upsetmagazine.com Editor: Stephen Ackroyd (email@example.com) Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Associate Editor: Ali Shutler (email@example.com) Writers: Dan Harrison, Dan Jeakins, Danny Randon, Dillon Eastoe, Heather McDaid, Jack Press, Jake Richardson, Jasleen Dhindsa, Martyn Young, Rob Mair, Sam Taylor, Steven Loftin
Photographers: Jordan Knight, Sarah Louise Bennett Cover Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Upset or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. P U B L I S H E D F RO M
THE BUNKER W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
IN THIS ISSUE... RIOT!
4 T U RN ST I L E 8 T U RBOWO L F 9 TO N I G H T A L I V E 10 A L L T I M E LOW 12 A N D RE W W K 13 S E N S ES FA I L 14 P L AY L I ST
ABOUT TO BREAK
16 C O NJ U RE R 18 M OA N I N G
20 B L AC K FOX X ES
26 30 32 36 38
N E RV US RO LO TO M ASS I J E F F ROS E N STO C K CA M P C O P E P I A N OS B EC O M E T H E T E ET H
42 43 46 48
CA M P C O P E RO LO TO M ASS I A RC H I T ECTS FA L L O U T BOY
TEENAGE KICKS 50 E N T E R S H I K A RI
British rock music may be in the most exciting place it’s been in a generation. We’re all familiar with the names - Creeper’s cult, Milk Teeth’s parade of gigantic bangers, Architects growing larger and more dominant by the moment. With their first album, Black Foxxes set themselves on the road to greatness. With their second, they’ve truly arrived. That’s why we’re proud to give the band their first Upset cover this month. Elsewhere, we’ve got the cool as fuck Camp Cope, the brilliant Nervus, returning heroes Rolo Tomassi, Jeff Rosenstock and loads more. Enjoy!
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
ADVENTURES IN TIME & SPACE FRONTMAN BRENDAN YATES REFLECTS ON HOW TURNSTILE BECAME ONE OF THE HOTTEST BANDS IN HARDCORE. WORDS: DAN JEAKINS.
hese days Turnstile may be considered one of the hottest prospects in hardcore just about anywhere in the world, but the five-piece from Baltimore are a true DIY phenomenon. “Our band came from a group of friends coming together who simply started playing,” frontman Brendan Yates explains. “For our demo, my best friends just picked up instruments and learnt there and then. “Franz [Lyons, bassist] had to be in the band, but at that stage, we already had a drummer, so we convinced him to play bass even though he had never touched one in his entire life. He learned to play while we were practising for the first ever Turnstile show. “To be able to play music with people I care about and who truly inspire me is incredible – it’s truly at the forefront of everything we do as a band.” From the release of their first EP their intentions
were clear – you don’t call your debut release ‘Pressure To Succeed’ for nothing - and four years later the band put pen-to-paper with Roadrunner Records. “I think my idea of [signing to a major record label] was way crazier than how it turned out,” Brendan reveals. “Everything has felt like a very natural progression; everything has been so seamless. We play shows and make music. It’s really fun, and a cool outlet for us. Naturally, we built relationships by playing shows and travelling and meeting people. We met the guys at Roadrunner eventually and when the time felt right the next step was to do a record together. In my childhood fairytale of how it would go down, you imagined the whole process being concentrated in certain moments.” “We never had that feeling of, ‘Woah! We just got a play on the radio’,” he continues, “and that being your first big break. In fact, it’s all felt very natural. That’s not to play down the experiences we’ve had as a band – to meet so many inspiring people, come as far as we’ve come and played to people all over the world has been absolutely amazing.” The band are currently readying themselves for another album cycle. Their acclaimed debut ‘Nonstop Feeling’ arrived in 2015, and three years on Turnstile are returning with a follow-up indebted to hardcore, punk and hip-hop. “I think sonically, and musically, the record is like every Turnstile record,” he says of ‘Time & Space’. “We
explored different avenues of sound and instrumentation – lyrically I wrote songs about how I feel, that’s what I’ve always done.” “Every record is always about the things that happened to me at the time in which I created it,” muses Brendan. “It’s about my experiences and my past, the personal space between me and everything else. Relationships or things I spend my time doing. The overall theme is being able to disconnect myself and being able to evaluate myself, question a lot of things and discover what’s good for me as a person. That’s the essence of ‘Time & Space’, from a lyrical perspective”. Despite producing a litany of albums, EPs and singles throughout the last few years, at their heart Turnstile are a band who cherish most the thrill of a live show. Their performances are notorious. Unrelenting in energy, they’ve been transforming rooms into a state of utter carnage since their formation. It’s what makes the band
special, admits Brendan, and taking this sense feeling and making it work on record is a consistent challenge. “I think naturally recording in a studio, you’ll never get the same kind of energy. All you can do is try everything to make the music feel alive – that’s the case with a lot of music. It’s a very different kind of recording. I feel like the essence of the band is our songs being played in a live environment.” Continuing, he reveals how the band have progressed over the years. “The more we play as a band - the more we play as a unit – we naturally evolve. There are a lot of slow songs, a lot of melodic sections, a lot of high energy stuff. In essence, these are things we’ve done before, but this record, in particular, is widening the spectrum and evolving everything we’ve done as a band. This all comes from the individuals that make up Turnstile, what we’ve been going through and the music which is currently inspiring us.”
“THE MORE WE PLAY AS A BAND, WE NATURALLY EVOLVE”
NEED TO KNOW
IT’S FESTIVAL TIME! HERE ARE SOME BANDS FOR 2000TREES... We’ve already had not one, but two announcements for 2000trees. The first confirmed a headline set from At The Drive In, along with slots for Creeper, Arcane Roots, Basement, Touché Amore, Hell Is For Heroes, Turbowolf and Gold Key. The second put Enter Shikari at the top of the bill, too. 2000trees will take place from 12th-14th July in Cheltenham.
Another vital component in Turnstile’s world is skating – a hobby each member of the band holds close to their heart. ‘Skate Culture’ is at the very heart of the five-piece – and Brendan is quick to point out its importance. “We played in little skate shops as recently as this year,” he remarks proudly. “It means that you’re always doing something refreshing and trying different things – in terms of both scale and diversity. Most of us in the band grew up skating, so I think naturally the two things go hand in hand. There’s such a special relationship there – and so we take any opportunity we can to see those things align. “Brady and I would see each other skating down the street long before we were ever in a band – it was the foundation of our relationship. It’s at the root of what we do. It brings people together – music and skateboarding are the two main pillars of what I was interested in as a kid.” In contrast to playing small skate shops, Turnstile have transitioned to larger venues with marked enthusiasm.
...AND SOME FOR ARCTANGENT... The first batch of bands for this summer’s ArcTanGent has been revealed, with fifteen new acts headed up by Thursday bill-toppers And So I Watch You From Afar. They’ll be joined on the bill by Foxing, Pianos Become The Teeth, Gallops, Jamie Lenman, Rolo Tomassi, and loads more. ArcTanGent will take place from 16th – 18th August at Fernhill Farm, Bristol.
Playing supporting slots with the likes of New Found Glory would be a challenge for any band, but Brendan feels they’ve stepped up to the mark. “We naturally adapt to playing larger venues and the energy of them,” he says confidently. “It’s an exciting part of being in a band – having the diversity. It breathes more life into everything to play on a huge stage. It’s very different to playing in a little skate shop or a basement. Making sure that you adapt and feed off
the energy of each other and other people in the room. Everything is tailored to your environment. It’s a different kind of thing to do, but we absolutely love taking on larger venues.” With the release of ‘Time & Space’, Turnstile feel destined for bigger things. Their music is firmly rooted in hardcore but possesses the melody and song-craft that could see a more permanent place on the airwaves. It’s a fate that Brendan acknowledges, and his personal ambitions extend well past his native Baltimore.
...AND SOME FOR HANDMADE, TOO Among the new names for this year’s Handmade, are Drenge, Turbowolf, The Spook School, Weirds, Black Futures and Gender Roles. There’s also The Big Moon, Spector, Girl Ray, Indoor Pets, Phobophobes, and Sports Team. They join Circa Waves, Idles, Dinosaur Pile Up, Protomartyr, Future Of The Left, and loads more. The weekender will take place from 5th-6th May in Leicester.
“We’re taking everything as it comes,” he proclaims. “My main goal, if anything, is to play in different environments. We want to take cool opportunities and play in diverse situations – to have the opportunity to take Turnstile to certain locations in the world would be incredible. I want to be playing far out places that I’d have never believed I can play. “That, and bringing songs to life in a live environment, is really the essence of the band
TOM DELONGE HAS ANOTHER BOOK OUT It’s not just festival news this month, Tom DeLonge has released the second part of his Poet Anderson book trilogy. Poet Anderson… In Darkness – which he penned with author Suzanne Young – follows on from Poet Anderson… Of Nightmares, released on 2015. “Things get a bit darker for [lead character] Poet in this book,” says Tom. Oo-er.
and what we try and do. If we continue to be inspired by creative people, take our chance to play some fantastic locations and take our music around the world, then that will be enough for me.” With a new album rife with raucous punk inbound, Turnstile are showing no signs of slowing down. Wherever you are in the world, you can expect to hear from the boys from Baltimore very soon. P Turnstile’s album ‘Time & Space’ is out 23rd February.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM HAVE LOTS OF PLANS AFOOT The Gaslight Anthem have announced a UK headline tour on which they will be performing their album ‘The ’59 Sound‘ in its entirety. This will be the first time the band have toured the UK since they announced a hiatus in 2015. They’ll play: London Eventim Apollo (20th, 21st July), Glasgow Barrowlands (24th), and Manchester Apollo (25th). 7
“WE DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO LABEL US.” JUST DAYS BEFORE THEY LOCK THEMSELVES AWAY IN PRACTICE ROOMS AHEAD OF THEIR RELEASE TOUR, JACK PRESS CATCHES UP WITH CHRIS GEORGIADIS TO PIECE TOGETHER THE EVER-CHANGING CRYPTIC-CODE THAT IS TURBOWOLF.
ome bands find themselves flirting exhaustingly with experimentation, ripping out the stitches of their own fabric for small print creative justice. Some bands stick to the formula they’ve always used, never straying from the age-old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And once in a blue moon comes along a band like Bristol’s Turbowolf who don’t as much disobey conventional musical habits as much as rip up all of the rulebooks and rewrite them. Over and over.
label us, if they want to label us as a rock band, or a metal band, they’re wrong, but they can do it, it doesn’t affect what we do.” Chris is as standoffish as the music he makes when questioned about pinpointing even the minutest glimmers of an association with a genre for his band. “People always want to know what sort of music we play. If someone ever asks me that, I say punk rock just out of ease. We leave it for the journalists to describe us if they want to in that way, there isn’t a need to do that because you could just listen to it.”
2015’s ‘Two Hands’ was a sonic progression from their self-titled 2011 debut, and here, on their third album ‘The Free Life’, the quartet find themselves free from the boundaries of creative prison, recording much of their wildly experimental paint pallet record in vocalist Chris Georgiadis’ flat. The DIY nature of the album’s recording only adds to its creative cocktail of groove-riddled riffs, trippy crystalised synths, seventies disco, gritty garage punk, and powerpop psychedelia. It sounds nothing like anything they’ve done before and yet it is the only follow-up to their previous work that you could possibly imagine.
While the psychedelic trips and spacedisco trappings of ‘The Free Life’ suggest anything but punk rock, Turbowolf truly evoke the spirit and attitude of the punk movements of the seventies, looking to create uncompromising non-conforming art. “For us, punk has been so stretched, and pushed around, like there’s a lot of stuff that’s called punk, but doesn’t resonate with me as punk. We see it as a certain non-conformity to a certain extent, without it sounding too much like teenage angst. I see it more as being the want and need to push things forward, to progress, to not be happy with the status quo, and to not compromise your art - that’s what punk is to me. A punk rock band is the nearest you can get when
“We don’t care what people want to 8 8
trying to explain what we do. I can see how that can be misleading when you’ve got other punk rock bands who sound nothing like us, but that’s the point.” Sounding like nothing before them is the very essence of ‘The Free Life’, reverberating around your eardrums from the machine-gun drum salvo of opener ‘No No No’ to the hauntingly-harmonic acoustic closer ‘Concluder’. Everything is everywhere, so many sounds to find, so many things to understand. This isn’t a one-listen wonder; it’s a work intended to be studied. “Something we always try to do is make our stuff very layered, and to try and give it that second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth listen vibe. It’s really hard to know if you’re doing that in the best way when you’re making the album, I find, because you’re so close to it you can’t see it. We’re still learning how to do that.” Creating an album so monumentally different is always a risk, and yet Turbowolf grab that risk and run with it, taking it to the live domain, with the majority of their 2018 scheduled to be as tour-and-festival heavy as possible, with lots and lots of experimenting. “You want that energy, and that sense of danger. That thought in everyone’s mind that it might fall apart at any minute. I think what
CAS E ST U DY : J E N N A M C D O U G A L L ,
TONIGHT ALIVE FIND OUT WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS TAKE ON THE ROAD!
Tiger Balm is a saviour on tour. I don’t take painkillers and there’s only so many massage passes you can get from your friends! Using oils and balms helps relax me before bed.
I always bring prayer flags to hang in our buses and studio spaces. I like to make our “home environment” as peaceful and protected as possible.
Using Oracle cards is a way of receiving higher guidance. I probably bring them out weekly to help me get perspective on things. When the mood is right, it’s really special and heart opening to share the experience with others.
There is always a camera in my backpack or handbag on tour. I’ve never taken photography seriously, but I love remembering things and immortalising a moment. For a long time, I used an SLR, then moved onto a Polaroid for a couple of years. Now I’m rocking this school excursion style film camera that I found in a draw at home! It actually takes pretty sick pictures.
There a few types of food I like to have around at all times, chocolate is one and avocados are the other. They enhance pretty much every meal when you are almost always microwaving food and eating out on tour.
makes an exciting show is being on the edge of ‘is everything going to fall apart or is it going to be great?’ “It’s quite fun for us, but it’s quite scary too. It means we’re kept on our toes at all time, and it keeps it fresh for us. I don’t think anyone would really want to see us just staring at our pedals and our synths, they’d much prefer that we were engaging with them. And maybe I don’t think it matters that much if it doesn’t sound the same, because you have that other element live, you have that visual spectacle.” A spectacle. That’s one way of describing Turbowolf. They break the rules, they ignore formulas, and they pull it off in fine fashion. Nobody knows where ‘The Free Life’ will take Turbowolf, and nobody is betting their next experiment, but what we do know is that they’re going to explode in your ears. “We’re gonna go from zero to a hundred in the first ten seconds, and that’s where it’s going to stay. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but that’s where we’re at.” P Turbowolf’s album ‘The Free Life’ is out 9th March.
Tonight Alive tour the UK from 6th March. 9
Main photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / Other photos: Jordan Knight.
I keep a small collection of crystals and trinkets with me all the time. One of my nicknames is Magpie because I love shiny and jingly things. Bells are said to ward off dark and negative energies, so I keep one on my tour pass.
ALL TIME LOW ARE ABOUT TO ARRIVE IN THE UK FOR A SERIES OF SHOWS THAT NOT ONLY CELEBRATE THEIR NEW ALBUM ‘LAST YOUNG RENEGADE’, BUT THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘SO WRONG IT’S RIGHT’. OH, AND THEY’RE BRINGING CREEPER ALONG FOR THE RIDE. WORDS: JASLEEN DHINDSA.
ll Time Low are gearing up for a string of UK tour dates in honour of their latest record, ‘Last Young Renegade’. But this isn’t your average tour - they’re also playing their first proper record, ‘So Wrong It’s Right’, in full. “We were a lot more confident after we [played the album] in New Jersey before the holidays,” frontman Alex Gaskarth explains. “That’s what kicked off and inspired the whole idea. We had Pierce The Veil decide to exit the tour for personal reasons [drummer Mike Fuentes stepped away from the band late last year amid sexual misconduct allegations], and obviously there were a lot of people who were excited for that line-up, really excited to see them. 10
“When they exited, it was kind of last minute. It was one of those situations where we wanted to keep the tour feeling special, and do something that would still have people just as excited. We had just done those ‘SWIR’ shows in the States; they went over so well that it became obvious that it’s absolutely something that people seem to be very interested in, so let’s take that over there.” “We listened to the fans’ request for it, for a ten-year show, or a tour or something, and we kind of just took that and ran with it,” he continues. “We had a new album coming out; we had a lot of touring planned. We didn’t want to do a full tour around ‘SWIR’, we wanted to focus on the new music and continuing to grow the band, but the whole time we were kind of saying if something
makes sense, then we’re going to make it happen. “Those three shows in New Jersey ended up being the exact thing that felt right for that, and from there that stemmed to people saying, please bring the tour to overseas, to the UK and Europe. When this opportunity presented itself, to fill a space of the UK tour, it just became glaringly obvious.” The latest record sees the Baltimore quartet at their most diverse, so playing it alongside ‘SWIR’, one of the defining records of noughties pop punk, is quite a contrast. “I feel its one of the defining records of this band,” Alex agrees. “Obviously we’re in a much different place now, we’re different people. We’re not the kids that wrote that record anymore really, but it’s got a place. It’s the first full-length we did; it kicked this
whole career into something tangible and something that felt like it was going to last. “Back then we felt like maybe it was going to last for a little while; it’s ended up panning out a little longer than that,” he laughs. “I’m very fond of that record, and playing those songs live was really, really fun. It reinvigorated us on that old music. Seeing how much it means to some people is the most rewarding part, that some people fell in love with that record, and [the way] its stayed with them the way it has is special.” “There’s a song off that record called ‘The Beach’ which we haven’t played in years, that felt cool to play,” Alex continues. “I’ve always loved the energy of that song live, but it was never a single, so as we added more and more albums to our catalogue, it fell by the wayside a little bit. It felt really good to bring that one back. ‘Holly (Would You Turn Me On)’ was a fun one too, and we’ve never actually played ‘Come One, Come All’ live ever, so that one was pretty fun actually to get out and play live.” As for the importance of honouring your previous material, Alex says there’s room for both, but it’s a tricky balance. “That feels like a bit of a safe answer, but I get it because we’re not a band that wants
to coast on our past. We don’t want to become a band that pays tribute to our first two records; that’s something really important to us - not to make the old music the focal point. “At the same time, we realise these albums came out for a lot of people at a time where they were just discovering what their favourite music was going to be, and I can relate to that. I have those bands. If Green Day did a ‘Dookie’ tour, or Blink did an ‘Enema of The State’ tour, it would be important to me. It’s finding the balance, and we want to honour it without overdoing it or ignoring the fact this band is still growing, and this band still has songs left to write.” Not only are All Time Low supporting themselves on this tour, but they’re bringing Creeper out on the road with them. “We did a European tour with them not so long ago,” says Alex. “They’re great humans, we had a really good time on the road with them. They were a perfect fit for this round of tours especially when our support had to drop off; we were like, who can we get? Who’s still available last minute? Luckily they didn’t have anything going on at the time, so we got lucky with that. They put on a great live show; it will be an extremely cool way to kick everything off.
“[I’m excited about] the energy of the shows, the UK was one of the first places we got to start headlining arenas and playing these big epic shows with full production. Every time we go away from that I miss it. Now coming back with the new album, it’s going to be exciting, people really embraced [‘Last Young Renegade’]. “Last time we were in the UK, the record wasn’t out. Yeah, we had [single] ‘Dirty Laundry’ out, but we really haven’t been over there to celebrate the new record yet. I’m happy the UK has had a chance to live with the music for a while, it’ll be cool going in and having everybody sort of know the songs and the words and sing along.” “The year is young,” Alex says about his band’s plans for 2018. “We’re just sorting out and confirming everything we have coming up, it’s shaping up to be an exciting one,” he reveals with a grin. “There are a lot of possibilities on the table; there are things we didn’t do last year that we should come back and do this year. It’s going to be an exciting one; I’m excited to see how it all takes shape, and where we end up in a few months. It’s going to be a blast.” P All Time Low tour the UK from 12th March. 11
FOR A WHILE HE WASN’T SURE HE’D GET HERE, BUT ANDREW WK IS BACK WITH HIS FIRST NEW MUSIC IN BLOODY AGES. WORDS: STEPHEN LOFTIN.
ime can move fast - blink and all of a sudden it’s eight years since your last album. In Andrew WK’s case, it’s been a deceptively long hiatus. With a musical absence that has spanned almost a decade, he’s instead undertaken speeches, podcasts, film, TV and found himself acting as a figurehead for positivity - you name it, he’s done it. But now we’re back to where it all began, with a new AWK record, the aptly entitled ‘You’re Not Alone’. At a swanky hotel in Kings Cross, London, Andrew’s answering questions as part of a Q&A to celebrate the album’s release. One audience member reveals to him that during her work with disadvantaged children they listen to rock music, more specifically, ’his breakout hit ‘Party Hard’. Further solidifying his new-found position as a spokesman for positivity, the track is fundamental in building self-esteem and engaging the kids. So how does Andrew WK cope with being an accidental role model? Well, it’s rather simple, actually. “They look to ‘the thing’, so it’s not to me - I look to ‘the thing’ too!” He declares excitedly. “Not to myself, I look to the ‘feeling’ - this life force energy.” Though that’s not his preferred description of this ‘force’, the conviction with which he discusses it shows it’s something he truly believes in. His excitement is palpable, even behind his uniform matching white Oakley sunglasses. “It’s energising in a physical sense, but it’s hard to pin down as [just] one emotion. I wouldn’t even describe it as a happy feeling; it transcends that. “I think joy or euphoria is closer, but
it’s even beyond that in a way. It’s just an incredible rush that for that brief moment, tells you everything makes sense, and you don’t need to understand why - it just is.”
I had turned myself over to taking what came… someone would just come and ask me, and I’d do it.”
Establishing a rock career while also a spokesperson for a better life was never part of his original plan. After all, how could it be? “If anyone had described what was going to happen I might have said, ‘Oh I don’t want that to happen, I’m not going to able to do that!’” he later tells Upset, but here he is. “Just following that feeling and trying to trust wherever it wants me to go.
In fact, he didn’t know if another album was ever going to appear through the thick fog of everything else that was piling upon him. “[I thought] maybe I’d relinquished too much control. It reached such a frenzied point that once I’d accepted I’d never make an album again, even though I wanted to, then I [actually] got to. Once I gave up, it happened.”
“I’m a servant to it, and I think that’s what takes the pressure off. It’s not about me, it’s about serving that. I think that is the only way I could do it. Otherwise, it would be overwhelming.” Getting to this stage, where he’s back to having music at the forefront is clearly a result of finally finding the feeling he talks of so wildly, once more. Just as he mentions being a servant to it, the process of creating ‘You’re Not Alone’ entailed a lot of the same aspects, which he’s quick to divulge. “There’s not a lot of reflection. If I get caught up in that, I’ll just think myself out of doing anything. You have to turn off a part of your mind,” he continues. “I’d say you even turn off the part of your mind that is yourself to an extent - I guess they would call that the ‘ego’, when you think of who you are, and all those ideas.” So why the eight-year break from music? “I would get very frightened, frustrated and angry and push harder and harder,” he says, pausing to reflect. “And it wasn’t so much even… trying to make songs or music that was the challenge, it was trying to get time to do anything.
And so here we are. Andrew is back doing the thing that led to this road in the first place. That same ‘Party Hard’ spirit is still alive and kicking. While he says “there was never a point in this album where I ever understood what it was, or what was happening,” ‘You’re Not Alone’ is the rebirth Andrew WK needs. Lead single ‘Music Is Worth Living For’ is balls-to-the-wall euphoric, unashamedly owning what it is, and the same continues throughout - including spoken word segments that feature that trademark Andrew WK positivity and uplifting sentiments. Where will the road lead his this time? “Maybe this is the same ride, just maybe another hill… and up and down…” he pauses reflectively for the last time. “I don’t know. I don’t know; I don’t know. It’s fine in a way, to try to analyse all this stuff, and it’s easy looking back, even if it was just looking back to yesterday to try and interpret it to make sense.” He ends with a laugh, “but it doesn’t really make sense.” P Andrew WK’s album ‘You’re Not Alone’ is out 2nd March.
T H I N G S YO U S H O U L D K N OW A BO U T
N E W A L BU M SENSES FAIL’S NEW ALBUM ‘IF THERE IS LIGHT, IT WILL FIND YOU’ IS A BIT OF A DARK ONE, BUT IT’S FILLED WITH HOPE, TOO. FRONTMAN BUDDY NIELSEN TELLS US FIVE THINGS THAT WERE ON HIS MIND DURING THE RECORD’S CREATION. 1. My wife has MS. She was diagnosed three years ago in the beginning of 2013. At first, it was really hard to wrap our heads around the disease and what it meant, but over time it has come to be manageable. Having a disease like MS makes life more difficult but not impossible. We are lucky that the symptoms are mild and haven’t progressed very far. 2. Every record we do feels like it could be our last. I have never been able to become comfortable that this life as a musician will be concrete. For better or for worse I go into each record thinking it will be my last chance to make music. I was always told that this career would be short-lived and fleeting, but here we are 16 years in. You would think I would have some faith that it will keep going, but it is hard for me to believe in anything other than living in the moment with this band. 3. My wife had a miscarriage. Initially, I wasn’t very upset by it, because it is a natural process
that happens very often and was pretty early on in the pregnancy. However, once the smoke cleared, I was pretty devastated. You build up this excitement and connection with something and someone you have never met and then it is gone. I’m sure that it is nowhere near as hard as losing a child whom you’ve bonded with but to some extent, I feel like a part of me died. That was a very real and hard concept to come to terms with. It did confirm my desire and want to have children. Before I had, of course, wanted a child but you don’t realize how much you want that connection until you have it and lose it. 4. The closer I get to people the more afraid of my mortality I become. It sounds paradoxical, and to some extent, it is but as I develop strong relationships with people I question my own mortality and how long I will be here. I suffer from PTSD, so I am very aware of loss and connection and the balance that they play in my life. My greatest want and need
is to be connected, and at the same time, it is my biggest fear. Over the years I have gone from an isolated, angry person into a connected, healthy individual and gone from wanting to die to not wanting to die and be separated from my loved ones and my wonderful life. The fear of losing is always present when we feel connected, but I am starting to see that love of connection can and while overshadow and block out that fear. 5. Hot dogs are not sandwiches. There is no way for a hot dog to be a sandwich because there is no way for a sandwich to be a hot dog. Until there is empirical evidence that sandwiches can become hot dogs, there is no way for a hot dog to be considered in the sandwich family. Bread doesn’t make a sandwich a sandwich, the content and condiments do. You cannot put lettuce on a hot dog, therefore making a hot dog not a candidate for sandwich inclusivity. P Senses Fail’s album ‘If There Is Light, It Will Find You’ is out now.
PLAYLIST THERE’S A WHOLE UNIVERSE OF MUSIC OUT THERE TO LISTEN TO. HERE ARE TEN TRACKS YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO THIS MONTH.
SAINTS OF THE SINNERS
Opening with an impossibly massive synth riff, Chvrches’ comeback track ‘Get Out’ firmly marks them out as one of 2018’s most anticipated returns. From their third asyet-unannounced album.
Aussie upstarts The Faim are looking to make their mark with this song about, erm, making your mark. See what they’ve done there? Catch ‘em at Download this spring. From... nowt, yet. LISTEN TO THIS
Blessthefall have returned all guns blazing; ‘Melodramatic’ is a venom-spitting, fullthrottle anthem in the making. From new album ‘Hard Feelings’, out 23rd March.
HELLIONS X (MWAH)
The new ‘un from Hellions comes with hand claps, a dance routine, and a chorus that could be straight out of The Vamps’ greatest hits. From... well, rumour has it there’s a new album on the way...
’Sister Cities’ is the natural result of TWY spending an awful lot of time away from home - and it sees them back on top form. From new album ‘Sister Cities’, due 6th April.
WE ARE SCIENTISTS
ONE IN, ONE OUT
For the first taster of their new album, We Are Scientists “really wanted to drop a funbomb,” says Chris. “Something to dance or f*** to.” From new album ‘Megaplex’, out 27th April.
“We wanted to write a song that felt like something structurally sound and melodic, being chewed up and spit out by a machine; our machine,” they explain. Mission accomplished. From Adult Swim’s Singles Series.
One of Upset’s fave new bands, Loa Loa’s latest is a high-energy, gloriously ramshackle banger about having to put up with a drama llama. From… nowt, it’s a standalone before their debut album.
ONLY ONE WAY
A PERFECT CIRCLE TALKTALK
A Perfect Circle would really like to talk to you about you current mobile and broadband deal... (No, not really.) From new album ‘Eat The Elephant’, out 20th April. 14
THE WONDER YEARS
GIVE ME WHAT I WANT
YOUTH MAN I DON’T KNOW
A new line-up, a new label (Alcopop!, FYI), and new music too - it’s all going on for Youth Man. Their newest track ‘I Don’t Know’ has the catchiest guitar line this side of the 90s. From a new asyet-unannounced EP.
IF THERE IS LIGHT, IT WILL FIND YOU CD / LP / DIGITAL OUT FEBRUARY 16TH 2018
NEW CD / LP / DIGITAL FROM REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT OUT FEBRUARY 23, 2018
SPEAK LOW IF YOU SPEAK LOVE
CONJURER ARMED WITH THEIR DARK AND DYNAMIC DEBUT ALBUM, THIS FOUR-PIECE FROM THE MIDLANDS ARE PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF EXTREME MUSIC TO BREAKING POINT. WORDS: DANNY RANDON.
THE BEST NEW BANDS TH E H OT TEST NEW MUSIC
hile some bands are merely content in wedging their foot in the door between the underworld of challenging music and widespread acceptance, Conjurer are dead set on joining that esteemed league of artists who are booting the door clean off its hinges. As they prepare for the release of their debut album ‘Mire’, the Midlands fourpiece are well aware of the height to which the bar has been raised by their peers over the last few years. “People are finally ready to embrace new and exciting music,” reckons co-vocalist and guitarist Brady Deeprose as the conversation eventually gets round to the recent Grammy nod by Pittsburgh hardcore game-changers Code Orange. “[Code Orange’s 2017 album] ‘Forever’ is something so different to the status quo, and people are finally willing to stand up
and accept that.” He adds: “I think it is just a culmination of the recycled nature of music over however long it’s been. I’m 23, so I was never alive in that heyday of ‘good metal’ in the early 90s, but our generation have started to find their voice and identity within music. “It seems that bands aren’t so worried about being part of a particular scene anymore,” says guitarist Dan Nightingale, who shares vocal duties with Brady. “Around the time I was getting into extreme metal, I was very conscious of what the popular thing was; you couldn’t help drifting towards that.” As the pair grew up, metalcore was in a state of flux – bands like Bring Me The Horizon and The Devil Wears Prada were surging their way out of the commercial peripherals, but the movement was drifting further and further away from its hardcore genesis.
“When [Bring Me The Horizon’s] first two albums were out I was going around like, ‘Oh they’re rubbish’, but secretly I was listening to them in my room and absolutely loving it,” Dan admits. “I don’t whether it was [because] we just went further underground, but it just felt like there was no-one really flying any flags anymore. “When we were starting bands, there were sort of guidelines for how to be in a band, but the absence of these great superstars leading the way has led to bands being more honest with themselves.” The origins of Conjurer can be traced back to 2014, after Dan and Brady had “played around each other and with each other, but we weren’t in bands together” on the Midlands metalcore circuit for a few years. “We both split away from our metalcore bands – we were enjoying it, but it just wasn’t what we wanted to do,” explains
Dan. “We were kind of hovering around, and one day on Facebook Brady said he was getting into extreme metal and that he’d love to do a band that’s inspired by The Black Dahlia Murder and Gojira, so I was sold. “It wasn’t until we saw Yob and Pallbearer at The Underworld in Camden that we started jamming. It wasn’t like we weren’t taking it seriously at that point, but when we saw Yob, it was like the nail in the coffin and [we knew] we were going to be doing this, and that the band is a thing now.” As punishingly heavy as it often is, what makes Conjurer’s full-length debut one of the most captivating British metal records of recent years is its fearlessness to be beautiful at times. There’s a sharper sense of melodic playing in the more expansive moments which push ‘Mire’’s envelope into ambient post-metal territory, but it’s still executed with all the voracity of the crushing blastbeats and tar-thick guitar grooves.
“BANDS AREN’T SO WORRIED ABOUT BEING PART OF A PARTICULAR SCENE ANYMORE” “The breadth of influence that we take has always been far more than we can handle,” says Brady, hinting at records as bizarrely leftfield as System of a Down’s ‘Mesmerize / Hypnotize’ as an inspiration. “But we definitely did a better job on the album of bringing that in and making it work.” Even for a band that is still so young, Conjurer have made outstanding progressions on ‘Mire’ – something they in part put down to being part of the roster at Holy Roar Records, a label which is gaining prestige for its work in championing some of the world’s most extreme and esoteric artists.
Brady recalls: “We were in a hotel on one of the nights when we were recording the EP, and Dan put on [Holy Roar labelmates] Employed To Serve, and I was like, ‘What the fuck is this? This is awesome!’. Then Jan was going on about [British hardcore band] Svalbard. “Their whole ‘no bullshit’ attitude comes through in the bands that they work with, and getting to play with bands like OHHMS and Wren and be part of that group has been one of the biggest influences on us.” P Conjurer’s album ‘Mire’ is out 9th March.
MOANING MOANING HAVE COME UP THROUGH THE LOS ANGELES DIY SCENE TO PLAY CHAOTIC SHOWS AT THE LIKES OF BUZZ-FEST SXSW, AND SIGN WITH SUB POP. NOW, THEIR SELF-TITLED DEBUT IS IMMINENT. WORDS: SAM TAYLOR.
Hey Sean, tell us about your band - who are you all? I play guitar and sing. Pascal Stevenson plays bass and synth. Andrew MacKelvie plays the drums. We’ve been best friends since we were teenagers. You’ve been in other bands before, right? How does Moaning compare? We’ve all played together since high school in various projects for fun. We were lucky to grow up in an allages music community that encouraged experimentation. This band we take the most seriously. I think our songwriting has become more deliberate and conceptual. We try not to do anything that doesn’t have a cohesive idea behind it. How did you hit upon Moaning’s sound? I originally wrote ‘Don’t Go’ and ‘Misheard’ and decided I needed a name for it. I tried to think of what the music
sounded like and came up with the name Moaning. I showed it to Pascal and Andrew, and together we developed something that was a combination of all of our influences. We are interested in the juxtaposition of dissonant and atonal music with more melodic and appealing sounds. Conceptually this ties into the double meaning of the word Moaning. What’s the best thing you’ve all done since forming the band? We have exceeded our expectations for the band already. We were lucky to work with Alex Newport who recorded our new record. He has worked with so many amazing bands including At The Drive In, Death Cab for Cutie, and Melvins. After playing SXSW in Austin, we quickly were signed to Sub Pop Records. The label has been an amazingly supportive family and a dream come true.
What’s it like living in LA? Must be fun, right? We all grew up here. It’s nice because there is always something to go do or see. LA is interesting. A lot of people move here to pursue acting and other creative professions. It’s hard sometimes to tell who is your friend and who is trying to network with you. Luckily we have some really good friends here that we grew up with. What’s your favourite thing about creating music? Music is very cathartic and therapeutic for me. I feel the most at ease when I am playing guitar. It is also very special to find like-minded people through sharing your lyrics and thoughts. The album’s blurb says it “comes born out of the members’ experiences with love and distress” - have you had a tough time of it? Romance and heartbreak
seem to go hand in hand. This is another reason for the band name and its dual meaning. I think the way people are socialized and their expectations make most relationships fail. However, I am generally a pretty anxious person. I tend to overthink and dwell on things. Maybe that’s more of a personal problem. Are you going to tour the album much, or do day jobs and the like make it tough? Most of us freelance and aren’t tied down to a job. I am lucky to mostly make art for a living now. We plan to tour as much as possible. We are excited to share this music with people for the first time and meet new friends along the way. Band life aside, what are you most excited about for 2018? The end of the world... P Moaning’s self-titled debut album is out 2nd March.
2018 TUE wed fri sat sun mon tue thu fri sat sun
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BRUSSELS botanique witloofbar UTRECHT ACU LONDON OMEARA lIVERPOOL STUDIO 2 BIRMINGHAM HARE AND HOUNDS 2 NOTTINGHAM BODEGA SOCIAL CLUB SHEFFIELD RECORD JUNKEE NEWCASTLE THINK TANK EDINBURGH THE MASH HOUSE BELFAST BLACK BOX DUBLIN GRAND SOCIAL
t ickets on sale 10am wed 6 december A LIVE NATION, DF CONCERTS & DORK PRESENTATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH 13 ARTISTS A L E XL A H E Y.C O M. A U
M A L E X L A H E Y MU S IC N A L E X L A H E Y M U S I C N A L E X _ L A H E Y
FLOAT BLACK FOXXES’ FIRST ALBUM ESTABLISHED A BAND OF LIMITLESS PROMISE, BUT WHAT APPEARED ON THE SURFACE TO BE AN UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS TOOK A MORE CHALLENGING PATH BEHIND THE SCENES. NOW BACK WITH A SECOND ALBUM EVEN STRONGER THAN ITS PREDECESSOR, THEY’RE A BAND READY TO TACKLE THEIR DEMONS.
WORDS: JAKE RICHARDSON. PHOTOS: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
ICE ICE BABY
A trip to Iceland proved to be the inspiration for much more than the title of the latest Black Foxxes album, as Mark tells us… “I’d actually been to Iceland before I started preparations for this record – I’ve been three years in a row now. That country is just incredible, I’ve never been anywhere else that’s even remotely like it. The weather conditions are unforgiving, and you genuinely feel like you’re on another planet. There’s just something about the place that keeps attracting me back to it. “The first half of the track ‘Oh It Had To Be You’ was written while I was watching the Northern Lights. I’d seen them before, but never like that. It’s mesmerising to see the colours dancing across the sky, and it would’ve been impossible not to write about it. “‘The Big Wild’ is about that want to adventure. Because of suffering from Crohn’s and mental health issues, I’ve spent so much of my life saying ‘no’ to things, but in my heart, I’m such an adventurous guy, and I want to experience all these different cultures. I’ve now arrived at a time in my life where I’m physically and mentally well enough to do that, so ‘The Big Wild’ is about saying ‘yes’ to everything, and that directly relates to my trips to Iceland.”
hen a young Mark Holley began playing music, he dreamed of being in a successful band. It was more than a hobby to him – it was his life’s ambition; a destiny he was bound to fulfil. Inviting bassist Tristan Jane and drummer Ant Thornton to join his fledgeling band, the Black Foxxes vocalist/guitarist set about achieving his goal of becoming a musician known around the world. All the ingredients were there for Black Foxxes to start making big things happen fast. In Mark, they had a songwriter with ambition and a genuine vocal strength many young rock singers lack, and a fastgrowing reputation. But away from the music, things weren’t so rosy. When he was 21, Mark was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a condition without a known cure, which can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhoea, fever and weight loss. It’s an illness that requires constant medication and treatment, which makes life on the road a challenge. On top of that, Mark also suffers from anxiety and depression, and it was his experiences with mental illness that fuelled Black Foxxes’ 2016 debut album, ‘I’m Not Well’. Their first full-length saw the Devon trio emerge as one of rock’s brightest new bands – it was, on the face of it, a huge success. Behind the scenes, however, Mark was falling apart. “When we were making the first record, I didn’t really want to do anything,” he remembers. “I didn’t want to be in the studio, I didn’t want to tour, but music was the only thing I felt I could do to get everything off my chest. I wasn’t sure if I’d get out of the rut I was in.” Making ‘I’m Not Well’ was tough, and while the band experienced runaway success on the touring cycle that followed, when things began to wind down, Mark struggled to adjust to life back home. “I found it hard coming off tour and having to reintegrate to home life, and I think that’s one of the reasons things went sour with my ex-girlfriend,” he recalls. “It’s strange to go from being social with people every day, and then come home to a completely different environment – it’s like starting a new job. I read something a while ago about how so many touring musicians struggle with depression and anxiety because
of that, they find it hard to readjust to ‘normal’ life.” It’s a story that’s been told before, and one that has, thankfully, been pushed into the limelight over the past few years: that of a touring musician struggling to cope with the strain that a career in music places on one’s mental health. Looking to clear his head and find inspiration for album two, Mark turned to the sense of adventure he’d always possessed and travelled to Iceland, a country he’d been to and found solace in previously. There, surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes he’d ever seen, the future of Black Foxxes began to take shape. “My mental health was so bad the first time I went to Iceland,” Mark explains. “But I was starting to see progress every time I went. It was a big step for me to go to a place that is barren, with no-one there and insane weather conditions, and do it all by myself. It felt like there was a mutual relationship between me and that place because I overcame a lot out there. I wrote plenty of music when I went to Iceland the second time, and our new record reflects that.” Black Foxxes’ upcoming second album, ‘REIðI’ (“It’s pronounced ‘Ray-dee’, and is Icelandic for ‘rage’,” Mark tells us), exemplifies the transformation their frontman has undergone since the release of ‘I’m Not Well’. An expansive, shapeshifting and at times abstract record, it’s a bold leap from the formula that brought the band their early success. But in light of all the change in Mark’s life and the journey he’s been on to get to this new album, it was never going to sound like ‘I’m Not Well’ 2.0. “’I’m Not Well’ was such a labour of love – it was so hard to write and record that album, and you can hear it when you listen back,” Mark says. “The one thing we’ve said is that, on reflection, we would have sonically changed ‘I’m Not Well’. The album is all the same – every track is dark and loud and sounds similar to what’s come before it. So, we wanted to make sure that with ‘REIðI’, we had a dynamic record. I felt much better in myself this time, and I reflected that in the music I made and naturally a lot of lighter songs came out. The moment that happened, we decided to push for a light-dark record.” When putting together the music for ‘REIðI’, Black Foxxes went old school,
“THOSE DEMONS WILL ALWAYS BE THERE” and thought about the experience of a listener hearing the music through a vinyl record. Writing an album with two distinct parts, they were keen to show a softer side to the band, but retain that element of dark ‘depression pop’ with which they’d always been associated. “The way it was written was to have the first half of the record be super light, and then the second part be really dark, so if it was a vinyl, side A would be light and side B darker,” Mark outlines. “It’s really dynamic in the sense that you have tracks like ‘The Big Wild’ and ‘Saela’ which are real pop songs, and then you can flip the album over and hear ‘Flowers’ and ‘Float On’, the latter of which was written about my cousin who drowned - the music is super dark and twisted. I think the message of doing that is, while my mental health was better when making this album, it’s something I’ll always live with – those demons will always be there. It’s letting the listener know that this is still Black Foxxes, but we’ve grown, and we wanted things like strings and horns. We wanted to make a sonically ambitious record, and we have.” Clearly, ‘REIðI’ is designed to be not as restrictive – musically or lyrically – as ‘I’m Not Well’. Black Foxxes’ first album is a great record, but it’s an album that finds its sound and sticks to it, rarely challenging the expectations of the listener. Similarly, as its title suggests, ‘INW’ is a record that’s occupied with Mark’s battle with mental health. The material is compelling, but again, not particularly diverse. ‘REIðI’, on the other hand, does away with that singular style. “You never truly move away from mental health issues – it’s more about understanding and realising that it’s a part of you and that’s okay,” Mark explains. “But the subject matter on this album has definitely moved on from entirely being about mental health, because the previous album was pretty self-explanatory in what it was about, whereas on this new record I challenge loads of different subjects. I tried to be more open-minded with my songwriting
this time.” So, if he’s moved away from singing entirely about mental health, what is Mark singing about on ‘REIðI’? “The thirst for adventure is an overall theme of the album, but more than that, it’s an obvious journey from start to finish about myself,” Mark answers. “I sing a lot about rage on this album, and the final words sung on the record are ‘now I understand rage’. That’s what’s pulling it all together – you’re going through this journey of working things out with the writer. There’s the lighter first half of the album where you think things are figured out, but then the darker second part comes, and you realise you’re stuck living with this darkness.” Does that make this an angry record? “It’s a subconsciously angry album. When I was writing ‘REIðI’ I didn’t feel angry, but then things would come out of me in the studio, and I realised I had a lot of those feelings still, buried deep inside me – they were just being poured out in a different way.” The thirst for and traversing of a journey, and the rage that provokes, continually rears its head in ‘REIðI’’s lyrics. ‘Breathe’, ‘Oh It Had To Be You’ and ‘Manic In Me’ all find Mark singing about a desire to escape, be it from his own head or his home county of Devon. “There’s a lyric on ‘Oh It Had To Be You’ that goes, ‘I wanna live alone inside my head’. That line and the song ‘Breathe’ in its entirety both demonstrate how, even if you’ve set yourself free mentally, there are times when you feel like living inside your mind. When you have mental health issues, you can feel like you’re not alive and not living in the moment – your mind is flooded with negative thoughts. So Breathe’s lyric of ‘I wanna set myself free’ was me reflecting back to those times. Overall, ‘REIðI’ is explaining what I needed to do to get over the things I was singing about on ‘I’m Not Well’, and my process of doing that.” As for the subject of literal escape on ‘REIðI’, second single ‘Manic In Me’ speaks to that desire – and it’s a song Mark thinks can take Black Foxxes to the next level. “’Manic In Me’’s line of ‘I’ve gotta get out of here’ speaks to how I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Devon,” he explains. “It’s a beautiful county, but every time I come back, nothing
“I WANT TO EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING I POSSIBLY CAN” has changed. As a 29-year-old that has missed out on so much of their life due to illness, I really want to experience everything I possibly can. That need to get out sounds like a selfish one, but I realised very quickly that if I spend too long by myself with my own thoughts, my anxiety and depression will swarm me.” Here’s hoping ‘Manic In Me’, or any other song on their new record, does introduce Black Foxxes to a wider audience, because they’re the kind of rock band 2018 needs. ‘REIðI’ is musically ambitious, no doubt (“You’re not the same band you were three years ago, so why recycle old sounds? That’s why I have a problem with pop-punk,” Mark argues), but it’s also an example of the hope rock music can inspire. The journey Mark describes on ‘REIðI’ is universal; a story of growing-up, branching-out, exploring the world around you and coming to terms with the battles inside your own mind is one we can all relate to. Told with unflinching honesty, the narrative at the heart of ‘REIðI’ is masterfully crafted and utterly engaging. The outlook on display throughout ‘REIðI’ feeds into Mark’s campaigning away from Black Foxxes. The subject of a recent BBC Newsbeat documentary about the impact of Crohn’s disease on a touring musician, Mark wanted to use such a large platform to help those who may be suffering in silence, but he wanted to do so in a way that was candid, genuine and empathetic. “What helped me early on was seeing people I loved coping with it, like [Glassjaw’s] Daryl Palumbo,” Mark says. “I just want to help people, and the amount of messages I’ve had about it has been overwhelming. When ‘I’m Not Well’ came out it was a big deal for me, because it was the first time we had a record in the shops, and I remember people messaging me saying how much they loved it. But when I did this documentary, I had double the amount of people getting in touch – it was crazy! I wanted
the documentary to be honest, and to show that sometimes it does suck to have Crohn’s and that you don’t want to be on the road. There’s a really rewarding feeling that goes with helping people, especially young adults. I’m stoked with how it came out.” His work in the public eye is admirable, but one has to wonder if the constant questions Mark gets about living with Crohn’s and mental illness ever becomes tedious for him. Would he not prefer it if the focus was solely on Black Foxxes’ music, rather than the circumstances that surround it? “I see such a journey with this band,” Mark replies. “It’s not a case of if it will happen for Black Foxxes with me, it’s a case of when. It doesn’t matter if this album doesn’t blow-up, because there is going to come a time when we write that song or that album that just connects with loads of people. So, I don’t really mind talking about my health conditions in relation to Black Foxxes, because this is a journey we’re on, and these things are what I’ve been going through at the time of writing our music. It’d be stupid to not talk about my experiences, because they’re an obvious, recurring theme in our music, and people want to hear about it. It’s obvious to me to be honest as a musician, but for many other people, it seems like honesty is an afterthought, almost like it’s something they don’t need to consider. My experiences with Crohn’s and mental health are just what are happening to me now, and I’m fine with talking about that. Otherwise, there’d be nothing to talk about.” The physical and mental battles Mark has faced may be at the forefront of his life right now, but they’re something that neither define Black Foxxes nor are they something the band shy away from. Mark, Tristan and Ant want to be the biggest band in the world, and they want to get there by writing ambitious albums that inspire with their craft and provoke hope through their honesty. Whether ‘REIðI’ sees Black Foxxes achieve that goal or not almost doesn’t matter, because, as Mark says, it’s a matter of when their dreams come true, not if. In the meantime, as long as the songs are connecting with people and helping listeners conquer their own battles, as far as they are concerned, Black Foxxes have done their job. P Black Foxxes’ album ‘REIðI’ is out 16th March.
STRUGG LED WITH IDENTITY, OR FELT THE NEW ALBUM FROM NERVUS IS FOR ANYONE WHOâ€™S ANGRY AT THE WORLD. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
use this pen, for words I dare not speak. I use these strings, for words I still can’t say,” sings ‘A Retraction’ on Nervus’ debut album. Figuring out depression, addiction and life as a transgender woman, ‘Permanent Rainbow’ started out as a record of isolation. An exercise in self-exploration. The songs weren’t written for anyone but Em Foster, and it wasn’t meant to be heard until her best friends wanted to get involved. Giving them an excuse to hang out, how could she say no? Paul Etienne, Karl Woods, Jack Kenny and Em set about taking those quiet reflections and dialling them up. It’s then that Nervus became Nervus. Finding strength in shared experience, the band took those sad, lonely songs and made
them sing. A little joy here, a glimmer of hope there, the idea that maybe things would get better played out in real time as they realised they weren’t alone. As the album spread and the live shows brought things into reality, more people came to the same realisation. “That writing process was me addressing a bunch of stuff that I hadn’t previously addressed. I offered myself the room to explore my identity, but I didn’t necessarily pay all that much attention to the self-acceptance or the self-love parts. Since we released it, the reception has been great. I wasn’t expecting there to be an audience. I didn’t expect anyone to give a fuck really. Releasing that album was for me, and it was my shy way of coming out to people that I knew but
not well enough to tell them, or didn’t feel like I could do it, face to face.” Inspiring a reaction through its stain glass honesty and fractured power, ‘Permanent Rainbow’ sparked, connected and inspired as people found themselves within it and the band rolled with whatever came their way. ‘Everything Dies’ is more direct, more urgent. “I think the record is great,” beams Em. “Listening back it’s like, ‘Bloody hell; there are loads of songs on this album. I don’t mean there are loads of tracks; all the songs are good songs.” Using every bit of free time they had last August, in-between work, touring and playing in other bands, Nervus recorded their second album while the ideas were
morph into what you want them to be.” And that’s what Nervus want ‘Everything Dies’ to be. “To be able to have that room for the songs to morph and change shape with the listener is super important and what art is about. Not that I’m calling our album high art ‘cos it’s not,” she grins. “It’s a punk record.”
still shiny. “The idea of going into this studio-slash-mybedroom fresh and having a small of time to record means you retain a lot of the energy of newness.” From the curtain rise of ‘Congratulations’, telling tales of how rigidly gender is enforced from the cradle to the grave, ‘Everything Dies’ encourages you to be the real you, even if that you will be hated by some. But who needs those people anyway? “A lot of this album is me trying to accept myself again.” “If I spoke in full about the things that each song is about, we’d be here for hours,” warns Em. When it came to writing the bio for the record, she tried to summarise it as being “about life. But that’s so shit. Everyone writes about life, that’s literally all you have experience of. Life is your only experience. That’s base level stuff, come on.” “Things often get boiled down to gender identity, but ’Everything Dies’ covers everything from the stress we put on our environment as a species and a critique of capitalism, to how I’m constantly using metaphor to explain my feelings, which has the duality of being a good thing - because people can interpret it their own way
- and then a bad thing - ‘cos people close to me listen to it and say, ’Did you mean this?’ ‘No, I did not’. ‘Medicine’, for example, is about how difficult it is, in terms of the bureaucracy and the way the NHS works, to be able to get what you know you need because you have to tick these boxes. It’s a song about overperforming or playing the role and ticking the boxes in order to be able to bypass gatekeepers or get it right. The record is super broad in terms of what it’s about and what inspired it. It really isn’t just a case of ‘All these songs are about being trans’.” “If you’re feeling uncomfortable, that’s common ground,” sings ‘Skin’. “I spend so much time trying to be accepted, I expect it will never even happen,” reasons ‘The Way Back’. ‘Everything Dies’ bristles with that feeling of discomfort, of alienation, of not belonging. “I mainly write lyrics to work out how I feel,” explains Em. “Leaving space for people to interpret that in their own way is important because it’s important for me to be able to interpret what I’m writing. Bands like Alkaline Trio, who don’t have very direct of diaristic lyrics, their songs have changed for me as I’ve gotten older. The songs have the ability to
“This record is a lot more straight to the point. Personally, I’m still as guarded, and it makes me feel quite anxious being so open and direct, but when I was writing those songs for that first record, I was still figuring it out. I mean, I’m still figuring it out now because you’re always still figuring stuff out. The concept of ‘Everything Dies’ is really just getting stuff out in the open and saying tangible things about how I feel, how I see stuff and how I see queer people get treated generally, and dealing with that in the context of recovery, addiction and how that all plays into it. I figured, I can’t hide behind metaphor forever. It’s not diaristic; this is how I feel.” And how Em feels is angry. “We started on it before ‘Permanent Rainbow’ even came out. The way that things have changed in terms of coverage of Trans people in the media, and this doesn’t apply to the rock press necessarily, but it’s horrible. The shit that I constantly read just sitting on the front pages in shops when I go in to buy a carton of soy milk, it’s just horrible. When I came out, my friends and family, generally speaking, they were all very understanding and accepting. Obviously, no one gets it fully straight away, but it was generally a pretty good experience. I feel very lucky and grateful for that, so I didn’t really have any angst in regards to my own actual personal relationships, but it became more apparent that generally speaking the way that trans people are treated in the media and by society
as a whole is awful. “There was a report from Stonewall [an organisation that campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across Britain] that came out today. 50% of trans people hide their identity at work. I used to be one of those people, and obviously, that intersects massively with race. I’m white, I don’t see the sharp end of that violence or the sharp end of that discrimination, but I’m angry. There’s a lot of anger in the lyrics. There’s still that vulnerability and shyness that was on the first record, but it’s a lot more... not selfassured because I wouldn’t say I was self-assured in any way - but it’s a lot more direct in dealing with what it was that made me feel shy or made me feel nervous. This record is just generally a little more feisty. A little more fuck off, basically.” The anger is more constructive than destructive. “That’s the best way to be angry. The best way to use your anger is constructively. Screaming’s great, but we’re not that band. In terms of processing those feelings, yes saying fuck this and fuck that is helpful originally but realistically, you’re not going to take much away from that. If anything, lyrically it’s me trying to turn those feelings of fuck this and fuck that into something constructive to be able to function as a normal human in society without wanting to completely retreat and never speak to anyone ever again because of the way it’s so relentless. It was almost an exercise in restraint; how angry can I be on this record without it sounding angry.” ‘Everything Dies’ is resilient, full of pride and refuses to let fear overcome. “My favourite thing is being able to listen to stuff that makes me feel not afraid. I constantly feel afraid, so I wanted to write something that would make
validation that you need as a human, whoever you are, but it’s especially for trans, gender non-conforming people and queer people who have their very existence debated constantly in public, almost forever. It’s especially for those people, but it’s very much for anyone in terms of self-validation and healing. It’s for anyone who feels angry at how they’ve been treated.”
me feel less afraid. If that has the byproduct of making other people less afraid, that’s what we’re aiming for.” ‘Everything Dies’ has two reasons to exist. One, to make people, including the band, feel less afraid. Two, for fun. “I feel like a lot of the stuff we talk about and sing about is super serious, but our sense of humour hasn’t been dislodged at any point. That’s important too, to not let people grind you down until you become a humourless lump. It’s important to take bullshit with a pinch of salt, to not be afraid and to try not to be sad really. I hate that word, sad. I’m sorry I used it.” “People go out and see live music ‘cos they want to have fun. When we’re playing ‘Bones, I’m thinking ‘my god, this is so sad. There’s almost no redemption. There’s no up tick.’ I do like that about it,” but a whole set of that would be crushing. ‘Everything Dies treads such a fine line
between what the problem is and what I can do about it. Instead of saying fuck everything, there are these moments of hope. I remember we spoke about them being on ‘Permanent Rainbow’ and realistically, I didn’t feel like there were any moments of hope on that record but there are on ‘Everything Dies’ because I needed to believe them. I put them in there. I didn’t necessarily feel them, but I needed to believe them at the point I was writing the songs ‘cos it all felt, and still does feel, a bit much.” It wasn’t hard to put hope into a hopeless place because “it was necessary. I’m trying not to be a queer punk cliché, but you’ve got albums like ‘It Might Get Better’ by Jesus and His Judgemental Father, ‘Try To Be Hopeful’ by The Spook School and I think that uncertainty is prevalent. Trying to retain that hope is an important thing especially when you feel like
there might be none. It was important. It wasn’t difficult to do ‘cos I know I needed to do it because it’s a way of shaping your album as a writer. If you can deal with your feelings and put in how you’d like to feel alongside those, you could potentially achieve that. I’d hate to be the person that went onstage and offered people absolutely no hope. That would be irresponsible. I couldn’t do it. It would be a lie.” ‘Everything Dies’ still finds a home for unspoken truths and scarlet bloodlettings but this time out, the band know their voice will be heard. They’re still only speaking for themselves, but they know people will see their own experiences reflected in that. ‘Everything Dies’ “is for anyone who needs it. I tried to write something I could listen to when I feel insecure or shitty or shaken, or a bit cast out. It’s for anyone who needs the reassurance and
‘Everything Dies’ sees Nervus continue to swell. They’re constantly finding a new audience, and that growth isn’t slowing down anytime soon, which comes with its own set of worries. “I’ve been playing in bands for a long time, and there’s a lot of shit people in music. My only apprehension about that is the anxiety of standing up to those people and saying no when you need to. Also, in terms of getting beyond that DIY punk bubble, it comes with increased responsibility in terms of who your fanbase are and making sure you’re not saying anything irresponsible. It’s just being responsible to the audience as it grows and making sure you’re not selling yourself short on what you believe in the process.” Not that Nervus are aiming for anything in particular. “I try not to have any expectations really, just because then it’s more fun. We don’t expect anything but its fun to see how people react to stuff. The thing that drove the first record was owning our own music on vinyl, and that’s the same for this record. The rest of the band are my best mates, and I love making music with them. That’s it; there’s no ambition. To be honest, it doesn’t make any difference to us what happens with it. We could sell one copy; we could sell a thousand. Either way, ‘cool’. We’re just trying to have fun, and I’m just trying to get out all of my whatever it is I need to get out.” P Nervus’s album ‘Everything Dies’ is out 9th March.
SHEFFIELD’S EXPERIMENTAL MATHCORE MASSIVE ROLO TOMASSI PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF PAIN BEYOND ITS BUBBLE AND INTO A PROGRESSIVE POST-METAL UNIVERSE OF HOPE ON THEIR UPCOMING FIFTH ALBUM, ‘TIME WILL DIE AND LOVE WILL BURY IT’. WORDS: JACK PRESS.
aving spent the last thirteen years developing their pioneering mathcore with splatters of postmetal, post-hardcore, and progressive rock, dying the sounds in shades of synth-laced electronica, Rolo Tomassi have built a reputation for experimentation. They found their footing critically with 2015’s disturbingly dark ‘Grievance’’s, but how does a band at the peak of their creative powers move forward? “We were all so happy with ‘Grievances’ that we wanted to continue working in that vein,” says the band’s James Spence. “I was so proud of that album, and it’s one of the only records we’ve done where there’s absolutely nothing I would change about it. At the time I think we wrote absolutely the best album we could do, but we didn’t want to repeat that. We wanted to build upon it and do something a little different.” Rather than completely reinvent themselves, they looked towards taking ‘Grievance’’s structure and bending it around their new-found musical needs. “There were quite a few songs on ‘Grievances’ that we weren’t actually playing live,” vocalist - and James’s sister - Eva Spence explains. “So we wanted to write an album with songs that we could all play live every night if we wanted to rather than having interludes that wouldn’t translate as well.” Taking ‘Grievance’’s deliverance of the dark and dotting it with glimmers of hope and moments of light through their ever-progressive relationship with synthesisers and their determination to experiment with structure, the band’s new record ‘Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It’ finds beauty in the brutality of their music. “The aim was to write a record that was as beautiful as it was heavy,” says James. “’Grievances’ was super dark and super aggressive, and that’s fine when you’re feeling like that, but we wrote that album to get over those feelings. When you tour that, and you come out of it the other side and feel better, it would just be conceited to try and replicate those feelings when you’re not having them as much. “We took the title, which couldn’t be further removed from a title like ‘Grievances’, and we wanted to write something that was bigger and bolder and more beautiful, that had more colour
to it. That’s not to say there aren’t darker moments on the record, but there is way more of a duality to it. The balance between the darkness and the light is something I think we’ve managed to absolutely nail.” ‘Time Will Die...’ is an album that leaves you on the edge of your seat; one that positions you in a false sense of security. Even in its opening moments, it takes you from the safety of the mellow and melodic tones of the clean vocalhelmed ‘Aftermath’, to the danger of the monolithic and monstrous mathcore of ‘Rituals’. “We didn’t want ‘Rituals’ to be employed as a shock tactic, but that and ‘Aftermath’ showcase the two sides of the record immediately,” James explains. “We wanted to show that we can do both sides to this band and make it work on the same album. As the record develops, you have those two contrasting parts, in the same song almost. “With ‘The Hollow Hours’ that follows, it has the really, really dark intense heavy bits that ‘Rituals’ has and then it breaks into the sort of mellower, melodic, and more minimal parts that are within ‘Aftermath’ as well. There are some real big pop moments across the record, and we’ve been trying to write songs like that for so long, and we’ve never just got it right. With ‘Aftermath’, we’ve nailed it, and we’ve made it work within one our own records, and it didn’t have to be a standalone thing that stuck out.” Piecing together the puzzle that is ‘Time Will Die…’ wasn’t always an easy task. “With ‘Grievances’, we wrote that intentionally from start to finish,” James continues, “and certain songs were put together in a way that they would flow into the next track. We wrote the interludes to give the album breaks in certain places and considered it as a whole piece. “We’d tried doing that with a few albums, especially [2012’s] ‘Astraea’, but it didn’t work how we intended it. Because we felt we’d achieved that with ‘Grievances’, we approached this album in a completely different way by being focused on developing each song to its full potential. The only songs we knew had exact places were the intro that goes into ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Risen’ at the end, but the rest of the album, we had no idea where to put everything; it was a nightmare and there were so many drafts for it.
where the sequence was crucial, but for us, it was getting that flow within a song rather than a full album. There are three songs well over seven minutes, and we wanted to get that flow within the songs right first, and then as an album that’d come later.” ‘Time Will Die…’ is Rolo Tomassi’s fifth album, arriving ten years on from their debut ‘Hysterics’. The progression, evolution, and maturity of the band’s songwriting is stark, and they know it. “We released ‘Hysterics’ on my twentieth birthday and everything was so fresh and new,” James recalls. “We were so caught up in the moment; we didn’t think about ten years down the line. We were just excited about being a band and going on tours. We never stopped to think if we’d [still] be doing this, and it’s the same now. If you cast your eyes too far ahead, it’ll only be a detriment to the present experience.” “I can’t believe that we’re at this point,” says Eva. “It doesn’t feel like we’re five albums in, but it’s incredibly exciting. I still think we have quite a lot to give, so for us to be five albums in and for it to be still feeling like we’re reaching the potential of what I would personally want the band to achieve, is amazing.” Reflecting on their evolution from youthful experiments to maturing masters, Rolo Tomassi find themselves once more at the beginning, only this time it’s an entirely new journey. “It feels like a separate life and that everything we’ve done before has just been practice for the stage we’re at now,” Eva continues. “I feel like everything got reset with ‘Grievances’. The reaction that album got was almost like the reaction a band’s debut would get, and it seemed to win over some people who were still on the fence about us. “It proves to people who might’ve doubted us that we’re still pushing ourselves and are capable of writing different material. The anticipation for this album is almost as if we’re a band releasing a second record, not a fifth. With that and the enthusiasm we’ve always had for this, it’s pushing us more and more to step up.” P Rolo Tomassi’s album ‘Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It’ is out 2nd March.
“It wasn’t supposed to be something
S STARTE D NS TO CK HA JE FF RO SE ! AL BU M . SE W RI NE RP D SU AN OP PI NG A BR DR BY 18 20 G. RT YN YO WO RD S: MA
hat’s the best way to guarantee having one of the best albums of the year? Well, if you’re punk hero Jeff Rosenstock you surprise drop your new record on New Year’s Day when everyone is tired, hungover and sprawled out on the sofa, providing an instant shot in the arm to kick off the new year with a bang. Yep, Jeff’s new album ‘Post’ was a welcome surprise, especially following so soon after 2016’s killer ‘Worry’. Jeff Rosenstock though is not a man who’s content to wait a while. “It could have been the first bad record of the year!” laughs the ever-modest Jeff, before describing the thought process behind the album’s release. “For me, mostly, the record felt like a New Year’s Day record. When I was working on it, once it all started coming together, it was just like, ‘Yeah, it’d be sick if the first day of the year, in the haze, this is what happens.’ Once I’d started thinking about that more and more it started appealing to me. I figured it would be fun if we did that for this too and did it on New Year’s Day where nobody’s doing anything. It’s like, yeah, cool, just like put the record out and have the record be there that day first thing in the morning when nobody’s really expecting it. I know that if I liked a band and that happened, I would be like, ‘Ooohhh shiiiitt!’” Perhaps that’s why Jeff Rosenstock is loved so much. He’s one of us. He knows exactly why music can be so thrilling, invigorating and heartbreaking. He’s a man who lives for his passion. Always busy creating and feverishly playing shows he has a project constantly on the
go. As well as recording and releasing ‘Post’, he’s also currently scoring a Cartoon Network TV show. ‘Post’ came about so quickly that it seemed like madness to wait. A character like Jeff needs to be constantly moving; it’s what he thrives on. “I was writing this record, and it just seemed like, ‘I want to put this record out fucking now’,” exclaims Jeff with typical exuberance. “I wanted to put this record out like, right when it was done. It was just a matter of, okay, it doesn’t make sense to wait until the summer of next year to have a break in my schedule. It was like, fuck that, let’s just put it out.” Jeff doesn’t stick to a typical schedule. The standard album cycle is alien to him. He’s always writing and, indeed, many of the songs on ‘Post’ pre-date ‘Worry’. They’re just songs, and then they morph into a record. Gradually, though, a theme and impetus for the songs on ‘Post’ began to develop. “There are definitely themes,” explains Jeff. “The obvious one is the feeling after the event that occurred here at the end of the year, after the election and all that, you know what I mean? Feeling like, ‘Oh fuck’. That something big and terrible just happened, because something big and terrible did happen. Trying to process the fall out of that and trying to process what do I do? And it seems like there’s nothing I can do.” It’s a feeling that a lot of people can relate to, of hopelessness and helplessness. “That’s something that I feel at a lot of points in my life, but it was definitely a unique feeling to feel this mass... I don’t know, just ugh. This mass terror, basically. Just bad vibes amongst everybody.” When he was on tour in the months following Donald
“I’VE NEVER BEEN THE KIND OF PERSON TO SHY AWAY FROM THE FACT I FUCK UP” 34
Trump’s election win, and the ensuing horror of his presidency became a reality, it was a difficult time. “I think that less than trying to go ‘Donald Trump is bad!’ like fucking everybody knows that Donald Trump is bad news,” says Jeff. “I think more the things that spoke to me was that feeling for the month after on tour and meeting people. The only time they went out in the last week was to go to our show, and me just feeling like, ‘Fuck, I don’t want to be here I want to be in bed right now. I don’t want to be out in this shitty world’, you know? Going to protests and seeing the other side of it, and the other side just being mean and fucked up and racist and proud of it. That feeling of like, ‘Ugh!’ this is what I’m in. I don’t think I was trying to specifically write about, ‘Hey, these people are doing this’. Rather, using that as a colour to paint what it’s like to be alive right now for my friends and me, and the people who I’ve met over the last year and a half.” These are definitely confused times. Nobody quite knows how to react and that confusion comes across in ‘Post’. A different approach is required. ‘Post’ might not be shouting from the rooftops as a protest record, but there’s an underlying spirit of action and a voice that can only get louder. “I know that I talk to friends of mine who just think that everything’s fucked and that shit bums me out,” says Jeff. “Whenever I talk to friends who say that I just yell at ‘em. Like dude, how are you giving up already? It’s been a year, and we haven’t done anything, we haven’t even tried yet. Like maybe we should try now, you know what I mean? I didn’t write a record to be like, ‘Alright I’m just gonna tell people to get out in the streets!’ but in my heart I’m like, ‘Hey people, get out in the streets,’ and that comes through in the songs.” Perhaps inspiration can be taken from last year’s UK general election. The Tories weren’t quite dethroned but were certainly mortally wounded. Jeff was here around that time and felt the sense of change as the result came through. “People were like; there was like no fucking way it was gonna happen. That’s kind of what I think about here now. I was in Manchester talking to my buddies, and they were like, ‘Oh yeah there’s no fucking way, we’re so fucked’, and then months later it was stolen away from Theresa May. She sucks.”
It’s things like this that give Jeff Rosenstock and the scene he represents something to believe in. “I truly do feel like there are more good people than evil people, and I feel like there are more smart people than completely stupid people. And I feel like the problem is a lot of the time evil people who are stupid run their mouths off and do stupid evil shit. Good smart people a lot of the time are smart enough to know that they don’t know anything, so they try and assess the situation and try and hear all angles and unfortunately sometimes that’s perceived as quietness and I think that that election over there kind of proved it. Just because it doesn’t seem like you’re being bombarded by that kind of stuff every day doesn’t mean that there are not more people on that side.” That’s the thing about Jeff Rosenstock; he’s a deeper thinker than you might imagine. He’s switched on and aware of his flaws and his good points. “I’ve always been doing my thing,” he says. “I think people who have been following me for a while know that. I’ve never been the kind of person to shy away from the fact that I fuck up and I make mistakes, and I do things wrong occasionally. And I’ve also never shied away from being the kind of person who admits what I do and can try and grow and change from it.” For Jeff, life goes on rapidly, and he’s already planning for the future. “The songs that I’ve written for the next record so far kind of sound like 90s Bay Area pop punk.” Who knows what they might morph into, though, and what Jeff has up his sleeve. One thing’s for sure; it will be very Jeff Rosenstock. “In my mind, I always want to make an ELO record but in my life and everything that I do I’ve always got a guitar in my hand, and I’m always moving fast, so there’s a bit of a dichotomy there.” P Jeff Rosenstock’s album ‘POST-’ is out now.
MELBOURNE TRIO CAMP COPE ARE ANGLING FOR CHANGE, AND THEIR NEW ALBUM ‘HOW TO SOCIALISE & MAKE FRIENDS’ MIGHT JUST BE ONE OF THE 2018’S MOST VITAL. WORDS: HEATHER MCDAID.
ell me again how there’s just aren’t that many girls in the music scene…”
Camp Cope are tired. They’re tired of waiting for the music industry to change, tired of the buck-passing excuses, and they’re tired of waiting for those in power to step up and do the heavy lifting, so they’re doing it themselves. The lyrics of ‘The Opener’, the first foray into their new album ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’ takes aim at an industry that reaps no consequence for certain people’s actions, makes invalid excuses that stifles change, but causes backlash to women or minorities pointing out imbalances. Georgia McDonald, Kelly-Dawn ‘Kelso’ Hellmrich and Sarah ‘Thomo’ Thompson are telling it like it is. ‘The Opener’ is a knowing listen to some, an uncomfortable eye-opener for others. Take the band’s performance Falls Festival earlier this year in Australia: pointing out the gender disparity on the line-up caused a divisive reaction, with the latest in an ongoing rush of people telling complainant to ‘stop whinging’. The conversation occurs countless times each year; the conversation remains the same. “It’s another all-male tour preaching equality. It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room. Yeah, just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota.” On and on the song goes with its list, but these excuses haven’t shifted for years either. “There’s still a lot of work to be done,” says Thomo. The reaction to songs like ‘The Opener’ causes as many eyes to open as it has its detractors. It’s a big question, but what will it take to get people to look at line-ups with clear disparities and acknowledge the issue rather than keep fighting it? “I think when men speak, they need to get behind women,” continues Thomo. “That’s where it’s got to change. As sad as it is, we can scream all we want, but the same people who already agree with us
“THE MUSIC INDUSTRY NEEDS TO OWN UP AND MAKE POSITIVE CHANGE” are going to listen. It’s got to take men standing up and stop being cowards – they think that they can’t jeopardise their fanbase in any way like we have to do every single day by speaking up. They don’t want to do it. When they do, things are going to be different.” “People view it as women complaining for no reason or that we haven’t worked as hard,” continues Kelso. “Whereas if people in positions where they are being booked all the time and getting really good slots and being paid really well were speaking out, that’s where the difference would be. “The music industry needs to own up to what it’s done for so long and make positive change. There was a movement that happened here about a month ago, a huge investigation into the music industry in Australia and all these men jump on board like, ‘We’re here to change this, blah blah’, but so far literally nothing has happened. It’s getting very tiring, so we have to just do it ourselves because no one else is going to do it. “I think music has always reflected the generation that it’s in, and right now we’re moving away from a generation that’s been too scared to speak up, too scared to be open more and honest and a generation that tries to put everyone into categories of gender or by roles that people need to do, ways to live. Now we’re in this generation and, I guess because of the internet, everything is so open, diverse, different and so much change is happening so quickly that music needs to reflect that.” “Women need to be supported by the men that own the industry,” adds Thomo, with Kelso noting: “It’s not us that need to change, it’s them.” “It’s the same as in every facet of life. The victims having to speak out and do all the emotional labour. Women will do the labour;
no one will listen. Men do one minute of work, and they’re praised from here to eternity.” They laugh, but it feels particularly true at the moment. “You worked so hard, but we were ‘just lucky’. To ride those coattails into infinity. And all my success has got nothing to do with me.” At the end of the day, music should, everyone agrees, be about musicians, and not power plays behind the scenes, and Camp Cope are putting in the work to instil the change they want to see. Their second album ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’, follow-up to 2016’s self-titled debut, is a wonder of defiance and female bonds. “I find it very cathartic,” says Georgia, on how fully they put themselves in their songs. “Sometimes I feel like I’m more supported in what I say if I say it with a band behind me. It’s less scary.” ‘Anna’ and ‘Sagan-Indiana’ are a duo that stand out on a first listen and seep further in with each whirl. They also happen to be personal favourites of the band too. “They’re both about incredible women,” continues Georgia. “Like, complex relationships and what you can learn from other women if you listen to them. They’re my favourite songs on the album because they’re not like romantic love songs, they’re not tragic, they’re stories about how amazing women are. A celebration of strong women!” In the music or in the real world, Camp Cope are a celebration of strong and kickass women who are fighting for what’s right, and fighting for better. Join them, share the workload, listen to their new album, and shout with them. P Camp Cope’s album ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’ is out 2nd March.
SOUNDING BIGGER, BOLDER AND BRIGHTER ON THEIR FOURTH STUDIO ALBUM, PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH ARE POISED TO TAKE ANOTHER HUGE LEAP SKYWARD. WORDS: DANNY RANDON.
yle Durfey saw in the new year by enjoying some time off. It’s wellearned, after all, as with the release of their new album ‘Wait For Love’, Pianos Become The Teeth will finally become the name on everyone’s lips. “I’m on a break from work right now, just hanging out,” the Baltimore five-piece’s singer starts when he answers Upset’s phone call from his home in Baltimore. “Right now it’s freezing cold, and there’s snow on the ground. It’s pretty slick.” Returning home for some R&R is also thoroughly deserved for the rest of the band – guitarists Mike York and Chad McDonald, bassist Zac Sewell, and drummer David Haik – who, over the last four years, have taken leaps and bounds through a process Kyle describes as “knowing we have certain abilities that we can use to our advantage, but also trying to progressing musically.” Initially rising up as part of a movement christened The Wave, they stood alongside the likes of Touché Amoré, Defeater and La Dispute less like the Big Four of thrash metal, but more like the Big Four of blistering emotional hardcore. Just when everyone expected them to release another burst of dark and devastating noise, Pianos Become The Teeth came out of leftfield with their third album ‘Keep You’, cascading into eloquent and esoteric tones of emo and post-rock. Kyle reflects: “I think ‘Keep You’ will forever be just a very, very special record for us, just because it did mark a change in the band in the way we wrote and approached music in taking all the boundaries away and just doing whatever we wanted. I feel that was incredibly freeing as people and as musicians.” The change in direction took almost immediate effect on Pianos’ live experience, with cuts from ‘Keep You’ not only comprising a majority of their setlists, but also helping Kyle in “taking my musicianship to the next level”. “Not that I’m a pro by any means now,” he laughs. “But with playing more abrasive music, I feel like we could get away with a lot more things. Transitioning into all the ‘Keep You’ songs, there’s not a lot you can hide behind anymore. You can’t just rely on sheer passion anymore to get through the set, and you have to be on
“WE WANTED TO BE WEIRD AND HAVE RADIOHEAD INFLUENCES AND STUFF” your Ps and Qs a little bit more, which is challenging but also more fun in a way. “I think [touring the album] made us realise how much we love doing it, and how much more we can keep doing it. It was such a different sound for us, and we still loved it, and that just gave us more hope to keep going.” After taking ‘Keep You’ on the road for the best part of three years, the quintet – completed by guitarists Mike York and Chad McDonald, bassist Zac Sewell, and drummer David Haik – were fuelled by a more positive mindset in composing its eagerly-awaited follow-up. “It’s always a nerve-wracking thing to write new songs and record them,” says Kyle. there’s always that second-guessing and self-doubt, but I think ‘Keep You’ allowed us to have more freedom and not to have that fear of pushing ourselves. “If you would’ve asked any of us if we knew what ‘Wait For Love’ was gonna sound like, I don’t know if we would’ve said yes. This is what came out, and we’re proud of it.” From the jab of adrenaline that you get from the chorus of ‘Charisma’ to the cosmic charm of ‘Bitter Red’, the first sneak-peeks at ‘Wait For Love’ indicate a more subtle progression from its predecessor, but a progression all the same. Working for the second time running with producer Will Yip – a man who turned his hand to making Album of 2017-calibre records with the likes of Citizen, Code Orange and Tigers Jaw last year – Kyle says that he and the rest of the band made a “completely comfortable” entrance back into the studio. We just felt excited to put new music out with no real pressure, except from ourselves. The first time [working with Will Yip] was amazing, but there’s
always that guard up, but this time we didn’t have to have any weird, awkward adjusting. We just went in there and started working on it. “We all had it in mind that this record was going to be drivier and more uptempo,” Kyle adds. “I love ‘Keep You’ but it’s a very monotone record, and a lot of that’s on purpose. I definitely think this record’s a little bit brighter, and I think that was a lot of Will pushing me and being like, ‘Don’t be afraid to be a good singer, man!’” Entering more upbeat territory meant diving into an even deeper pool of influences, and when he talks about some of the records that Pianos took cues from for ‘Wait For Love’, you’d struggle to believe some of the artists Kyle cites. “I did the Spotify thing where you can see your most-played record from last year, and mine was that Sylvan Esso record [2017’s ‘What Now’] which is like dance-pop but with really dark grooves. I couldn’t stop listening to it. “We wanted to be weird and have Radiohead influences and stuff like that,” he continues. “Chad especially loved [2016’s] ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, that’s one of his favourite records, and Mike is into a lot of EDM stuff too which is cool.” Perhaps the most profound moment where
Thom Yorke and co. seem to have left their indelible mark is halfway through the record, on the track ‘Bay Of Dreams’. A personal highlight of the record for Kyle, it incorporates stirring keyboards and electronic elements alongside one of the singer’s most introspective yet intoxicating performances yet. “I think us listening to more pop-centric music maybe played a role in us having more upbeat songs, but we all listen to sad bastard country music too!” he laughs. By the time it came to write record number four, Pianos Become The Teeth were anything but strangers to change. Tectonic shifts in sound aside, some of the members are continuing to welcome pivotal turns in their personal lives with open arms. Chad bought a house, and Zac is set to be married in April, but as for Kyle? He brought his first child into the world.
“It was obviously a giant life change,” he says on the arrival of his son Everett nearly two years ago, his voice taking an even more enthusiastic tone. “But that just changed my outlook on a lot of things. “The record is kind of about how we give and receive love throughout different times of our life and through different experiences, and how sometimes we’re hesitant to accept love and we’re hesitant to give out love because of different hardships you’ve gone through in your life. “A lot of us have had a lot of things on our plate but at least for me personally, dealing with being a father and trying to balance family life all played into the lyrical themes of the record.” The future for Pianos Become The Teeth burns brighter than ever, and as they look
ahead to getting back out on the road – which, according to Kyle, will “definitely” involve a return to the UK in the not-sodistant future – it’s impossible to predict quite where the band will take their next transformative step. “I honestly hope that every record we do sounds different,” Kyle says. “I don’t want to put out the same record over and over. I’d be into going into more experimental-sounding stuff, without getting too off the walls, because some bands completely lose it. “We don’t really feel the limitations, “ he adds. “I’d be open to playing heavier songs, and then playing softer, weirder songs. I’m grateful that Pianos at this point kind of do both now, and that’s a really great place to be.” P Pianos Become The Teeth’s album ‘Wait For Love’ is out 26th February.
CAMP COPE HOW TO SOCIALISE AND MAKE FRIENDS
amp Cope are a rare and beautiful gift. As one of the best bands to have risen up from down under in years, the Melbourne trio find poetic brilliance in straight-up refusing to hide behind metaphors on their second full-length record. From the bright and breezy start of ‘The Opener’, singer Georgia Maq is ferocious in her diatribes on subjects such as the gender gap on the gigging circuit,
sexual assault and mental health, and rightfully so. Despite the touches of warming Americana and angsty alt-rock that’s evocative of the days when Alanis Morrisette reigned supreme, this Melbourne trio are punk through and through. They sound radical thanks to a modest production along with drummer Sarah Thompson’s thumping backbeat, but then Georgia’s infectious Aussie twang and Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s cucumber-cool basslines offer something
refreshing and delightfully moreish. The only thing on ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’ that beats those flashes of fierceness from Georgia is her ability to bear her vulnerabilities. Her performances on ‘Sagan-Indiana’ and ‘Anna’ are powerful, but it’s the emotional cracks in her voice on tracks like ‘Animal & Real’ and ‘I’ve Got You’ – the latter closing the album with a profound ode from the singer to her late father – which truly define a record already filled to the brim with heart and humility. With an album which will only grow on you to the point of obsession in 2018, Camp Cope have made a statement of solidarity and sisterhood at a time when the world needs it most. And there’s not a chance in hell that you’ll be able to drown it out. Danny Randon
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The Northern powerhouses’ second album is nothing short of remarkable.
FALL OUT BOY
Straight down the line. Middle of the road. Predictable. None of these describe the wild world of ‘M A N I A’.
On their second fulllength, Waterparks prove all that potential pays off. Meet your new scene icons in waiting.
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE eeee With their first album in nearly fifteen years, and only their third since forming two decades ago, Boston hardcore crew American Nightmare may not be what you’d call prolific. After temporarily losing their name and breaking up, their return sounds as fresh and essential as the eagerest of young pups. The first time all members have contributed to the creation of a record, the self-titled album sparks with possibilities. From the frenetic ‘American Death’, to the short, sharp blast of ‘Dream’, it’s all done in twenty glorious minutes of unending front on assault. Enough to keep us buzzing for another decade at least. Dan Harrison
ESCAPE THE FATE
I AM HUMAN ee
“I am strong, I am weak, I am everything between,” proclaims Escape The Fate vocalist Craig Mabbitt midway through ‘I Am Human’’s titular track, engraving his band’s tombstone with a phrase so relevant to their career it’s nigh-on impossible not to laugh. Bursting with arena-ready anthems, ‘I Am Human’ is a half-hearted attempt at merging their revisited former glories with carboncut copies of your favourite metalcore bands mainstream breakthrough songs; so much so you might as well rename them Bring Me Asking Alexandria’s Fate. Much like its predecessor, it’s an album that reaches for the stars and misses by a country mile. Jack Press
FOR THE FALLEN DREAMS
You don’t need a search engine to tell you ‘Six’ is For The Fallen Dreams’ sixth release. Their first in nearly four years, it has the assured quality of a band who know exactly who they want to be. Never less than tight and poised to strike, opener ‘The Stone’ is a blast to the senses - a teaser for the punchy aggression to follow. Described by the band as their favourite album to date, ‘Six’ could well be the best. Dan Harrison
REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT
The solo project of keyboardist for poppunk royalty The Get Up Kids, James Dewees’ latest record as Reggie and the
TIME WILL DIE AND LOVE WILL BURY IT
n what could prove to be their most pivotal release since 2010’s Diplo-produced ‘Cosmology’, Rolo Tomassi’s fifth album teeters ever so masterfully on that line between beautiful and blisteringly heavy. With its verses verging on tender dream-pop territory, and a chorus as monolithic as the stone pillars which adorn the album’s artwork, ‘Aftermath’ is Rolo Tomassi as we’ve literally never heard them before. It’s also just the start of an exceptional performance from Eva Spence, who trades ruthless blows her brother-keyboardist James on ‘Rituals’, atop heavy-footed hardcore stomps and scattergun blasts of black metal. From there, the five-piece dart between both sonic landscapes with mathletic agility – ‘Whispers Among Us’ is dense and menacing, particularly
thanks to Spence’s monstrous bellowing, before ‘Risen’ brings things to a hauntingly minimalist climax. What is truly special about ‘Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It’ is that it’s the bearer of what could easily be credited as this band’s masterpiece. ‘A Flood of Light’ is astonishing in the way it switches from blistering technical grooves to vast, atmospheric rock almost effortlessly. At a modest eight-and-a-half minutes long, it’s just testament to the cinematic nature of the record which, much like the best psychological thrillers, will have you in its vice-like grip throughout. Even in a year which will see them blowing out the candles on their 13th birthday cake, Rolo Tomassi continue to be one of the UK’s most unpredictable bands. It’s about time for them to have their moment of greatness. Danny Randon 43
PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH
WAIT FOR LOVE eeee
If 2014’s ‘Keep You’ signified a rebirth for Baltimore’s Pianos Become The Teeth, pulling post-rock and indie influences into their dense sound, then ‘Wait For Love’ is the blossoming realisation in this directional shift. There’s an etherealness and otherworldly beauty as the album drifts in and out of focus. Long gone are the abrasive edges found on 2011’s ‘The Lack Long After’ – and fans hoping for a recall will be sorely disappointed. Instead, Kyle Durfey’s lilting vocals provide clarity in the most intense moments, while the stylistic jumps – such as that found on the sparse ‘Bay of Dreams’ and ambitious ‘Dry Spells’ – feel natural and progressive. It’s less of a reinvention than it is startling musical growth, and it translates to some fantastic moments of sweeping, swooning musicality. ‘Wait For Love’ spins Pianos into new territories, allowing them to once again redraw the boundaries between post-hardcore and indie-rock. Rob Mair
Full Effect marks the 20th anniversary of the project. The first release in 4 years, ‘41’ matches melody with a driving, pop rock hue, never too stuck in its ways to refuse a detour into something all-together more, well, strange. From the sparkling chimes of ‘Alone Again’ to the delightfully titled retroelectronic instrumental of ‘Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage Music’ and the quite frankly strange ‘Trap(ing) Music’, the match of weird and wonderful may jolt those unprepared, but then that’s half the fun. Dan Harrison
their sound for newest outing, ‘Northern Blue’. Thick, assertive rock with Gaslight Anthem-meets-The Xcerts style choruses, it’s all in-your-face emotion with unbridled power. This isn’t an EP to unpack and investigate; it’s to be enjoyed loudly with your own raw emotion keeping you company. The Scottish four-piece are filled with shimmering melodies; the real gem in this four-track collection is the finale, ‘Final Call’ - an ode to reminiscing about finding those albums that define you in your childhood. Steven Loftin
EVERYTHING DIES eeee
Considering we were never even meant to hear it, Nervus’ ‘Permanent Rainbow’ shone out as one of the best British debut albums of recent years. Written by Em Foster when she was at her lowest of lows, it gave the singer-guitarist the cathartic release she needed and the four-piece a shimmering glow of promise. Nearly two years on, and the Watford upstarts take on a far more optimistic tone. The best thing about ‘Everything Dies’ is that it’s just the start of something brilliant for one of the nation’s best new bands. Nervus will only get better, they’ll only get smarter, they’ll only get stronger, and they deserve every bit of love you can give. Danny Randon
With brooding urgency from the get-go, recent Sub-Pop signees Moaning have a dark edge to their heartbroken troubles which is as honest as it is encapsulating. Recent single, and opener, ‘Don’t Go’ sees itself prowling through the said darkness, while an urgency kicks in on ‘Artificial’, with singer Sean Soloman’s vocals straining to get out of their melancholic state while yearning, “Who is it for? Was it thought through?” These rapturous moments are the lifeblood of this self-titled debut. Steven Loftin
NORTHERN BLUE EP eee Cold Years have pretty much nailed down
INCH OF JOY eee Thick, chugging instrumentation paves the way for brutality on Stone’s debut album, ‘Inch Of Joy’, as the band roar their name and unleash pure, unrelenting, torrents of
hardcore. It’s something of an ode to the genre, with the Milwaukee-based fivepiece out to right some wrongs; Inch of Joy bares nothing on the mile of brutality it harnesses. Steven Loftin
THE FREE LIFE eee
Uncomfortably disorienting. A combination of words few bands long to hear, and yet in the case of the experimental psych-rockers Turbowolf, it is quite possibly solid gold. Taking the colourful palette that painted 2015’s ‘Two Hands’ in psychedelic shades of guitar-driven alt-rock, mixing it with a dozen different shades, and throwing in a ripped-up rulebook to boot, and Turbowolf deliver us ‘The Free Life’: an uncomfortably disorienting array of fuzzed-up distortion awash a smorgasbord of crystal-riffs, trippysynths, and machine-gun drums. There’s just one issue with this trip of a lifetime: the comedown arrives quicker than you can experience the high. Jack Press
IF THERE IS LIGHT, IT WILL FIND YOU eee In a world where countries are run by celebrities and major political
movements are treated like TV-dinner divorces, you can forgive Senses Fail for having an identity crisis on their seventh outing, ‘If There Is Light, It Will Find You’. Swapping out the desolate Deftonesinfused post-hardcore animosity that swamped 2015’s ‘Pull The Thorns From Your Heart’ in exchange for some good ol’ fashioned melancholic emo-dyed pop-punk, the kind they made their name on. Jack Press
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE eeee Written as a response to the shock felt following Donald Trump’s election win, ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is an album of wit and humour that casts a caustic eye over the current state of US sociopolitical happenings. And yes, you can be sure as hell that the album title comes with a heavy dose of irony. Such a topic is more than appropriate for songwriter and vocalist Mac McCaughan’s ire, and the result is an album that excels in moments of smart lyricism and refracted metaphors. It’s another Superchunk winner. Rob Mair
FUNERAL SHAKES eeee
Rising from the ashes of The Smoking
Hearts and bonded in blood by members of Nervus and Gallows, Funeral Shakes’ self-titled debut is a phoenix raised on a diet of hard rock aesthetics, punk attitudes, and power-pop appreciation ready to rattle your cage and then some. ‘Funeral Shakes’ is an all-out declaration of war: hard rock riffs go toe-to-toe with arena-ready choruses. Whether you’re the kind of person who likes to dance, sing, mosh, bang your head, or simply sit back and soak in the sounds of a record, Funeral Shakes’ debut presents all of the above in a masterful set of songs. Jack Press
YOU’RE NOT ALONE eee Over a decade from ‘I Get Wet’, and ‘You’re Not Alone’ is the soundtrack to the post-party pre-hangover moments, where taxi rides are rolling, kebab shops are serving, and you’re still lost in the land of the hyper-living. Laid out like a party bag of Anime-stolen synths, glittering keys, marching-band drum fills, and the kind of guitar riffs you’d expect a J-Pop act to be serving, Andrew WK unleashes upon you a revised edition of his party commandments, preaching the empowerment of one’s self in times of doubt and darkness, through the practice of – you guessed it – partying. Jack Press 45
ARCHITECTS SMASH LONDON’S ALEXANDRA PALACE, OBVIOUSLY WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
t’s only just begun,” threatened ‘Dead Man Talking’ at the Concorde 2 launch show for ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’. Six months later at Brixton Academy, that same line was held aloft with hope and uncertainty as the lights flickered. Tonight though, at Alexandra Palace, it’s a promise. With the stage bathed in scarlet and blue, the opening whir of ‘A Match Made In Heaven’ sees Architects surging forward. Every moment screams emotion as the band dig deep and channel something sacred through the speakers. It’s furious and heartfelt, pointed fingers and shattered belief in the happy ever after, the group have been wrestling with control since the start and tonight it’s theirs for the taking. Grabbing at the evening with both hands, a smirk and a clearing of the throat, Sam Carter asks the crowd to “give me a minute. I’ve waited a long time to say this,” before welcoming the room to “the biggest Architects show ever.” The leap from their last biggest ever show to this has been swift but as the band tear through ‘Naysayer’ (“I know you know this song so sing it with me,”), ‘Deathwish’ and ‘Broken Cross’, they look at home commanding the masses from the stage. The songs stick together, an unrelenting mass of fury and frenzy, while flames, confetti and sparks rain down on the stage. Lasers cut through the air but all the pyrotechnics in the world couldn’t steal focus from Architects’ bubbling excitement and shared blood-letting. Bounding from polish to pausing for
breath, the scale of tonight is unlike anything the band have done before but the connection is the same as it’s ever been. Architects share their truths, their worries and their fears and the audience can see themselves in that. Their victories are the same. “People can come here, feel safe and have a good time without being judged or being scared.” We’re all in this together. “Right now, it’s okay to feel scared in this world that we live in,” starts Sam before a looming ‘The Devil Is Near’.“What it’s not okay to feel is alone, because you are not alone. . You are not alone in how much you care, you are not alone in how much fire is in your fucking stomach. If you want to make a difference, you fucking can. I’m telling you this, you are lucky to see every day. When you see something that is wrong, sexism, racism, homophobia, or just outright hate towards anyone. Don’t be a sheep. Stand up for what is right. Don’t be the person that goes home wishing that they did something. Be proud that you stood up for somebody, and you showed them love, and you showed them compassion. Love will always fight over hate, and love will always win.” ‘Doomsday’ closes out the main set, a scratched anthem in finding the strength to carry on, rippling and tearing in real time before an encore sees the band fall away from their unrelenting march forward and allow space to flourish through the calm stream of ‘Memento Mori’, the churning riptide of ‘Nihilist’ and the floating in the forth power of ‘Gone With The Wind’. This show is about wildest dreams coming true. It’s about worst fears being realised. Through it all there’s a strength in numbers and tonight, Architects are unmovable. P
FALL OUT BOY
REACH FEVER PITCH AT BRIXTON ELECTRIC
onight, we’re seven days away from the release of ‘M A N I A’ and Fall Out Boy are at fever pitch. It’s been a long time coming as well. Sparked while the band were over to headline Reading & Leeds Festivals in 2016, announced in April 2017 and originally due to drop in September that year, Pete, Patrick, Joe and Andy have been driving towards the release of their seventh album for a while now. For a group who enjoy the thrill of the chase and hate standing still, the road to ‘M A N I A’ hasn’t been an easy one. But tonight, at London’s Electric Brixton, there’s not a hint of lethargy or disinterest as the band play the third of three intimate launch gigs. Kicking into ‘The Phoenix’ with a smirk, their arena stomp still sparkles without the bells and whistles. Through the frantic beat of ‘Irresistible’, the playful choir of ‘Hum Hallelujah’ and the rolling march of ‘Centuries’, Fall Out Boy are consumed with a manic energy. Excited, jagged and bristling with an intense glee, the gang fill every space and pop about the place without jostling or blurring the lines. As the four of them stand to attention for ‘Save Rock
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
& Roll’, leaning back and screaming the refrain like it’s the only truth they’ve ever known, the admission that “we don’t know when to quit” sees the outsiders anthem doubling down on the band’s persistent belief in themselves and what they’ve built around them. And that world gets plenty of attention tonight. “It’s your fault we pushed (the new album) back,” starts Pete, searching gaze and beaming grin. “There are some people here who are intense fans, who waited overnight to see us. That’s been going on for 15 years. We didn’t want to put out something that was just ok. It’s your fault, in a good way,” he promises before laughing. “This isn’t going well.” “This one is a love song,” he continues before the twinkling urgency of ‘The Last Of The Real Ones sees Patrick hopping between driving piano and edge of stage intimacy. Live, the lyrics dig in their heels and kick up grit. Elsewhere ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’ gets a deafening cheer, despite being out for less than 24 hours. All swaying hypnosis and sharpened defiance, it sees the band at their most direct while the carefree whistling lean of ’Hold Me Close Or Don’t’ sees Fall Out Boy happy to burn the past to light the future.
A splintered, stripped back ‘Young & Menace’ does away with the glitching electro flirt and uncovers the spirited adventure within. Part killer glance at naysayers and people questioning their authenticity, part playful reimagining simply because they can, it sees the band confident in each and every step forward. “This thing we’ve all built is a very important thing. Go out and do more important shit this year,” encourages Pete before ‘Champion’ takes that idea and supersizes it. “I can do anything,” it bellows, the audience following their lead. At one point in time, every song aired tonight was a risk. Now though, the set is aflame like a greatest hit and despite each album acting like a completely new story, there’s no fracture or division. Bathed in red and blue, the band bring together the past and present without really trying. Acceptance reigns and now’s the time for fun. In fact, the closest the band get to a safety net is the closing ‘Saturday’. A staple for almost as long as they’ve been a band, it stands at odds with the rest of their rainbow art pop but even as an outsider, it’s welcomed and celebrated. That message, the only consistent from a band who operate without rules. Long live the mania. P
ROU REYNOLDS, EN
WHEN YOU LOAD UP SPOTIFY, A GREAT BIG CHUNK OF THE TIME YOU CAN’T THINK WHAT TO PLAY, RIGHT? OVERWHELMED BY PRETTY MUCH ALL THE MUSIC EVER, YOU DEFAULT BACK TO YOUR OLD FAVOURITES, THOSE ALBUMS AND SONGS YOU PLAYED ON REPEAT WHEN YOU FIRST DISCOVERED YOU COULD MAKE THEM YOURS. THIS ISN’T ABOUT GUILTY PLEASURES; IT’S ABOUT THOSE SONGS YOU’LL STILL BE LISTENING TO WHEN YOU’RE OLD AND IN YOUR ROCKING CHAIR. THIS MONTH, ENTER SHIKARI FRONTMAN ROU REYNOLDS TAKES US THROUGH THE SONGS THAT MADE HIM WHO HE IS TODAY. After mainly growing up loving The Beatles, Queen and a healthy collection of Motown courtesy of my dad, I remember Britpop being the first genre that I discovered myself. I devoured it all from the age of 11, and it was central to me picking up the guitar. The Prodigy opened me up to all things electronic around the age of 13, my uncle lending me his copies of ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’ and ‘The Fat Of The Land’. Blink 182 helped me discover all things punk, and I quickly learnt about its lineage. I remember wearing a Rage Against The Machine hoodie that I’d saved up for and bought on Camden market. I had no idea what Zach was so vehemently angry about but I was on his side straight away, this was probably my first realisation that music can really stand for something. At 14 I was a regular at local gigs and grew to love our wonderful thriving local scene. Mahumodo were one of the first metal bands I really connected with having never really 50
embraced the more mainstream American bands like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit on account of being an elitist little prick. I was lucky enough to have a wide group of friends from all sorts of background which had me exposed to all sorts of music. UK garage was just beginning to become one of the defining sounds of Britain and that DJ Luck & MC Neat tune was becoming legendary. At 15 I was becoming obsessed with hardcore. Gorilla Biscuits was a band I clung onto the most. I began smoking a lot of weed, and NWA was always the soundtrack to those sessions. At the time we also began promoting shows ourselves, usually local hardcore, ska and emo bands. We’d always play jungle between the bands which was becoming a big influence on me after discovering Aphex Twin and Squarepusher and wanting to learn more about that drum sound, and its lineage. Not a million miles away in its complicated rhythms and energy was The Dillinger Escape Plan, I remember when one of my best mates played the ‘Calculating Infinity’ album and having heard nothing of such immense technical ability and ferocity before was blown away. Discovering the lineage of British indie music back from modern indie through to post-punk was inspiring, and I immediately latched onto Joy Division and New Order. Thursday were a band that influenced so many UK bands around this time, us
OASIS - ACQUIESCE BLUR - SONG 2 PRODIGY - BREATHE BLINK 182 - PATHETIC RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE - GUERRILLA RADIO MAHUMODO - APRIL’S DJ LUCK & MC NEAT - A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK GORILLA BISCUITS - START TODAY NWA - EXPRESS YOURSELF M-BEAT & GENERAL LEVY INCREDIBLE THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN - 43% BURNT JOY DIVISON - DISORDER THURSDAY - JET BLACK NEW YEAR FAITHLESS - INSOMNIA SIKTH - HOLD MY FINGER
included. Their track here would always be played at house parties at the time, and front room crowd surfing would normally occur. Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’ became a must at all parties too. Their brand of euphoria and Maxi Jazz’s spoken word both really inspired me. SikTh were becoming legends in our humble wee scene. We went on befriend them and to record two of our albums with their guitarist and general mastermind Dan Weller. P Listen to Rou’s Teenage Kicks playlist on upsetmagazine.com. Enter Shikari headline 2000trees on Saturday 14th July.
IN STORES 23 RD FEBRUARY
Featuring Black Foxxes, Nervus, Camp Cope, All Time Low, Jeff Rosenstock, Pianos Become The Teeth and loads more.