Why I’m Not Coming To Your Gig Tonight

Social anxiety in live music can be a challenge. Support your scene, but not at the expense of your own mental health.

This article written by Sarah Williams is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. Trigger warning: anxiety.

Today, my anxiety has anxiety. I am experiencing my own personal apocalypse.

I am entirely aware that the visions of catastrophe in my head are irrational, imagined and impossible (or at least implausible), but they’re there nonetheless. A cacophony of intrusive thoughts, false assumptions and self-criticism rattle round my hollow skull, a jarring, overwhelming rush.

Counting to ten isn’t helping. Telling myself I’m being illogical isn’t helping. Distracting myself isn’t helping. Self-care sounds like a waste of time, when I’ve got so much work to do. I need to just sit, ride this wave out and hope it doesn’t ruin my evening.

I’m going to a gig. I love gigs. I love live music more than anything else.

I desperately do not want to go.

I’m lying facedown on my bed, trying to muster the courage to put a jacket on and locate my house keys. Everything is impossible.

Continue reading “Why I’m Not Coming To Your Gig Tonight”

Koji: Activism, Community & Collaboration [Interview]

We spoke to America singer-songwriter and political activist Koji ahead of his upcoming European tour.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Andrew ‘KOJI’ Shiraki is an American singer-songwriter know for his political activism, plaintive songwriting and his collaborations with bands like La Dispute, Into It Over It, Title Fight and Balance and Composure.

He’s embarking on an extensive tour of Europe in January and February, beignning with a run of UK dates with Such Gold and Ducking Punches before a series of headline solo shows on the mainland.

KOJI has been quiet over the last few years, after spending his 20s on the road. Rested and revitalised, he’s aiming to return to music with renewed energy in 2019. We were keen to speak to him ahead of his UK tour.

Thanks so much for talking to us! You’re embarking a major tour around Europe right now, sharing quite a few dates with Such Gold and Ducking Punches in the UK. What are you most excited for?

It’s been a long time since I’ve been over to the UK or toured anywhere for that matter. My one and only tour last year was with the Movielife in Japan and it’s awesome to now experience the culture here in the UK on the back of that experience. Such Gold and I toured here in 2011, so this is such a cool reunion.

You’ve been to the UK quite a few times before. What keeps bringing you back?

The UK music community is amazing. There are so many friends I’ve made here that continue to enrich my life. I’ve always felt inspired by the people, music, and landscape. When I’m in the UK, it really feels like I’m playing music and not just going through the motions. In life, you have to trust the places where you feel joy. Continue reading “Koji: Activism, Community & Collaboration [Interview]”

7 Punk Rock Bands To Stalk In 2019

Our recommendations for ones-to-watch this year – these bands are set to explode.

Written by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Cold Front Photography.

Now that we’ve completed our round-up of 2018 (check out our top albums, EPs, festivals and live bands) it’s time to look ahead of the future.

The DIY punk scene is thriving in Europe currently; it’s feels like we’re on riding the crest of a wave that’s growing into a tsunami. Online connections are enabling us to share recommendations and enthusiasm across continents, so word is spread quickly about exciting new acts.

It’s easy to find new music nowadays, however I’ve believe there are two methods that stand out above the others: watching support acts at gigs and listening to recommendations from your friends. In 2019, I implore you to get out and see as many new bands as possible. To get you started, here are Shout Louder’s top recommendations:

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Wolfrik

Canadian thrashers Wolfrik are unlike any other band I’ve heard… although it’s safe to say they’re fans of Alexisonfire, A Wilhelm Scream, Protest The Hero and Belvedere. I’ve been keen to get their EP Skeleton City into the ears of anyone I can find and, so far, everyone’s been bowled over by their awesome sound.

Fortunately Skeleton City also found its way to the ears of the Manchester Punk Festival promoters, who pretty much instantly added them to the bill. If Wolfrik are as good live as they are on record then they’re going to tear the faces off the whole UK punk scene when they arrive in England in April. Erring on the metal / rock end of the punk scale, they combine a variety of genres, but it’s all fast, raucous fun with a healthy dose of experimentation. Continue reading “7 Punk Rock Bands To Stalk In 2019”

Main Line 10: Fierce Spanish Melodic Hardcore [Interview]

We speak to Dani about Main Line 10’s 13 year history, their influences and their plans for 2019.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Main Line 10 deliver a whirlwind of positive melodic hardcore loaded with adrenaline. Originating from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, they’re one of the most exciting live acts Europe has to offer.  Their latest release The Fox featured on our Top 10 Punk Rock Albums of 2018, and they’re due an appearance at Manchester Punk Festival in April.

After falling madly in love with their latest record, we were keen to speak to drummer Dani Amengual about their 13 year history as a band, their latest release and their touring plans for 2019.

You’ve been together since 2005. How do you think you’ve grown as a band, and as people in that time?

As a band I think we could have done more things and better, for example our two first records sound like crap! (AdrenaLine released 2006 and Today Is Tomorrow released 2009) We could have done more tours and more shows but when you start a band at 17/18 years old, nobody tells you how to to those things, and didn’t have social media in 2005.

I think we’ve grown well as a band and as people. We are the same as we were in the beginning with the same humor, same bad jokes and with a strong friendship between us… We’re fatter and have more hair in our faces but, in the end: the same. Continue reading “Main Line 10: Fierce Spanish Melodic Hardcore [Interview]”

Band Spotlight: The Friday Prophets [Interview]

Introducing Swedish punk rockers The Friday Prophets. FFO: The Bouncing Souls, Not On Tour, Green Day.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

The Friday Prophets are a Stockholm based punk rock band who ooze energy, positivity and good times. They’ve recently released their second album In The Key Of Sublimation via their own label Holy Howl Records. It’s exciting, upbeat punk rock with heart of gold that’ll appeal to punkrockers worldwide!

We spoke to Mattias Robertson to get a proper introduction to the band.

How would you sum up The Friday Prophets for someone who’s just discovering you?

I would say that we are a punk rock band from Stockholm that tries to unify the harmonic part of punk rock with the more gritty side of it. Then I would recommended some songs to check out! Which songs? I would say Reason, Where Are You?, La La La and With You. That oughta be enough for a start!

What inspired you most when writing your album, In The Key of Sublimation?

First of all, I would say music in general. I listen to a lot of music and it just inspires me and makes me want to pick up the guitar and start writing something on my own.

Regarding the sound, there have definitely been some albums that have been particularly influential and these are: Lifetime‘s self-titled album, Green Day’s Dookie, Against Me!‘s Transgender Dysphoria Blues and The Bouncing Souls‘ self-titled album and How I Spent My Summer Vacation. To me these are exceptional records, the kind of records that you can rediscover again and again. Continue reading “Band Spotlight: The Friday Prophets [Interview]”

Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018

Sarah’s favourite punk rock weekends of 2018.

Written by Sarah Williams.

2018 has been the year of the festival for me. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy quite a few.

One of the uniquely brilliant factors about the punk scene is that you develop close friendships with people in far flung cities and countries. Our community relies on big events like these to bring everyone together – there are some friends that I would describe as ‘close’ despite only seeing them at musical festivals every couple of months. There’s something about forgetting an entire weekend together that brings you even closer.

Human Project KNRD Fest 2018 cred Josh Sumner Cold Front Photography (63)

It feels a tad unfair ranking punk festivals when, clearly, I can’t go to every single festival. Notably, this year I was unable to make it to Pie Race Festival, Wotsit Called Festival or Level Up Festival, which I suspect might feature highly if I had.

Similarly, I went to some absolutely brilliant festivals that deserve some love that haven’t quite made it onto the list here. Specifically, I’d recommend Belgium’s El Topo Goes Loco to everyone – it’s small, sunny and always has an incredible line-up. I also fell in love with Belgium’s Brakrock Ecofest – anothering stunning location, easily accessible with an excellent roster of bands (looking even bigger in 2019). I also enjoyed Dugstock and Polite Riot at The New Cross Inn, plus handful of smaller fests around the country.

These were the five best experiences of my entire year:

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#5: SBAM Fest – Wels, Austria

Going to SBAM Fest was a somewhat impulsive decision, in an effort to overcome the MPF post-festival blues. However, with Propagandhi, Iron Chic, Satanic Surfers and No Trigger it was a no-brainer.

After a seriously long trip (Manchester to Stansted, Stansted to Salzburg, train to Wels) I found myself in a cool location miles away from home; a converted slaughterhouse covered in graffiti and filled with affable punks. I caught bands from closer to home like Darko, Wonk Unit and The Murderburgers, plus some foreign highlights like Astpai and The Bennies. I also did some catastrophically hard partying that led to the worst hangover of the year – typically a sign of a good weekend. Continue reading “Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018”

Podcast: Mute & One Hidden Frame

Double interview with two of melodic hardcore’s technical powerhouses.

Over the summer, Sarah got the opportunity to chat with two of the international fast-punk scene’s most stunningly melodic acts.

Firstly, at Brakrock Ecofest in Belgium, Sarah caught up with Étienne Dionne and Alexis Trépanier from Canadian technical masters Mute, a band who’ve been stunning audiences with their unrivalled guitar work for 20 years. As true legends of the tech scene they have a brilliant selection of tour tales to share with us.

Later, at Punk Rock Holiday, Sarah had a fun chat with Pekka Multaharju and Emil Stenbäck from One Hidden Frame: a brilliant melodic hardcore band from Lappeenranta in Finland and one of Shout Louder’s personal favourites.

One Hidden Frame have been going since 2002, however some of their best work has come in the form of their 2017 album Harmful Content and their recently released split EP with Thousand Oaks. We were absolutely delighted to get to chat to one another, and no doubt you’ll enjoy it too.

If you’re a fan on technical, interesting melodic hardcore, then you will love this podcast. Even if that’s not your bag musically, we’re sure you’ll love our chat.

These were the songs we played:

  • Mute – Fill The Void
  • Adrenalized – Crawling From The Ashes (feat. Étienne Dionne)
  • One Hidden Frame – Exploding Head Syndrome
  • Fullcount – The Motion (feat. Étienne Dionne)