Interview by Sarah Williams. Live photos by Alia Thomas.
Manchester’s melodic hardcore shredders, Fair Do’s, have just announced that they’ll be releasing their first full album Leopards on July 27th, through Lockjaw Records. I have been begging for this album since 2014 and I can’t believe it’s finally happening.
There are few bands that combine hardcore punk with metal in the way Fair Do’s manage to, and they back it up with a hard-earned technical prowess that makes them stand out from the crowd. They formed in 2009 and released an impressive EP Trying Times in 2014, going on to kill it on stage all over Europe, playing with the likes of A Wilhelm Scream, After The Fall, The Decline and H20, including major festivals like Punk Rock Holiday.
I caught up with vocalist/guitarist Danny Cummings and drummer John Holt over a pint, to learn about the hard work they’ve put into Leopards, their working-class sensibilities and why you might hear hints of Beyonce in Danny’s choruses.
You’re releasing a new album: Leopards! That’s exciting. What took you so long?
- John Holt: Oh, Jesus.
- Danny Cummings: It took a while recording it, because we did it over weekends.
- John: I tracked the drums in September 2016.
- Danny: It was a different beast to the EP. The EP was thrown together: recording guitar at one studio, drums at another. We made a vocal booth in the corner of Josh’s flat for that. Whereas this we’ve done it properly, tracked everything.
Quality is clearly a major focus for Fair Do’s – it has to be to produce something so wonderfully technical. How do you keep the bar set so high?
- John: There’s no one there to set standards for you; you can’t expect anyone to go, “You should be better than that.” It’s your job to do that for yourself. No one’s going to care that you had a bad show apart from you.
- Danny: And the three people stood next to you.
- John: When people see Fair Do’s as a band stood next to each other, they think we’re going to kill each other. You have to be able to say things and just move onto the next business. Harsh things need to be said occasionally, so sometimes you have to have a shouty, sweary match.
Do you argue with each other a lot, then?
- John: One of the pitfalls of Fair Do’s is that we produce tunes before we can play them. The songs are written and composed but we can’t actually play them.
- Danny: We can play them at that we demo them, or try some midi drums. We make sure we’re writing stuff that we can play.
- John: Yeah, we’re not faking playing stuff, but we’ll come up with ideas that are not obtainable until after many moons of practice.
- Danny: Dave’s alright, but for the rest of us it’s the sort of stuff we have to sit down and spend an hour a night working on it for six weeks to be able to nail it.