One Story Of Recovering From Mental Illness

Sarah shares her story of a year of recovering from depression, exploring the challenges and the stigma attached to it.

Written by Sarah Williams for World Mental Health Day 2019. Trigger warning: suicide.

On Mental Health Awareness Day last year, I somewhat ironically published an article about the horrors of depression, and the relief of overcoming it. I say ironic, because a few days after publishing it, I tried to kill myself.

I fucked it up, and then tried again about a month later. And then again, a third time, in December. 

At the time I remember being frustrated and embarrassed that I couldn’t even do that properly. Suicide is really fucking difficult. Also, the chairs they have in A&E treatment rooms are so uncomfortable it’s really not worth the hassle. 

That was a year ago. Three suicide attempts between October and December 2018. Looking back, my sole focus for the last 12 months has been on trying to get better. And you know what? I am better. Continue reading “One Story Of Recovering From Mental Illness”

The Best Ways To Support Independent Records Labels (From The Labels Themselves)

Sarah speaks to the owners of small, independent record labels, to understand the best way people can support them and to demystify some preconceptions about small music businesses.

Written by Sarah Williams.

We’re currently running a competition to support small record labels, where you can win a massive bundle of vinyl, CDs and other goodies. Head to our Instagram to enter.

The role of the record label has changed in recent years. Small, independent DIY labels are popping up all the time, but they don’t have the capital to fund recordings or the clout to market bands to a mainstream audience, as a label would have done traditionally.

Instead, many of the record labels we love are started at kitchen tables by keen music lovers,often to help their friends or to release their own band’s music. Nowadays, record labels are a helping hand, a word of advice, financial support and a labour of love.

Outside of Shout Louder, I’m part of a team that keep the cogs turning at Lockjaw Records. Although we’re relatively well established, we’re not doing anything for profit. The reward for our hard work is seeing our bands reach new listeners and play bigger stages. Many label proprietors are passionate punk rockers, who simply want to keep the scene alive.

I spoke to some of the small labels I respect the most, to understand how best to support them. Continue reading “The Best Ways To Support Independent Records Labels (From The Labels Themselves)”

Vanilla Pod: Gone But Not Forgotten [Interview]

After over 20 years together, Kings Lynn’s favourite punks Vanilla Pod called it a day in 2018. We’ve chronicled the history of this classic band with the help of guitarist Steve Pod.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

After twenty three (twenty three!) years as a band, notorious Kings Lynn punks Vanilla Pod decided to call it a day in late 2018. They chose to go out with a bang, completing a long run of live dates around the UK, releasing a final farewell EP Goodbye My Love and hosting one final Podstock event as a hometown send off.

It was quite the fanfare for a band who, while remaining relatively humble, have had a major influence on many people within the UK punk scene (and further afield). One of my earliest punk rock memories was catching Vanilla Pod playing a glorious grotty venue in my seaside hometown at approximately the age of 14, by which time they’d already been going for nearly a decade. I remember finding them on a Rock Sound compilation and being impressed that they were playing down the road for only £3 on-the-door.

Since then there have been many memorable (and some perhaps less memorable!) experiences with Vanilla Pod involved – chaotic club nights, quieter acoustic sets, celebratory, nostalgic weekends at Podstock and that-one-time-at-WonkFest that no one forgets.

Before the split, I spoke to guitarist Steve Pitcher (who, as far as I’m concerned, shall always be known as Steve Pod) to document some of the bands’ history. Continue reading “Vanilla Pod: Gone But Not Forgotten [Interview]”

Edward In Venice: Aggressive, Dynamic and Full of Empathy [Interview]

We talk to Italian favourites Edward In Venice about their screaming fast mix of pop-punk, emo, and melodic hardcore.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Edward In Venice are a screaming melodic hardcore band from Pesaro, Italy, with a strong penchant for pop-punk melodies and technical guitar work. In April 2019 they released a new EP Empathy on Lockjaw Records. Empathy is an intricate record, recorded with no deadline to allow full creative freedom.

I first caught Edward In Venice playing Manchester Punk Festival 2015, where I fell in love with their speed, their skill and their energy. Their Howler EP was one of my favourite punk rock releases that year, and I’ve been waiting for a follow up album since.

We spoke to Filippo Greganti about the new records, their inspiration and their future plans.

You’ve recently released a new 6-track EP Empathy. How does it feel to have it out in the world?

It’s out in the world? Really? Hah! It’s so motivating. A lot of our friends and fans were waiting for this EP and now finally they’re happy… Hopefully! Continue reading “Edward In Venice: Aggressive, Dynamic and Full of Empathy [Interview]”

The Bennies: Bringing Happiness To The Party [Interview]

Australian party machines The Bennies discuss philosophy, cannibalism, dangers… and they invent their very own party robot.

Interview by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Nick Manuel.

At El Topo Goes Loco in Belgium last year, I had the opportunity to chat with Anty Horgan and Nick Williams of Australian party-wizards The Bennies. They’re one of the most fun and uplifting bands you’ll have the joy of seeing, churning up punk, rock, reggae, dub and dance music in a cocktail of danceable anthems.

As the party was already in full-swing, and we were all a few beverages in, we took up position on the quiet grass patch outside the festival site. As the mosquitoes descended on us, we shared a couple of Jupilers and a joint, and Anty stretched out on the grass to do some pre-show yoga stretches. 

You guys are current rounding off a long European tour. How’s it feeling?

  • Nick: This our longest tour. It’s been about 30 dates.
  • Anty: It’s the most we’ve ever done. Easily the most in a row. It’s been good! We’re sort of on the knife’s edge at the moment… where everyone’s good, but pretty fragile? It doesn’t take too much to rock the boat, if you know what I mean.

What are you doing to try and stay sane and survive?

  • Nick: I bought a skateboard and I am very stoked about that. That was a total game-changer for me. I got it in Germany. We were playing at the Sonic Ballroom in Cologne. 

Do you skate much back home?

  • Nick: Not really. I used to a lot. The danger element in our band increased ten-fold in one day. I bought a skateboard in the morning and that was awesome. Then we arrived at Steinhagen and there was a tightrope there that we all suddenly decided we wanted to start mastering. 

Continue reading “The Bennies: Bringing Happiness To The Party [Interview]”

Live Review: Groezrock 2019

We enjoyed the return of one of Belgium’s biggest punk rock festivals, featuring Not On Tour, A Wilhelm Scream, Millencolin, Snuff, Jawbreaker and more.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Gresle Photography.

Years ago, Groezrock was as much a draw for British punk rockers as Download or Reading. For many of us it was our first festival outside of the UK. After a fallow year, Groezrock has evolved and become more refined, but it still boasts an exceptional line-up and an excellent atmosphere.

I travelled over to the sprawling festival site in sleepy Meerhout in the company of Goodbye Blue Monday, who were playing the smaller Cockpit stage on Saturday. We were keen to get a Jupiler down our necks as soon as we arrived, which fortunately coincided with Pkew Pkew Pkew getting things started. Continue reading “Live Review: Groezrock 2019”

DAVES: Spicing Things Up In The Musical Bedroom [Interview]

Leeds’ unique hardcore act Daves are a diamond in the punk rock rough. There’s a Dave in all of us, apparently.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Leeds louts Daves knocked our socks off at Strummercamp earlier this year, so we had to get to know them better. There’s been a rumble in the underground about them recently, and it’s well-deserved. If you’re not a fan of Daves yet, I suggest you get them in your ears immediately.

Mixing up interesting hardcore grooves, stripped-back acoustic segments and classically punk rock vocals, Daves have fostered a unique sound that’s at once lo-fi, lamenting and loud. They’re one of Shout Louder’s top discoveries of 2019, read on to learn more.

Let’s start with the obvious: why are you called Daves? As I understand it, none of you are actually named Dave. Have you ever been accused of false advertising?

  • Drinky: Yeah, it seems to anger people… but mainly by people who aren’t called Dave. We haven’t been taken to court yet, but I’m sure the bastards will come for us one day!

After watching you live recently, I was very impressed. You’ve got a great mix of hardcore and more more melodic, grungy post-hardcore elements. Which bands do you feel have inspired your sound?

  • Drinky: I was raised listening to a lot of protest music really, my dad being quite political, so it came from Billy Bragg to Rage Against The Machine. But now it’s mainly Taylor Swift.
  • Zach: Cliffy Byro, PUP, Green Day, Gallows, Manchester Orchestra, Spice Girls.
  • Jaz: Face To Face, Rancid and Refused.

Continue reading “DAVES: Spicing Things Up In The Musical Bedroom [Interview]”