The Bennies: Bringing Happiness To The Party [Interview]

Australian party machines The Bennies discuss philosophy, cannibalism, dangers… and they invent their very own party robot.

Interview by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Nick Manuel.

At El Topo Goes Loco in Belgium last year, I had the opportunity to chat with Anty Horgan and Nick Williams of Australian party-wizards The Bennies. They’re one of the most fun and uplifting bands you’ll have the joy of seeing, churning up punk, rock, reggae, dub and dance music in a cocktail of danceable anthems.

As the party was already in full-swing, and we were all a few beverages in, we took up position on the quiet grass patch outside the festival site. As the mosquitoes descended on us, we shared a couple of Jupilers and a joint, and Anty stretched out on the grass to do some pre-show yoga stretches. 

You guys are current rounding off a long European tour. How’s it feeling?

  • Nick: This our longest tour. It’s been about 30 dates.
  • Anty: It’s the most we’ve ever done. Easily the most in a row. It’s been good! We’re sort of on the knife’s edge at the moment… where everyone’s good, but pretty fragile? It doesn’t take too much to rock the boat, if you know what I mean.

What are you doing to try and stay sane and survive?

  • Nick: I bought a skateboard and I am very stoked about that. That was a total game-changer for me. I got it in Germany. We were playing at the Sonic Ballroom in Cologne. 

Do you skate much back home?

  • Nick: Not really. I used to a lot. The danger element in our band increased ten-fold in one day. I bought a skateboard in the morning and that was awesome. Then we arrived at Steinhagen and there was a tightrope there that we all suddenly decided we wanted to start mastering. 

Continue reading “The Bennies: Bringing Happiness To The Party [Interview]”

DAVES: Spicing Things Up In The Musical Bedroom [Interview]

Leeds’ unique hardcore act Daves are a diamond in the punk rock rough. There’s a Dave in all of us, apparently.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Leeds louts Daves knocked our socks off at Strummercamp earlier this year, so we had to get to know them better. There’s been a rumble in the underground about them recently, and it’s well-deserved. If you’re not a fan of Daves yet, I suggest you get them in your ears immediately.

Mixing up interesting hardcore grooves, stripped-back acoustic segments and classically punk rock vocals, Daves have fostered a unique sound that’s at once lo-fi, lamenting and loud. They’re one of Shout Louder’s top discoveries of 2019, read on to learn more.

Let’s start with the obvious: why are you called Daves? As I understand it, none of you are actually named Dave. Have you ever been accused of false advertising?

  • Drinky: Yeah, it seems to anger people… but mainly by people who aren’t called Dave. We haven’t been taken to court yet, but I’m sure the bastards will come for us one day!

After watching you live recently, I was very impressed. You’ve got a great mix of hardcore and more more melodic, grungy post-hardcore elements. Which bands do you feel have inspired your sound?

  • Drinky: I was raised listening to a lot of protest music really, my dad being quite political, so it came from Billy Bragg to Rage Against The Machine. But now it’s mainly Taylor Swift.
  • Zach: Cliffy Byro, PUP, Green Day, Gallows, Manchester Orchestra, Spice Girls.
  • Jaz: Face To Face, Rancid and Refused.

Continue reading “DAVES: Spicing Things Up In The Musical Bedroom [Interview]”

Brightr: Ebbs and Flows of Emotion [Interview]

We spoke to acoustic melody-master Brightr about his new album, the emotional songwriting process and the supportive punk rock scene that’s helped him along.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Earlier this year, solo artist Brightr (otherwise known as Laurie Cottingham) released his second album Two Sides. It’s an intricate, moving acoustic record, which launched with a little help from Lockjaw Records, No Reason Records and Penultimate Records.

Although he describes himself as gloomy emo-pop, I consider Laurie to be an expert in weaving bright, hopeful acoustic tunes, in the same family as City & Colour or Newton Faulkner before Radio 2 picked him up. Two Sides is a welcome follow-up to Year One; it’s a beautiful, soulful and positive record.

We had a chat with Laurie to celebrate the release.

You’ve recently released a brand new album Two Sides. How does it feel to finally share it with the world?

It feels great to finally be able to get the record out in to the world. These are songs I’ve been working on and obsessing over for far too long (tweaking and changing… and overthinking) so to finish recording them was a huge emotional purge for me. To release them is an entirely different, more exciting time. Continue reading “Brightr: Ebbs and Flows of Emotion [Interview]”

Band Spotlight: Swan Prince [Interview]

Skate-punk newbies Swan Prince have made an impression around the UK.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Growing in popularity in the last six months, Swan Prince at a Midlands skate-punk band that you may recognise from support slots with bands like Red City Radio and The Bombpops. Unfortunately, they called an indefinite hiatus after completing this interview, but we’re sure they’re still worth a listen.

You’ve recently released an EP Enjoy The Rain on Hell Hath No Fury Records. What part of the EP are you most proud of?

Josh S: Personally I think our sound became more focused in our new EP and has definitely set us on a path for the new stuff we are working on. Also, being self produced, I was happier with the production than that of our first EP. Albeit taking us a fraction of the time.

My personal favourite part of the record is that we have managed to capture the energy and angst of the band. Choosing 5 songs to help portray that to the listener isn’t easy but from start to finish the listener is able to truly and fully understand who we are and what we feel is important.

Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Swan Prince [Interview]”

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”