Disgraceland: The slow-and-steady DIY punk approach [Interview]

We speak to heavy rock ‘n’ roll punks Disgraceland about their influences, their recent releases and their patient approach to the DIY punk rock race.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Disgraceland are a relatively new heavy punk ‘n’ roll band from Plymouth, ideal for fans of The Stooges, Dead Kennedys, Reverend Horton Heat or The Jim Jones Revue. Since their inception in 2018, they’ve released two EPs had have picked up some exciting live dates in the South of England.

Featuring Shout Louder’s very own Ollie Stygall on guitar, we had an in depth chat with him about the band’s inception, direction and slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach.

You’re a new band, but by no means new to the world of punk rock. What projects have you been involved with in the past?

We’ve all been around the block several times over and have clocked up a lot of miles in different bands.

Foz (drums) and I spent 14 years in a band called Grifter who were classed by people as stoner rock, although I hate that term and just thought of us as a rock and roll band. We did OK, put out a couple of albums on an American label, released stuff on a few other labels, did some touring, went to Europe, etc. Foz has also spent time many years ago in a death metal band, a psychobilly band called The Lost Souls and various punk bands: Mr. Pound, Swak Tang, The Obnoxious UK to name a few. Continue reading “Disgraceland: The slow-and-steady DIY punk approach [Interview]”

Fabled Mind: Songwriting & Starting Afresh [Interview]

We spoke to Fabled Mind about Copenhagen, their fast melodic punk roots, songwriting, and how it feels to be part of the Lockjaw Records Crew.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Fabled Mind released their debut album Passenger on Lockjaw Records on 22 November 2019. Formed in Copenhagen earlier in 2019, the band have landed onto the scene fully formed, and have event completed their first UK tour. They’re a fresh Danish response to bands like RX Bandits, Millencolin and Rise Against – combining irresistible melodies with technical skate-punk composition and meaningful lyrics.

Fabled Mind is the brain child of Dion Finne, who wrote the album before going on to form the full band with Leo Wallin, Brian Brinksby and Søren Olsen. We were keen to find out why Dion chose to approach the new project that way, how he goes about writing songs, and what their future plans are.

Fabled Mind will be returning to the UK in January to play our weekender Do It Together Fest at New Cross Inn, London. Find out more here.

Fabled Mind is a brand new project. It’s unusual for a group to record a full album before even announcing that they’re band. What motivated you to take that approach?

I wrote this album as a personal ’challenge’ since my other band Stream City went on a break. I’ve always wanted to write punk rock songs, but SC quickly developed into something else – more experimental and progressive. So I took a couple of steps back and focused on writing directly from the heart. That’s how the album took shape.

Was Fabled Mind more of a creative challenge or an emotional outlet for you?

I would say both. It was a relief to write songs within a genre that I love, and the lyrics came easy to me. I spent many hours on them, but the album’s theme revolves around more personal stuff than I’m used to writing, so it felt easier and more sincere. I kept my song writing style from SC, but the tracks are more focused and streamlined on Passenger.

There’s a real melee of influences present in the album. Did you set out to create a new sound?

I did that with Stream City, but it was never the ‘goal’ with this album. I restricted myself to writing more straightforward songs and often stopped myself in the process from writing a super weird off-beat riff or creating odd song structures that I’m used to.

It was a fun challenge and I think the ‘new sound’ is a reflection of wanting to write simple, catchy and recognisable songs. I guess the album landed somewhere in between that and the weird DNA of SC.

As I understand it, you wrote a lot of Fabled Mind’s material yourself, then pulled on other musicians to help create the band. How much of the writing did you have control over?

I did all the writing myself – mostly in my boxers. I wrote 12-14 demos in my little home studio and sent them to my friend Mattias (bassist in Stream City and Co-Producer / Engineer on Passenger). He’s not really into punk rock, but he has an opinion on my writing and voicing if it’s good or hideous. He would write something like “nice” or “yuck” and I would know if/how to continue from there. He would also give me constructive criticism.

In any creative process, it’s important to have someone to ‘take out the thrash’ – at least to me. I’m constantly seeking approval when I write songs. I would send 20 seconds clips and expect people to have an opinion about it (since, at the time, I didn’t have a band). I’ve undoubtedly annoyed all of friends and family members.

What do you find best about that approach?

100% control over the process; which was both nice and an absolute pain in the ass. It also means that the album is a direct reflection of my inner thoughts and my take on punk rock.

It should be noted that I am the king of procrastination- sometimes I didn’t work on the album for months and almost quit the whole thing. There was no one anxiously awaiting the album’s release and no one to pull me out of my writer’s block. It still felt right to deliver a finished product.

How did you go about recording the album?

We recorded the guitars, vocals and bass at Mattias’ studio (Driftwood Studios), then Leo and myself recorded the drums in his practice room. For the bass and guitars we used an Axe FX and I recorded the vocals while Mattias played Hearthstone in the background. But he was there through the whole process to help when I fucked up the electronics.

You’ve previously said that Entangled is your attempt at writing an uplifting song, incorporating some of your experiences from social work. What do you find most inspiring when you’re writing?

I’m inspired by the stories of the people that I meet in my everyday life; friends, family and coworkers. The young people I meet through my work as a teacher / social worker often live an unjust life in many ways, where the “best social system in the world” fails them in every imaginable way.

Denmark’s social administration is frightened biocratically and has some extremely damaging mechanisms. There are too many young people who are lost in the system and left to fend for themselves. They are often left with loneliness, emptiness, depression and anxiety, some choose to self-medicate, while others deteriorate at home without any network to help them.

When I hear their stories and their thoughts, I often get ideas to write from a dystopian perspective. So many people are oblivious to this, especially in Denmark. I like to feel like I’m giving them a voice through some of the songs. Erwing Goffman, among others, inspired me a lot.

You’ve incorporated a lot of political or social themes into the lyrics, but they’re quite metaphorical. Are there any messages you’re keen to convey?

In general Passenger is an invitation to reflect. The lyrics are open to interpretation and l’d like to keep it that way for now. Every track has it’s own story or message and I’ve always been a fan of the ‘showing not telling’ way of writing songs.

What are you hoping for listeners to get from the album? What can we expect?

Fast, melodic and catchy tunes with some heart. I think the songs grow on you and it’s going take a couple of listens before you’re in tune with the FM universe. I hope listeners have the patience to listen through and appreciate the details.

What inspired the name Fabled Mind?

Same with the lyrics – I like to keep it open for interpretation. To me, it’s a reference to our subjective perception of reality. Fabled can mean fictitious or non-existing and we all have our own ‘right’ view on how the world works, but the truth is that reality is subjective.

Tell us a bit about your musical career – what brought you to Fabled Mind?

I started Stream City 12 years ago, as a punk rock band. The band developed into something completely different, but my love and interest for punk rock never did. I went to as many punk shows as I could in Copenhagen and really connected with the people there.

I went on a European Tour with Stars Burn Stripes (ex-Forever Unclean) as a stand-in guitarist before the band dismantled. We also played Punk Rock Holiday, which really made me want to play in a band again. I’m so proud of the one album Stream City did (HOAX), but when people started to leave the band I had to look elsewhere.

Since there’s no real punk scene in Denmark- I decided to start a new project. It was never my intention to make the songs public –I just wanted to share them with my friends and family. And here we are two years later.

What did you grow up listening to?

My parents played in a band called Love Explosion with my mom as the singer and my dad on guitar in the 70’s. They were hippies – I vividly remember my dad rocking out to Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and a few legendary Danish singers. My brother introduced me to Metallica, System of a Down, Defones, KoRn and Slipknot. He had an amazing CD collection, so I would often steal one, listen to it and get beaten up for stealing it.

The first album I ever bought was Dookie. I had heard someone play the album at ‘Skater House’ in Bornholm, Rønne where I’m from. The next record I bought was Americana. I loved everything about it: the pace, the melodies, the lyrics, the vocals. Those albums really got me interested in the genre and from there I was searching for punk bands on Google with my dad’s high tech 56k internet connection. Obviously I discovered NOFX, Bad Religion, Anti-flag, Pennywise, Rise Against, Satanic Surfers, etc. The bands we all love.

How has your taste developed now? Do you listen to a variety to help improve your own songwriting?

I’ve been listening to a lot of progressive rock and metal earlier in my life hence the crazy Stream City universe. I still listen to classical music from time to time when I need to escape from reality. For the past couple of years, I’ve mainly focused on punk music because it seems like there’s quality bands popping up everywhere. I really love the wave of techy brilliant bands from the UK (The Human Project, Dead Neck, Fair Do’s, Darko, etc.).

I’m looking forward to writing songs again, I’ll always move in a different direction for each album. I’m going to stick to the core concept, but it will be very different with a fair amount of new inspirations.

What are your ambitions for Fabled Mind in future?

I’m stoked to be associated with many of my favourite bands at the moment. I really love a lot of the Lockjaw bands and what a great start this project has gotten. Just being able to play in the UK after three months of existing is amazing!

I see this album as the beginning of a new journey and sort of a stepping-stone for me and the rest of Fabled Mind. It’s my ambition to improve my songwriting and take people by surprise on every release. I’m really looking forward to meeting like-minded people around the world and share stages with awesome bands! It’s always scary to put out music and be the ‘new kid in school’, so I’m anxious to see what people will think about the album…

Be sure to listen to Fabled Mind’s full album Passenger. Fabled Mind will be returning to the UK in January to play our weekender Do It Together Fest at New Cross Inn, London, alongside bands like Lightyear, The JB Conspiracy and Forever Unclean. Find out more here. 

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Punk Rock Tour Tales #1: Leo from Forever Unclean

Leo Wallin, drummer of Forever Unclean, tell us about his best, worst and weirdest tour stories.

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

Leo Wallin is a well-known part of the Copenhagen punk rock crew: he’s drummed in Forever Unclean, Fabled Mind, Rebuke, Megafonzie, Kill The Rooster, Stars Burn Stripes… and probably a whole bunch of other bands we don’t know about!

Sarah asked him about his best, worst and weirdest tour experiences.

Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?

That is a tough one, and we have discussed it within the band so many times. But I’d probably say overall it was touring Australia for three weeks in 2018. Some of my dearest friends live there, and the Australian people in general are fucking awesome. The scene is also pretty rad and the standards of the Oz bands are stellar… And then there is the climate, the sights, the beaches, the fauna. Whether you are playing shows or not, it’s really just a big old holiday paradise. Continue reading “Punk Rock Tour Tales #1: Leo from Forever Unclean”

Shout Louder Podcast: Goodbye Blue Monday [S3 E1]

The Shout Louder Punk Podcast returns with an interview with Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday!

The Shout Louder podcast makes a triumphant return, with Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday!

Sarah caught up with Graham Lough on tour, to talk about the band’s musical origins, the minefield of mental health and The Power of Ska.

The whole interview with Goodbye Blue Monday was a right giggle, and will appeal to old fans and new. Give it a listen and get excited for the new season of the podcast!

The podcast features some special musical treats from Goodbye Blue Monday, the Garry Biscuits cover band and Terrafraid‘s ‘Control’. Misery-punk may have ruined their lives, but it makes for a hilarious listen.

Continue reading “Shout Louder Podcast: Goodbye Blue Monday [S3 E1]”

Vanilla Pod: Gone But Not Forgotten [Interview]

After over 20 years together, Kings Lynn’s favourite punks Vanilla Pod called it a day in 2018. We’ve chronicled the history of this classic band with the help of guitarist Steve Pod.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

After twenty three (twenty three!) years as a band, notorious Kings Lynn punks Vanilla Pod decided to call it a day in late 2018. They chose to go out with a bang, completing a long run of live dates around the UK, releasing a final farewell EP Goodbye My Love and hosting one final Podstock event as a hometown send off.

It was quite the fanfare for a band who, while remaining relatively humble, have had a major influence on many people within the UK punk scene (and further afield). One of my earliest punk rock memories was catching Vanilla Pod playing a glorious grotty venue in my seaside hometown at approximately the age of 14, by which time they’d already been going for nearly a decade. I remember finding them on a Rock Sound compilation and being impressed that they were playing down the road for only £3 on-the-door.

Since then there have been many memorable (and some perhaps less memorable!) experiences with Vanilla Pod involved – chaotic club nights, quieter acoustic sets, celebratory, nostalgic weekends at Podstock and that-one-time-at-WonkFest that no one forgets.

Before the split, I spoke to guitarist Steve Pitcher (who, as far as I’m concerned, shall always be known as Steve Pod) to document some of the bands’ history. Continue reading “Vanilla Pod: Gone But Not Forgotten [Interview]”

Edward In Venice: Aggressive, Dynamic and Full of Empathy [Interview]

We talk to Italian favourites Edward In Venice about their screaming fast mix of pop-punk, emo, and melodic hardcore.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Edward In Venice are a screaming melodic hardcore band from Pesaro, Italy, with a strong penchant for pop-punk melodies and technical guitar work. In April 2019 they released a new EP Empathy on Lockjaw Records. Empathy is an intricate record, recorded with no deadline to allow full creative freedom.

I first caught Edward In Venice playing Manchester Punk Festival 2015, where I fell in love with their speed, their skill and their energy. Their Howler EP was one of my favourite punk rock releases that year, and I’ve been waiting for a follow up album since.

We spoke to Filippo Greganti about the new records, their inspiration and their future plans.

You’ve recently released a new 6-track EP Empathy. How does it feel to have it out in the world?

It’s out in the world? Really? Hah! It’s so motivating. A lot of our friends and fans were waiting for this EP and now finally they’re happy… Hopefully! Continue reading “Edward In Venice: Aggressive, Dynamic and Full of Empathy [Interview]”

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]”