Interview: Disaster Forecast on the apocalypse, fast-punk and a foundation of fun

Disaster Forecast is one of those bands that you haplessly stumble upon, but can’t help falling in love with. Erring on the technical side of skate-punk, this four-piece from Sheffield has a knack for memorable songwriting and intricate composition, all at a breakneck pace. I first saw them at Nice As Pie fest in 2019 – they blew me away live, and I was even more excited to discover that they’re bloody lovely people. 

I spoke to Scott Reynolds (vocals, guitar) and Rosie Eachus (drums) about their musical sensibilities, their influences in punk rock and their approach to crafting fast as fuck skate-punk songs … and in the process, I learned that the key to their band is a foundation of fun and a do-it-yourself ethos. After this interview, I only want to get to know them and their band more.

Disaster Forecast is playing our birthday bash on January 22nd 2022 at Retro Bar in Manchester. It’s a joint event: Shout Louder vs Garlic Bread Club. The lineup’s got a little something for everyone, including Fair Do’s, Other Half, Piss Kitti, Brassick, Cool Jerks and Smoking Gives You Big Tits. Grab ya ticket and come party with us.

Disaster Forecast is a 10 out of 10 band name. Was it a particularly rainy day when you chose the name?

  • Scott: Thanks! I love the band name too, however, it seems to get an unusual response from people who don’t listen to much alternative music. When I tell people the name of the band, they will often think of it as quite dour and depressing. The truth is it was quite an astute description of the first year being in the band. It was a constant struggle to get moving at first, there was always something going wrong … be it cars breaking down halfway to practice … the room being packed full of junk from the pub downstairs, resulting in an hour’s clean up of someone else’s mess before jamming … gear constantly breaking or going missing. It felt like the odds were always stacked against us and I see the name as a bit of a light-hearted joke in reflection of those times! 

Of the dystopian futures available, which would you prefer? 

  • Rosie: When I was younger I was always obsessed with Waterworld. I think the main appeal was they’d grown fucking webbed feet and gills. How mint would that be? Also in the early days of Channel 5, there was a show called The Tribe, where all the adults have died from a mysterious disease and all the kids had to fend for survival … which generally included painting their faces and having really ‘cool’ hair, and living in shopping malls. 

What’s your zombie invasion/doomsday prep plan?

  • Scott: I would love to just arm myself to the teeth with an arsenal of homemade weaponry, Mad Max my way to a woodland area like the Peak District and start a new, feral civilisation just living in the wild! Although I’m sure I’d probably die in the first week doing something stupid
  • Rosie: There’s a gun shop about four miles from where I live, that’s the first stop. Then I’d paint my face “cool” (ala The Tribe) so people know I mean business, and I’m a bit of a hoarder anyway so I’d probably take all my canned goods, cats and guns and live in the loft until it all blows over. I’ve got so many broken drum sticks I can use as weapons too, I’ll stick the heads of my enemies outside my front door.

Okay, we should probably talk about music. Are there any events you’ve taken inspiration from, or messages you’re hoping to convey in your lyrics?

  • Scott: I think the message when we started was nothing more than having fun. The first three songs we wrote were absolutely ridiculous lyrically because there were no real reference points in there. I started writing lyrics that were addressing issues that were directly involved in my personal life after that, which were heavily influenced by past betrayals, a long battle with alcohol dependency, identity crisis and morality. Much of the things I have worked on since lockdown have derived from overthinking my place in the world and what I take vs. what I give back. I’ve never been very good at writing about politics and I think that probably shows.

Are there any bands you especially look up to, who you feel have influenced Disaster Forecast?

  • Scott: For me, the most inspiring and influential bands have been ones that I have met or found since entering back into the world of playing live music. Particularly bands like Fair Do’s, Grand Collapse, Dead Neck, The Human Project, Incisions. There is something about UK punk bands that just really draws me in! It makes me feel so happy to see them do well too. It makes everything seem possible when you hear that a UK punk band is playing a festival in Slovenia. 
  • Rosie: Belvedere have probably been my biggest influence over the years (and I won’t shut up about them), but +1 to what Scott said – the UK scene is booming and packed full of talent and has been for such a long time. I love the fact that bands like Pendleton that I grew up with as a 14-year-old are back on the scene, too.

What’s your creative process for writing lyrics and music?

  • Scott: It tends to be that I’ll have a riff idea that blossoms into a really rigid structure and I will write an entire song at home alone, but it totally lacks something that I can’t put my finger on. So I’ll take it to my music doctor: Rosie (the drummer in our band).
  • Me and Rosie can completely pull a song apart and make it sound like a totally different band in the space of a 4-hour jam and we often do! We completely overcomplicate and oversaturate everything within an inch of its life so that it’s nearly impossible to play, then when we take it to the rest of the team we get told to calm down. Usually, at this point, we’ll sort of strip it back down again to something more palatable with the help of Taylor and Owen, which becomes the general structure of the song, but until it’s recorded it will change a bunch of times again. Lyrically, nothing happens until we’re happy with the general structure although I’ll already have a vague idea of what I’m doing. It’s just a messy spaghetti junction of ever-changing noise until we eventually decide to play it live! 
  • Rosie: I think Scott and I just bounce off each other really well to create the foundations, albeit we do tend to get carried away. There’s so many ideas there that I think as a band we’re all comfortable enough giving each other constructive feedback and sometimes, you just want a catchy, banging, singalong chorus. Strip out anything remotely complicated and you’ve got it. 

You released a new track in April – Safe Bet. Is that a sign of new music to come? 

  • Scott: Safe Bet was the start of us putting a new EP together but, once we recorded it with Andy Dazzler at Through The Roof, we almost immediately went into lockdown so, like everyone else, we screeched to a halt. We are finally booked in again at No Studio in Manchester for the new year, but I feel that the music has completely changed and matured almost. I’m so excited to see how it turns out, but I honestly think since Safe Bet, we have progressed even further with our sound and style. 

Were you involved in any other musical projects before Disaster Forecast?

  • Scott: Personally nothing really since the pubescent early days! I was in a crappy pop-punk band with Taylor which was basically us trying to do a sort of Lagwagon / Millencolin / Tony Hawks Pro Skater-era punk rock band called Second Ashes which was fun but even thinking about the songs we wrote back then makes me wanna puke! 
  • I went on to join a metal band for a while when I left Second Ashes called Catharsis Collapse (I think they called it ‘DeathCore’), but I never remember feeling any sense of belonging to the metal scene. Back then I was about 17 and it was such a strange vibe at the shows! Everyone would stare at you with crossed arms and nobody ever seemed to have much fun, which is why I left a year later and just stopped playing in bands altogether until Disaster Forecast. Nothing else ever really felt right.
  • Rosie: I had a couple of jam bands here and there but nothing ever really took off. I was classically trained in violin from 4 years old, so other than a few orchestras over the years, nothing that I really wanted to play. I stopped drumming when I left for Uni and got back into it just as Disaster Forecast were getting together, which was awesome. Although, getting back to where I was after not playing for about 11 years was bloody hard.

What gear are you all sporting? Talk us through your pedalboard. 

  • Scott: Honestly, there aren’t too many drastic fluctuations in our general sound, we tend to play fast and hard through almost the entire set, so with the band, we don’t need anything crazy suited up. I literally run an AMT E1 preamp through the back of an Orange CR120 head and away we go! I was advised to go AMT from Tom Petta from BigWig and honestly since he told me to try them out I have not looked back since. When I play my more calm/quiet parts I use my pickup and tone controls to switch it up, but I mostly like to play full whack!
  • Rosie: Snare wise, I’m using a Ludwig Black Magic 14″ x 8″ snare. She’s a chonky girl with a deliciously rich tone but packs an intense punch. Cymbal wise, I definitely lean towards brighter, punchier tones, here’s my current setup:
    • Zildjian K Custom Series  21” Hybrid Ride 
    • Zildjian K Custom Series – 14 1/4″ Hybrid Hats
    • Zildjian A Custom 17″ Projection Crash
    • Sabian AAX  18″ X-plosion Crash
    • Meinl Byzance 16” Brilliant Medium Thin Crash
    • Meinl Extreme Metal 16” China

What’s the scene like near to you, in Sheffield? Are there any bands you’d recommend we check out?

  • Scott: Sheffield has always been relatively diverse, but in terms of punk/alternative, the scene leans more towards pop-punk and emo. There used to be a huge hardcore scene back in the day but I think there’s a correlation between the drop in skateboarding and hardcore/punk. The Lughole is our best chance at quality DIY venue these days which I hear is making another comeback in a big way, but there’s always something to see in the city … be it indie/metal/punk/hip hop/bassline and even a god awful tribute band. 
  • There are some incredible bands on the circuit though such as our bassist Owen’s other band, Havelocke. They’re a cacophony of AFI and Funeral For A Friend but they’re incredibly talented and definitely on their way up! Bodach is a crazy heavy two-piece rock outfit from the depths of Rotherham with some serious Nordic vibes, who are set to release a full length this year!
  • Also, Jetski are a sort of calming, clean sounding garage-punk/indie four-piece from some dudes we used to skate with back in the day. Super catchy choruses and singalong ditties with a smooth guitar sound. Their music is a little out of character for me but well worth a listen for a change of pace. 

What do you like to get up to, outside of playing music?

  • Scott: I do a lot of cocktail bartending and flair bartending… Yeah, just like Tom Cruise! I don’t skateboard nearly as much as I would like to but I think my ankles are silently thanking me for that. I used to be a huge horror film fan, but honestly, since 2020 I’ve moved more into podcasts and lectures because I feel like it helps me to be more productive. 
  • Rosie: Honestly, a lot of my free time revolves around music/art/performance when I’m not busy working. Whether it’s gigs or just jamming, pre-Covid I was travelling quite a bit (which, again, was mainly for gigs and festivals…), and a few of my friends run alternative queer drag shows around Sheffield/Nottingham (particular shout out to Nana Arthole and Marilyn Sane who’ve kept me thoroughly entertained throughout lockdown). I just love watching people perform.

What are your ambitions for Disaster Forecast? Where would you like to be in five years?

  • Scott: At the minute, we’re exactly where I want us to be. It was never meant to be ‘see how far it goes’. It was always meant to be in the name of fun so, as long as people keep booking us, we’ll keep playing! I would like to get a nice juicy full-length out one day, but as long as we’re moving, the direction doesn’t really matter. Personally, I would like to break into more cities. We see a fair bit of Manchester but we’re yet to get into Liverpool and, of course, more shows in the south! Honestly, though, just being a part of the party is enough reward for me. 
  • Rosie: Yeah, same as Scott, really! I never thought we’d be at the point we’re at now, but I feel like we have so much fun together, we just want to keep the momentum up, get some actual tours under our belt and get some shows abroad. The fact that we’re on the Manchester Punk Fest lineup is genuinely never something I thought would never happen … So as long as the opportunities keep arising, we’ll keep taking ‘em! 

Listen to Disaster Forecast on Spotify or Bandcamp. Be sure to grab tickets to see them live at our Garlic Bread Club vs Shout Louder birthday bash in January, while you’re at it.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

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