No More Gigs speaks to The Number Ones

Irish power-pop punks The Number Ones have been gigging about for some time now, and have released an EP and an LP on Static Shock (and Deranged in the US) that have attracted a fair bit of attention, due, in all probability, to their capacity for writing absolute bangers. NMG’s Ned Samuel spoke to the band’s guitarist and vocalist Sean Goucher to learn about the band and what they’re up to at the moment. Photo by Cáit Fahey.

First off, who is in Number Ones, and what other bands are they in?

The Number Ones are Eddie, Cian, Conor and Seán. Eddie is in Strong Boys and The Pacifics, Cian is in Cian Nugent and The Cosmos and Cryboys, Conor is in Cian Nugent and The Cosmos and from this summer The Paul Collins Beat and I am in The Pacifics also.

That’s quite a diverse range of sounds – psychedelia, rhythm and blues, hardcore punk. What was it that drew you all to the sound The Number Ones play?

We’ve never really given that much thought and I can’t speak for the others, but it feels like we’re into a lot of the same music and are just playing whatever comes naturally. We have similar interests; eating chips and drinking Guinie until we’re laughing at the grass so the sound of the music just feels like an extension of that fun.

That sounds like a pretty good musical formula, to be honest. Although you’re a punk band – I think – you cover the Byrds live, which got me all excited when I saw it. I fucking love the Byrds, but even so, it’s a bold move in the punk and hardcore scene –  do you ever get any backlash? Would you say you draw on them in your own songs?

In the UK most of our gigs are to a punk and hardcore crowd and we’ve only ever had good experiences, including a memorable gig with Boston Strangler down The Lughole at which Cian wore very small denim shorts. We’ve covered that song on and off since our very first gig and really have never had any sort of backlash – more so the opposite, it seems to reel people because it maybe stands out a bit. I grew up listening to The Byrds and The Turtles at home so it probably does seep into our songs. There’s a few tracks with 12 string on the LP which is probably the most obvious Byrds influence on there.

I didn’t know that. I heard at Static Shock Weekend you were working on a new record; what’s it going to be like? Any changes happening? 

I suppose the biggest change is that all members of the band are brining in songs now. The first LP is comprised of tracks by Eddie and myself both together and separately with contributions from everyone on the arrangements or little tweaks. The songs Cian and Conor have are really great so it’s definitely raising the bar for Eddie and me which is exciting.

Cool! When’s that coming out?

All going well it should be out later on in 2015.

Nice. Recently you got a good review in Pitchfork, which is huge, and not a site that focuses on punk. Any thoughts on that? It doesn’t happen to that many punk bands.

It’s always nice to get good reviews, regardless of where they’re from. But it is just one person’s point of view, in this instance appearing somewhere that carries a little more gravitas. We’ve been able to get gigs a little bit easier since it came out, especially in the US, so it has been useful in that sense. The album was previewed on the site too which caught people’s attention. I’m a big fan of the Shake Appeal column on the site too, I’ve found some good new music through that.

What’s the process of writing lyrics for the Number Ones? You seem to cover similar ground to the Undertones, lots of stuff about boys being in love with girls. Is it autobiographical, fictional, or both?

There’s a mix of approaches, usually whoever has written the song will come in with the main chunk of lyrics and a few bits might get tweaked slightly as we play around with it. They’re a mixture of autobiographical and observational, Eddie has a few songs about people he knew growing up and I think they’re the most interesting lyrically. Sometimes a title will come first, for I Wish I Was Lonely Cian challenged Eddie to write a song with that title.

Featured image

I was actually wondering about that song; was the name taken from the Hannah Jane Walker show?

I had to Google Hannah Jane Walker – so no!

Finally, what are the Number Ones’ plans for the rest of 2015?
Conor is away on tour for a few more weeks but once he gets back we are going to begin recording what we hope will become our second LP. I’ve been collecting some old 60s mics over the last while and Cian got a new cassette 6 track recently so we’re going to try record ourselves in our new practise space which is exciting. We’re playing a handful of gigs in Madrid and London in June with two bands I really like; The King Khan & BBQ Show and Reigning Sound, and hopefully we’ll be out playing and flogging the new LP later on in the year.

[interview conducted by Ned Samuel, originally published in No More Gigs issue 5 in a slightly different form, April 2015]

Advertisements
No More Gigs speaks to The Number Ones

No More Gigs speaks to Joe Briggs

Joe Briggs (not to be confused with the lead singer of The Briggs) has been writing in about punk for some years now, thinking about what it is, reviewing individual releases, brilliantly taking the piss and most recently writing fiction. Ned Samuel asks him what it’s all about.
You can find Joe’s work on somedaysthethundergetsyou.blogspot.com, isthispunkrock.tumblr.com, and in his zine Brutalist Shimmy. He also does a podcast with his friend Tommy called Full Throttle Lazy, and has collaborated with cartoonist Mitch Clem on Nothing Nice to Say. 

First things first, how did you get into punk, and what keeps you interested?

I got into punk in a fairly boring way. Through bands like Blink-182 and The Offspring. I heard those bands and I liked them a lot so I started looking for more stuff that was like that, stuff on the same label, stuff they mentioned as being influences, following up on the punk bangers on the Tony Hawk soundtracks. I started getting classic punk albums, Fat Wreck, Epitaph stuff and what-not. If there was one classically epiphanic moment it was getting a copy of Punk-O-Rama 6 from the local independent record shop (which sold only CDs, being 2001/2002) and hearing True Believers by the Bouncing Souls and thinking “Yes. This is it.” When I was 16/17 I found a punk webforum that opened up a whole world of stuff in every direction, Oi!, folk-punk, pop-punk, gruffpunk. I got massively into 80s hardcore, Bad Brains, The Dicks, C.I.A.. There’s a great Stewart Lee article where he talks about how the internet has destroyed many notions of canon so you stop getting into things slowly, in the accepted way or order, you just get into whatever. So alongside real classics like Black Flag, I was downloading Nunfuckers demos on Soulseek and all sorts of obscure shit, scouring Kill From the Heart’s 80s hardcore archive for bands that dropped one single and then disintegrated, F, Jackshit, stuff like that. The internet meant it also wasn’t a steady progress towards rawer harder stuff. I was also big into Plan-It-X folk-punk (thanks to AM! and Reinventing Axl Rose, a massive album for me and I know a lot of other people, another thing, like True Believers, that kind of laid a rough path in its lyrics as a sort of better way to go) spending a year blasting no-fi nihilistic Johnny Hobo songs about suicide and drugs I was cool enough to do. After that I spent a solid year or so burning Screeching Weasel’s discography into my skull along with plenty of other ramonescore pop-punk. From there it gets even messier, the final Paintbox album blew my mind and led me deep into Japanese hardcore and punk, Los Crudos got me into hispanophone stuff, New Bomb Turks into garage, I thought Charles Bronson’s Discocrappy was wild, blogs introduced me a million things. I’ve never really hung with just one kind of punk.

I think this desire to always find new shit is some weird compulsion, like a musical version of Sarah Winchester and her Mystery House, basically I don’t want to become static. Because you bump into the people you hung out with when you were 13 and they’re still blasting Blink-182, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Sum 41, you realise that they, just like the people from 40 years ago still just listening to Pink Floyd, found one thing and never moved on, never developed in that respect, they turned into exactly what I really did not want to be when I was that age. So that compulsion is probably part of what keeps me invested in this culture, but mainly it’s just such an impossibly important part of my life in so many respects now, friends, relationships, philosophies. I’ve known so many great people through it, had amazing experiences. I have no idea who I would be without punk rock. The thing about True Believers, is that ultimately it’s a song about a journey undertaken, but one, if not completed, then with many miles on the clock. So when you here it at 15 you’re not actually relating to what the song’s singing about, you’re engaging with it in the hope that you can achieve it. As a teenager you don’t really have shit-all life experience most of the time, so a song that promises something ahead, that resonates with lived-in struggles can really fucking grab you. At the same age I used to listen to those late Johnny Cash albums a lot, things loaded down with a shit-ton of history, and really feel them, really feel the pain and years in them, even though my life was entirely removed from everything on there. There’s a grasping for epicness, or for a part of a bigger picture, definitely for belonging, that comes with the time when you first start to define yourself. And that belonging doesn’t come easy. A few months ago, shortly after Static Shock Weekend, True Believers bounced up on shuffle and I listened to it for the first time in probably a couple of years and had another holy shit moment, no longer feeling a pang of alienated wish-fulfilment, but realising that this dumb kinda bro-y pop-punk actually did speak honestly to a lot of stuff I’d been through, that I was part of. The hope living in this silly song tucked in the middle of a five quid label sampler from half my lifetime ago had coalesced into a shabby sort of reality, the promise, unspoken in so many punk songs of my youth: GIVE THIS PUNK SHIT EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT AND YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT, that promise realised. I’ve actually become the wanker that can say hello to twenty people at a show, can have a long conversation with someone about my favourite Italian hardcore records. I’ve made it this far. I’m not gonna back out. Punk rock is what I’ve got. It’ll never be a religion but it might just be a faith. And faith requires work, engagement, struggle. So I can’t get out of it now. Plus I just got this Porno Cassettes 7″ and Your Face, A Fucking Disgrace downright kills. Another reason to stick with it for another day.

I get what you’re saying about True Believers – which is a banger.
Getting into your writing that taught me a lot about bands outside the ‘it’s on Epitaph/Fat Wreck/Tony Hawk’ or ‘they’re in a book on punk’ canon. What are your influences as a writer on music? Sometimes it seems to draw on stuff outside music journalism, like modernist fiction.

Lester Bangs’ James Taylor Marked for Death and Ellen Willis’s Beginning to See the Light are probably my two favourite pieces of music writing (those two writers and Simon Reynolds are so good they’re the sort of people you can’t read too much cos I’d just get annoyed with myself for not coming close) and there are loads of fantastic music writers around today who also are constantly fascinating/enlightening/intimidatingly good in their writing: Jes Skolnik, Ayeesha A. Siddiqi, Maura Johnston, Bryony Beynon, Ann Powers, Maria Sherman, Zachary Lipez, Sam LeFebvre, Gary Suarez, Todd Taylor, Jia Tolentino, Jenn Pelly and more, but I don’t think anyone can become a good writer if they’re only looking at one type of writing. I don’t think any of those writers just read music journalism, I think someone would be a pretty bad writer (and also go fucking nuts) if they did. If you’re only inspired by one thing you’re probably gonna end-up as a pale copy of that thing, a victim of second-artist syndrome. This is particularly true in writing. In music, especially in punk, there are worship bands that turn their slavish dedication to one sound into a warped monastic virtue, Disaster sound like they didn’t know there were bands that were not Discharge when they recorded War Cry and I love War Cry so much I was drunkenly contemplating stealing an earthenware jar that had I.C.I. printed on it from a fancy pub last night.

But in writing I think you really need to read as widely as possible. I love good criticism of any form. TV writers like Jacob Clifton, Pilot Viruet, Grant Nebel, Emily Nussbaum, Sonia Saraiya film writers like Pauline Kael, Kier La Janesse, Sarah Horrocks, Sean Witzke, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, comic critics, game critics, even if I’m not into something or I know nothing about, I love reading some lay it out and dissect it with expertise and passion and talent.
Most of my reading though is fiction with a bit of poetry and occasionally some theory mixed in. I’m not sure how much a lot of these writers influence me specifically but I’m sure there are bits and pieces of a lot of them, sometimes I might deliberately try and rip something off, a certain bit of phrasing, a technique or two, but I think generally its a slippery collage of various attitudes and rhythms (I think rhythm is probably the main thing I think about in my writing). So some of my favourites are JMG Le Clezio, John Berger, Richard Stark, Dambudzo Marechera’s Black Sunlight, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree, Aaron Cometbus, William Burroughs’s Red Night Trilogy, Kathy Acker, George V. Higgins, James Joyce, Bob Hicok, Terry Pratchett, Zora Neale Thursten’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hal Duncan, Kurt Vonnegut, Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, Ian McDonald, China Mieville, Thomas Pynchon, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, the Hernandez brothers, Garth Ennis’s Hitman, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, William T. Vollman’s You Bright and Risen Angels, Lucius Shepherd’s Life During Wartime, Jeff Noon’s The Needle in the Groove, David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, John Brunner, Will Christopher Baer’s Phineas Poe Trilogy, Primo Levi, Yukio Mishima, Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps, Harry Crews, Samuel Delaney, Steve Aylett’s Accomplice Quartet. Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Velimir Khlebnikov, Daniil Khaarms, Jorge-Luis Borges, Roberto Bolano, Nalo Hopkinson. Qiu Miaojin, John Hawkes’s The Beetle Leg, Edward Whittemore’s Jerusalem Quartet, Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, James Lee Burke, Mark Richard, Fernando Pessoa, Iain Sinclair, Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire, Samuel Beckett’s Company and a bunch more. I always try and read from lots of different literary traditions, in different genres, styles, from different countries, continents. Although a lot of the time I do just fuck it off and read a bunch of Warhammer 40K tie-in novels.

I really like the notion of craft being more important than art though. Repetition and drive being more than inspiration. Those pulp writers like Michael Moorcock or Theodore Sturgeon or Donald Westlake who just cranked stuff out. Films makers like Takashi Miike, Sam Fuller, Johnnie To, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, where each film is a part of what they can do, another section of their palette, not putting everything into one massive thing, the great stuff arriving just as another slice in their oeuvre, not with the blaring fanfare of masterpiece. The idea of making art for your dinner as much as writing for your muse is what I really get down with. I think New Bomb Turks’ Born Toulouse Lautrec probably has a greater single influence on my writing philosophy than anything else. “All work is honorable/Yet art is just a job/Let me spend my paycheck on a beer/No heroes, no leaders, no artists, no gods/I’m a worker, you’re a worker/Wouldn’t you like to be a worker too?”

Also, inevitably, I think a lot of direct spurs to writing are from bad writing. Many of the things I’ve written (there’s a great Stephen King quote about how realising that some published writers are shit is really important for developing as a writer) have been out of spite. Nothing pisses me off more than a positive review of an album I like which entirely misses what I think the point of why the album is good. There’s a lot of terrible writing out there, and I have a certain list of words or clichés that I always try to avoid when writing: musical recipes, ‘the bastard lovechild of’, the word ‘honest’ being used as a synonym for ‘I agree with the politics on show’, the word ‘poetic’ used to describe lyrics. The one that’s been pissing me off lately is the phrase ‘step forward’ as if music is some kind of linear progression to one point of bland critical consensus.

And then obviously, all the other shit that happens to you. Other interests, friends, twitter, work, TV, the news. It’s impossible to put everything into everything, but something goes into everything and everything goes into something.

You recently contributed a short story to punkPunk! which is an anthology of short fiction based around (perhaps obviously) punk. How did the writing process differ from music journalism? Are you drawing on the same writers? And also, what’s it about?

With criticism you’ve always got something to latch on to, for things to revolve around, no matter how digressive you get, with fiction that doesn’t really exist, you’re freer, which is cool but also scarier. I’d be drawing on the same writers and things that inspire me but some more than others. George V. Higgins doesn’t really come into play so much if you’re writing music criticism, because his novels are 90% dialogue, but in fiction he’s someone who I think is essential to have in the back of your mind. I wrote fiction first. A few short stories, several abortive attempts at novels, the first of which when I was 14 or so which was an inevitably embarrassingly terrible bildungsroman inspired equally by Rancid songs and American Pie where the barely-veiled version of me was supposed to get laid at the end of the story. Thankfully it is lost in a dead computer. The furthest I got into any novel was 35000 words or so into a post-apocalyptic thing which did have some nice stuff in it I think but didn’t really hang together at all and was pretty structurally sexist in a lot of ways. I’ve cannibalised bits from that that I thought were worth saving into other stuff. I really started writing music criticism out of frustration that albums I liked and bands I loved weren’t being written about it the way I felt they deserved to be written about. Then the Is This Punk Rock? blog basically began as a joke that got out of hand and I ended up writing 150,000 on it. I did get kind of disillusioned with writing fiction for a while mainly cos I just decided that real shit was more important, knowing real people and having genuine experiences seemed more worthwhile than flattening encounters into caricatures, stuffing the tough entanglement of life into plots and paragraphs just felt trite. I realised that in some ways I’d been using it as a crutch to distract from the fact that I was not in a great place in my life in a lot of ways. I still feel that in some ways. I want to get back into to writing more fiction, but hopefully I’m better situated to craft something that doesn’t ring as false as a lot of the stuff I penned felt.

The punkPunk! thing happened cos I’d already started kinda thinking of that as a good descriptor for my writing and I googled it to see if anyone else had thought of it and I found the call for submissions so I punched up one of my older pieces and the guy liked it. The story’s kind of just a punk rock vignette, not much really happens. It’s inspired by a bunch of things people have said to me that have stuck with me all spliced together, a couple of situations I’ve been in. A weird thing is that there’s one part of the story, about people singing along to Doug Mulray’s fakepunk classic I’m a Punk, which was not based on my personal experience, but a few months after I submitted the story and it got accepted, I was in a bar after a show where that happened and I felt like I was living in a Goosebumps story about a magic typewriter. Maybe I really should’ve persevered with that terrible novel at 14.

Alright, to wrap up, let’s pretend you sang in a classic 80s hardcore band. ‘So finally, Joe, what do you have to say to the kids?’

I can’t think of much that wouldn’t be incredibly patronising, so I guess just: try not to act like a prick, don’t be too hard on yourself when you inevitably end up acting like a prick. And up the punx, whatever that means for you.

[interview conducted by Ned Samuel, originally published in No More Gigs issue 5 in a slightly different form, April 2015]

No More Gigs speaks to Joe Briggs

NO MORE GIGS SPEAKS TO LOUIS HARDING

Louis Harding has in the past decade been in countless beloved punk bands, including The Shitty Limits, Good Throb, and The Love Triangle. Ned Samuel speaks with him.

Hi Louis! I know (or I think I know) that you’re in The Love Triangle and Good Throb, and you were in the Shitty Limits. Any other projects, past or present, that I missed?

Hi! Yes, there are a few more. I am currently also playing guitar in Personnel and drums in No, Slur and Kichigai. Concurrently to The Shitty Limits I also played bass in a band called The Sceptres. After the Sceptres broke up, me and the singer started Good Throb.

Does being in several bands, with the members of those bands also having other bands, get difficult?

I don’t think it ever gets difficult. No band ever takes priority as far as I can see, so when it comes to organising band things like gigs or tours or practice or recordings its usually a case of working out when everyone is free. Gig offers and things like that usually work on a first come first served basis. I’m not that well organised so it can get confusing sometimes! I had a really interesting conversation 3 years ago with the Mexican band Los Monjo – one of the best 5 bands I think I’ve ever seen – about how in Europe it is common for punks to play in a lot of different bands, but for them, they could only ever be in one band together, and playing in other groups was out of the question. It really struck me that maybe playing in a lot of bands is a bit self-indulgent and non-committal. I would love to be in a group where you lived just to play in that one band and had ultimate belief in it. But for me, I think the idea of playing in lots of groups is about exploring punk as its own culture, and doing creative things in small groups with lots of people. I think that that is an empowering thing to do with your life. I also feel really inspired that some of my best friends play in bands that I think are incredible (such as Frau, DiE, Diat, Efialtis, Cianuro), and I find it humbling at times that these people want to make music with me.

I hear a lot of different terms and comparisons being thrown around in regard to The Love Triangle’s sound, so I think it’s worthwhile to ask this generic question: what are the band’s influences?

Haha! What comparisons do you hear? I would be interested to know! The Love Triangle began under slightly odd circumstances – it was just me and josh (the bass player) in a practice room trying to figure out how to use an 8 track recorder. So we wrote some songs very quickly and recorded some cover songs. There wasn’t much thought put into what the songs should sound like stylistically or what bands we should cover – it was just ‘let’s write a song now, we have 30 minutes. What song is an easy cover song to play?’. That’s how the first 3 tapes were made. We then asked Tim to play drums for us, so that we could turn our practice room recording project band into something that could play gigs. To answer your question as best I can, there weren’t any specific ‘lets do a band that souds like __’ type influences, but all three of us come from a background of playing in DIY hardcore punk bands, and at the time were interested in 70’s punk, proto punk, 60s punk, mod, soul and post-punk. Conversations about the sound of The Love Triangle that me and Josh had in those early days revolved around how we felt our songs linked the smart poppiness of bands like the The Buzzcocks and Protex with the trashy vibe of bands like Crime and The Electric Eels. We also talked a lot about Australian Murder Punk. I think that all this talk was more ‘reverse influence’ as in trying to think about what we had created rather than attempting to co-opt a style.

The comparisons I heard were Buzzcocks, Nuggets, Wipers and garage punk*.

The Buzzcocks comparison is pretty fair I guess and ‘garage punk’ is a broad term, but I really don’t think the Love Triangle sounds like the Wipers. But then I don’t think anyone sounds like The Wipers!

In a time where big tours seem less popular – particularly among DIY bands – The Love Triangle did a seven week tour of Europe. How did it go?

The tour was great! It was a difficult thing to organise, but I’m glad that we did it! It was totally an adventure and I’m proud that we made it happen through our own efforts and with the help of friends, rather than have someone book it for us. The Love Triangle rarely plays because Josh has lived in Berlin for the last four years, so it was nice to have a chance to play a lot and also go see him and hang out every day without any daily life type pressures. We played with some great bands, and broke the tour into chunks where we toured with different bands, all of whom are good friends of our (PUFF, the Splits, The #1s and Fluffers). It sounds like a clichéd thing to say, but really the hardest thing about it was coming home and getting back into normal life – the Love Triangle tour sat in the middle of an extensive period of touring for me where I was on tour with No and Good Throb beforehand, and then drove the Frau/Asesinato del Poder tour immediately afterwards. So with the exception of two weeks in May I was constantly moving from the end of March until the middle of August. So when I came back home I think I went a little crazy.

The best show was probably in Barcelona, and the worst was Amsterdam.

The Love Triangle have done a lot of releases (six tapes and two EPs, at my count) that were tape and vinyl only, and are now sold out widely unavailable. Are there any plans to digitise them, or re-release them?

There aren’t any plans to do this. Whilst I appreciate the sentiment of what you’re saying, I don’t feel that The Love Triangle is a band that many people are interested in, and what’s more I’m not sure the tapes are that worth listening to! If I was inundated with emails asking to hear the tapes I would make them available. As it happens I get about 2 emails a year asking about this material and I usually will send any MP3s if I can find them.

I have a cassette player but many people don’t, and I hear a lot of people critiquing the format. Why cassettes? And would you say there’s a benefit to the obscurity tape-only releases give?

OK! There are a few different parts to your question. In response to the first part about people critiquing tapes – they should either just buy a fucking tape deck or piss off out of punk! Tape decks are cheap to buy second hand (I have two, both of which cost me £10). Tapes are cheap and easy to produce with a quick turnaround to get professionally made. I find it gobsmacking that people interested in punk and DIY culture would bellyache about a physical format that you can produce in your bedroom at low cost in bespoke numbers. Tapes are empowering, and I suspect people just whinge about them because they see them as some sort of continuation of the hipster-vintage-pop up shop-retro fetish continuum. This kind of cultural bitchiness is not something I am interested in.

This kind of answers the second part of your question – we made Love Triangle tapes because it was the easiest way to make a physical release. Like – one day we were recording our stupid songs in a practice room, the next day we were cutting out sleeves and dubbing tapes. It was exciting and fun to do so that’s why we did it.

I’m not sure I understand the last part of your question, but I think some of our songs suited being on tapes rather than records – like we went to record 7 songs, the best three went on our first single, the others all went on a tape… I think its nice to separate visibly the output that we want people to pick up and investigate if that makes any sense?

Some of The Love Triangle’s lyrics are very juvenile, whereas some are more intellectual, though never in an overbearing way. Is The Love Triangle more of a tongue-in-cheek, irreverent band, or do you want to be taken seriously?

Honestly, I don’t care how people perceive the band. The lyrics are sometimes about serious things and sometimes they are not. They are mostly just attempts at being honest about something, but usually have something that I find funny in them to myself. I think that some of the songs have good lyrics and some have bad ones, but this doesn’t really correlate to whether the song is about something juvenile or not – for example, some of the worst lyrics I wrote were for the song ‘growing pain’ which was about my friend telling me she had cancer, but some of the best lyrics I wrote were for the song ‘tangle’ (the only lyrics printed on the inside of the LP) which I think really accurately describes the feeling of having an intense and emotional hangover.

I don’t think we’re any more or less irreverent than any punk band should be.

Something I noticed about The Love Triangle’s LP Clever Clever was the many mentions of toast. Intentional motif, or coincidence?

This is actually coincidence! There wasn’t any intention with lyrical motif for the LP, but I was conscious that I wanted the lyrics to be good for the album so I put time and effort into them. I’m not sure all the lyrics are good, but I tried hard (ish) in comparison to the tossed off nature that a lot of our previous songs were written. I suppose there are a number of domestic themes running through the LP as well as songs about feeling the pull of time / mortality and songs about getting fucked up. At the time I had come out of a long relationship and then got into another heavy duty romance, so I think exploring those ideas is pretty natural in those circumstances.

Your old band, the Shitty Limits, were profiled by the NME but, from what I heard, told them to fuck off when they asked for an interview. What informed the decision not to cooperate with them?

It wasn’t a particularly difficult decision to make. The NME is shit and I find it embarrassing to see it sniffing around punk. Punk has its own way of presenting itself in print. Why would we want to be involved with that? Who would get what out of it?

On a related topic – at around that time, this man called Jeremy started coming along to a lot of Shitty Limits gigs, he would praise us endlessly and buy Tom Ellis drinks and was obviously a fan of the band. It turned out that he worked as a music editor at I-D magazine and he wanted to run a feature on us. I think we all were uncomfortable with being in the magazine, but felt bad about snubbing this guy. So we told him that we wouldn’t do a feature for them, but maybe they could run an article about the youth centre in Guildford where we booked DIY gigs. So they came to some gigs in Guildford, took some photos of the kids in the pit and published it in I-D. I don’t know whether it’s hypocritical to visibly snub the NME, and then let I-D in through the back door like that, but the Guildford Youth Centre is now demolished, and, seeing as I probably went to over a hundred gigs there, I’m glad that it got its due in a fucking fashion magazine!

Good Throb’s getting a lot of praise right now, and deservedly so. What’s the creative process for that band?

Thanks! We write songs collectively and all talk about ideas together at band practice, including the lyrics to an extent. I really like this way of making music – like our song ‘Central Line’ (about the pain of commuting to work) came about because Ash started playing the bass riff, and then I was like ‘that sounds like a train track’ and so we wrote a song about a train. Not all our songs have been made with this kind of epiphany, but they are all done collaboratively.

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why did Good Throb call their debut Fuck Off?

I asked the others one day at band practice if we could call it that and everyone immediately said yes. I think it suits both the savage and comic elements of what the band is about. Also, its kind of incredible that such a ubiquitous term hasn’t been used for a punk record that I know of (please correct me if I’m wrong).

[To my knowledge, he’s correct.] Where next for The Love Triangle and Good Throb?

I’m not particularly interested in The Love Triangle at the moment – we played a lot last year, and are all really busy with other bands. I talked to Tim about it last week and he’s keen to make another tape, but at the moment, I think I’m more interested in making aggressive / less normative music than what the Love Triangle is about… but watch this space. Maybe it will resurrect! Good Throb is writing a new record. We just have a few songs, but I like them so far. I think it will be a little harsher sounding than the first LP, and we are thinking about calling it ‘My Arsehole’. We don’t have a lot else planned apart from a week-long tour in Spain in April. I wish we could tour more with Good Throb but it isn’t really possible with everyone’s other commitments.

We didn’t do a cool wrap up question. Sorry.

*The original sentence I wrote in reply didn’t make any sense. ‘Buzzcocks, Nuggets, Wipers and garage punk seemed like a weird mix of them.’ What?

[interview conducted by Ned Samuel, originally published in No More Gigs issue 4 in a slightly different form, March 2015]

NO MORE GIGS SPEAKS TO LOUIS HARDING

No More Gigs speaks to James Scott from the Domestics and Dis-Tank

James Scott is a scene veteran, currently in The Domestics and Dis-Tank. We caught up with him to speak about The Domestics new album, and much more.

The new Domestics album Routine and Ritual sounds more raw and aggressive than your previous releases. Who were you all drawing on when you wrote and recorded it?

Well firstly I’d have to say that I don’t think any of the previous releases were necessarily any less aggressive. I would concede though that the recordings didn’t perhaps didn’t capture that as well as Routine and Ritual and the other tracks being released from the same session. Previously we’d always recorded on a digital multitracker in whatever room we could get hold of at the time – a rehearsal space, Rik Spanner’s front room, wherever. Given the limitations of that setup I think Rhodes (The Domestics’ bass player) did a great job, but going to a ‘proper’ studio with a producer that’s been recording hardcore since the late 80s has meant we now have a record that sounds how all the other releases were meant to sound! We cranked everything up into the red a bit, recorded all the basic bass, drums and rhythm guitar live – mostly in one or two takes then stuck on the second guitar and all the vocals so it has an immediacy about it – we don’t like to labour these things; if you do you lose the energy. We went in knowing exactly what we were doing and exactly what we wanted and just bashed it out, no messing.
I guess I’m best placed to talk about the writing as I write all the songs. That’s not to say that they don’t get tweaked by the others because they all chuck ideas in and put their stamp on them but I write them initially and bring in demos to rehearsal. The influences I was drawing on were the ones I’ve always drawn on for The Domestics’ songs – classic Japanese hardcore like GAUZE, FRAMTID and more recent stuff like KRIEGSHÖG or D-CLONE. Then there’s the old US hardcore stuff like CIRCLE JERKS’ first album, BLACK FLAG, OUT COLD, NEGATIVE APPROACH, that 8 track ACID REFLUX 7” which I’ve been playing repeatedly, but again the contemporary stuff like MAUSER, GREEN BERET, LIMP WRIST, KOWARD. Also other stuff like CHAOS UK, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, DHK, SUDOR, GOVERNMENT FLU, VIOLENT REACTION…there’s so much great hardcore out there if you care to look around. I try to keep my ear to the ground. We’re pretty weird in our tastes as a band…I mean Ed hardly likes any hardcore at all; our taste crosses over far more on music that has nothing to do with punk. Recent tour favourites have been CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, CHAS ‘N’ DAVE and TOM WAITS. I’m also into northern soul, roots reggae and all sorts of other stuff. I think that’s one of the reasons we always have tunes in amongst the noise and aggression, I like something memorable with hooks and a chorus and I make no apologies for that. A few reviewers and gig-goers have likened us to CONFLICT but I don’t really see that at all. Maybe it’s the delivery and my accent (the others are basically Suffolk lads but I grew up in Essex and my family roots are in East London so I inevitably have that London-Essex accent, although it has mellowed over the years of education and living in Suffolk). But although I’ve always liked the idea of CONFLICT and the delivery and conviction, I think THE DOMESTICS are much more song-based. I always want to make records that don’t just fit in with the latest hardcore fad but that someone could pick up in 10 or 20 years’ time and go ‘these are great songs!’.

As implied by its title, a lot of the songs on the new album talk about the way capitalism shapes our lives, often for the worst, through its routines and constraints. What are good ways to regain some control of your life?

Yeah, that certainly is meant to be implied by the title but it’s also supposed to reference how so much of what we do and don’t do as part of our everyday lives is dictated by routine and ritual – the way we socialise, the way we speak, the things we eat, how we engage with the media, our consumption habits. Sometimes we constrain ourselves through routine and ritual as well as being constrained directly by the forces of capitalism. Although of course, those two strands are not entirely unrelated – far from it!
I’ve thought about the notions of personal freedom and ‘regaining some control’ at various points in my life and I’ve still come to no satisfactory solution. The game seems rigged before you start. Of course we have the freedom to quit our jobs and try to follow some self-supporting lifestyle, growing our own food etc., employing a more agrarian bartering system and stepping outside the system but you still need land, equipment etc. which of course costs money; and it’s all very well being ‘free’ but how free are you to travel, to do things you want to do when you have no money to speak of? Capitalism is a trap that we’re pretty much all caught in whether we like it or not. Once that genie popped out of the bottle it was, and is, way too tricky to get the fucker back in! It’s pretty depressing that all notions of personal freedom now seem to be inextricably linked with having enough money to step outside the system, but of course any attempt to reach that goal necessitates immersion in the system itself. There’s no escape really! The picture on the centre labels of the vinyl version of the album suggests to me that one of the women taking part in the tea ceremony – the one looking at the camera – has suddenly thought that there is an unknown world beyond the routines and rituals she is immersed in and she wants to know what it contains. A moment of revelation. I have no idea whether there is any truth in that but that’s what the image represents to me and why it’s part of the artwork.
For me at least, the control I exercise is in my creative life. Writing and playing music, running the label, resisting doing things that I don’t want to do as much as is practicable. Being someone who has an idea and follows it through – I mean anyone could start a label and put out records but I know to a lot of people it seems a daunting exercise. It is hard work, especially when you’re working on a few things at once, busy with the day job, playing gigs and a have relationships to maintain and enjoy. Worth it though. It does give a sense of doing something based on ideas of community, reciprocity, friendship, art etc. rather than purely capital, although it would be naïve to think that commerce doesn’t come into running a label or playing in a band. Petrol to get to gigs costs money and no one wants to press 500 records and sell twenty – that’s just not viable, it’s fucking pointless.

The song ‘Wrong’ contains the lines ‘I should defend your right to say what you like / But how can I in good faith when you’re just not right?’ What do you make of the notion that good comes from letting bigots and liars spread their views? Would you endorse censorship for certain views? For example the notion that vaccines cause autism?

That line really makes reference to that quote that’s often attributed, wrongly I think, to Voltaire on free speech: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” and how, however noble a sentiment that may be, there are some things that are so offensive to me or you or whoever, that even the right to say such things seems indefensible on some level. Every time I hear a bigot spread their views it makes me shrivel inside but then I do think about what kind of society it would be if there were certain groups who made decisions about what words and ideas were spoken – do we really want to live in a society that can censor to that degree however abhorrent the views may be to us – well some of us, clearly they’re not abhorrent to all – I don’t know. It’s about weighing up which is the preferable scenario and I don’t have an answer to that, all I can do is pose the question! Useless really…
I don’t really see how you could censor ideas like the one you mention regarding vaccines and autism. Now, that’s a potentially dangerous view but is it any more dangerous than hundreds of others? I think public bodies or news outlets should be very clear about the ‘facts’ (the notion of ‘facts’ is a whole subject in itself so here I’ll use ‘facts’ to mean the most supportable view at the time or something along those lines) of such matters and be held accountable if they are found to be deliberately whipping sections of the public into a frenzy about these kinds of issues which could have future health repercussions but you can’t stop individuals from holding ill-informed or downright stupid views on any subject you care to mention.

‘Punk Points’ attacks bands who talk about politics, ineptly, just for the sake of looking punk. Is that something widespread?

Maybe this is something that comes with age and increased levels of cynicism. I just sometimes feel that bands are trotting out the same old tired lines with no thought beyond whether they are ‘suitably punk’. If you asked them about what they specifically disliked about capitalism, the police, politicians, war or whatever I wonder whether they really would have any view on it beyond what they robbed off some other bands’ lyric sheet. I think that of you are going to write around these subjects you have to talk about aspects you understand, even if just subjectively – you don’t need to be an expert! But personally I just can’t sing about stuff I don’t know about. How can you explain what you’re on about of someone asks you to clarify? I’d find that extremely embarrassing so I don’t do it. THE DOMESTICS do cover the political and we’re often thought of as being quite a political band but more from a personal, sociological perspective than from the perspective of a totally clued up activist. For me, I have to be true to what I know…and whilst I do know plenty of stuff I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not, which is a core tenet of punk really. I won’t bullshit people by pretending I know more about a given subject than I do. If I want to know more I’ll ask not try to bluff my way through something. It’s all about communication after all.

You worked with Dean Jones of Extreme Noise Terror on ‘Fuck Your War’. How did that come about?

Ah yeah, that was great. I’ve been into E.N.T. for years, I got into them through older punks when I lived in Clacton (or ‘crack town’ as it’s now often referred to) some years ago. Dean lives in Ipswich and E.N.T. had just started recording what will be their new album around the same time we recorded ours. I mentioned to the producer, Mark, that I’d really love it if we could get Dean to do a vocal on ‘Fuck Your War’ but that I didn’t really know him and to my surprise he said he was seeing him the following week and he’d ask. Anyway, the next week I went in one evening to do all the lead vocals and after a few songs, Mark says “Oh we have to go and pick Dean up in half an hour” – I really hadn’t expected it to happen!!!! Turns out he’d heard the rough mixes with the guide vocal and liked what he heard so we picked him up, got him in some Special Brew and the rest is history as they say! Then when we did Rebellion fest last year he came along and sung it live with us too, which was great. I think there’ll be a repeat of that this year now the record’s actually out. He’s a top bloke with a lifetime’s worth of great stories and the stuff I’ve heard from the new E.N.T. album sounds amazing. I’m not just saying that, it really sounds great and contemporary and fucking full on.

With a lot of punk bands these days from the emo revivalists to the garage rockers focusing more on the personal, would you say punk is becoming less political?

Not really, but then my ear is always more to the underground where the political side of things still persists to some degree. I guess if you listen to emo, pop-punk and ska-punk then the politics may be lacking but I don’t listen to that stuff. If I want ska I’ll listen to sixties stuff.

I understand this sounds cynical, but what function does political punk serve right now?

I don’t think that’s cynical particularly, it’s a fair question. With most of the topics played out over the past thirty plus years you could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing left to say… but that could’ve been said when I was getting into punk in my late teens too. I hadn’t heard about all this stuff so it was useful to me being a newcomer and that in a nutshell is the main function it serves. It’d be ridiculous to think that anyone just discovering punk would automatically know or have even thought about racism, sexism, animal rights, DIY, government control, misogyny, the evils of capitalism etc. These are not big topics of discussion in the average ‘straight’ household. It also serves the function of keeping these topics on existing punks’ agenda I guess.

Artwork for The Domestics and Kibou Records often draws heavily on Japanese artwork from the 19th century and earlier. What inspired that?

Just my love of Japanese aesthetics I guess. I have some Japanese prints and books at home, my tattoos are largely Japanese. I also love Japanese punk as I said. I guess it’s just a combination of those things. I love the serenity of a Japanese garden or the ferocity of their hardcore. I’ve always been drawn to Japan stylistically. One day I’ll go!

As well as The Domestics, you’re also in Dis-Tank. What’s that band’s agenda?

DIS-TANK was a side project that was used to soak up some leftover riffs really. THE DOMESTICS had a few months off at one point so I just put this stuff together – it’s way more generic than THE DOMESTICS and it’s intended to be. It was a bit of an experiment really – call it ‘Dis’-something, stick a tank on the front and some skulls in the artwork. I just wanted to see how easy it’d be to make a d-beat tape…I wrote down the first 7 titles I could think of that sounded a bit d-beaty and just fitted them to the riffs. It was a piece of piss! Anyway I took the plunge and pressed 50 tapes but they sold out in no time, then a Spanish label asked me to press some more as demand was high, then an American distro wanted some…anyway there’s a 10 song 7” out next week – it’ll be out by the time this is in print I expect. As an experiment it’s worked pretty well so far! I’ve created a monster!!!!! I think the other factor is that the tunes, despite being a shit-fi d-beat racket, are actually pretty memorable. I dunno, it’s a bit weird really.

What have Kibou Records, The Domestics, and Dis-Tank got planned for the near future?

KIBOU has just put out a 14 track 7” called ‘Haiku Fucks’ featuring SHOWER OF BASTARDS, 51ST STATE, CHILDE, NASTY BASTARD, THE SHORTS, RATRAVEN, BOYCOTT THE BAPTIST, VOLUNTEERS, BRAINFREEZE, THE DOMESTICS, DIS-TANK, SKINNERS, THE MIGRAINES and FORCED EXISTENCE. The label is also involved in co-releasing the DIS-TANK ‘Hardcore D-Beat Bruiser Volume One’ 7” (alongside GLOBAL RESISTANCE, DESORDEN and MONO CANIBAL) and the THE DOMESTICS/VOLUNTEERS SPLIT (alongside RIOT SKA, URINAL VINYL, GLOBAL RESISTANCE and ALMIGHTY BEARD). Also there are plans for a co-release on the MIERDA 7” and hopefully a 7” by HARAMARAH from Bandung in West Java. I’ve offered to do a 7” by Basingstoke’s SHITHOUSE but whether they’ll ever get it together to record one I don’t know! I hope so, I love that band and the guys in it.
If anyone wants any great punk and hardcore sounds from all over the world, check out the KIBOU distro at http://www.kibourecords.bigcartel.com Support the underground!
THE DOMESTICS have those things mentioned above coming out – all with exclusive tracks on – plus a track on a comp 7” on ORCHESTRATED DYSTOPIA RECORDS sometime soon. We have some festivals and gigs lined up all over the country for the rest of the year plus hopefully some Euro dates in June and are working on tracks for a new 7” which hopefully we’ll record over the summer. Actually 2 7”s maybe – one of originals and one of covers. We’ll wait and see.
DIS-TANK have the 7” coming out and then, when I get some time, I’ll start work writing for the D Beat Plague album.
Cheers for the interest, Ned, much appreciated.

No problem!

[interview conducted by Ned Samuel, originally published in No More Gigs issue 4, March 2015]

No More Gigs speaks to James Scott from the Domestics and Dis-Tank

NO MORE GIGS TALKS TO FABIAN FROM SKAGGS

Skaggs are a straight-edge hardcore punk band from Germany, reminiscent of early Youth Crew groups like Youth of Today, and Boston ’82 bands like SSD. One of the first punk shows I ever saw in Norwich was Skaggs, Jackals and Church Slave (who later became Caged In) at the sadly now demolished Fine City Audio. It was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, DIY punk at its absolute finest. Church Slave played a four-minute set, I saw Jackals for the first time, Skaggs were brilliant and covered Sham 69 to the delight of everyone, and there was silly crowd-surfing galore. I also met a lot of nice people, including the members of Skaggs, who were all delightful.
I recently emailed their frontman, Fabian, to see how things were going for the band, and to ask about punk and politics in Germany.

– After two demos in 2013, 2014 seemed like a quieter year for Skaggs. What did you get up to?

Honestly, I don’t know why we haven’t released anything new in 2014. I mean, I live three hours away from the other guys in Skaggs so practicing is always something we have to plan ahead. We played weekenders and shows and I guess we had to take care of other stuff in between.

– You just put out a live album, Live at the Pit’s, which has some new songs on it; are there any plans for a studio EP or LP with those songs on?

Definitely. It’s about time we record a 7”. I’m pretty sure we will use the two new songs that are on the live tape (“Control” and “Goblin Laughter”) and put them on record. We actually wanted to have the record done by the time we’re going to tour Scandinavia in April. But yeah, I guess we have to postpone that to spring. Or summer. Or 2015 in general.

– One Skaggs song that’s really stuck with me is ‘Dying Beat’ which has the line ‘you’re the one that’s living off the carcass of a Fat Wreck!’ Hearing that resonated with me because there’s a lot of people – especially on the internet – who sneer at hardcore bands for being insufficiently ‘fresh’ or whatever while they wait around for the next record by a 30-year-old pop punk band. What inspired that song? Was there a particular experience?

I think it’s great that you get the idea behind the song because after releasing those songs I wasn’t sure if “living off the carcass of a Fat Wreck” does even make any sense. It’s exactly about those people. I came up with the lyrics after missing my train home from a show and being stranded with a bunch of “punk rockers” who were having a little party in their living room. Turned out all they’re listening to is that Fat Wreck Records crap and stuff like Hot Water Music. Don’t get me wrong, I loved NOFX as a teenager. But they were all in their late 20s and 30s and they were still hyping every new release out of that corner. It wouldn’t have bothered me at all if one of them didn’t say something stupid like “Hardcore died after SSD started playing hard rock”. I hate it when people – and especially people like that – say that hardcore died in the 80s and everything today is just a rewind of something past. And in the end the joke is on them because they keep on complaining while missing out on something cool.

– What’s ‘Breed Like Rats’ about?

It’s about stupid people especially here in Germany who get together and protest against refugees. There were some peculiar protests like that in a small town in Saxony by the time I wrote that song. It was crazy because so many people took part in it. The whole scene was very scary since those protests were infiltrated by right wing groups and nobody there seemed to care. They were marching almost every week by night with torches (that’s why “torches in the night” which is also a hint to the Third Reich) and it was just a disgusting thing to look at. And yeah, sadly those people don’t stop reproducing.

– In Germany there seems to be a lot of quite frightening far right politics at the moment. How’s this affecting the punk scene over there? Is there effort to fight back? Do groups like PEDIGA ever try and infiltrate the punk scene?

PEGIDA is a nasty phenomenon of the last few months but fortunately that movement is already destroying itself from within. But nevertheless, it shows you again and again how much racist potential exists in parts of the society. But I think by now the PEGIDA demonstrations are already outnumbered by the protests against it.
The hardcore scene – especially in East Germany – has always been in the focus of right wing groups. But PEGIDA is still different than real Neo-Nazi organizations especially when it comes to the age of its supporters.

– Are there any German bands that we should be keeping an eye on at the moment?

In my humble opinion Germany has a very weak hardcore scene compared to some other European countries. The reason why we did Skaggs was because we were bored with almost all the bands that were around Germany at that time. But there are a few bands that are definitely worth checking out.
There is this band called MIND TRAP. They meet and practice in Berlin but two of the guys are from Moscow. We still call them a German band because they’re sick. They are probably my favorite German hardcore band and you should check them out if you’re into that whole Boston ’82 thing.
DOGCHAINS from Southern Germany are one of my favorite German bands to watch live. They started as a Lockin’ Out kinda youth crew band but now they sound more like Supertouch or Verbal Assault. I used to call this the “Mental transition”.
If you dig power violence or fast and dark hardcore in general you should check out VOWELS and HIKIKOMORI. Yannick from Skaggs plays in latter band and I was told they sound like Dropdead. The singer of Hikikomori also sings in BLUDGEON BOYS which is also a Mannheim based band. I always thought they sound like a moshier and slower version of that band Stoic Violence from California but that’s probably because the singers sound alike. Other than that Yannick is constantly writing stuff for new bands. He’ll soon release the demo of his new project MISSING LINK and I’m really psyched about it. Me, him and the guitarist in Skaggs (Adrian) are also jamming on some youth crew songs right now. I’m really excited for that as well. Oh and before I forget it, keep your eyes out for a band called SPIRIT CRUSHER. I never really liked the Cro-Mags after Age of Quarrel but I definitely love the sound this new band is going for. Adrian is playing guitar for them and I will 100% go nuts for them.

– Are Skaggs ever planning to come back to the UK?

We’d love to but right now there are no plans to do it. In April we’re going to Scandinavia with PODER ABSOLUTO from Valencia. Other than that we have no plans for the rest of the year. Actually we got asked to play a few shows in Ireland this year so I really hope this will work out since I’ve never been to Ireland. It’s hard to plan ahead right now because our bass player Marco is moving to Hamburg pretty soon and we will have to see how Skaggs will work out then.

– Finally, why do hardcore bands do intros on their demos/EPs? Is that something new? My old band did an intro for its demo and I still don’t know.

Haha, I don’t really know. Hardcore bands have been recording and playing intros as far as I can remember. But you got me thinking. The earliest hardcore record I know that has a “intro” song is probably DFTS DFTS by Warzone. I’m pretty sure something like that has been done before but this song is one of the most popular intros in hardcore history. I guess the purpose of intros is to get people into the mood and deliver some mosh parts in the beginning of your set. Just listen to that Warzone intro. If that doesn’t get you hyped for the rest of the record then something is wrong with you.

[interview conducted by Ned Samuel, originally published in No More Gigs issue 3, February 2015]

NO MORE GIGS TALKS TO FABIAN FROM SKAGGS

NO MORE GIGS SPEAKS TO STAN GRANT

Stan Grant is running for MP in Norwich North under the Class War banner for the upcoming election. I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions that I thought the readers might be interested in knowing.

– Tell me a little about Class War; a) Where does it stand on the political spectrum? b) How is the party organised?

Thanks for inviting me to do this interview. Its great to be involved with a DiY publication again, zines and blogs are hugely important in terms of democratising the media.

Class War is a pretty young political party, which got started in the run up to this election. Some of your readers are probably aware of the Class War paper or federation, which have been around on and off since the 80s but for those who aren’t I’ll give a bit of background.

a) CW is an organisation which exists to promote working class politics, not sanitised ineffectual bollocks like the Labour party, but hands-dirty street politics. For the working classes, and unlike a lot of the left, by the working classes. We do not have an ideological line, we have marxists, anarchists and others in the party, our main concern is the common battle we fight against the rich not our minor differences of opinion. The party is a party for people who think all career politicians are scum who realise that the system exists to preserve the status quo and that no meaningful change can come from within it.

Running this year should give me a chance to ask the difficult questions politicians are adept at avoiding, holding those that do or want to rule us accountable for what they have or intend to. It will be a campaign of harsh realities,heckling and guerrilla politics. Its about taking the fight to them, we are forced by them to work under crap conditions in this country and we want to bring some of that uncomfortable feeling to them.

CW are about direct action and have scored a series of victories last year with actions against luxury property developers Redrow and Minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith who was forced to flee his own jobs fair when he heard we were coming. Individual members and regional groups also organise local actions [watch this space!]

b) The party is pretty decentralised and autonomous, we’re left to get on with it but know support is there if we need it. Most of our candidates are working with election agents, but really no one has a huge amount of experience doing this, many of us are lifelong principled none-voters although some people do have some experience and are quick to share what they know with others. We’ve had great support from crowdfunding, gigs [again watch this space] and benefit merch from sabcat.com so the party is able to help most of the final candidates with some of their deposit costs.

– Why did you choose to run for MP, and why Norwich North, in particular?

After this unelected government and its European partners began to impose austerity, in defiance of many respected economists, it became clear that this was just another way to rob the poor and give to the rich. American tycoon Warren Buffet said that there is a class war raging and his side are winning because they are the only ones fighting. We felt that the time had come to prove them wrong, publicly. So when Class War announced they were planning an election strategy I saw an opportunity to have some fun at the system’s expense.

I initially considered standing against Simon Wright (Lib Dem MP for Norwich South) as he reneged on promises of voting against tuition fees after UEA students won him the 2011 election. However despite his inability to stand up to the whip Simon is certainly no Chloe Smith. Her debacle in the treasury, indifference to the plight of mental health
services in this county, and general voting record made it a no-contest.

– What are your main policies?

Our main policies are stopping austerity, doubling benefits, dismantling the two-tiered education system, abolishing the monarchy, and introducing a mansion tax, which Labour nicked off us though ours is 50, not a toothless 1%. These aren’t policies to end the deficit, or appeal to the knee-jerk populism of the press they are about making the rich, not the poor pay for once.

Individual candidates also have free reign over what they want to get behind, we have a pro-marijuana legalisation block, war crimes charges to be bought against Tony Blair and other collaborators is out there, scrapping trident and all the other usual calls you would expect to hear from an anti-authoritarian platform are also there. But really our policy is about drawing attention to how the rich are redistributing wealth upwards and putting the shoe on the other foot.

– How would you respond to criticism saying that you are dividing the left-wing vote?

I don’t consider Labour to be on ‘the left’, a vote for Labour, Lib Dem, Tory or UKIP is a vote for austerity consensus. They are all part of a system which represents the interests of the ruling classes not the public it claims to represent.

As for the rest the Greens have some good stuff to say, but there are a lot of politicians in the party… I have serious problems with at least one of their candidates and some of their councillors voting records don’t match their rhetoric. There may be a little crossover in the CW and Green vote, but I can’t see it swinging the election.

Smaller parties like TUSC and Left Unity fill a space which is always filled by some left party or other and we may get a few floating voter from there but really we are a party for people who do not want to reform this system but to debase and ultimately destroy it. We want people who aren’t registered to vote because they don’t trust any politicians to vote for us, we want people who feel betrayed by parties they have supported, we want people who want to organise more than transfer their power to someone else. We are the ultimate ‘none of the above vote’.

When Stan’s not terrorising Tory MPs or sneering at toffs, he writes poetry under the pseudonym ‘Stan Skank’, and has been published in issue #1 and #2 of this very zine.

[interview conducted by Karl Howarth, originally published in No More Gigs issue 3, February 2015]

NO MORE GIGS SPEAKS TO STAN GRANT

NO MORE GIGS SPEAKS TO DAN DONAGHEY

Dan Donaghey has been in a handful of bloody good Norwich punk and hardcore bands, including No Fun and the sadly rather short-lived Caged In. I emailed him to ask him a few questions about how it’s all going, and his new band, Street Piss. I wasn’t aware he was also making electronic music (as Detox Water) at the time of this interview, but check that stuff out too.

– Tell me all about Street Piss. What sort of thing are you guys doing?

Street Piss is a band I have with two of my good friends, that don’t take ourselves too seriously (hence the name). The sound is kind of in the vein of Black Lips, it’s just rowdy party punk/indie, the kind of band I’ve wanted to do for a very long while.

– Has Street Piss got any plans to record or tour?

Yeah, we’re planning on recording in the next few months. We played our first show last month, and got a great reaction. It was kinda funny because people admitted to me afterwards they were expecting it to suck. Hopefully we’ll be able to do some shows out of Norwich too.

– What prompted the move away from hardcore? Have you really forgotten the struggle and/or the streets?

Haha, I still really enjoy punk/hardcore, it’s just quite nice to play something a little different. I’ve always found myself playing guitar in punk bands, it’s just cool to do my thing for once y’know?

– Have you got any plans for Caged In if you can get ahold of the others? What’s happening with Sonic Order, the project with Jack from Jackals, among others?

I’m sure Caged In will do another show again, it was a really cool project to do with, again, some of my good friends, but I don’t think I’ll be joining another hardcore/punk band again anytime soon. I got kicked out of Sonic Order (that makes them sound mean I know) but the truth was I couldn’t really afford or commit to it as much as I’d have liked to. Are they still doing that band? I have no idea.

– Finally, you’ve put on a fair few shows. Have you got any hints and tips for people looking to put on DIY shows in Norwich?

Yeah, I’ve done a fair amount of shows over the years. My advice? Get someone else to do all work for you. I’m just kidding, putting on your own gigs if a great way for your own band to have a platform, and it’s a really great way of meeting others. I’ve never done it for the money, which is why the majority of my shows are free, and I intend to keep it that way if I can help it. I just enjoy organising a night in which my friends can congregate and watch each other’s bands and have a few drinks. If you have a passion or an interest for that kind of thing, I honestly recommend getting involved, as it keeps you busy and gives you something for you and others to look forward to.

– Cheers for doing this!

No problem man. Thank you for taking an interest.

[interview conducted by Ned Samuel, originally published in No More Gigs issue 2, January 2015]

NO MORE GIGS SPEAKS TO DAN DONAGHEY