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]”

Exclusive: The Burnt Tapes Premiere Video for ‘Things Get Weird’

Be the first to watch the beautiful and mysterious new music video from London’s favourite regret punks, The Burnt Tapes.

The Burnt Tapes Video Premiere Things Get Weird Exclusive

Celebrating a year since the release of their melodic-punk gem, Alterations, London’s The Burnt Tapes have released a beautiful video for the best song on the record: Things Get Weird.

Alterations was Shout Louder’s Best EP Release of 2017 and we’ve been dying to hear more from the band ever since. These self-styled regret punks excel in heart-on-your-sleeve songwriting with oodles of hooks and sad refrains, ideal for fans of Iron Chic, Polar Bear Club or Red City Radio.

The video for Things Get Weird is about battling your demons, whether they be mental or physical manifestations, which aptly captures the song’s themes of loss and inner turmoil. Sing with us now: “I watched us fall apart in my head…”

Alterations is available on 12’’ vinyl, CD or download direct from Lockjaw Records and Umlaut Records.

Here’s what The Burnt Tapes had to say about the video:

“Firstly, we were super lucky to be able to get two very talented people to work with us on this project, Arghie and Serena, who were willing to help us bring to life any weird and wacky ideas we had. Although we filmed this video across multiple days back in November, but it felt right to put it out now to celebrate the one year anniversary of Alterations‘ release.

We spent two days working with the mercurial Matt Carson [JB Conspiracy / Darko’s Hiraeth video]. We had an idea for a very ambitious drowning-in-a-pool scene – we rocked up to a pool in a spa/gym, managed to get past reception with a crew of two actors, two band members and Matt with all his equipment…. We started filming, but just before the girls jumped into the pool the receptionist busted in on us and kicked us out. The pool scene became a bathtub scene.

The Burnt Tapes have just spent 10 days recording their debut full-length at The Ranch. Due to ‘the confidentiality agreement they signed with Sony’ they’re not able to tell us much more than that in the moment, but we know it will be worth the wait.

You can catch the band live at Evil Hoof Fest in Manchester in on July 21st or at Rebellion in August. They are wrapping up the summer with a tour of Scotland, starting on August 24th.

You can pick up a copy of Alterations direct from Lockjaw Records and Umlaut Records here: https://lockjaw-records.lnk.to/Alterations

You can keep track of all Burnt Tapes news on Facebook and Instagram. While you’re here, why not read Shout Louder’s review of Alterations?

Podcast #7: Rob & Dan from Darko Takeover!

Dan and Rob from melodic hardcore heavyweights Darko join Sarah for a chat. We talk lyrics, cocktails and tour stories. Dan shits his pants and Rob gets shat on by a bird. Don’t miss this!

Darko are simultaneously one of the hardest-working and hardest-partying bands we know. They are all dedicated, intelligent and serious musicians… but that doesn’t mean that they’re above telling us about shitting a tent at Punk Rock Holiday.

Join us for this special episode of the Shout Louder Podcast with Dan Smith and Rob Piper of Guildford’s melodic hardcore tour-de-force: Darko. We have an in-depth chat, finishing with the most embarrassing Worst Time story we’ve heard yet.

We also tell the tale behind the ‘summer cocktail’ bundle they have recently announced, with a gorgeous yellow/pink/blue splatter re-press of their stunning album Bonsai Mammoth. I wanted to find out a bit more background behind some of the songs and how the band manage to balance their punk rock lifestyles with their day jobs.

You can also enjoy music from Forever Unclean, Money Left To Burn and A Wilhelm Scream. And Rob gets shat on by a bird. You wouldn’t want to miss that. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts!

Darko’s summer cocktail bundle can be pre-ordered from Lockjaw Records, with special edition t-shirts and posters – you can pick up a copy here.

Darko Summer Cocktail Bundle.jpg

Darko are heading out on a rare UK tour with A Wilhelm Scream in two weeks time. Shout Louder strongly recommend that you go to as many dates on this tour as you possibly can. Here’s the full list:

  • June 21st: Glasgow, Nice & Sleazy with Shout Louder’s personal faves The Affect Heuristic
  • June 22nd: Manchester, Star & Garter with Fair Do’s and Throwing Stuff
  • June 23rd: Norwich, Waterfront with Other Half
  • June 24th: London, New Cross Inn part of Polite Riot Festival
  • June 25th: Bristol, Exchange with The Run Up
  • June 26th: Stafford, Redrum with Funeral Shakes and This Is The End
  • June 27th: Southampton, Joiners with Almeida

Continue reading “Podcast #7: Rob & Dan from Darko Takeover!”

The Affect Heuristic: Melodic Hardcore’s Best Kept Secret [Interview]

Scottish/Belgian melodic hardcore newbies The Affect Heuristic are the most exciting thing to happen so far in 2018.

Interview by Joelle Laes / Intro by Sarah Williams.

The Affect Heuristic are one of the single most exciting things to happen so far in 2018. They teased a short burst of Tightrope last year, before releasing an absolutely stunning split with Money Left To Burn in February. This is a record that deserves to be spun to breaking point; we’ve had it on non-stop since we got our hands on it.

Shout Louder aired an exclusive stream of Vs because we think it’s the most exciting record we’ve heard all year. It’s now out in a gorgeous digipack format on Lockjaw Records. If you haven’t heard it yet, you need it in your life. It’s intricate, technical melodic hardcore with a sweet twist of metal, erring more on the side of Shai Hulud or Between The Buried and Me, but maintaining all the wider appeal of Darko or F.O.D.. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s been mixed by PMX’s John Harcus, so the end product is tight as fuck.

Conveniently, Shout Louder’s writer and Less Talk More Records’ lovely Joelle happens to live with The Affect Heuristic’s guitarist Dave Gourlay, so he was easy to pin down for an interview.

Hello. I know you quite well but maybe our readers don’t. Can you introduce yourself? Who are you, what is your role in the band?

I’d like to just kick this off by saying it’s a real honour to be doing this. I bloody LOVE Shout Louder and what you’re all doing for punk and music in general. Podcasts are a tour de force of relevance, bizarre ranting and comedy. (All credit to Sarah!)

Now, to business. Hiya, I’m Dave, I play guitar and awkwardly fumble with any dates we’re given to the point of utter confusion of everyone else in the band.

Hi Dave. Congrats on your first release!

Oooh! Thanks so much for the enjoyment of the finished record! Glad you’re digging it after hearing it ad nauseum while I wrote it in our flat.

The fact that I still enjoy it after having to sit through it a million times shows how brilliant it is. I rather enjoyed watching it come to life.

Seriously surprised at that.

I’m not.

I’m more excited about the launch of the hot sauce than anything else. Bernie Bumhole is an aptly named winner. It actually dissolves toilets. First time I had it, I left teeth marks in the sink. If you didn’t pre-order it, you’ll have to wait to try it.

I’ve heard it numbs buttholes to the point where you can’t tell if you’re farting or not. Risky business that.

Every fart’s a gamble. It’s sneaky cause it can be a slow burner. It definitely isn’t slow the next day.

Yes, I’ve seen your face change and run for the bathroom a few times…

Apart from that time I sharted on the chair.

May it rest in peace in the tip.

Now let me ask the obvious questions first. You and the singer (Sean) are from Scotland. You’ve lived in Belgium for a few years and you’re about to move back to the UK. The rest of the band is Belgian. How does that work? How do you write songs or rehearse?

So far as writing and rehearsing goes, I’ll have to really knuckle down and start demoing more. I absolutely hate that stage of writing cause I can’t play it tight yet and hearing all those duff notes drives me mental. But this is going to be key.

I absolutely love those spontaneous moments we have in the room together where I have an idea and by the end of practice, we have a song (in this case, Tightrope). But this is a double edged sword, since I can sit down with Sean and involve him waaaay more while maintaining a regular actual practice schedule with the band back in Belgium.

So we’ll demo everything, do our homework and hopefully by tour time, it’ll all be sorted. They’re incredible boys, they never disappoint.

So you’ll be going back and forth to rehearse?

As much as I can. Ideally I’d like to get over twice a month. Or once a month but a full weekend of rehearsals. Practice is everything.

Ooft! Expensive! So if people want more new music, they better go buy your CD to help fund trips, eh?!

You are the main songwriter, correct? What is your writing process like?

Incorrect! I usually come up with a cool little lead riff and maybe a few other parts, we go over it in the room til we’re all happy. Or I write stuff I can’t play in Guitar Pro and pitch it to the band. Guitar Pro is both an amazing song writing tool and a curse (give me free stuff Guitar Pro).

Those bloody midi tracks… Very enjoyable.
Who have been your main influences as a songwriter? Who do you look up to?

I love guitarists like Billy Corgan, Erik Mongrain, Noel Gallagher, James Dean Bradfield, Graham Coxon but the guy that really kicked it all off for me was Matt Fox. I saw Shai Hulud for the first time and I was just glued to his hands. No-one on the planet can mix aggression and melody like he can. He really got me started on the through-composed, endless riffing, weird chords thing. (Note: check out Shai Hulud Food Puns on Facebook)

I also worship Paul Waggoner of Between the Buried and Me and Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan. I have many guitar heroes but we’ll keep it PG for now. The only real, ‘punk’ guitarists I’ve ever truly worshipped have been Jake Kiley and Jackson Mould.

What type of music do you listen to when writing? Does it differ?

Anything but punk of any kind. Mainly techy/metal bands like Animals As Leaders, The Helix Nebula, Within The Ruins, (old) Veil of Maya, Black Dahlia Murder, etc. I also love all the pop music. J-Pop, old school rap, grime and that. I am fully down wit da yoof. Notable mentions go to Save Us from The Archon and CHON.

Now, moving on to the actual songs…Those lyrics, wow. My heart broke. When it comes to mental health there’s still a lot of stigma and taboos, especially when it comes to men’s mental health. What’s the core message you want to deliver with these lyrics?

Sean would be the best person to answer this since he wrote those lyrics but I can definitely relate. Toxic masculinity on the whole is just another part of the bullshit patriarchal society that should be dying out.

The idea that we’re so near the technological singularity and I can get pizza from a train station vending machine 24hrs a day but we still have gender inequity is a wholly archaic notion along with DVDs, shoes with wheels in or getting slapped for crying at a film and called a ‘poof’ (has never put me off The Outsiders or Stand By Me). It’s fucking laughable. Examples of this are everywhere and we can only do our best to be better and to do better. Writing songs about it is a definite start.

How has music affected your own mental health?

I’ve been pretty up and down lately. I suffer from depression and anxiety and this band has been a massive help in controlling my loud brain. There’s a real catharsis in playing/writing music. It gives me something to focus on and control when everything else around me seems to spiralling into oblivion.

If it wasn’t for music, I probably would’ve hurt myself a long time ago. Which isn’t good.
But it comes with its hazards. I get the worst post-show/tour blues. I hit a really rough patch especially after tours, particularly when I was trapped in that dead end job. Mind that? Carpets and the people who clean them are shit.

I think it’s quite common amongst musicians:you’re on the road, hanging out with like-minded and wonderful people, only to come home and be treated like what you’re doing is, ‘Not real’ if you get me?

Kind of… it’s like post-trip depression for me, only a hundred times worse I assume.

We probably feel it the exact same. Going back to the real world after an experience like that is soul crushing.

It really is.

Your first gig was at the Bonsai Mammoth anniversary party in Guildford in February. It was amazing. What are your plans as a band for the rest of this year? I see you have a weekender in Belgium planned (El Topo Goes Loco/Brak&Skate) But you also mentioned ‘Tour-time’?

Yeah! That first show with Darko was just unbelievable, what a great weekend. That day was so nerve wracking! All the best bands and us singing about monkeys, it was scary and utterly amazing.

And El Topo is going to be an awesome party! Jason and the crew have really outdone themselves this year and I’m seriously happy to be opening cause that means I can watch bands and have a Gincident.

NO INJURIES PLEASE! Some explanation: our best friend split her knee in half and broke some ribs at El Topo (2017) whilst watching The Human Project. There was a pool of blood, some duct tape and a visit to the doctor the next day for stitches. Since referred to as the “Gincident”.

No! The original Gincident was when Byatt (No Contest) got leathered at Balloonfabrik in Augsberg on gin/radler and he fell out the van while trying to puke and he cut himself to ribbons. And landed in his puke.

Wonderful! We’re getting off track here. Back to the plans!

As for the rest of the year, we have a show in Glasgow in June then in July, we’re touring the mainland the 10 days leading up to KNRD (10th – 21st). We have some dates available, just get in touch if you want us to noise you up. We’re on the road with Head Honcho from Seattle. Ananananada is a KNRD regular and a wonderful guy. Cannot wait to introduce him to Slovenian Schnapps!

Love Ananda. Great news! If you had to pick one band that is your collective favourite, who would it be?

This is actually pretty impossible. We all listen to different yet similar things.
Collectively…Might be Vengaboys.

Excellent choice. Can’t go wrong with that.

They like to party, I hear.

Tell us something about TAH we don’t know yet…

We’re heading into the studio this Saturday to start recording drums for the album.

I already knew that.

Yeah, you do cause we’re roomies… for the next couple of weeks.

Ahh, don’t blow my cover now!

Mimimi. You’re too nosey for your own good.

…Shut up Dave. When can we expect this new album? How far along are you?

You can expect it next year, would be awesome to have it ready to go on the one year anniversary of the, ‘Vs’ release but we’ll just have to see. We’re still very much writing it but we’re ready to start the process so that’s always good. Either way we’ll be looking at 10-12 songs, some of which are monkey themed.

Awesome! If there is one Scottish saying you’d like our readers to know about, what would it be?

We’ll cover, “Hee-Haw” which is what you get when you’re not getting anything.

“He who hingeth aboot getteth hee-haw”

Exactly. Long may your Still Game obsession continue. Just try not to force it upon Belgians or Southerners again. It doesn’t work.

I tried and failed miserably.

Zat us?

That’s plenty. Thanks for taking time out of your busy guitaring-schedule to answer my questions.

Thanks to you for taking the time. And thanks again to everyone at Shout Louder for liking the songs and sharing and mentions and all that, very much appreciated.

Nae bother.

Pick up a copy of Vs, the split from Money Left To Burn and The Affect Heuristic, from Lockjaw Records now. It could well be the best thing you hear all year.

Waterweed Interview: Japanese Melodic Hardcore Heavyweights

Read our in-depth interview with Osaka’s Waterweed ahead of their UK tour this month.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Japanese melodic hardcore heavyweights Waterweed have caused a ruckus in the UK punk scene lately. First, it was announced that they’d be making an appearance at Manchester Punk Festival. Then we heard that Lockjaw Records would be releasing their second album Brightest in the UK. Finally, a further flurry of exciting dates across the UK and mainland Europe have popped up.

Skate-punk fans may already be well aware of Waterweed, as a relatively big act in Japan, but as they’ve never visited Europe and never had a release here before, you can’t be blamed if you’ve not heard of them. We were keen to find out more about the band, the tour and the album, so we spoke to singer/bassist Tomohiro Ohga.

I am so excited to see you live at Manchester Punk Festival, and on your tour around the UK and mainland Europe! Is this your first time in the UK?

This is our first European tour. Outside of Japan, we have also toured in South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.

What part of the trip are you most excited about?

Everything, I think! The scenery, sounds and smells in Europe will be a new experience for me.  Looking forward to finding some new inspiration.

Waterweed Live 1.jpg

Which bands you are looking forward to playing with most?

We are very excited to be performing with Satanic Surfers in Paris. When Waterweed was first formed, we listened to Hero of Our Time and were deeply impressed. We saw their show in Japan and are honored to perform together with a band we admire.

Also, we are performing with Propagandhi and Iron Chic at Manchester Punk Festival. Not on the same date, but also honored to be involved with the same music festival. We are playing on the same day as Death By Stereo. They came to the venue I work at during their Japan tour last year. I started liking them even more after seeing their great performance and personality. I’m also looking forward to performing with Darko and Bare Teeth after we join them, Almeida and Belvedere on a Japanese tour booked by the RNR crew. Continue reading “Waterweed Interview: Japanese Melodic Hardcore Heavyweights”

Exclusive: Darko Premiere New ‘Lifeblood’ Video

Watch of our exclusive preview of Darko’s brand new video!

Shout Louder are proud to bring you an exclusive preview of the brand new video from melodic hardcore masters, Darko. The band have a history of creating videos that are as entertaining and skillful as their music, to which this is no exception.

Lifeblood is a song about feeling trapped and undervalued in a job, but trying to remember that you are the lifeblood. As Dan says in the song, “We call them bastards, yet they need us to succeed.”

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Gothe

Rob Piper, guitarist in Darko and director of the video, says that he tried to reflect that sentiment by creating an uneasy, claustrophobic film. In it vocalist Dan Smith is shown with his hands tied behind a chair, sitting placidly while his own shadow rages inside him. Using a series of tight, edgy close-ups and a grim, grey setting the video successfully captures the feeling of entrapment that comes with any job that you cannot break free of.

Lifeblood is the third single to be taken from their brilliant album Bonsai Mammoth (Shout Louder’s Album of The Year 2017), after Hiraeth and Just A Short Line. You can purchase the album from Lockjaw Records, if you haven’t already.

This is an active season for Darko, who will be touring Japan, Australia and the UK in the coming weeks. Closer to home they are touring with Japanese wonders Waterweed, including an appearance at Manchester Punk Festival and a club show at The Star Inn, in their hometown of Guildford. Later on they’ll be slaying Glasgow, Norwich, Bristol, London, Stafford and Southampton with A Wilhelm Scream.

This week they’re playing five dates in Japan as part of the Punk Rules Okay tour with Belvedere, Waterweed, Almeida and Bare Teeth (jealous!). They will be taking in Shinjuku, Nagoya, Osaka and Kofu (keep an eye out for a write-up of the tour on Shout Louder in the near future…). After that, they are heading to Australia with The Decline, celebrated by possibly the best tour poster ever (see below).

If you’d like to hear more, be sure to follow Darko on Facebook and YouTube. Also, read the interview Rob Piper did for Shout Louder to celebrate the birthday of Bonsai Mammoth. If you liked the video, make sure you check out his aerial videography company, Skyline Futures. Multi-talented bastards.