Band Spotlight: Lay It On The Line [Interview]

South London’s Lay It On The Line deliver ferocious melodic hardcore. We spoke to vocalist, Alice, to learn more.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

South London’s Lay It On The Line are a brutally fast melodic hardcore quintet, adhering to the popular double-time skate-punk template but twinning it with frenetic, furious anger and a unique combination of male and female vocals.

We spoke to vocalist Alice to learn more about this ferocious band.

Hey! We really enjoyed The Black Museum – it’s heavy as hell! How would you sum up Lay It On The Line for someone who’s just discovering you?

Pretty simply really, we’re fast melodic hardcore. I think every member of the band is a fast punk rock fan so we probably couldn’t play it much differently if we tried! Dual vocals between myself and Mike gives an extra edge to the sound as, whilst we both sing and scream, we do it quite differently.

There’s also a little sprinkling of the occult in there too – Mike is influenced quite a lot by the Process Church of the Final Judgement in his writing and this comes across in a lot of his lyrics, as well as a few song and release titles. The title The Black Museum itself is a direct reference to one of the writings from The Process that talks about how we are obsessed with day to day life and luxuries, forgetting that humanity does a lot of damage to the world.

For me, the thing that sets Lay It On The Line apart from other bands is the combination of your vocals – how did that first come about? Do you think it’s harder writing for two vocals parts?

Mike first asked me to do some guest vocals on some old tracks and it just worked. It was quite organic and when we wrote together for the album it was actually really easy – our ideas just seemed to fit together and in the case of the first track (Level Up), myself and Mike actually found that we’d written about similar experiences without even consulting each other first. Maybe it was just luck, but the whole process was remarkably easy – we’re both pretty open to the other’s ideas and not afraid to say when we don’t like something so it came together very quickly. We only finished the lyrics and arrangements in a few hours the night before we recorded!

Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Lay It On The Line [Interview]”

Gig Review: Might As Well Fest III (07/10/2017)

An exciting London charity all-dayer featuring Kamikaze Girls, Almedia, Eat Defeat, The Burnt Tapes, Sombulance and more.

Photo credit: Awesome pics courtesy of Roberto Gasparro @ LivePix.

Now in its third year, Might As Well Fest is socially-responsible all dayer split across two tiny London venues: The Macbeth in Hoxton and the infamous Old Blue Last in Shoreditch. If the cracking line-up isn’t enough to coax people down, the promoters are also using the forces of music for good, raising money for two worthy causes: CALM and SANDS.

When I hurriedly stumble into The Macbeth at 3.20pm, I’m concerned that I’m late but turns out that I needn’t have worried: they’ve had some troubles of their own. Don Blake and Sweet Little Machine have pulled out last minute, and You Know The Drill’s van has broken down outside Birmingham. As a result, they’ve had to shift timings, drum kits, amps and expectations. The change in the set times is actually a positive: the opening bands will now have a bigger crowd and the heel-draggers like me, who couldn’t make it earlier, won’t be missing out. Nonetheless, I’m reminded that we ought to be extremely thankful to anyone with the resilience to put on DIY shows!

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A handful of early-birds assemble to watch Thirteen, a Scottish group who’ve joined the bill at the last minute. They play old school punk with a rock ‘n’ roll flavour, which is good, but slightly out-of-sorts with the rest of the line-up, which is a combination of fast-punk and pop-punk. It’s good pub-punk and not a bad way to kick things off for the day.

As I reviewed their EP recently, I have been very excited to catch Our Lives In Cinema live. This is only their 8th gig and their freshness shows: they look a little awkward on stage at the beginning of the set, settling in after two songs.

They open with Cut and Run – an awesome throwback to a lot of energetic early noughties punk. You can hear a strong Jeff Rosenstock influence in Mark Bartlett’s frantic, emotional singing which is conveyed better live. Bartlett has a unique style of performance: he packs as many words into a bar as possible while shaking around the stage. Currently it looks a little awkward, but with more practice I expect it to become an integral part of their act. Otherwise, they’ve got a good, solid rhythm section, strong drumming and great backing vocals. They close on their most anthemic song, I Got This, leaving the audience happy. Once they’ve got a few more shows under their belt, I look forward to seeing a much more confident and comfortable band.

Lay It On The Line are up next at The Macbeth. They’re the most hardcore band of the day. It’s a brutal and disordered performance, with frontman Mike spending much of show writhing, crouched or lying on the stage while screaming bloody murder. He gives the impression of a man on the edge of breakdown extremely well. It’s all held together with some warmer guitar backing, adding a more melodic edge to their otherwise extreme sound.

It’s unusual to see bands with two standalone singers (Casual Nausea’s the only one I can think of), but it really works. Mike and Alice and equally adept at screaming and conveying a lot of anger and emotion. It’s hard to make out the lyrics but their explanations of the songs are both surprising and entertaining – one song’s dedicated to fans of the Marquis de Sade (of which they assume there are none in the room), another is about a head teacher who was killed by a rent boy after he failed to pay up…  It’s fascinating to know what inspires people’s song writing sometimes. They pull out a fantastic cover of Rotting Out’s Positive Views and end the set in a wail of feedback.

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Recap are up next, and they are fantastic. That’s the least you can expect from Dave House and Mark Pavey’s latest project – a reincarnation of Pacer and follow-up to The Steal. They jokingly say it’s only their second show, but they’re anything but new to the game. Continue reading “Gig Review: Might As Well Fest III (07/10/2017)”