Ducking Punches: Half Dead From Exhaustion But Stronger Than Ever [Interview]

Dan Allen, frontman of Norwich’s premier folk/alt-rockers, discusses Alamort, mental health and creativity.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

If you’ve not heard Ducking Punches‘ new album Alamort yet, you’re missing out. It’s eleven songs that are reliably epic, anthemic and instantly appealing. It’s drawn comparisons with Frank Turner, Apologies, I Have None and more traditional folk/rock influences, but I believe that Ducking Punches have carved out a genuinely unique sound that only they could possibly achieve.

Ducking Punches started as Dan Allen’s solo project, after his old band parted ways. Nowadays they’re a powerful five-piece on their fourth studio album. Dan still plays solo shows under the same name and many of the lyrical themes rely on his open-hearted personal experiences, but the full-band performance is utterly magical. Hearing the group grow and flourish over the years has been impressive, never moreso than on Alamort.

We caught a few minutes to ask Dan some quite serious questions about the challenges presented by the new record, how he’s developed as a song writer and how his creativity helps to manage his anxiety.

You’ve recently released Alamort, your fourth studio album. Tell us a bit more about the meaning of the title, and how you got to that feeling!

It’s an old archaic word translating to being ‘half dead from exhaustion’. It kind of summed up a difficult year for all of us and we wanted to embrace the fact that we’d crawled over the line, still intact.

A lot of Alamort sound like your emotions are pouring out through your guitar and some of the songs are a lot more hardcore than your earlier output. How cathartic did you find the writing/recording process to be?

It’s the most cathartic and honest album to date, I feel like that was necessary. We are always trying to evolve our sound on every record and these are the kind of songs I’ve wanted to write since I started Ducking Punches.

Was the writing and recording process any different for you on this record to what you’ve experienced in the past?

A little, in the fact there is zero acoustic guitar on the new record. I really enjoyed writing with an electric guitar again and being able to explore that sonically. As a band it was a pretty collaborative effort too, which makes for a more exciting album in my opinion.

What was most challenging about creating the album?

The subject matter was pretty challenging, however the rest of it all came together so easily. It was a joy to work on. Continue reading “Ducking Punches: Half Dead From Exhaustion But Stronger Than Ever [Interview]”

LineOut: Italian Punks On A Quick UK Jaunt [Interview]

We spoke to Italian skate-punks LineOut ahead of their short UK tour.

Article by Sarah Williams.

I always get excited when I see band on a bill who’ve travelled from another country. It is often a chance to discover a new act and usually they turn out to be the best on the line-up. Inviting bands from mainland Europe to play the best way to bring new talent and inspiration to our local music scene. I’ve also got a lot of respect for bands like LineOut for making the effort to visit us for a couple of days – it’s a lot harder to get here from Milan than it is to sit staring at the M6!

LineOut are a band I’d heard plenty of good things about, but it wasn’t until they announced their current run of UK dates that I realised I hadn’t actually listened to them. I was impressed to find an energetic mix of punk, melodic hardcore and thrash that ticked all of my boxes.

Knowing that I would be seeing them at Shredfest this Saturday as well as at Punk Rock Holiday in the summer, I was keen to find out more. I was lucky enough to catch up with singer/guitarist Andrea Codini just in time for the tour.

 I was hoping you could give us an introduction to the band, for those who may be less familiar with you. What can people expect from your live shows?

We will make sure that it’s not a boring show, for you! We always try to put a mix of songs into the set list, to cover all different styles. Everything from punk rock, to metal, to funk! We’re not the kind of band to play all the same style of songs.


Who are your biggest influences?

In the underground scene we’re big fans of Mute, Satanic Surfers, Atlas Losing Grip and Discomostro. We love skate-punk that mixes with solid riffs and 80’s hard rock influences. The biggest names that have influenced us would probably be Pennywise, Iron Maiden and Lagwagon. They helped us make our path.

You released an album last year – Blast in Turbigo. Is Turbigo the part of Milan you’re based in?

Exactly, it’s the name of our hometown. It’s a small and cosy village that is unfortunately very close-minded and obsessive with religious stuff. On our album every song talks about a corner of the city and tries to push people to go beyond the borders of Turbigo.

What was best about recording and touring the album? Does it differ to your earlier releases?

Luckily, it’s always been pretty much the same over the years. We were friends before starting the band, so it’s cool to get to spend time together, see new places and forget, for a while, about all the duties and issues that you’ve got at work or home. It’s a great way to positively escape from reality. We try to change the place and the way we record or every album, so that we don’t get bored. Continue reading “LineOut: Italian Punks On A Quick UK Jaunt [Interview]”

Interview with Pizzatramp: Britain’s Most Raucous Punk Band

Wales’ most hilarious thrash-punk trio talk about their Bangertronic LP, live-show chaos and all the different versions of ‘Hope You Fucking Die’.

Interview by Sarah Williams. Photos by the ever-excellent Hold My Pint.

Pizzatramp have taken the UK punk scene by storm. They keep playing to bigger, wilder crowds and they’re virtually a household name in DIY circles. They hurl 30 second thrash tracks out at breakneck pace, sending audiences across the country into a frenzy. They’re also utterly hilarious, peppering their performances with unpretentious skits, one-liners and in-jokes.

In January they put out a new album on TNS Records: Revenge of the Bangertronic Dan + 13 Songs. As it says on the tin, it’s their Bangertronic EP with a selection of their 13 most popular tracks throw in, now available in shiny 12’’ format. You can get it direct from TNS on random coloured vinyl, or you can pick up a fetching grey copy from the band.

We spoke to vocalist/guitarist Jimmy The Macho Man Savage (he insisted I call him that) about the new record, the insanity of their live shows and all the hilarious variants of their song Hope You Fucking Die.

Pizzatramp cred Hold My Pint 2

You’ve just released Revenge of the Bangertronic Dan + 13 Songs on vinyl via TNS Records.

Yep, our cynical cash grab one, that’s right.

Tell me how that first came about.

We recorded the EP last year. We were going to record another album but all our cars were broken and our old van was broken. We needed to get some money from somewhere and get a van really quick, so we had 8 songs and we risked it. We released it on these little thin cardboard wallets that are really cheap to produce, but then Bev and Andy [from TNS Records] said hang on a minute, are TNS releasing this or are you releasing it?

We said, “We’re not being rude or anything, but we need £2,000 immediately. If we sit and make it for ourselves and sell it for a fiver then we’ll hopefully get the money we need.” So, we did that and we promised TNS they could do the vinyl.

We released the CD independently, earned the money for the van and then we went to press it on vinyl. The problem is that our albums are so short… on Blowing Chunks people kept complaining that there was nothing on the B-side, and when people tried to put it on it was knackering their vinyl players. We had to put something on the other side. Everyone’s asked us for the old songs on vinyl so we re-mastered them, to make it sound like we put some effort into it.

Continue reading “Interview with Pizzatramp: Britain’s Most Raucous Punk Band”

Consumed: Hindsight, Hopes & Tony Hawks [Interview]

Skate-punk legends Consumed discuss regrets, releases, the modern music scene and how their families are part of it.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by JJ Photography UK.

Consumed have been a huge influence for nearly two decades, having originated the classic UK skate-punk sound back in the late 90s. They’re known for their the two records they released on Fat Wreck Chords (Breakfast At Pappas in 1998 and Hit For Six in 1999), both of which showcase their solid, fast, hook-laden punk rock style, which has often been described as quintessentially British.

They went on hiatus in 2003 and reformed in 2015, after much cajoling from Vanilla Pod’s Steve Ford. Since then they’ve been popping up across the country and there’s exciting news of a new EP in the works. As I said when I saw them recently, old-school Consumed fans are in for at treat – then new material sounds like classic Consumed, but it’s even fresher and more exciting.

I met up with guitarist Will Burchell and drummer Chris Billam in the backroom at London’s New Cross Inn, just before Christmas. I quizzed them about their past regrets and future releases, how they’re briging their families into music, and how they feel the punk scene has changed in 20 years.

You reformed for Podstock in 2015 and you’ve done a few shows since. What’s kept you going?

  • Chris Billam (drums): We just enjoyed playing Podstock. Also, when we played Podstock we were shit, so a lot of it was wanting to exorcise that demon! It was awful. Awful. I know the two of us were really nervous and I think it showed. We were out of our comfort zone. I was using the house kit, which was pretty shit, we were rushed for time, we had issues with the sound… we’d built it up to be this huge thing: The Return Of Consumed.

You’ve done a few shows since. I saw you at The Black Heart – that was great.

  • Will Burchell (guitar): That was when it started to feel like a proper gig. After Podstock we were like, “Thank Christ that’s over.”
  • Chris: We even started in the wrong key.
  • Will: Yeah. We started with a song off a compilation that was never properly released. I don’t know why – there were loads of these really weird decisions. We started playing that song in the wrong key and it was just sloppy.
  • Chris: It went downhill from there.
  • Will: We’ve probably done 30 shows since then? 25?
  • Chris: No… more like 20.


You’ve got a couple of shows lined up, particularly the skate-punk all-dayer in Ipswich in February.

  • Will: It’s murder getting anything booked in. It’s a miracle we do anything because of the laborious internal dialogue we have just to get anything agreed.
  • Chris: Yeah. It’s hard enough trying to get four of us in the same room. It’s not because we hate each other. It’s just life.
  • Will: That’s the reason we’ve only got Liverpool and Ipswich and murmurings of this Japanese jaunt, although I’m not convinced that will happen. I feel like I’m tempting fate by saying it out loud.
  • Chris: Also, we’re a bit jaded with it all. If we did play too much we’d lose interest in it all, and we don’t want to lose interest. As soon as we’re back to the dark side of playing we’ll probably say, “Nah, let’s not do this anymore.” Because why would you? We’re all established in our own lives and weekends are precious. At a weekend you have time to be with your partners and kids, or you can go play in a shitty venue somewhere to five people. You’ve got to get it right.
  • Will: We’ve also taken gigs when it’s been a bit of an adventure. We’ve had a couple of jaunts over to Austria and Germany and those are fun travelling with friends.

You said three of you have kids. What about your taste outside of these gigs? Do you still listen to punk or have you matured into slower, more age-appropriate fare?

  • Will: How dare you!
  • Chris: I’m not going to lie. I put Kenny G on the other day. But then, by the same token, I took it off after about 30 seconds. I do still listen to punk but I’m very selective – I don’t mean that in an elitist way, it’s just that over the years you hear so much that you pare it down into what you’re really into.
  • Will: I think you do reach an age where your music taste calcifies.  When you’re a teenager you just consume music. We always talk about a record shop in Nottingham called Selectadisc. When punk was sort of breaking, you’d literally just devour new music. You’d learn about things from ‘thanks’ lists on record and you’d go in and say, “Right, I want all of the new whatever.” And then it would take three weeks to arrive.
  • Chris: Now with the fact that you can download and stream things, it’s so disposable. Whereas if you’re doing it the way Will’s just described you’d think, “I’m going to like this record, so I’m going to give it as much time as I possibly can.” Whereas now you can just go, “Ah well, it sounds alright,” and move on to the next thing. Propagandhi are still doing it, they’re great. There are always going to be some great bands doing it.
  • Will: There’s a handful. Clowns was the one I was thinking of – Bad Blood was the last album that really made me go ‘fucking hell’.
  • Chris: That album just took my face off. It’s fucking amazing.

Continue reading “Consumed: Hindsight, Hopes & Tony Hawks [Interview]”

Pessimist: Pop Punk For Sad Guys [Interview]

We talk to Ipswich pop-punks Pessimist about their plans for 2018.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos from Burnt Out Media.

Pessimist are a three-piece heavy pop punk band from Ipswich, which has been Shout Louder’s base for the last year or so. It’s always a pleasure to find a relatively new band in your local scene that get you just as excited as all the more-established options out there in the big wide music world.

We have always enjoyed watching them live, however they’re due to release an album later this year that’s sounding hotter and heavier than anything they’ve recorded in the past. They take a lot of cues from emo-influenced pop-punk bands like Knuckle Puck or Neck Deep, but weave in some heavier guitars influences (think Counterparts and Propagandhi) and early-Brand New style dual vocals.

We recently grabbed a few minutes with Chiron James, singer and bassist in Pessimist, to find out a bit more.

Left to right: Sam Calder (drums), Chiron James (vox/bass) and Ciaran Burgess (vox/guitar)

Hi guys! Thanks very much for taking to time to chat to us.

You’re one my favourite bands in the Ipswich scene – your live show is always great. How long have you guys been playing together for?

That’s so nice of you to say! We’ve been playing together for around 2 years, but it took us a little while to get the formula we wanted, playing around with a few different styles.

Ipswich has a surprisingly thriving little musical community. What do you think is the best thing about the Ipswich scene?

I think South Street Studios (Punch, The Smokehouse, etc.) has absolutely pulled no punches in becoming the staple of Ipswich’s scene. They offer just about every service a band needs and are the nicest people.

You’ve been starting to play a few more shows around the country. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve played so far?

Oh dear! There have been a few interesting places so far… Reading, I think takes it though. We were on a mish mash bill with bands of different genres and there was a little crowd of people who were clearly on something. Continue reading “Pessimist: Pop Punk For Sad Guys [Interview]”

PMX Interview #2: Some Things Always Seem To Change

Part 2: Perth’s perennial prodigies PMX discuss their plans for 2018, X-Factor auditions and lament the loss of Myspace.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Yesterday, in the first instalment of our 2-part interview with PMX, we got an exclusive look at their history as a band. Check out the article for all the ups and downs that coming of age in the skate-punk scene brings.

As we learned, PMX have been going for over 20 years, although that did include a hiatus and a few variations in their line-up. 2017 has been an especially busy year for them and 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger.

They have just announced the release of a single-session live album, Clochridgestone, on February 26th, the aim of which is to the fund the recording of a full-length studio album later in the year. They’re playing a run of dates with Actionmen in February (including one put on by Shout Louder on February 2nd at The Smokehouse in Ipswich), a handful of festivals, plus a jealous-making jaunt to Japan.

To get us up to speed, singer and guitarist John Harcus and I discussed how they’ve changed and what they have planned for the future.

Your priorities must have changed a lot since you got started 20 years ago. When you first started out as a band, what was your main aim?

To be honest, Pmx has always been about having fun and that priority has not changed to this day. We have always strived to better ourselves as musicians and get our music out there to like-minded individuals who enjoy the music we enjoy playing. It’s always been that way.

What would you say is your main priority for the band now?

To last another 20 years!

PMX live at Punkle Fester cred Alia Thomas 3.jpg

What’s been the highlight of your musical career?

Too many to mention. I’ll put my X-Factor audition at the bottom of that list! We have been lucky enough to play alongside some of our favourite bands and tour in places we never thought we would ever see, let alone play in. We hope to extend that list in coming years.

Hang on, X-Factor auditon?!

Long story short, when I was playing solo my mate Tom filmed this rad video of me playing two of my tracks live (below). At somepoint in 2012 I was emailed by some A&R type who saw the video, asking if I would like to come to London to play my tracks to some music producers at Sony Music. There wasn’t really much more info than that other than it could be for publishing, performing or TV.

I went, and when I got there found myself at the Sony Offices. They took me to this casting couch setup where I played live to them and they asked if I would be interested in going for auditions for X Factor. I thought, “Fuck it, you only live once”, so I went to the Free Mantle Media/Syco Offices, did the audition, then fucked off. Never heard from them again! Continue reading “PMX Interview #2: Some Things Always Seem To Change”

PMX Interview #1: 20 Years of Skate-Punk History

Part 1: Scottish skate-punk legends PMX share their history – embarrassing haircuts, namedrops and hangovers ahoy!

Interview by Sarah Williams.

PMX are overwhelmingly good at what they do: they’ve got melodic mass appeal mixed with the technical aspects of hardcore, infused with a refreshing dose of Scottish humour. Watching them live in the past has left me a little bit awestruck.

I have not been able to take their most recent EP Dark Days off repeat (seriously, it’s getting embarrassing). The band add clever, technical guitar runs and drum fills into songs without overly showing off and, more importantly, without detracting from the accessible appeal of the vocals and song structures. It’s catchy as fuck.

That being said, PMX are somewhat of an enigma to me. Their live shows are like gold dust and it’s been over two years since their last release.

Their reclusive nature makes sense when you consider how long the band has been together. Looking at PMX now, it’s hard to believe that they have been going for over 20 years. They’re still young enough and their sound is vibrant, relevant and forever growing. I suppose that’s what happens when you get started at 14 years old; they have the experience of veteran musicians but they’re still very much in tune current releases.


I was lucky enough to catch up with singer and guitarist John Harcus to learn more about this mysterious powerhouse of a band. In Part Two you can read about the new tunes they’re writing and the live dates they’ve got planned. Firstly, though, you can learn exactly how you manage to keep a band together for over 20 years…

PMX have been a band since 1997. How the hell have you managed that?

Hey Sarah! How’s it going? Good question! To answer that in full I’ll have to cast my mind back through countless clouds of purple haze and a copious amount of hangovers. I’ll give you some of our backstory/history to put it all into perspective. Matt, our bro Paul and I started Pmx back in high school. We originally called ourselves PMT (Pre-Musical-Tension. Shite, eh?) and recorded our first record as a 3-piece back in 1998.

It consisted of nine tracks that ripped off Kerplunk by Green Day with a hint of Nirvana‘s Nevermind. We didn’t know if we were grunge or punk so we did a bit of both!


A year later, after countless shows around the Perth and Dundee area, our friend Danny joined on second guitar. Our influences were quickly changing as we started listening to bands such as NOFX, The Offspring and Lagwagon.

We recorded a four track E.P. in 1999 titled The Stroppy Bitch Project. It was the start of us experimenting with more technical and faster songs. Around that time we competed in numerous battles of the bands and started gigging further afield.


By 2000, our sound had become what is now considered skate-punk and we recorded our third EP titled Goodbye Normality. This was our first attempt at playing double-time punk rock that the Fat Wreck Chords influence had bestowed upon us.

Around 2001, we played our first mini tour down in London, started getting quality support slots at Glasgow’s metal/rock club, The Cathouse, with Household Name Records bands and international touring bands and generally playing as many gigs as possible.


Our fourth E.P. was in the bag by 2002. It featured the very first version of our track PmxTV from our first album Rise and Shine and was the start of us trolling the internet far and wide, pushing our music on any guestbook or chat forum possible.

In 2003/2004 I started recording a twelve track demo of Rise and Shine from home. During that period we played alongside bands like as Captain Everything, Five Knuckle, Skirtbox, Route 215, King Prawn and loads more. These were bands that we very much looked up to. While playing a mini tour with Route 215 from London, their lead singer, Rod, told me how much he loved our track Rockstar and basically said, “I’m going to let our label boss hear this shit and get you guys signed.” Continue reading “PMX Interview #1: 20 Years of Skate-Punk History”