[Interview] Level Up Festival: Ska-punk is Alive and Skanking in South London

We had an in-depth chat with the collective of promoters working on the UK’s best ska-punk festival.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Now in its second year, London’s Level Up Festival is proof that ska-punk certainly ain’t dead. Last year was a sold out skankstravanganza, but 2018’s line-up is even more exceptional, featuring the likes of Random Hand and Lightyear as headliners. In terms of DIY-level festivals, this by far the biggest and best ska-oriented event, taking place at New Cross Inn on July 20th – 22nd.

The event is an unusual collaboration between three promoters, bringing three distinct tastes to their bookings. Paul and Mike Smith who run Be Sharp are London based, with Paul spending his days as the Events Manager at the up-and-coming New Cross Inn. Chris Fishlock runs Bristol-based Fishlock Promotions, known for booking DIY all-dayers, including the well-known Fishstock event. Finally, Jason Berden brings his influence all the way from Belgium, where he also books the incredible El Topo Goes Loco Festival. We spoke to all of them, to get an in-depth insight into Level Up Festival.

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L-R: Paul Smith, Jason Berden, Chris Fishlock, Mike Smith

Level Up festival is looking incredible this year! Tell us what we can expect.

  • Paul: Some of the best bands in the world and happy faces. Last year was one of the most positive events I’ve been involved with, and that’s mostly down to everyone that travels from all over, purely to have a great time. The floor will be fine too.
  • Jason: Some old legends, such as Lightyear or Random Hand, making their return, as well as some of the best upcoming bands of the UK ska scene. I also added my fellow Belgians in Koala Commission to the Saturday bill, to show our island friends that the mainland scene is as strong as ever before!

Continue reading “[Interview] Level Up Festival: Ska-punk is Alive and Skanking in South London”

Win 2 Tickets to Brakrock Ecofest

Head to our Facebook page to win two tickets to one of the best fests Belgium has to offer.

We have two combi tickets to giveaway for Brakrock Ecofest in Belgium, including camping passes. The festival takes place on August 3rd and 4th and features some brilliant bigger punk acts alongside some local favourites.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply head over to the Shout Louder Facebook page and tell us who you’re most excited to see on the bill. You’ve got until Wednesday 18th July to enter!

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Brakrock takes place in a small park on the banks of the river Nete in Duffel, a small Belgian town between Antwerp and Brussels. Why call it an ‘ecofest’? Ecofest means eco-friendly: The people behind Brakrock take pride in being a very, very, very eco-friendly festival. They’ve even won awards for it. Continue reading “Win 2 Tickets to Brakrock Ecofest”

Aerial Salad vs. The Raging Nathans [Interview]

Jamie Munro quick-fires questions at Josh Goldman of The Raging Nathans ahead of their UK tour.

Later in July, The Raging Nathans and Aerial Salad are heading out on a killer European tour, taking in 15 dates around the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, inluding Wonk Fest and Rebellion.

The Raging Nathans are a punk rock collective out of Dayton, Ohio, featuring members of The Queers, The Dopamines and The Slow Death, who’ve been going since 2007. They released their second album Cheap Fame through Plasterer Records in April. It’s 13 tracks of melodic, up-beat punk rock, reminiscent of mid-90s Green Day and the golden era of pop-punk rock. Frontman Josh Goldman also heads up the awesome US label, Rad Girlfriend Records.

They pair perfectly with Mancunian Green Day / Jawbreaker wannabes Aerial Salad, who bring catchy pop-eque punk your way, loaded with a lot of fresh, Northern attitude. Vocalist / guitarist / all round handful of a human being, Jamie Munro, is a regular contributor to Shout Louder – if you want to laugh till your jaw hurts check out our recent podcast with him.

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Josh and Jamie getting intense

Shout Louder was recently offered the opportunity to interview Josh on the tour. Reluctant to pass up this marvellous chance for a chat, but with very little time on our hands, we asked Jamie from Aerial Salad to interview him for us. We knew, we’d regret this…

Jamie: Who did 9/11?
Josh: The Jews? Just kidding. My people wouldn’t do that.

Jamie: What your favourite European food?
Josh: Over the counter Tylenol with codeine.

Jamie: What’s a clacker?
Josh: I’ll take you somewhere sometime and show you.

Jamie: Josh, when you were in middle school, what was the worst thing that happened to you?
Josh: Letting a man tattoo me for $20 because he wanted some ecstasy.

Jamie: What’s B1505 about?
Josh: My Grandmother dying and her apartment, that we spent time in when we were kids in New York City. Continue reading “Aerial Salad vs. The Raging Nathans [Interview]”

Shout Louder’s July 2018 Playlist

Listen to our Spotify playlist for all of July’s hottest tunes!

The whole team at Shout Louder is addicted to music, whether that’s live, on record or just sung badly in the shower. There’s not enough time in the world to review every record we love, so we’re going to share a monthly Spotify playlist with you.

July’s top picks feature some of the brilliant bands we’ll be catching at Cromstock and KNRD Festival, plus some of the most exciting recent releases. Enjoy!

 

Symphony of Distraction: Skate-punk, zebra-stripes and dollar-store artwork [Interview]

Bicoastal American skate-punk Symphony Of Distraction shed some light on their new album and their iconically bad artwork.

Article by Alan Corcoran.

Symphony of Distraction are a skate-punk quartet from New York via California, who deal in songs that storm out of your speakers like a sugared-up Tasmanian devil. They’ll leave you dazed with a melody in your head for days.

The band have recently released their second full length album, Horse, on Less Talk, More Records and Interpunk. I talked with guitarist and vocalist Jay Stewart about the writing and recording of the album, that iconic artwork and we may have gotten into jazz piano a bit too…

Congrats on the new album Horse. Are you happy with how it turned out?

Thanks! Yes, we’re happy with how it turned out. We would not have released it until we had it in a place we were happy with. We don’t have any set deadlines or anything like that so we can take our time with it.

How did this one come together by comparison to Call It Off, John?

The biggest difference with how this one came together is that I live 3000 miles away from everyone else in the band now. On the previous albums, we lived relatively close to each other for the majority of the recording process so we could just work on it whenever we wanted. This time we did all of the tracking in Brooklyn over a couple of weeks or so. This mainly changed how Steve’s songs came together because he had to have his songs in a more completed state before we started recording.

What gear did you use this time?

We are not gear heads at all. We use whatever we have around. All of the bass on all 3 records was recorded on a $79 piece of shit bass I bought 10 years ago. We’ve used the same SM58 for the vocals on all 3 records that I’ve probably had for 15 years. It’s fun to try to get good sounds out of shitty equipment.

When mixing, I’ll revisit the SecondShot records I did with Ryan Greene since it gives me a really professional recording reference that I was the singer on.

Symphony of Distraction Live

This album seems to have a little more experimentation in guitar sounds; I’m thinking of Once and Future and United Failure for example… was this a conscious decision or did it just come from messing around with pedals?

We use a lot of computer plugins for that kind of stuff. I’m not a good enough producer to know exactly what I want something to sound like when we’re recording so we do a lot of DI which allows me to mess around with sounds later. It also saves time during the tracking process. Continue reading “Symphony of Distraction: Skate-punk, zebra-stripes and dollar-store artwork [Interview]”

Album Review: Consumed – Decade of No

The new Consumed EP is every bit as vital and vibrant as their late 90’s releases.

Article by Ollie Stygall.

What compels a band to reunite? Well, for some, like Guns And Roses, the lure of the mighty dollar and recent diminishing return in terms of popularity and quality are certainly a factor… But what of those bands who achieved small to medium success then fell apart amidst relationship issues/money issues/lack of greater success, etc.? Surely there can only be one reason: because they want to. Time is a great healer in terms of relationships, people have moved on to have careers outside of music and aren’t struggling so much financially, and gradually that desire to rock out again hits so bands reform… not because they need to, but because they want to. That’s the best reason to be in a band.

But can it ever be as good as it was before? Has age tempered the youthful rage? Well, from personal experience, having a career, having a family, being a homeowner and becoming more aware of the world actually increases the rage, so I would argue that bands that are reaching or have reached middle age are probably more effective at playing punk rock than they were 20 years ago.

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Consumed existed from 1994 to 2003 and achieved a level of success that a lot of bands would dream of, signing to Fat Wreck Chords, BYO and Golf in their career, all legendary punk rock labels, and touring the world. Now they’re back… because they want to be. Continue reading “Album Review: Consumed – Decade of No”

Pkew Pkew Pkew: Toronto’s Hidden Gem [Interview]

Mark speaks to Ontario’s premier power-pop-punks Pkew Pkew Pkew on their recent UK tour.

Interview by Mark Bartlett.

The May 12th was a particularly great day for me. My band, Our Lives in Cinema, had the opportunity to support one of my very favourite bands, Canada’s Pkew Pkew Pkew at London’s famous New Cross Inn. It’s Pkewx3’s first ever European tour and their first UK show. Presale tickets were comfortably into triple digits and everybody was suitably stoked about the fun ahead, what with The Burnt Tapes and The Run Up also playing. I’m also doubly happy because I had the opportunity to interview the band prior to the show.

My fandom meant that I was pretty nervous to meet them, but they quickly put me at ease prior to our recorded chat with a friendly beer in the nearby park. I can happily confirm they’re all a great bunch of dudes. If you’ve never heard Pkew Pkew Pkew, they write concise, insanely catchy pop-punk about drinking, hanging out with your pals and eating pizza… but through a sort of gruff, glorious Bruce Springsteen/The Hold Steady lens. I spoke with them at length to talk about their tour, their upcoming record and their history.

Let’s start with the obvious! How are you?

  • Mike: It’s been awesome. I’ve never been over here before. Everybody’s been really nice to us, fed us, put us up… we’ve been eating really well, actually.
  • Ryan: I think we’ve lost a little bit of weight; we normally gain weight on tour.
  • Dave: There ain’t one Taco Bell in Europe
  • Mike: You don’t even have Taco Bell. We have Taco Bell sponsorship.

Continue reading “Pkew Pkew Pkew: Toronto’s Hidden Gem [Interview]”