Band Spotlight: Wild Tales [Interview]

Guildford’s Wild Tales are a poppy, twiddly dose of positivity, FFO: Marmozets, Tiny Moving Parts, Biffy Clyro, Thrice.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Wild Tales are an exciting new indie-punk four-piece from the lush green hills of Surrey. They are the latest addition to the Lockjaw Records roster, fusing math-rock and indie influences with pop sensibilities and big choruses. They released their first single Hourglass on September 14th – it’s refreshingly accessible pop with a healthy dose of twiddly guitar work.

To find out more, we spoke to vocalist/guitarist Adam Rains about their future plans.

Hey! We’ve been enjoying your new single Hourglass, but it only scratches the surface of what you guys have to offer. How would you sum up Wild Tales for someone who’s just discovering you?

Why thank you. For those that haven’t heard us, Wild Tales are a mashup of technical tappy tip toeing with a solid foundation of pop sensibilities and catchy hooks that will make your grandmother simultaneously weep and hoot in joyous fashion.

You guys are brand new as a band, but you’re not brand new to the scene. Can you tell us a little bit about your previous musical projects?

All four of us have played in various bands over the past two decades but most recently, and most notably, in a couple of bands called Trails and Atiptoe. The common denominator, bassist James, joined Trails in 2010 whilst playing bass for Atiptoe and our friendship grew from there, with guitarist Iain eventually making a guest appearance on guitar for Trails at their final show back in 2015. It’s all a bit incestual and dutty if you ask me.

How do Wild Tales differ from Trails musically?

Similarities can definitely be drawn between the two but, generally speaking, Trails wrote heavier more punky tracks, whilst Wild Tales are more pop based in both melody and song structure. The ethos of being open to writing whatever feels right and having no limits on the direction or sound of a track is something that I feel both bands have embraced and is something that helped and helps both bands avoid becoming too generic or boring. Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Wild Tales [Interview]”

Fullcount: Do-It-Yourself Skatepunk In Action [Interview]

“We applied the DIY ethic to almost everything we’ve done together over the years.” Quebec City skate-punk Fullcount discuss ‘Part of The Game’.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Renowned Canadian skate-punks Fullcount have just announced a brand new album: Part of The Game. These Québecois are known for their breakneck-fast, coarse-vocalled take on melodic hardcore, with the awesome but unusual feature of three guitarists.

Another unique aspect of Fullcount’s approach is their resilient, admirable do-it-yourself attitude. As well as writing the record, they self-recorded and produced Part Of The Game in their own studio. They’re also releasing the record themselves, with a international distribution from Lockjaw, Thousand Island and Mudcake Records, plus Milestone Sounds in Japan.

To learn more about the journey that’s brought the band to this release, Sarah checked in with guitarists Jean-Phillipe Alain and P-O Brouard.

It’s brilliant to hear you’ve got a new album on the way! You’ve just announced that you’ll be releasing Part Of The Game on October 12th.

Did you find the writing or recording process more or less challenging on this album than the previous one?

PO : Way more than writing Concessions & Compromises. It’s the first time we’ve written an entire record from scratch with the actual line up.We did take our time at writing those songs, we wanted to do things right. Although we spent a lot of time working on it, I guess we’ve played our cards properly and we’ve put efforts to the right places. We’re proud of the outcome and we’re excited to share it with the punk rock community.

JP : We wanted to challenge ourselves in our writing skills. We did the whole recoding ourselves and wanted to deliver the best audio quality possible, so we also had to improve our recording gear. Jessy is the mastermind behind all that you hear on that record. He spent countless days and nights putting all the pieces together to make it sound huge. He has played a huge role in crafting the songs structures, making arrangements, editing, mixing and figuring out the right tones and harmonies better than anyone else. I swear we had some hard times dealing with 3 distinct guitar parts and their interplays! That was a challenge.

What part of the album are you most excited for people to hear?

PO : On my behalf, each and every song deserves a listen; there isn’t any album filler in my opinion, they were all crafted lovingly. There are some fresh features like song arrangements and new tempos that listenners haven’t heard from Fullcount yet. We had a wider vision on this record. There’s also a handful of cool collaborators who have lent their voices to a few tracks. We’re more than ready to watch you press play! Continue reading “Fullcount: Do-It-Yourself Skatepunk In Action [Interview]”

13 Of The Best Memories From KNRD Fest 2018

Enjoy Sarah’s personal account of a magical weekend over-indulgence in the Bavarian woods. Feauring After The Fall, A Wilhelm Scream, The Human Project, Petrol Girls, Forever Unclean, Money Left To Burn and The Affect Heuristic…

Article by Sarah Williams. Photography by Josh Sumner.

For years, people have been telling me that KNRD Fest is special. I finally bit the bullet this year and made it out to Nuremberg for the two day party in the famed Bavarian woods and… it turns out they’re right. KNRD is something truly special.

KNRD (pronounced ‘conrad’) is a magical, musical fantasy for anyone in the European skate-punk scene; so great that I wonder whether I dreamt elements of it. With bands like After The Fall and A Wilhelm Scream gracing a sterling skate-punk oriented bill, you know it’s going to be a great weekend, but what makes KNRD exceptional is the unique private-party feeling it has.

Human Project KNRD Fest 2018 cred Josh Sumner Cold Front Photography (28).jpg

I arrived quite late on the Friday, just as the bands were beginning, and just in time for to see Darko’s Karl Sursham wielding the mic and welcoming everyone to this wood-chipped glade with a charming boom. A keg is ceremonially cracked open and, thenceforth, it’s feels almost rude not to imbibe as much crystal-clear, chemical-free Bavarian beer as possible.

It’s this, in combination with the generously free-poured gin and tonics, moscow mules and pfeffe (peppermint) shots, that bring me to the theme of today’s article. As people regrouped on Saturday morning, after Friday night’s excesses, the question on everyone’s lips was: “How much do you remember of last night?” Continue reading “13 Of The Best Memories From KNRD Fest 2018”

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”

17 Hours In A Sweaty Tin Can On Wheels

There’s a romance to tour vans for the punk rock fan. A sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly endless journey is in itself a part of the fun.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Recently, travelling home from Nuremberg to Manchester, I opted to join Fair Do’s in their van for the 20 hour drive, rather than making use of the flight that I’d booked. They thought this was completely insane. It kinda was.

In fairness, I was travelling home from an overwhelmingly good weekend at KNRD Fest, my flight was absurdly early (and would probably have caused anxious, hungover Sarah to have a morning panic attack about missing the plane) and I love hanging out with Fair Do’s. There’s no doubt that 20 hours in a cramped tour van is no piece of cake, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to everyone and it meant that I could party hard on Saturday night, now that the worry of impossibly teleporting to an airport wasn’t weighing on my mind.

That said, there’s a romance to tour vans for the punk rock fan. A sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly endless journey is in itself a part of the fun.

Van Tour Life Shout Louder (4).jpeg

As I write, I’m now locked in a hot tin can on wheels, driving with some of the Lockjaw Crew from Brakrock Ecofest in Belgium to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia. It’s 17 hours in total, taking in a pick-up in Cologne and an obscure mission to collect a PRH ticket from a friend in Salzburg. We’re flying through the alps at 120kph in blazing sunshine with fuck all air conditioning, no stereo and so much merch (buying 500 Lockjaw compilation frisbees seemed like a great idea at the time…), vinyl and camping gear that there’s zero space for your feet in the footwell. Continue reading “17 Hours In A Sweaty Tin Can On Wheels”

Podcast #10: Fair Do’s Talk Leopards, Foxes and Sasquatches

Manchester’s masters of metal / punk crossover join us for a tongue-in-cheek chat about woodland animals, touring and technical excellence.

On today’s thoroughly entertaining episode, Sarah is joined by Danny Cummings and John Holt from Fair Do’s. These tongue-in-cheek Northerners have been an important part of both the UK DIY punk scene and the wider European skate-punk scene since 2009 so we were delighted to speak to them, especially as they get set to unleash their stunning new album Leopards.

We learn why their bassist is a weasel, why a stage catching fire doesn’t mean the end of a show, and they share the story of their foxy new video for their single, Closing In. We also discuss KNRD Fest, touring with After The Fall and Death By Stereo and, erm, morris dancing.

Finally, they also completely throw their bandmate Dave Speechley under the bus on the personal worst section of the podcast, telling two fabulously embarassing tour stories. Probably serves him right for being such an disgustingly good guitarist.

We also discuss their album Leopards, which is due out on Lockjaw Records on July 27th. We’re a tad biased, but we think it’s one of the best melodic hardcore albums that 2018 will have to offer, and you’re a fool if you don’t pre-order it from Lockjaw Records right this second. Continue reading “Podcast #10: Fair Do’s Talk Leopards, Foxes and Sasquatches”

Fair Do’s: No One’s Going To Set Standards For You [Interview]

Manchester’s finest talk working-class roots, quality-control and how hard it is to learn your own songs sometimes!

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.

Fair Do's Live cred Alia Thomas.jpg

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.

Continue reading “Fair Do’s: No One’s Going To Set Standards For You [Interview]”