Fair Do’s: No One’s Going To Set Standards For You [Interview]

Manchester’s finest talk working-class roots, quality-control and how hard it is to learn your own songs sometimes!

Interview by Sarah Williams. Live photos by Alia Thomas.

Manchester’s melodic hardcore shredders, Fair Do’s, have just announced that they’ll be releasing their first full album Leopards on July 27th, through Lockjaw Records. I have been begging for this album since 2014 and I can’t believe it’s finally happening.

There are few bands that combine hardcore punk with metal in the way Fair Do’s manage to, and they back it up with a hard-earned technical prowess that makes them stand out from the crowd. They formed in 2009 and released an impressive EP Trying Times in 2014, going on to kill it on stage all over Europe, playing with the likes of A Wilhelm Scream, After The Fall, The Decline and H20, including major festivals like Punk Rock Holiday.

I caught up with vocalist/guitarist Danny Cummings and drummer John Holt over a pint, to learn about the hard work they’ve put into Leopards, their working-class sensibilities and why you might hear hints of Beyonce in Danny’s choruses.

You’re releasing a new album: Leopards! That’s exciting. What took you so long?

  • John Holt: Oh, Jesus.
  • Danny Cummings: It took a while recording it, because we did it over weekends.
  • John: I tracked the drums in September 2016.
  • Danny: It was a different beast to the EP. The EP was thrown together: recording guitar at one studio, drums at another. We made a vocal booth in the corner of Josh’s flat for that. Whereas this we’ve done it properly, tracked everything.

Fair Do's Live cred Alia Thomas.jpg

Quality is clearly a major focus for Fair Do’s – it has to be to produce something so wonderfully technical. How do you keep the bar set so high?

  • John: There’s no one there to set standards for you; you can’t expect anyone to go, “You should be better than that.” It’s your job to do that for yourself. No one’s going to care that you had a bad show apart from you.
  • Danny: And the three people stood next to you.
  • John: When people see Fair Do’s as a band stood next to each other, they think we’re going to kill each other. You have to be able to say things and just move onto the next business. Harsh things need to be said occasionally, so sometimes you have to have a shouty, sweary match.

Do you argue with each other a lot, then?

  • John: One of the pitfalls of Fair Do’s is that we produce tunes before we can play them. The songs are written and composed but we can’t actually play them.
  • Danny: We can play them at that we demo them, or try some midi drums. We make sure we’re writing stuff that we can play.
  • John: Yeah, we’re not faking playing stuff, but we’ll come up with ideas that are not obtainable until after many moons of practice.
  • Danny: Dave’s alright, but for the rest of us it’s the sort of stuff we have to sit down and spend an hour a night working on it for six weeks to be able to nail it.

Continue reading “Fair Do’s: No One’s Going To Set Standards For You [Interview]”

Gig Review: Pouzza Fest 8, Montreal [18-20 May 2018]

Joelle gives us her Top 10 moments from Montreal’s famous punk festival, featuring A Wilhelm Scream, After The Fall, This Is A Standoff and a lot of love.

Article by Joelle Laes.

Travelling from Belgium to Montreal was an adventure in itself; a journey for the love of punk. You can read my Road To Pouzza article to hear more, as it gives the perfect intro to this.

If you’ve never heard of Pouzza Fest, then where have you been? It uses the same formula as The Fest and Manchester Punk Festival. Multiple venues participate and there’s pretty much five bands playing at the same time throughout the day; you have to run around town to catch your favourites. Sensible shoes are a must. This makes choosing difficult, though they do try to not have bands in the same sub-genre clash.

Pouzzalineup.jpg

It is impossible to describe the whole weekend (especially in the midst of the inevitable post-festival mood crash), so here are my Top 10 moments of the festival, recorded in chronological order. I have selected these based on how the music made me feel, because sometimes that’s more important than an impressive performance.

Friday

Hate It Too

Getting back from our Toronto trip later than expected, we rushed to shower to get rid of bus smell and get down to registration, for our wristbands and get to Foufounes in time for Quebec’s Hate It Too. Filled with anxiety we rushed into the venue. With the first notes that warm feeling of happiness came flooding back. By now I’ve only seen this skate-punk band live twice, and twice I’ve been mesmerized by the bass. It’s not just me. Those warm bass tones might have something to do with it, and their phenomenal songwriting skills too, I suppose.

I have been in love with their album Purple Mountains since it came out in 2015. Having recently released a new song Cyanide Teeth, they had me stoked to hear it live. They definitely did not disappoint; I have nothing but love for this band.

Kali Masi

It’s my second time seeing this pop-punk ensemble from Chicago in two days! I said I’d give them a second chance, didn’t I? While they got somewhat lost in the lineup at the gig in Toronto, playing at Foufounes with a super-stoked crowd made them shine. For me they were a nice chilled break from all the fast bands and had me nodding along in no time. Despite being referred to as a ‘skate-punk aficionado’, I do quite enjoy some slower punk-rock as well. Continue reading “Gig Review: Pouzza Fest 8, Montreal [18-20 May 2018]”

Video: Practicing Meditation for Wellbeing On Tour With Waterweed

Jo of Bad Juju Yoga created this insightful short film whilst on tour with Japanese skate-punks Waterweed, recording the benefits and challenges of keeping up a daily meditation practice.

When you think about life on tour, meditation isn’t the first word to spring to mind. However, when you consider the long, hard hours spent on the road, sardined into a van with a stack of equipment, the boredom of travel, drinking to excess and charging through sweaty half-hour live shows… taking 15 minutes for yourself to recentre begins to make sense.

Jo Smith, of Bad Juju Yoga, created this insightful short film whilst driving Waterweed on a seven day tour around Europe. She relays the challenges and benefits daily meditation practice in this entertaining tour diary.

Here’s what Jo had to say about it: “In April, I spent 7 days on a European tour, co-driving/ managing/ merch-wenching with Japanese skatepunkers Waterweed. I documented this journey for a bit of fun, and to also see if I could commit to my daily mediation practice on the road. I regularly felt tempted just to drink beer, chill out and not do my meditation but I by the end of the week, I had some self-realisation of what the meditation really did for me. So here is my doco/ tour vid of my experience.”

Bad Juju Yoga began in 2015 after founder, Jo Smith, discovered the Punk Rock Yoga manifesto. The manifesto empowered Jo to do what felt most authentic when teaching, which is why most of her classes use a variety of music genres.

Bad Juju is more than just physical exercise. It is a lifestyle, promoting a philosophy of community spirit. Bringing together like-minded people into a space where they can develop their own practice and knowledge of yoga and wellbeing. A space where they feel welcome and where they can be themselves.

You can find Bad Juju Yoga on online, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Jo also teaches punk rock yoga classes at various UK and European festivals, teaching in a creative way using a style that is all-inclusive, sharing yoga through the love of music, mantra, sound and vibration.​ We highly recommend that you check out her online classes in the near future.

 

Shout Louder’s June 2018 Playlist

Listen to our Spotify playlist for all of June’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.

Enjoy this month’s selection of tunes – featuring many of the bands we’ll be catching live this month. Here’s what we’re listening to:

 

Exclusive: The Burnt Tapes Premiere Video for ‘Things Get Weird’

Be the first to watch the beautiful and mysterious new music video from London’s favourite regret punks, The Burnt Tapes.

The Burnt Tapes Video Premiere Things Get Weird Exclusive

Celebrating a year since the release of their melodic-punk gem, Alterations, London’s The Burnt Tapes have released a beautiful video for the best song on the record: Things Get Weird.

Alterations was Shout Louder’s Best EP Release of 2017 and we’ve been dying to hear more from the band ever since. These self-styled regret punks excel in heart-on-your-sleeve songwriting with oodles of hooks and sad refrains, ideal for fans of Iron Chic, Polar Bear Club or Red City Radio.

The video for Things Get Weird is about battling your demons, whether they be mental or physical manifestations, which aptly captures the song’s themes of loss and inner turmoil. Sing with us now: “I watched us fall apart in my head…”

Alterations is available on 12’’ vinyl, CD or download direct from Lockjaw Records and Umlaut Records.

Here’s what The Burnt Tapes had to say about the video:

“Firstly, we were super lucky to be able to get two very talented people to work with us on this project, Arghie and Serena, who were willing to help us bring to life any weird and wacky ideas we had. Although we filmed this video across multiple days back in November, but it felt right to put it out now to celebrate the one year anniversary of Alterations‘ release.

We spent two days working with the mercurial Matt Carson [JB Conspiracy / Darko’s Hiraeth video]. We had an idea for a very ambitious drowning-in-a-pool scene – we rocked up to a pool in a spa/gym, managed to get past reception with a crew of two actors, two band members and Matt with all his equipment…. We started filming, but just before the girls jumped into the pool the receptionist busted in on us and kicked us out. The pool scene became a bathtub scene.

The Burnt Tapes have just spent 10 days recording their debut full-length at The Ranch. Due to ‘the confidentiality agreement they signed with Sony’ they’re not able to tell us much more than that in the moment, but we know it will be worth the wait.

You can catch the band live at Evil Hoof Fest in Manchester in on July 21st or at Rebellion in August. They are wrapping up the summer with a tour of Scotland, starting on August 24th.

You can pick up a copy of Alterations direct from Lockjaw Records and Umlaut Records here: https://lockjaw-records.lnk.to/Alterations

You can keep track of all Burnt Tapes news on Facebook and Instagram. While you’re here, why not read Shout Louder’s review of Alterations?

How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality

Life feels shorter than ever; so I’m going to fill it with the noises I love.

Article by Sarah Williams.

N.B.: I’d intended for this to be a happy article about how and why I enjoy live music so much, but it’s turned out a bit on the dark side. Oops. Trigger warning: Depression, suicide, bereavement.

Waterweed

I’ve been going to a lot of gigs lately. In the last month alone, I figured out I’ve travelled over 3,500 miles just to see bands. As I’ve started booking in festivals later in the year, more people are asking me why I’m doing it.

Typically it is a question I get from the ‘normal’ people I work with or my long-suffering family, however lately it’s a question I’ve received from people in the scene, usually accompanied by an incredulous look because I’ve just turned up in yet another city.

I’ve got an answer for you, but it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Why do I go to so many gigs? I go because I know I’m going to die. I’ve become hyper aware of my own mortality.

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers, and enjoying the music I love is my way of remedying and recognising that. Every show I go to, whether that’s a sweaty Propagandhi pit, a crusty post-hardcore melee or a gentle acoustic folk gig, I will have a massive grin plastered to my face. I’m enjoying the noise, the adventure and spending time in the punk community, because I feel like it could end at any second.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been berated with the following: “You’re going to burn out;” “You should drink less;” “You need to concentrate more on work;” “You shouldn’t waste your money on that;” “You need to calm down.”

They’re all right, of course, I probably ‘should’ do all of those things. I’m fucking tired. I’ve got tinnitus. I get stressed trying to keep track of all the gig-dates on my mental calendar. I struggle to motivate myself to do my day job because it’s so different to my ‘other life’. I’ve given myself alcohol poisoning more times than I can count. I’m running solely on caffeine and enthusiasm. Getting out of bed to be at the airport at 5am when I’ve still got the flu from last weekend’s festival is a hellish struggle.

It is worth it, because I am happy. Right now, I am happier than I have ever been. And I have been for a long time now. I haven’t felt the tug of depression and the cold sweat of anxiety has washed straight off me. I’ll say it again: I am really fucking happy. Continue reading “How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality”

Podcast #7: Rob & Dan from Darko Takeover!

Dan and Rob from melodic hardcore heavyweights Darko join Sarah for a chat. We talk lyrics, cocktails and tour stories. Dan shits his pants and Rob gets shat on by a bird. Don’t miss this!

Darko are simultaneously one of the hardest-working and hardest-partying bands we know. They are all dedicated, intelligent and serious musicians… but that doesn’t mean that they’re above telling us about shitting a tent at Punk Rock Holiday.

Join us for this special episode of the Shout Louder Podcast with Dan Smith and Rob Piper of Guildford’s melodic hardcore tour-de-force: Darko. We have an in-depth chat, finishing with the most embarrassing Worst Time story we’ve heard yet.

We also tell the tale behind the ‘summer cocktail’ bundle they have recently announced, with a gorgeous yellow/pink/blue splatter re-press of their stunning album Bonsai Mammoth. I wanted to find out a bit more background behind some of the songs and how the band manage to balance their punk rock lifestyles with their day jobs.

You can also enjoy music from Forever Unclean, Money Left To Burn and A Wilhelm Scream. And Rob gets shat on by a bird. You wouldn’t want to miss that. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts!

Darko’s summer cocktail bundle can be pre-ordered from Lockjaw Records, with special edition t-shirts and posters – you can pick up a copy here.

Darko Summer Cocktail Bundle.jpg

Darko are heading out on a rare UK tour with A Wilhelm Scream in two weeks time. Shout Louder strongly recommend that you go to as many dates on this tour as you possibly can. Here’s the full list:

  • June 21st: Glasgow, Nice & Sleazy with Shout Louder’s personal faves The Affect Heuristic
  • June 22nd: Manchester, Star & Garter with Fair Do’s and Throwing Stuff
  • June 23rd: Norwich, Waterfront with Other Half
  • June 24th: London, New Cross Inn part of Polite Riot Festival
  • June 25th: Bristol, Exchange with The Run Up
  • June 26th: Stafford, Redrum with Funeral Shakes and This Is The End
  • June 27th: Southampton, Joiners with Almeida

Continue reading “Podcast #7: Rob & Dan from Darko Takeover!”