ve got older and this band has been a massive part of that. We never thought things were going super well, we always just enjoyed the moment, but when you look back...” he pauses with a smile. “We’re seasoned rockers. We’ve been round the world a few times, met a lot of people and we ain’t got time for drama. We just want to make good music and play good music. And want other people who like it to share it with us and have a laugh. If you want to cause drama or be a dick head, you can fuck off. People make up deep and meaningful bullshit to say to magazines, but honestly, don’t take anything away from our music. If you like it, put it on all the time, and fucking enjoy it. If you don’t like it, don’t. There’s nothing to take away but good music and good songs. “I want people to make memories to it. Most albums I like now, I listened to fifteen years ago and are probably fucking shit but I remember being on road trips in friends cars or at house parties and those songs being on, and that’s why I like them so much. I want this album to be that for people. And for people to make some memories with these songs on in the background.. Get fucked up with your friends with it on, do dumb shit and let this album be the soundtrack. We’re not expecting anyone to take anything away from the music or the live show; we make good music, come and have a good time at one of our shows. That’s literally it.” P Lower Than Atlantis’ album ‘Safe in Sound’ is out now.
PLAN E T EARTH IT CAM E FROM
WATCH OUT WORLD, MATTIE VANT IS TAKING YOU ON.
ANT come from Planet Earth. It seems an obvious statement, but that mantra represents everything the band stands for. They believe in unity, that our similarities are vastly more powerful than our differences and that they speak for the majority of us. “I’m glad we stuck with that philosophy,” admits Mattie. “It’s something we believe in, and it’s a very simple way of provoking the idea of unification in a global species.” As expected, standing up has come with its share of raised eyebrows, criticism and doubts. “The first radio play we ever had was with Zane Lowe. As much as he loved the track [‘Parasite’] and played it three times in one show, he started reading our bio ‘this band is from Planet Earth’ and you could tell his tone was initially sceptical. ‘Oh, one of those pretentious, bullshit bands’ - but I feel like it’s become a thing now. People can relate to it wherever we go in the world, this representation that we are all fundamentally the same. Just ‘cause we were born somewhere by chance doesn’t mean we should be tied to the ideals and practices of that country.” As the Doug Stanhope saying goes,
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
“Nationalism does nothing but teach you to hate people you never met, and to take pride in accomplishments you had no part in.” “You are only going to exist for a very short period, so why not embrace the world and the beauty of it and look to make a positive impact on it, rather than a negative one?” he offers. He’s not just paying lip-service either; it’s a determined feeling that endures throughout VANT’s debut album ‘Dumb Blood’. Energetic, snotty and a whole lot of fun, the record is held together by numerous threads. Frayed at the edge, whichever one you choose to pull will lead you down a rabbit warren of conversation, discussion and challenge. It’s an important record if you want it to be. It’s entertaining, regardless. Formed in 2014 with Dalston’s Birthdays as a backdrop, VANT quickly worked out what they wanted to be. A debut album was written, recorded and then put on the back-burner as major labels came calling. ‘Dumb Blood’ is what they’ve been working towards as a band. “We thought it would be a lot sooner, but it’s how things go. [The record has] a lot of importance and relevance to the current climate of Earth.” Not all the original songs have survived the past two years, but across both the standard album and the “directors cut” twenty-two track record,
their vision has remained pure, honest and uncompromising. “I don’t come from a theatrical place; I come from a place of playing what sounds good. Keeping that naivety of what we’re creating makes it way more honest and real. When you start overcomplicating things, it becomes too formulaic, and that’s something I never want to be.” Presenting challenges on record, the band have also pushed themselves out of their comfort zone with touring. Supporting everyone from Royal Blood, Biffy Clyro and You Me At Six to Blossoms, Hinds and FIDLAR, the band haven’t gone near a pigeonhole. “It doesn’t matter who you support; it’s just going out and playing to people because you can’t take people for granted and assume they’re not going to like you because of the band you’re supporting. Now you’ll have the same kids going to a Wolf Alice show as a Skepta show. It’s just getting out and playing to new audiences and challenging yourself. We want to be like Biffy Clyro where there’s no one who sounds like them; they always had difficulty being part of a scene when they were younger. They just carved their way and did whatever they wanted, and that’s what we are doing. You’ve just got to concentrate on the people that believe in what you do.”
,, There’s no competition with VANT, just support for the scene. “It’s a good time for guitar bands. People are making music that’s honest to them instead of trying to follow what’s on trend. I don’t think music has been this honest for a long time.” But there’s no other band quite like them. ‘Dumb Blood’ is brash, bloody and beautiful as well as being delicate and thoughtprovoking. It’s designed to evoke opinion, and it’s perfectly formed. Mattie writes about politics, but he’s never arrogant or condescending with it. “Just because you write about the things we do, it doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone else. That’s just ridiculous. Don’t shout at other bands because they don’t write about politics, or they don’t want to. Everyone is entitled to do what they want to do.” There’s an acceptance to VANT. On tracks like ‘I Don’t Believe In God’, even though Mattie has never resonated with religion.
WH EN YO U D IE, YOU RO T IN T H E ,, GROUND.
“I remember going to church with the school or when I was in the Scouts, and I’d purposefully fart or shout the wrong hymns just trying to make light of the situation because I thought it was so preposterous.” There’s no malice or hate. “It’s an atheist anthem that wasn’t at all negative towards religion but celebrated the beauty of my beliefs. When you die, you rot in the ground, and your molecules become part of The Earth, and the grass that grows from those molecules will be eaten by an animal, and then that animal is eaten by another animal. The fact there is that interconnectedness with the planet, whether you like it or not, is just amazing to me. It’s almost a form of reincarnation, but the reality is you’ll never witness it. That doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. We try not to be overly preachy about the subjects we talk about; it’s more about looking at the beautiful side of things. I never wanted us to be intruding with our music.”
Elsewhere the record deals with anxiety, existential crisis and a general feeling of hopelessness, but throughout there’s the belief that “there are things you need to address in life, but there’s no reason why you should become upset about it, ‘cause you have the power to change it. Then if you take it the other way round, you have the power to change everything else.” For VANT, “politics is secondary to the wonders of the universe. The idea of never being able to truly understand something - that’s my spiritual calling. We have this world of opportunity to learn new things, and that’s amazing. We’re philosophers rather than politicians. It’s all totally unfathomable, and you just have to make your own sense of the situation and, in a way, this is our platform to try and make that sense.”P VANT’s debut album ‘Dumb Blood’ is out now. 31
“We wanted to DROP THIS THING like A BOMB.”
WITH THEIR NEW ALBUM, CODE ORANGE ARE WINNING OVER NEW FANS IN RECORD TIME. GIVE THEM A CHANCE AND YOU’LL SOON BE THEIRS.
Pittsburgh four-piece’s drummer and lead vocalist, Jami Morgan. “But I feel like a lot of the bands that are more artistic in some kind of way lose that love for those hard parts. To me, though, those harder parts are still something we’re all totally in love with.”
It’s this love for hybridity that Jami, guitarist Eric ‘Shade’ Balderose, bassist Joe Goldman and guitarist Reba Meyers push to its gasping limits on ‘Forever’, an album that nails a tricky balance between intricate and incendiary, perplexing and punishingly heavy.
Jami speaks as passionately about Hatebreed and Earth Crisis as much as he does Sonic Youth and Nine Inch Nails.
Not convinced? Look at the likes of Converge, Botch, The Dillinger Escape Plan, even the less complicated bands that toy around with unexpected turns of pace, and with their third album ‘Forever’ now firmly under their belts, Code Orange could be next to ascend to that league.
“I feel like that was the line I wanted to walk,” he says with vehement pride for the band’s Pennsylvanian upbringing. “Being from Pittsburgh, we learned about the most violent forms of hardcore, and we also learned about art music in the same city. Both of those scenes kind of thrive in that city, so it almost creates these sort of hybrid people.”
While most bands from the north-eastern states – now, more than ever – favour heart-on-sleeve ideals and lyricism, Code Orange prefer to communicate in a more enigmatic dialect; rarely speaking about their personal lives, and sharing cryptic lines and lyrics that are almost biblical in tone on social media.
he best hardcore bands are the ones bold enough to look at the line that borders their designated genre with an eye of disdain, before taking a defiant step over it. One foot may still be planted firmly in the hardcore camp, but they’re not afraid to have a kick around with other challenging tones and techniques with that liberated appendage.
“We love hard, heavy music,” says the 32 upsetmagazine.com
WORDS: DANNY RANDON.
“I think [being private about our lives] is a calculated part of what we want to do,” suggests Jami. “The whole marketing standpoint of everyone having to know when you’re recording, what you’re
lot of people fuck up. “I think we put it together in a way that we like. I feel like there’s a lot more we can do, but I don’t really care; people tend to be cynical anyway, so it doesn’t bother us so much. “If the record was awesome when we listened to it, then a lot of people were going to like it too. I think our ears are pretty close to the ground in that sense. I knew that some people wouldn’t like it also, but who gives a shit? I just want to do something that I would like to listen to!” So, when the time eventually came to reunite with producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou in the studio, ‘Forever’ was clearly an album that Code Orange were going to make on their own timescale and their own terms…
F recording, what you’re doing, what you’re eating is super lame, I think it sucks. We didn’t want to release a bunch of pictures of us in the studio, we just wanted to drop this thing like a bomb. “People don’t need to know about the work that’s gone into it because we know that we put a lot of cold, hard, calculated work into this record, and that it conveys the moods that we wanted to convey. We’ve definitely taken things from our [personal] lives and from our lives as a band, and I wanted to make a broader, wider-scoped record through the eyes of not just a hardcore record, but where every vocal sounded furious and urgent.”
or all the skull-crushing riffs and sludgy beatdowns that it has to offer, the true heaviness of ‘Forever’ lies not only in the crunching of Reba’s and Eric’s guitars and the pummelling of Joe and Jami’s rhythms, but also in the cinematic electronic elements. Code Orange have had their flirtations with synths and samples on their previous records, but here they add a daring and disturbing new dimension to the band. “People have used electronics in really dark ways over the years, and I knew that we had our own take on it,” explains Jami, while mentioning the likes of Godflesh and the ever-influential Trent Reznor as reference points. “Our goal was to take those things that we like and inject them into what we’re doing but in a different way to what we’ve seen being done before.”
Something that Jami also speaks candidly about is the amount of will that Code Orange have in compromising, whether it’s with their most fervent fans or harshest critics. That, of course, being non-existent. Even after setting the bar to a practically unreachable height with 2014’s ‘I Am King’, and upon enticing larger and more diverse audiences with their new record, pandering to the masses is a move that’s out of the question.
If the double kick-drum barrages of ‘Kill The Creator’ and ‘Real’ are the aural equivalents of a perpetual facial bludgeoning, then the industrial churns, swirls and pulses that are woven into them represent the menacing, nightmarish glare of your assailant. Fuelled by his love his soundtracks and dark electronic music, guitarist Eric put in the hours and elbow grease into learning how to operate the software and synthesisers, slowly but surely making them an integral part of Code Orange.
“The only pressure I ever feel is our selfpressure,” Jami says confidently. “I feel that I will know if [the record] is not good, and I’ll know that it’s not what it needs to be in the current music landscape. I always knew what ‘Forever’ needed to be, it was just about putting all the puzzle pieces together, which is hard and it’s where a
“It was something that I thought could thicken everything up and make it feel more like records that are sort of out of our world,” says Jami. “The reason why I feel like people connect with those records so deeply is that, even with rap records, when you put your headphones on, there’s so much going on and the
production is so deep that it touches places sonically that you can’t touch with guitars and drums and bass.” If the abundance of electronics doesn’t offer up enough curveballs, then one track that serves as the defining moment of ‘Forever’ in terms of its unfettering attitude is ‘Bleeding In The Blur’. A rock anthem of cataclysmic proportions, Reba takes centre stage in spectacular fashion prompting thousands of fans to rummage for their phones to check that they hadn’t put all their artists on shuffle. However, taking into account the dalliances that they have had with alternative rock, shoegaze and emo, is ‘Bleeding In The Blur’ really even that much of a risk for Code Orange to have taken? “Hell no!” laughs Jami. “It’s just what we do, it’s what we’ve always done, and we’re good at it, and we’re getting way better and more focussed at it. Even the last record has a couple of those moments that just weren’t nearly as put-together because we’re still growing and we didn’t go as out on a limb with them. “This is really what I’ve wanted to condition people to all along. People see as like some big turn, but to me, it’s just natural, it’s always how we’re going to be, but the difference with us is that we’re not fully going in that direction. We just want to show people how good we can be in that direction... and then just take it away! That’s kind of like the sick thrill that I get out of it. Touring in their native USA is yet to push Code Orange beyond the dingy clubs riddled with stage divers, but with a European and UK tour in support of the titanic Gojira looming, audiences of 200 will soon be replaced by audiences of 2,000, and the band will find themselves faced with a fresh crop of the uninitiated and the unassuming. “We’re going to win those fans; I’m telling you now,” Jami promises with not a scrap of insincerity in his voice. “We’re not going to win them all, but anytime I’ve been at one of those kinds of shows, all I can sit and think about is ‘If we were up there, they’d be mine’.” With each and every step they make on both sides of that hardcore line, we can only hope that there’s a generation of interesting hardcore bands that look up to this band in the same light that Jami regards his peers. For all the complexities, the courage, and the downright chaos created by their hands, Code Orange really might be Forever. P Code Orange’s album ‘Forever’ is out now. 33
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THROUGH A BREAK-UP? BY PLAYING REALLY LOUD AND REALLY FAST, OF COURSE. MEAT WAVE’S NEW ALBUM SEES FRONTMAN CHRIS SUTTER PLAY THROUGH TO A NEW CHAPTER. WORDS: JESSICA GOODMAN.
retty much all of my experience writing before this was very outward looking, observing what was going on around me,” Chris Sutter reflects. When Meat Wave released ‘Delusion Moon’ in 2015 it pushed the band to new heights and saw them perform in front of more people than ever before. Around this time things started to change a lot for the then 24-year-old frontman. Separating from the girlfriend he’d been dating for half his life, the musician found himself experiencing the world in a wholly unfamiliar way.
into the songs you hear today. But the prospect of sharing these songs - and the admissions within them - with the world wasn’t one what came easily.
“It was kind of like learning to ride a bike again,” he describes, “or like learning to walk again after coming out of something very traumatic or intense.” It’s these intense emotions that became the building blocks for Meat Wave’s newest album, ‘The Incessant’. “This record was soundtracking the internal struggle of feeling anew, and feeling the confusion of ‘What am I feeling?’ and ‘Why am I feeling this?’ then ‘What do I do next?’” Chris depicts.
Weighing up these reservations, the group finally decided it was worth seeing these songs through. “I felt like it would be a disservice to myself and my music to not be completely honest about what I was going through or
The spark to start influencing the album might have been a separation, but ‘The Incessant’ is far from your typical break-up record. Raging with an almost unyielding energy, the album drives forwards with a gripping momentum. “It comes from a brutally honest place,” Chris construes. “I feel like if the music reflected that any more it’d be a real fucking downer of a record,” he laughs. “We like to play really loud and really fast. I think we’ll always retain that in a way.” Putting pen to paper in the months after ‘Delusion Moon’ was released, one motif emerged that would go on to shape the group’s future output. “I would do these stream of consciousness poems when we were touring,” the frontman recalls. “Just day to day, when you’re in different cities, trying to journal and remember things. Amidst that, this phrase ‘The Incessant’ kept coming up...” Struck by its resonance, this phrase was the “guiding light” in the creation of Meat Wave’s third record. “I appropriated it into this feeling of feeling overwhelmed emotionally, and feeling very confused - like you’re in this whirlwind of emotion and feeling,” Chris illustrates. Drawing from his own very real experiences sculpted the writings
“I felt that seeing this project through would make it, so I was just focusing on the negative points of my life or the wrong decisions I’ve made,” Chris mulls. “I’d have to see that through. I thought that it didn’t sound like that much fun.” Singing about the past every show while trying to move on from it all wasn’t exactly what the frontman had in mind. “I feel in a different place now,” he clarifies. “I feel more positive and like I’ve got my head on my shoulders. I’m just trying to be a good person and live my life.”
“WE WA N T E D TO CHANGE THINGS U P. ” what I was feeling,” Chris explains. “It’s good to kind of look back on it and reflect on it now, but it’s just kind of there. Which is I guess the whole point of it: you can’t deny it.” Exhibiting a newly-identified honesty while compromising none of their raucous nature, Meat Wave’s latest album is the sound of a band at their most forceful. “We wanted to change things up,” the frontman demonstrates. Recruiting Steve Albini on production duties, the group set about doing just that. “It was tracked and mixed in four days,” Chris states. “It was really great. It feels like we’ve pushed the band in a direction that we really wanted to go sonically.” The culmination of that sound arrives in album closing track ‘Kill The Incessant’, a three and a half minute crescendo of noise purpose made to leave you
stunted. “Near the end of writing I began to think ‘what does this idea of ‘The Incessant’ actually sound like?’ and ‘Can I pinpoint that sonically?” Chris depicts. “It’s trying to kill this idea of ‘The Incessant’ taking hold of you and controlling your emotions in a way.” Building a wall of sheer volume only for it to dissolve into an acoustic melody right at the end, the track effectively wipes the slate clear for whatever might follow next. “It’s just a sigh of relief,” Chris expresses. “We can move on and do other things.” With tour dates across the US, UK, and Europe already in place, Meat Wave are determined that their time is right now. “In a way, it’s felt a little stunted, like we were a little behind,” Chris says, thinking back on the two-year process that led to ‘Delusion Moon’. “Now we’re in a different place where it all feels very new,” he declares excitedly. “It feels like Meat Wave in 2017.” Beginning to bring ‘The Incessant’ to life at shows, the band are starting to thrive. “It was way more emotional than I thought it’d be,” Chris ponders on performing their new music live. “We’ve been playing those songs for a year or so, just through writing and recording them. We’ve just been waiting to release this, and to play new music,” he enthuses. “It feels like the time is very ripe for us and our music right now. It feels good for it to be here finally.” Gearing up to hit the road and bring their music to as many venues as they can, Meat Wave are making the most of every moment. “I feel like there’s so much music, and a lot of it is really good,” Chris states. “It would be easy to put our record on in the background, listen to it, and then move on. But I would hope that people can relate to it, and maybe it can help someone who feels like they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.” As they begin to feel that their time is right, with ‘The Incessant’ Meat Wave are laying everything on the line. “We’re at this point of being a band where we’ve tried to do it a lot, but it’s really hard for a band in our position to live off that – and we don’t necessarily expect to do that,” Chris deliberates. “It really comes from an honest place,” he comments of the new record, “which I’ve never done before. So I hope that it can maybe help someone – and I hope that people can rock the fuck out to it.” P Meat Wave’s album ‘The Incessant’ is out now. 35
“THE BE T H E YS T SOUN ’VE DED IN YEAR S.”
LOS! CAMPESINOS SICK SCENES
eeeee eing one of Britain’s most impulsive bands, Los Campesinos! set a challenging precedent where one can never quite guess what on earth their next record will sound like. However, it is unlikely that even the widest medium could’ve prophesied that Sick Scenes was going to be as much a humdinger as it is. Opening the album with a vibrant vocal harmony which is so classically Campesinos!, ‘Renato Dall’Ara (2008)’ might just be the best song that the seven-piece have written in this decade, with frontman Gareth David especially back in his sassy, snarky prime. The opening track joins ‘I Broke Up In Amarante’ in reaching seldom-heard levels of aggression for the band. They fizz with that same juvenile enthusiasm that made their earlier works sound so fierce, but the inevitability of becoming thirty-something has given their choruses a tone of realism. Even the slower moments on Sick Scenes are performed with a noticeable increase in conviction. ‘A Litany Heart 36 upsetmagazine.com
Swells’ cascades into an impassioned campfire singalong, while ‘A Slow, Slow Death’ is testament to the band’s generosity in lashing of layered instrumentation - something which has never faltered in LC!’s eleven years. You may not know it yet, but you need Los Campesinos! more than ever in 2017. Their self-deprecating accounts of banal day jobs and debilitating bouts of depression offer a tonguein-cheek contrast to the sobering state of current affairs and, as a result, this is the best that they’ve sounded in years. Danny Randon
Washington DC duo The Obsessives sound a bit like a lot of acts that are making waves right now. There are moments on this self-titled album that echo the likes of FIDLAR, Modern Baseball, SWMRS and Jeff Rosenstock; it treads that indie-comeemo line pretty nicely, and when Nick Bairatchnyi and Jackson Mansfield break away from the safe confines of lo-fi garage-rock, they show signs of true musical potential. Jake Richardson
MINUS THE BEAR
No Sleep Records
It’s been five years since Minus The Bear last released a full-length. Long-standing staples of the alt scene, it might have been an unnaturally long absence for the four-piece, but ‘Voids’ can still roll with the punches of 2017. Opener ‘Last Kiss’ fuzzes, ‘Take Beasts’ sparks and ‘Give & Take’ gathers up a whole world of influence and crushes it into one tiny, mind-warping pill. Fifteen years in, Minus The Bear still count. Stephen Ackroyd
FAIL YOU AGAIN
Pure Noise Records
Last year, upon releasing their debut EP ‘Death Deserves A Name’, Can’t Swim hadn’t so much as played a live show. Now they’re releasing an album that’s packed with the kind of fire most bands would kill to put on stage. ‘Friend’ sparks with tales of loss, an echo of past regrets; ‘Quitting’ pulls things back from the brink, showing Can’t Swim have more than a single gear, while closer ‘All The Moves We Make Are In The Dark’ moves from slow burner to towering inferno. Safe to say, ‘Fail You Again’ is lit. Stephen Ackroyd
BURY ME IN PHILLY
A fixture in the East Coast punk scene, on the surface Dave Hause’s third solo album is a no-nonsense collection of blue-collar rock songs in the vein of Brian Fallon and Frank Turner. But dig a little deeper, and the lyrics reveal a brutally honest account of his struggles with sobriety and finding his place in the world. ‘Bury Me In Philly’ sees Hause focused on the future, while acknowledging where he came from. Dillon Eastoe
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD FLYING MICROTONAL BANANA
eeee King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s ninth effort is a mirage in a desert acid trip. From opener ‘Rattlesnake’, a hypnotic and psyched up garage fuzz pop journey, you get the illusion of being windswept, caught up in the sandstorm the septet concocts with their wizardry. The breadth of inspiration is endless on ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’; it’s another incarnation of their ardent and eccentric mind. Jasleen Dhindsa
A SHORT Q&A WITH...
CAN’T CAN’T SWIM SWIM
CA N ’ T SW I M S I N G E R C H RI S LO P O RTO RE F L ECTS O N A B L O O DY G O O D D E B U T.
Oi Chris, what are we interrupting? I was drinking a coffee. ‘Fail You Again’ is massive - when did you begin working on it, and what was your starting point? A lot of the demos were written very shortly after we recorded Death Deserves A Name. I think these songs took a little longer to figure out and took a few months of being a “real” band to get right. How easy did you find it all, was there much of a learning curve? For me, it was a lot easier to write this record because I had such great help on board. Having the rest of the guys a part of the writing process was a real blessing. Whenever I would hit a roadblock, they were there to give suggestions and jam out ideas, which is far more healthy than me pulling my hair out in my bedroom at 4am trying to figure out the songs on my own. What inspired you to make the kind of music you do? Inability. When I first started writing songs for Can’t Swim, I really didn’t know much about notes or guitar or singing in general. I grew up playing the drums, so I think I relied a lot on rhythms and feels to write the parts. Now, I think I just want to make something kids can enjoy and feel a part of, have a reason to go out on a Friday night and sing along with their friends. Music was such a big part of my life growing up, and I would love for Can’t Swim to be that for someone else.
Did you have a mission statement for ‘Fail You Again’? What do you want fans to take from it? Lyrically, it’s about these events that happened to me in my early 20s and having people tell me that it’s “okay” and “time heals everything” and I would get over it sooner than later. Now, in my late 20s, I’m still haunted by all those feelings from years ago, and whenever I go to write a song, that’s what always seems to come out. The whole lyric is “You’re searching for truth, and it will fail you again.” I’d like it to give kids the reinsurance that they aren’t alone and find solace in the fact that I’ve gone through this stuff too, and was able to make it into something very enjoyable by doing this band. And they should do the same. How much does the present climate of society/politics/social issues affect the tone of what you do? I don’t think it comes out in my writing at all. I write about things that have happened to me, not necessarily “world” issues. I do really respect when bands do that, though; I think it’s actually the most powerful thing you can do with your writing, is to use it as a voice and to try and make a change, but Can’t Swim just isn’t that band. Do you have big plans for the rest of 2017? Trying to tour as much as we can, and get closer to the band we want to be. P
eeee o you like abrasive and at times selfindulgent lyrics? Music that simply doesn’t care for soft touches? Then you’re in the right place. The ALBUM from IDLES is filled with all of the above, not to mention the lyrical genius of “If you want to scare a Tory, read a ‘Get Rich’” in ‘Mother’. Nothing will prepare you for a listen through this album, in fact, it’s best digested while feeling angry at something or someone. With a sound that is everything you’d have expected to hear back in the 80’s burgeoning postpunk scene, even down to the astutely British vocals from Mark Bowen, IDLES are a change of pace from the usual straight-forward rock that’s inundating the genre. The onslaught is constant and consistent, up until the album’s closer ‘Slow Savage’ which is, well, slow and savage. That means there are twelve intense and thoughtprovoking tracks that allude to political satire (see the aforementioned ‘Mother’) as well as faith which can be found in, you guessed it, ‘Faith In The City’; “luckily Noel’s got 38 upsetmagazine.com
Jesus in his heart”. A debut that will turn some heads and get them talking, IDLES aren’t ones to be idle in speaking their mind and accompanying it with vicious music. Postpunk never died, it was just waiting for IDLES to resurrect it with something to say. Steven Loftin.
A debut as savage and unrelenting as their name suggests, Brutus are as raw as you can get without your ears bleeding. Drums that pound and thrash around while guitars speedily flit behind them, ‘Burst’ is filled with more power than a juggernaut on steroids.
Fronted by singing drummer Stefanie Mannaerts, her howling and aggressive vocals match her drum style perfectly, and neither relents. From the opening urgency of ‘March’ to the delayed fury of closer ‘Child’, the album refuses to set you down. Hard rock that at times crosses into metal, ‘Burst’ has enough to keep everyone happy without compromising its core value which is just whatever the fuck they want it to be. The trio are kicking up dust and throwing it in the eyes of all that is inane and boring. If Brutus keep up this savagery they’ll have no worries in storming 2017. Steven Loftin
HEY STEFANIE FROM BRUTUS, DO YOU ENJOY BEING IN THE STUDIO AS MUCH AS TOURING AND BEING ON STAGE? “The whole recording experience was great, just mind-blowing. It’s hard to compare: two weeks in the studio, or two weeks touring? We never toured for more than five days... Can you come back and ask me by the end of the year? I have to admit it scares me a bit. I was the kid who always lost her voice in Girl Guides, but it always comes back.”
Before they were announced as one of the support acts for Creeper’s 2017 headline tour, you’d have been forgiven for not having the faintest clue who Energy were. The Massachusetts goth-punks have hardly had a sniff of attention from the UK since forming in 2006. The thing is, listening to the rabid, raucous, rousing performance on display on ‘Apparition Sound’, it’s simply baffling as to how they’ve struggled to make an impact until now. There aren’t many bands around who can express goth-punk sentiments as convincingly as these guys. Jake Richardson
Pissed Jeans’ studio releases to date seem to be perfecting their spluttering and violent craft, but on their fifth effort ‘Why Love Now’, they’ve inched slightly away from brazen, indestructible noise to noise that’s got more to it than trying to tear you apart. Yes, Matt Korvette’s feral growls are still present, and very much dominant on opener ‘Waiting On My Horrible Warning’, but it’s only accompanied by a low droning that excels Korvette’s unnerving impact tenfold. Their most gripping record to date. Jasleen Dhindsa
YOU’RE NOT AS ____ AS YOU THINK
Big Scary Monsters
eeee Sorority Noise are not sure of themselves. Throughout ‘You’re Not As ___ As You Think’, the band ask questions of themselves, of friends and of God. Rife with uncertainty and fuelled by heartbreaking loss and sudden abandon, the record sees them stumble but never fall. Despite all that internal struggle and eternal wrestle, Sorority Noise remain firm. Greater than their real life inspirations, this isn’t a record that fetishizes death. It celebrates continuing on. Sure, it’s emotional, powerful and, at times, uncomfortable, but armed with a dark humour and a dynamic want to make the most of the day, it’s a record that embraces the light. “I’m not trying to say it’s easy,” offers ‘A Portrait Of’, “but I’m trying to say it’s fine” Ali Shutler
A foggy, prevailing sense of melancholy blows through Wild Pink’s self-titled debut, yet it is never an austere or cold experience. Sure, vocalist John Ross has a soft, lilting voice that could punch a hole in your heart on every one of the eleven tracks on offer, but there are so many breaks of light it makes ‘Wild Pink’ an oddly uplifting, almost celebratory, experience. And it’s these little moments – a killer lyric, a playful riff or a clever juxtaposition – that make everything worthwhile. Like similarly literate rockers and recent breakout stars LVL UP, Pinegrove and the Hotelier, there’s a timelessness to Wild Pink’s songs. Fittingly, they deserve to find a similarly adoring audience. Rob Mair
WHY LOVE NOW
ALL THEM WITCHES
SLEEPING THROUGH THE WAR
New West Records
Nashvillian band All Them Witches psyche and rock their way through album number four with the same ease and voodoo-esque abandon they naturally conjure. While ‘Sleeping Through The War’ doesn’t hold the same immediacy that 2012’s ‘Lightning At The Door’ did with powerhouses like ‘Charles William’ or ‘When God Comes Back’, it certainly stands on its own, tall and strong. Succumb to the ‘magick’ of All Them Witches; join the coven. Steven Loftin
On one hand VANT’s debut album is big, dumb fun. Snotty, bratty and with a constant sneer, it’s a record dripping in attitude and personality. The other hand holds some harsh truths. From the opening rattle of ‘The Answer’, the band tackle everything from global relations to sexism and inequality, but it’s never preachy. Instead the messages of truth, love and questioning everything are wrapped up in rainbow-doused punk anthems. Never compromising or standing down, ‘Dumb Blood’ manages to do everything. Entertain and educate, it’s a record that’s vital to the current world climate without being boring. Focusing on unity, VANT deal in ideas not specifics and it leaves their debut album space to encourage. The world might be tearing itself apart around them, but VANT are holding it together with a grin. Ali Shutler
E DE AD D CA EC DE C H AT W I T H . . .
ritish pop punk’s black sheep Decade finally announced at the end of last year their second album ‘Pleasantries’, four years after the release of their smashing debut ‘Good Luck’, and seven months after the album’s first single ‘Daisy May’. “We recorded [‘Pleasantries’] in 2015, and at the time we were unsigned,” frontman Alex Sears starts on why their follow-up took so long to come together.
“We knew that the album wasn’t going to come out [because of this], and once a label shows interest it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a while to get a contract drawn up, and it goes between lawyers. We didn’t want to leave too long between releases, so ‘Daisy May’ was that gap filler, but it was also us saying we were on the hunt for a label, and this is what our new stuff sounds like, so any potential labels if you’re interested, come to us. That was our way of putting the feelers out. The reason there was such a gap, was because we had no idea what our plans were, whether we were going to be signed, whether the album was going to come out, whether we’d have to pay for the release. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh we have to do something so let’s put something out’. It was us going, ‘We need to see where we’re at’. ‘Daisy May’ was the start of the campaign, ‘Peach Milk’ that we released a few weeks ago seems like the first single. I feel like a lot of people won’t even know ‘Daisy May’ is actually on the album.” ‘Pleasantries’ has also seen the band leave Universal imprint Spinefarm for an indie. “[Rude Records] had always been on our radar, as soon as we had finished recording the album, we sent it to them, and we were kinda talking to them. For one reason or another, nothing materialised at the time. We always knew that they were incredibly enthusiastic about the album, and we knew that they were a small family-vibe label, so in the end, we decided that was probably the best direction for us to go in. We were signed to Universal, and it had its advantages for sure, but sometimes you just want that real close vibe, you can just message them on Facebook or email and get an instant response. They’ve got that enthusiasm, and we wanted a label that 40 upsetmagazine.com
“WE KNOW W H AT WE’RE A B O U T. ”
FOR THEIR SEC OND ALBUM, D ECA D E A RE T RY I N G SOMETHING NE W. WORDS: JASLE EN DHINDSA.
Rude Records was a bit more personal, and someone we could go to with our problems if we had any.” Alex reflects on the differences between ‘Pleasantries’ and ‘Good Luck’: “Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of ‘Good Luck’, but to me now when I listen to it, if you’ve heard one song you can pretty much see where the rest is going. It’s very fast and loud, and it was all at the top of my register. ‘Pleasantries’ is more considered, more dynamic in instrumentation and vocally, I don’t just go crazy, there’s a lot of falsetto, I use a lot of my lower register. It’s very dynamic, and that’s what I’m most proud of, that we’ve managed to create something so different from the last album. When I was writing ‘Good Luck’, I wanted us to be a pop punk band that had something a bit different, there were all these weird chords, and I didn’t sing with an American accent. The main difference is that I said, ‘Let’s just see where the songs go, and if they go into different realms I’ve never really explored before then so be it’. I didn’t want to box myself; I just wanted to write music and songs.” “I don’t think we’d ever write and record the same album twice; I don’t think we ever have,” he continues. “Like, our first EP was extremely pop punk, our second was quite post-hardcore, our first album was brit-rock pop punk, and this new one is a completely different direction again. I think it’s risky because obviously some fans might feel alienated that they’re expecting one thing [and getting
another]. I feel liketheir all of our music Three years after debut ‘Good so far has been leading to this album, Luck’ , Decade haveupreturned with and I feel like we’ve pinpointed the Decade ‘Pleasantries’ . Bath’s finest appear to sound. Before we felt we weren’t have toned down theirlike explicit popin the pop punk crowd fully and we punk and bring us a less angst-fuelled weren’tMusically, in the rock crowd fully, we were sound. they have elegantly somewhere in the middle, and we were matured, embracing a more indie-rock treated as such. Now I feel we know and Britpop approach. The like album thefilled sound and what we’re about. You is with Decade’s usual honest hear a lotofofyoung up and coming bands painting adulthood; each who are great, but you can tell they’reoftrying track is a turbulent exploration to conform tobelonging. a certain sound or image. emotion and It is clear that At the endsound of thehas day, you might not be a Decade’s evolved beyond band for very and if so, you What want to pop-punk intolong, something more. spend that time as credible we hear now maybeing be nostalgic andas you can, and writing and recording the music tambourine-rammed, but we may be you wantone to record. meeting of the” most promising
bands in the UK rock scene. Nariece “I was working to a pop punk formula and Sanderson just trying to think, as a fan of pop punk what would I think was cool?” Alex muses about how he has grown as a creative between the two albums. “But since that, I’ve just let the song go in whatever direction it goes, and even if you hate it, you’ve not worked in any constraints, and you’ve written an honest song. I did an interview when I was writing ‘Good Luck’ and mentioned I had written 150 songs. That was true, but I didn’t mention that 140 were shit and the ten we chose for ‘Good Luck’ were the songs we deemed the only acceptable ones. I don’t always think that’s the best approach if you’re writing something and you don’t like it, just leave it, just write ten good songs, don’t write 100 shit songs. I haven’t gone so intense with the song writing this time, I’ve come to the point where I know if a song is going to work or not.” P
TRACKS OF THE MONTH
DIET CIG TUMMY ACHE
“I don’t need a man to hold my hand,” point out Diet Cig. With ‘Tummy Ache’, they’re making that perfectly clear. Taking the energy from a year on the road and standing up for every person they’ve met along the way, the duo are a band transformed. They’ve dealt with this bullshit before but instead of frustration, Diet Cig are determined. Rumbling, twirling and with their sense of adventure never dampened, ‘Tummy Ache’ isn’t so much a call to arms, it’s a statement to live by. Unapologetic, brash and ohso-brilliant, it keeps the band’s trademark smile centre stage and doesn’t waver as Diet Cig share anxieties, annoyances and a never die attitude.
PWR BTTM VACATION PWR BTTM have quickly established themselves as A Voice. Their debut album ‘Ugly Cherries’ offered comfort, catharsis and the feeling that everything might be alright. ‘Vacation’ isn’t so sure. Taken from the ‘Our First 100 Days’ project, which raises money and awareness to tackle the so-called POTUS, it’s a song about escape. Now more than ever being true to yourself is an act of rebellion and from its opening reflect until it all falls apart, ‘Vacation’ craves both. Calm, collected then furious, the band aren’t afraid to make their voices heard, nor do they hold anything back. It’s powerful without trying and important without realising. It might clock in at one-hundred-and-twentysomething seconds, but all it takes is a spark.
eeee MEAT WAVE
Big Scary Monsters
Don’t let their name fool you: there is nothing meatheaded - or indeed hamfisted - about Meat Wave’s indie-punk raucousness. If anything, their third record packs more lean, juicy bangers from the Chicago three-piece than ever before. Driven by frontman Chris Sutter’s cathartic outbursts of poetry as he faces illness, anxiety and the collapse of a long-term relationship, ‘The Incessant’ takes the bile-flecked dissonance of its predecessor, ‘Delusion Moon’, and builds upon it with some of the most infectious choruses they’ve written yet. It’s a rare gem of a punk-rock record, that demands your full attention. Danny Randon
2017 has seen Brit rock’s titans push harder and higher than ever before. You Me At Six stalked the night, Deaf Havana blasted their way into the charts, and Lower Than Atlantis proved that they could take their daytime radio domination to a whole new level. Now it’s Mallory Knox’s turn on the plate, and they’ve every intention of sending it over the stands. Opener ‘Giving It Up’ sells it true and to the point - a gargantuan stomper, it’s a proof of scale to an album that’s got no interest in hanging around the small stages. This is Mallory Knox’s
statement of intent, and it’s written in hundred foot high bold type. ‘Midnight’ plays with almost pop-punkish melody, while ‘Better Of Without You’ packs a chorus that would sit happy in the terrace anthem classics of mid-00s indie. There’s a thread that runs throughout ‘Wired’, but it’s the magpie like tendencies to steal sparkly gems from every outlet that sets it out as an album with a voice of its own. Stephen Ackroyd
FRONTMAN CHRIS SUTTER ON MEAT WAVE’S ARTWORK “The artwork is by my really good friend Andrew Morrison. He’s done basically all of our videos. He’s a really close creative partner to me. I just asked him to photograph something. I gave him the album and I said to photograph something or do something, whatever he thinks. He went away for a while and did a bunch of stuff, and came back and presented me with all this art that he had done and taken pictures of and made on the computer and whatnot. The artwork that we chose, it popped up. He refused to tell me what it was. He still refuses to tell me, so I still don’t know what it is. I was very drawn to it. It’s kind of a mystery, and it’s kind of going to be kept that way. It’s beautiful and creepy and open-ended.”
What’s exciting you right now? “Genesis! I cannot stop listening to Genesis! As we speak I have a Genesis track playing my head. My wife got me all their Phil Collins albums from the 80s for Christmas and I’ve just listened to them non-stop. I’ve ordered the documentary DVD, I can’t wait for that to turn up. I’m super duper excited about Genesis!” JAMIE LENMAN “I’m excited about being a father, and I’m excited about the simmering state that we’re in; the right and the left really fucking hate each other at the moment and I love that, and I’m excited to see what happens because
I’m going to be in the front line.” JOE, IDLES “I’m excited to go back on tour, and for people to listen to the new songs, and actually know them. Our album comes out in a month, but we’ve been playing quite a few of these songs this time last year when ‘Daisy May’ came out and we did a headline tour in support of it. It’s nice to test the waters, but it’s always nice to have people know the songs so they have that enthusiasm. I’m excited about playing the songs and people being excited about it.” ALEX, DECADE
“Anderson Paak, he’s this artist from the US who’s incredible. He plays drums and raps and sings, he’s just flawless. Sun Organ are a band from Philly who I saw the other day, they were incredible. Sidekicks are a band I like and I’ve been listening to Botch a lot more. I feel like I’m all over the place. Weaves from Toronto are awesome, I saw Sheer Mag (pictured) the other night, they sound like Thin Lizzy, they played this 250 cap room and just played all twelve songs they had and it kicked so much ass.” CAM, SORORITY NOISE
THE DEBUT ALBUM : AVAILABLE 17 FEBRUARY
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