Interview by Mark Bartlett.
London’s marvellous melodic-punk 4-piece Triple Sundae have just released their new EP Peace of Mind through Umlaut Records. It’s the perfect primer for the summer and the bands most focused, accomplished effort to date. It’s full of amazing songwriting and sugary, addictive melodies across its three great tracks.
I caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Hassan Afaneh to talk about the band’s future, his inspirations and the state of the UK music scene.
How did Triple Sundae come to be?
Triple Sundae came around at the tail end of 2013 when I had hit up Mike [Smith, guitarist] about wanting to start a band. I was in a really dark place following some pretty shit events within my personal life and it had been two years since I’d played in a punk-oriented band. That outlet was very much needed. A couple of months of finding members and song-writing sessions went by and then boom Tripsun was born in February 2014.
Have you all played in bands previously or do any of you moonlight in other projects?
Each of us have played in bands prior to Triple Sundae (and during!).
I’ve played in punk bands, emo bands, hardcore bands, ska bands, acoustic bands, neo-soul bands… it goes on. I was only ever good at playing music, so to preserve my sanity I was jumping on project after project!
As well as TS, I play in On a Hiding to Nothing, Zandro drums for Lead Shot Hazard and Andy had started a project named Postcards. One thing is for certain though – we have all played in ska bands at one point in our lives. Ska lives bro.
How would you describe your sound to someone? Is there a genre within punk you feel especially akin to?
If you like anything on Side One Dummy, Jade Tree Records or Quote Unquote then you’ll probably dig it.
Which artists have been a huge influence on the band and also you personally?
Lifetime and The Menzingers probably hold the biggest influence on our music. Personally, I just wanna make music like A Tribe Called Quest.
What are the main themes and topics of your lyrics?
A lot of it has to do with my own personal experiences with mental health and struggle with self-improvement. We haven’t released much music so far but, between the three EPs, they all share those themes.
What music do you love outside of the punk genre?
Z loves his metal, Mike loves his ska, Andy loves his 2000’s pop punx while I’m still trying to be a trap producer.
How does the creative process work within the band?
Usually I’d bring a song idea, riff, chorus or on a good day a full song to the others, and we develop it between us and get it to a level that we’re happy with. Practicing usually helps, but we don’t get to practice too often.
You’ve recently been announced as an addition to the Umlaut Records roster. How did that collaboration come about?
We’ve had ties with the Umlaut lot for a while now; Mark Bell was designing our first t-shirts and we’ve played with Mug a couple times. As Umlaut was developing, we were lucky enough to play some of their events and build a good enough relationship with them. When word went around that we were working on an EP, they showed nothing but interest so it just made sense really! Huge love to Umlaut and all the bands they work with.
Your new EP Peace Of Mind is out right now! What does the title reference? My favourite song is Fabricated by the way, they’re all fantastic though.
The title summarises the main theme behind the tracks, which is just wanting to find balance within yourself and to stop letting anger and anxiety form your decision making process. Peace of Mind is about wanting to find peace of mind.
You hail from London, how do you see the music scene there currently?
The London scene is sick no matter which aspect of the punk scene you look at. The skate punx are killing it, indie punx are killing it, pop punx are killing it – everyone’s killing it. What sucks is dealing with venues closing and how much gentrification has been affecting the small, local venues that the punk scene needs. There’s always gonna be alternatives, but it’s a shame to see honest businesses and good spaces close down for a Nandos or Costa.
What’s been your proudest moment in Triple Sundae so far?
Probably playing the Underworld with Jeff Rosenstock or touring Greece in 2015, solely for it being our first shows overseas!
What’s your favourite Triple Sundae song and why?
It’s a tie between Everything’s Cool and Unseen ‘cause playing those two songs live is always a rager!
What bands are really exciting you right now?
Broadbay, Martha and Eat Defeat are in top three UK bands at the moment. Just Friends and Prince Daddy and The Hyena on the USA side of things.
So what have you got lined up for 2018? Any tours on the cards?
We are currently looking into finally booking a mainland EU tour, and hope to do some more UK touring also!
Any words of advice for people in bands out there?
Just relax and don’t put too much pressure on yourself – at the end of the day, there are 1000’s of bands and not everyone is destined to be at the top of the game with all the endorsements and $$$. Just have some fun with it and see where you can take it. And most importantly, don’t be a dickhead to others.
Can you remember what the first CD/LP/Tape etc was that you bought?
American Idiot when I was like 10 years old, HMV had a 2-for-1 deal so I also got Dookie with it. Sick times.
If you had to replace yourself with a member of another band, who would it be?
Jack Wiseman from On a Hiding to Nothing cos I can’t kick as high as he can.
Make sure you listen to Triple Sundae’s incredible new EP Peace of Mind. It’s out now on Umlaut Records and will be an instant hit for fans of The Menzingers, Hard Girls or Gnarwolves. Keep up with the band on Facebook or Bandcamp.
Interview by Mark Bartlett.