Band Spotlight: Hurricane Season [Interview]

Austrian punks Hurricane Season talk influences, lyrics and their debut album ‘Nice To Need You’.

Hurricane Season are an Austrian whirlwind (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of punk rock energy. They released their debut album Nice To Need You via SBAM Record in March 2019. We got to know the band better.

How would you sum up Hurricane Season for someone who’s just discovering you?

It’s a mixture of all the music we listened to as kids and, of course, what we listen to nowadays. So all the good pop stuff mixed with the punk music we all love. Maybe like Roxette meets No Use For A Name meets Bob Dylan meets Weezer meets The Beatles meets Ramones?

What inspired you most when writing Nice To Need You?

Even if it sounds pretty lame, I think the thing that inspires me the most when I’m writing songs is life itself. All the things I’ve experienced, all the things I’ve been through and all the things I’m going through at the moment, whether they are good or bad. But probably most of the times bad or sad, so I think those hard and challenging moments inspire me the most. Writing seems to help me getting over those kinds of dark times.

Also the people I met, or that surrounded me over the last 8 years (yeah, a few of the songs are that old) and influenced me, seem to be a big part of this record. Again, either in a bad or good way. So maybe that’s why the name Nice To Need You came up, which leaves space for interpretation. Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Hurricane Season [Interview]”

MPF Interview: Martha

We spoke to Martha ahead of Manchester Punk Festival, discussing their new album and the influence DIY punk’s had on them.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

In 2019, it’s hard to find any UK punk rocker who’s not a fan of Martha. Heavily influenced by pop music but rooted in Northern DIY punk, Martha make lovable, upbeat music that appeals to old school punks, hardcore kids and pop-punk fans alike. We spoke to them ahead of their upcoming performance at Manchester Punk Festival 2019.

You’ve got a new album Love Keeps Kicking. How do you think you’ve grown as a band since Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart?

The new record is a bit more world weary and sombre, but it’s still got hope and optimism within it. And it’s full of songs we’d want to listen to. The world feels fucking shit, and that’s bound to filter through into songwriting.

What can fans expect from the new album?

Love songs, sad songs, pop songs, references to places in Durham city, where working class people used to go that have been bulldozed to make way for student accommodation.

You’ve been described as having an ‘unashamedly Northern edge’. How do you feel your Durham roots influenced your sound?

It’s who we are and so it’s inevitable it comes out in the music. We can’t really avoid it. I think it’s also the case that when bands from smaller towns sound like they really sound, it’s more noticeable just by virtue of being a bit different. Every band is from somewhere! Continue reading “MPF Interview: Martha”

MPF Interview: Screech Bats

Manchester Punk Festival will be Screech Bat’s final gig – we spoke to them ahead of the funeral service.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

Alt-rock four piece Screech Bats are sadly calling it a day at Manchester Punk Festival 2019. We’ve caught them live a few times and enjoyed their 2018 EP Wish You Were Her (as well as being consistently jealous of their next-level eyeliner wielding skills), so we’re sad to see them go. We took our last chance to have a chat with the band.

MPF is sadly going to be Screech Bats final show, and you’re treating it as a funeral for the band. Do you have any special planned that you can share with us?

We are planning to go out of this world just like we came into it: screaming, disoriented and sodden with goo.

If there a reason you’ve decided to use MPF as your send off?

MPF is a festival that we really wanted to tick off the bucket list, so it just made sense to go out on a high. Plus, for Christmas our mate adopted Esme a pig called Truffles that lives just outside Manchester, in a Pig & Terrapin sanctuary in Rochdale, so we can all go pat her on the belly for some post funeral sad-be-gones. Continue reading “MPF Interview: Screech Bats”

Interview: Not On Tour gearing up for Manchester Punk Festival

Upbeat Israeli skate-punks Not On Tour are celebrating their new album ‘Growing Pains’ and their upcoming tour that takes in Groezrock, Manchester Punk Festival and SBAM Fest.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

Not On Tour are, without a doubt, the band we’re most excited to see at Manchester Punk Festival. Fans of 80’s punk ala Descendents, Bad Religion or Minor Threat will be instantly enthralled by their fresh take on a classic sound.

This Israeli four-piece have a cult appeal that’s spread across the global punk scene through ‘have you heard’ whispers in the past few years. Their catchy, political skate-punk ditties see them taking a headline slot at MPF, and touring to celebrate the release of their new album Growing Pains.

We’re excited to welcome you back to the UK! Manchester Punk Festival will be your first English show since 2013. How has the band grown since your last tour here?

  • Nir (bass): A major change to the band is our new guitar player, Mati. Growing Pains is the first time we’ve written music with another guitarist and we are really pleased with the result! 
    Sima (vocals): We’ve played in a lot of other countries since then, all over Europe and also Japan and Russia. Last 3 years have been a big change in the amount of crowd and the places we play. Also having a booking agent has been a real relieving step for us.

What can British audiences, who might not have seen you before, expect from Not On Tour?

  • Nir: An energetic show with a kick-ass female singer, fast and catchy melodic punk rock tunes that won’t let you stand without shaking your booty.

Continue reading “Interview: Not On Tour gearing up for Manchester Punk Festival”

The DIY Roots of Manchester Punk Festival

Sarah speaks to organiser Andy Davies about MPF’s dedication to the DIY approach, five years on from the festival’s humble beginnings.

Written by Sarah Williams, with contributions from Andy Davies. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Manchester Punk Festival has grown significantly since its beginning five years ago. As one of the biggest punk festivals the UK has to offer, it remains fervently independent, affordable and free from corporate sponsorship.

Now that MPF is booking massive international headliners, increasing its capacity with new venues and still selling out of tickets (in 2018, there’s a handful left for 2019); it’s easy to forget the DIY roots of the festival… but the organisers definitely haven’t.

The festival is coordinated by a collective composed of three distinct Manchester promoters: TNSrecords, Anarchistic Undertones and Moving North. Outside of MPF, AU and Moving North are still putting on small DIY shows at least once a month, while TNSrecords are working hard championing and releasing records from up-and-coming punk rock bands. All three groups work to promote independent music, tirelessly and with no expectation of financial gain, and they apply the same mentality to Manchester Punk Festival.

Darko Karl Jump cred Josh Sumner.jpg
Darko smashing it at Gorilla at MPF2018. Cred: Josh Sumner

Origins of Manchester Punk Festival

Things all kicked off in 2013 with TNSrecords’ 10 Year Anniversary all-dayer; the biggest event they’d run by themselves. They’d had a stage at Strummercamp for a number of years, which contributed to their desire to run a bigger festival. In the year before, they’d seen a gap for a collaboration in the Manchester scene, which led to them calling a meeting of like-minded promoters.

Continue reading “The DIY Roots of Manchester Punk Festival”

The Deadnotes: Tackling Beauty Standards [Interview]

We spoke to German indie-punks The Deadnotes about their new single ‘Make Up’ and their UK tour.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

The Deadnotes are an exciting indie-punk four piece from Frieburg, Germany. They joined us in the UK in February, including shows in London, Glasgow and Brighton.

Now in their early 20’s, The Deadnotes have been playing together since they were 14, and they’re due to hit their 500th live show this year. After working hard, they caught our eye with their latest single Make Up, which delivers a hard-hitting message about beauty standards. They’ve released it via their own label, 22Lives Records.

We spoke to vocalist/guitarist Darius Lohmüller to learn more about this fresh band.

Welcome to Shout Louder, guys! How would you sum up The Deadnotes for someone who’s just discovering you?

Someone just sent me a message today describing our style as ‘courageous music for weirdos’ – this is really something I can relate to! I’d say we are a groovy/poppy indie-punk band trying to write songs as genuine and straight from the heart as possible. We write angry songs when we want to and we write bloody cheesy songs when want to.

I enjoyed your latest single Make Up. The song and the video talk about how the beauty standards we uphold have had a negative impact. What’s the message you’re trying to convey?

I think the main message we are trying to convey is pretty simple, and I hope a song like this can encourage the right people to take more care of each other and open their minds: ‘You are beautiful just like the way you are’. The song is definitely a socio-critical song and tackles modern and current beauty ideals. I think the issue itself has been discussed quite often already and is nothing new, but most of the time only relates to the outer appearance of people. However I think that the resulting mental struggles people have to deal with has not been talked about enough already.

A main focus was the bitter conflict too many people have: being insecure and not accepting oneself, whereas your brain is rationally well aware of how irrelevant other peoples opinion or judgement is regarding the way you look, think or act.

It really kills me to see so many people, even with my peers or close friends, who get lost in self hate, hurting themselves psychologically and physically. Unfortunately this sometimes is an even bigger issue in the punk rock scene that usually calls itself open minded and tolerant.

Continue reading “The Deadnotes: Tackling Beauty Standards [Interview]”

Koji: Activism, Community & Collaboration [Interview]

We spoke to America singer-songwriter and political activist Koji ahead of his upcoming European tour.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Andrew ‘KOJI’ Shiraki is an American singer-songwriter know for his political activism, plaintive songwriting and his collaborations with bands like La Dispute, Into It Over It, Title Fight and Balance and Composure.

He’s embarking on an extensive tour of Europe in January and February, beignning with a run of UK dates with Such Gold and Ducking Punches before a series of headline solo shows on the mainland.

KOJI has been quiet over the last few years, after spending his 20s on the road. Rested and revitalised, he’s aiming to return to music with renewed energy in 2019. We were keen to speak to him ahead of his UK tour.

Thanks so much for talking to us! You’re embarking a major tour around Europe right now, sharing quite a few dates with Such Gold and Ducking Punches in the UK. What are you most excited for?

It’s been a long time since I’ve been over to the UK or toured anywhere for that matter. My one and only tour last year was with the Movielife in Japan and it’s awesome to now experience the culture here in the UK on the back of that experience. Such Gold and I toured here in 2011, so this is such a cool reunion.

You’ve been to the UK quite a few times before. What keeps bringing you back?

The UK music community is amazing. There are so many friends I’ve made here that continue to enrich my life. I’ve always felt inspired by the people, music, and landscape. When I’m in the UK, it really feels like I’m playing music and not just going through the motions. In life, you have to trust the places where you feel joy. Continue reading “Koji: Activism, Community & Collaboration [Interview]”