Interview by Sarah Williams.
In a year that’s been blessed with exciting ska-punk reunions, Stand Out Riot are the latest to bring us exciting news. It’s been four years since the Manchester/New Mills sextet have played together regularly, but they’re joining forces once again to release their 2007 album The Gentleman Bandits on vinyl for the first time.
The Gentleman Bandits is a stomping, brassy riot of fast ska-punk – good luck standing still when you get this on your turntable for the first time! Stand Out Riot take cues from bands like Streetlight Manifesto in their more complex composition, incorporating heavier hardcore sections and party-folk elements that are reminiscent of Gogol Bordello. Announced last week, the record is now available from TNS Records, in a gorgeous translucent blue and yellow splatter. If, like me, you want to expand your unnecessarily large collection of merch from defunct ska punk bands, you can also order a new t-shirt while you’re at it.
They’re also getting together for a one-off reunion show, headlining Anarchistic Undertones’ New Year’s Eve shindig at Gullivers in Manchester, accompanied by the likes of Revenge of The Psychotronic Man, Riggots, Wadeye, Habits and The Mighty Bossmags. On top of there there are rumours of more appearances next year, although nothing’s announced at the moment. Very exciting times indeed.
Sarah recently jumped at the opportunity to catch up with bassist Will Garland, to find out more about why they’ve chosen to get together now and what else there is to be excited about in future.
Apart from a one–off gig at Manchester Punk Festival in 2015, Stand Out Riot haven’t been together for quite a few years. What’s prompted your return to music?
Yeah, we haven’t had regular gigs since our last European tour back in 2013! Most of all, we really miss playing. It’s strange because we never really said we were going away – there was no farewell gig or last hurrah. The gigs just became less and less frequent because we got busy with our other lives. But now it’s been far too long and we’re very exciting to be playing again.
The band went through some line–up changes over the years. Who’s involved in the current incarnation of the band?
We’re back to a classic line up – almost the same as when we recorded The Gentleman Bandits back in 2010. We’ve known each other in one way or another for 25+ years now which is pretty crazy. Ben Streets on Drums, Francis Hunt on vocals and trombone, Hannah Hunt on sax, Tessa Hunt on violin and vocals, Ste Anthony on guitar and vocals. I play bass and do some vocals too.
What’s been keeping you and the rest of the band busy in the years without Stand Out Riot?
We’ve all done a lot of travelling, but also started settling down and getting real jobs. Hannah has gone around the world a few times. Tessa was in France for a year. Francis is in the US right now on tour with the Front Bottoms. I moved to Denmark to be a research scientist; that’s kept me super busy for the past 3 years. A few of us are now teachers. Ste is married and has a baby! Real life is pretty damn time consuming.
At the moment it looks like a temporary get–together for a few shows. Would you consider a permanent reunion?
We would love to be back playing regularly. For us in the past, we never made the band full time – it was always something we enjoyed doing in between everything else. When we were at school and university it was much easier to do that, but now we have proper jobs and responsibilities it’s very hard to co-ordinate that with all six of us.
I imagine it must be particularly difficult for you, commuting in from Denmark! How are you managing to fit it all in?
Yeah, as much as I would want to, I can’t make it to our weekly Tuesday band practice like the good old days. I’m back in the UK a few times a year. Back in August I was over and we got together a couple of times to go through all the songs again. It was a bit rusty in places but we seemed to remember lots by muscle memory. It was so much fun to be playing again! I’ll be back over December so hopefully we will get a few more practices in before playing to real people.
You’re releasing The Gentleman Bandits on vinyl through TNS Records. Has the album ever been available on vinyl before?
No, this will be the first record we’ve ever released on vinyl! It’s always been a dream do this, so I’m very excited. We have the test pressings right now, which are ridiculously cool. I can’t wait to see the final copies in December.
It’s exciting to see the album in that format. Are any of you vinyl–geeks?
I’m super into vinyl! Most of my collection is sitting in my old bedroom back in the UK though. I just bought a new turntable, partly to listen to our own record… is that sad? But it’s encouraged me to get back into spending hours at the record stores. There is a huge jazz scene in Copenhagen and I’ve picked up some pretty crazy local records.
What interesting records have you picked up in Copenhagen?
This weekend I got Third Stream Music by Neils Viggo Bentzon & The Contemporary Jazz Quartet. It’s pretty insane Danish avant-garde jazz from the 1960’s – I mainly bought it because of the sleeve, but it’s a pretty cool record. Youngblood Brass Band were playing here a few weeks ago and I bought a few records from them including a signed white label version of their 20th anniversary album, pretty sweet. I also have JB Conspiracy’s This Machine waiting back at home in the UK, can’t wait to pick that up.
Is there anything different about The Gentleman Bandits release to look forward to?
Other than the fact it is physically larger and you have to turn it over halfway through… it’s mostly the same. You get to see Steve Kitchen’s (Combination 13) awesome artwork at the size it deserves. We went all out on the optional extras for the vinyl itself, so we will have a transparent blue and yellow splattered record. I think some of the test pressings will also be available – there are only 10 in existence.
Why have you decided to re–release the album now?
Over a year ago we got together for a wonderful Chinese meal and got talking about what we were going to do with our leftover band funds. We came up with three options; buy more takeaway, see how much gold we could buy or else get some vinyl pressed. At first the vinyl was just going to be for ourselves, as a memento. Then we got talking with Bev and Andy at TNS again and we hatched a plan to re-release the album through them again. We also got asked to play the AU NYE gig and so we coincided the release with around that time.
What’s your favourite track from the record / what are you most excited to play live?
My favourite track changes all the time. I’m very excited to play Get Mutual live again, it will probably be our opener on NYE – it always gets us pumped for the rest of the set. Also looking forward to playing some of the older songs too!
What sort of set can we expect from the live shows – lots of material from The Gentleman Bandits?
We haven’t finalised a set yet, it’s so difficult to decide on what to fit in. We had a very democratic vote between us all about what to re-learn for our last practice. There was multiple polls and bar graphs… we’re a bunch of nerds. In the end we played mostly everything, so it was all for nothing. We want to try fit in some songs from Carnival Militia and the TNS008 split to make it a good mix.
Is there any new material in the works?
When we first took some time off we had the best intentions of writing several albums worth of material… but we mainly got caught up in other things. Me and Francis have some songs and lots of parts of songs. Hopefully at some point we will be able to put it all together for something new.
Do you have any other gigs, tours or festivals on the horizon?
There have been a few offers, but nothing concrete yet. Hopefully we can sort out a bunch of gigs for next year when we’re all together. I would LOVE to tour again! Playing around mainland Europe was the best of times. We should make the most of it before our silly country leaves the EU…
It’s great to have you back on the scene. What are you most excited about, for both the new release and the new gigs?
We’re super hyped about just playing, it’s the best. We might be older and slower than we used to be, but that won’t stop us having the most fun. I’m sure a lot has changed since we last played, but I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone on the Manchester scene (the best scene in the world).
The Gentleman Bandits is available on translucent blue and yellow splatter vinyl now – pick up a copy from TNS Records. Make sure you grab a tickets for the AU NYE show in Manchester if you want to catch Stand Out Riot playing a rare live show; tickets are cheap and available from here.
Interview by Sarah Williams.