The Monster’s Teeth Aren’t As Big As You Imagine

LITFO’s Jimmy Carroll explains how getting onstaged helped him overcome social anxiety and shyness.

Guest post written by Jimmy Carroll, bassist in Laughing In The Face Of. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

I was a painfully shy child.  Other kids who had never met before seemed to be able to integrate with each other in a way I would never understand, only observe.

It wasn’t without trying or effort, I just couldn’t seem to summon up the courage to simply say ‘hello’.

In my mind at the time the prospect of rejection or even worse, all out mockery was too terrifying a prospect to entertain.

This isn’t to say I was friendless or a total loner as a kid but I would never make the first move in an interaction of any kind.

Fast forward to my early teens and this social anxiety was supplemented by a broader type.  All the ‘what if’s and over-analyzing every single aspect of the most trivial things led me to my first panic attack (which at the time I was convinced was a full blown heart attack) and left me fucked up for about a week in the aftermath.

I think a big part of it was unfounded paranoia.  Are they looking at me? Why are they looking at me? Are they talking about me?  Why are they talking about me?

I began to learn to play the guitar.   Some of my friends learned to play instruments as well.  We started a shitty nu metal band (cut me some slack, it was the year 2000) and then, before we knew it, we had our first show booked.

I vividly remember how scared I was before we played that gig. This was the embodiment of every situation I had tried to avoid up until that point.

A little lightbulb went off though.  There was no doubt or second guessing that people were looking at me.  They definitely were. Instead of it being pure speculation, it was reality and it wasn’t the horror show I had drummed up in my head.  In fact, I really enjoyed myself and developed a taste for it (waking up the next morning, late for double maths and covered in peach schnapps puke wasn’t so good, though).

I’d love to say that this one revelatory moment destroyed my anxiety and I saw the light. It didn’t though. My constantly-chomped fingernails are testament to this. To this day there will be some social occasions where I try to blend into the wallpaper as best as I can, however it did teach me something very important.  The monster’s teeth aren’t as big as you imagine.

There has been a meme doing the rounds lately which basically says that anxiety is a bunch of conspiracy theories that you create about yourself.  That really chimed with me.

Music continues to help me launch a counterattack against these automatic, negative thought patterns.

Getting to travel to new countries, make new friends and ultimately instead of worrying about “what if” and seeing “what is” has given me much needed extra fuel in my 33 year long fight against this fucker.

I really wish I could offer some advice or a cure of sorts to conclude this brief ramble but I’m not the pony to bet on in that regard, I’m afraid.

If any of what I have typed touches base with you then I’ll just reiterate the four most beautiful words in the English language:

You.  Are. Not.  Alone.

Guest post written by Jimmy Carroll, bassist in Laughing In The Face Of (among other musical projects). This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

A ‘Brief’ History of Lockjaw Records : Interview with Rob Piper

Head honcho Rob Piper gives an in-depth insight into the background of independent punk and hardcore label, Lockjaw Records.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Lockjaw Records is an independent punk and hardcore label, known for being at the forefront of UK skate-punk and melodic hardcore. Whether it’s releasing records from bands like Belvedere, Drones and Fair Do’s, providing distribution for myriad other underground bands, or booking shows  that introduce UK audiences to some incredible international acts, Lockjaw Records is one of the most hard-working labels the UK punk scene has to offer.

Lockjaw Records Logo

Lockjaw Records have recently announced some major changes to their team: moving from a two-person operation to a more community-based approach, now involving Sarah and Joëlle from the Shout Louder Team alongside Cedric Degruyter of The Affect Heuristic. This international expansion is accompanied by a new logo, a fresh website and renewed hunger for sharing the music we love with the world.

To understand more about how the label reached this milestone on it’s 20+ year journey, we spoke to Rob Piper, who’s run the label since 2011. Also known for playing guitar in Darko, he’s a linchpin in the UK punk scene, who kindly took the time to share the label’s backstory with us.

N.B. This isn’t an exhaustive list of Lockjaw releases and there are plenty of other amazing bands that have been part of the label’s history.

Lockjaw’s been established as a label for a long time, although it’s undergone a lot of changes. It started in 1997, right?

It was Jim, Ben and Sam Turner, three brothers who all played in the band Tribute to Nothing from Worcester. I assume it was an outlet to release their records, as most small labels are – somebody who’s been in a band and wants to do it themselves. Tribute to Nothing were well known early 2000s as a hardworking, touring post-hardcore band.

Do you know what sort of bands they had at the time?

Lockjaw had the first ever Muse track Balloonatic included on a compilation they released right at the beginning of the label. At the time, Muse hadn’t really gotten stated yet. They asked Lockjaw if they would like to put out their first record, but the label turned it down. And, as you know, Muse got a lot bigger!

Where did you first hear about Lockjaw Records, then?

In around 2009/2010 I started Darko in Guildford with a Dan and Chris and we’d started getting shows out of town and gigging around. John from Disconnect Disconnect put us on in Croydon with Company L and Laughing In The Face Of. We got on really well with with LITFO and they later took us on a UK tour, introducing us to bands like Fair Do’s and Almeida.

LITFO were just signing with Lockjaw Records at the time, to release Lubrication of Social Anxiety. That was probably my first introduction to Lockjaw – I think I’d looked at Lockjaw Records for Darko’s first EP but I wasn’t really following that scene at the time. That was the starting point. Continue reading “A ‘Brief’ History of Lockjaw Records : Interview with Rob Piper”

Podcast: Punk Rock Holiday Cocktail Special #1

Sarah recorded with Ducking Punches, The Murderburgers and Dead Neck on the magic of a Slovenian beach!

Punk Rock Holiday is a brilliant week of bands, beers and beaches in one of the most stunning settings Europe has to offer. The festival also hosts a plethora of bands from around the world, so we couldn’t miss the opporunity to speak with a few of them on the Shout Louder podcast!

To capture the full Punk Rock Holiday spirit, Sarah recorded a handful of segments while sat on the beach in Slovenia, typically with a cocktail in hand. On this episode she spoke to Dan Allen from Norwich’s alt-rock wonders Ducking Punches, Fraser from fiesty Scottish power-pop-punkers The Murderburgers and Andy Dazzler and Jimmy Carrol from Manchester skate-punks Dead Neck.

We discussed a whole range of topics including creativity, bees the size of dogs, Glaswegian beatings, rakija and the state of the punk scene today. Perhaps most imporantly, we also try to put out finger on what makes Punk Rock Holiday so special.

We also play a track from each band:

Keep your ears primed for the other episodes we recorded at Punk Rock Holiday, including discussions with Mute, Spoilers, One Hidden Frame, Captain Trips and Matilda’s Scoundrels.

 

 

 

 

Gig Review: Darko’s Bonsai Mammoth Anniversary Bonanza @ The Boileroom

Featuring: Actionmen, PMX, Drones, Fair Do’s, The Affect Heuristic and many more!

Review by Joëlle Laes. Photos/videos by Mirjam van Reijen, plus some snaps from Joëlle.

After so much anticipation created by the advent calendar announcements via social media, I couldn’t wait for the Bonsai Mammoth anniversary all-dayer, hosted by Darko, an event celebrating a year since the release of their epic debut album. Every announcement seemed like a gift that was personally selected for me. “You like this band? OK cool, we’ll book them.” Thanks guys. Perfect lineup.

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Some of my friends decided to get the ferry over the UK from Belgium, and I was lucky enough to snatch a seat in the car. Getting up at 5am the day before to make the trip over and paying a fortune for a hotel was a bit of a faff, but hanging out with friends and seeing fantastic bands makes up for the lack of sleep and the hole in my wallet. After a good night’s sleep, it was time.

It couldn’t have started better than with a Punk Rock Yoga Session by Jo from Bad Juju Yoga! I, however, got my myself in gear too late and missed it.

Though 2pm seemed like an early start for most attendees, the room filled up nicely for the first set of the day. Darko kicked off their anniversary all-dayer by playing Bonsai Mammoth in its entirety (Sarah recently talked to the band about it – check out the interview here). Watching them, for once completely sober and still half asleep, was an experience to remember. With nothing clouding your judgement, you begin to realise how darn good they actually are. Mesmerised by their guitarwork and vocal harmonies, head bopping commenced amongst the crowd. It definitely set me up for a good mood the rest of the day.

Totally new to me, Wild Tales follow them in getting people hooked by some more indie-ish, danceable tunes and good vibes. This new project from members of Trails and Atiptoe are rather different from the rest of the lineup, in a good way. I was sad to see that they don’t have any music online yet, however I’ve been told this bunch from Guildford will have an EP out soon.

The moment I had personally been waiting for finally arrived. The Affect Heuristic, a band consisting of both Belgian and Scottish members, started setting up for their first gig ever. It’s a strange feeling seeing them live for the first time after witnessing the whole writing process happen in my house. It’s safe to say the crowd was blown away by this shredfest, intertwined with Scottish banter and deep lyrics. The tracks Against The Grain, which addresses toxic masculinity, and Tightrope hit especially hard. For those eager to listen, you can check out two demo tracks here. Continue reading “Gig Review: Darko’s Bonsai Mammoth Anniversary Bonanza @ The Boileroom”