How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality

Life feels shorter than ever; so I’m going to fill it with the noises I love.

Article by Sarah Williams.

N.B.: I’d intended for this to be a happy article about how and why I enjoy live music so much, but it’s turned out a bit on the dark side. Oops. Trigger warning: Depression, suicide, bereavement.

Waterweed

I’ve been going to a lot of gigs lately. In the last month alone, I figured out I’ve travelled over 3,500 miles just to see bands. As I’ve started booking in festivals later in the year, more people are asking me why I’m doing it.

Typically it is a question I get from the ‘normal’ people I work with or my long-suffering family, however lately it’s a question I’ve received from people in the scene, usually accompanied by an incredulous look because I’ve just turned up in yet another city.

I’ve got an answer for you, but it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Why do I go to so many gigs? I go because I know I’m going to die. I’ve become hyper aware of my own mortality.

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers, and enjoying the music I love is my way of remedying and recognising that. Every show I go to, whether that’s a sweaty Propagandhi pit, a crusty post-hardcore melee or a gentle acoustic folk gig, I will have a massive grin plastered to my face. I’m enjoying the noise, the adventure and spending time in the punk community, because I feel like it could end at any second.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been berated with the following: “You’re going to burn out;” “You should drink less;” “You need to concentrate more on work;” “You shouldn’t waste your money on that;” “You need to calm down.”

They’re all right, of course, I probably ‘should’ do all of those things. I’m fucking tired. I’ve got tinnitus. I get stressed trying to keep track of all the gig-dates on my mental calendar. I struggle to motivate myself to do my day job because it’s so different to my ‘other life’. I’ve given myself alcohol poisoning more times than I can count. I’m running solely on caffeine and enthusiasm. Getting out of bed to be at the airport at 5am when I’ve still got the flu from last weekend’s festival is a hellish struggle.

It is worth it, because I am happy. Right now, I am happier than I have ever been. And I have been for a long time now. I haven’t felt the tug of depression and the cold sweat of anxiety has washed straight off me. I’ll say it again: I am really fucking happy. Continue reading “How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality”

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!”

A Wilhelm Scream: It’s a Long Hard Road Out There [Interview]

Sarah speaks to melodic hardcore powerhouse A Wilhelm Scream about their upcoming UK tour. “No one will survive. Not even you.”

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Melodic hardcore legends A Wilhelm Scream will be coming to the UK for a seven date tour in June, before heading over to the mainland for an epic month of club shows and festivals with bands like Descendents, Pennywise, Astpai and Darko! We at Shout Louder honestly couldn’t be more excited.

For those unfamiliar with A Wilhelm Scream, they are a 5-piece powerhouse of hardcore talent from New Bedford, Massachusetts. They’ve been killing it on stage since 1999, however the band are probably best known for their classic 2005 album Ruiner and 2007’s Career Suicide. They’re a band who’ve been said to scrap songs from their albums because they’re just ‘fast’ rather than ‘very very fast’, running in the same category as Strung Out, Strike Anywhere or Propagandhi.

As personal heroes of ours, we jumped at the chance to speak to drummer, Nick Angelini, ahead of their UK tour.

Hi Nick! Thanks so much for talking to me.

No problemo.

You’re planning a killer month-long tour around Europe and the UK in June. How do you plan to survive such an awesome few weeks?

No one will survive. Not even you.

You’re touring with Darko, Pennywise, Descendents and Astpai, plus a handful of festival dates. That’s a hell of a line-up. What are you most excited for?

I am super excited to play more shows with Darko. I listened the crap out of the last CD they gave me.  I’m excited to watch them play, knowing the songs now. They are all great bands. Legends. Darko is really kicking my nuts off at the moment.

You’ve got an impressive back-catalogue. Of your recordings, which are you most proud of and why?

I am really proud of all our records. It is hard to pick just one. It’s like having five human babies and saying baby Fernando is my favorite.

What’s your favourite thing to play live?

My favorite thing to play live is my Wail City Drum Kit. I dreamed of building a full drum kit for many years. When I finally pulled it off, I was so happy and proud. Every time I play it on stage I am like a proud pappy. Continue reading “A Wilhelm Scream: It’s a Long Hard Road Out There [Interview]”

Summer 2018’s Best UK DIY Punk Festivals

With so many great festivals popping up, it’s heard to know which to choose! These are Shout Louder’s top choices for Summer 2018.

Article by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Mark Richards.

The sun’s out, the beer’s flowing and I can hear the echoes of a band sound-checking somewhere over the thrum of conversation. All my friends are here, I’m afternoon-sozzled and teetering perilously close to evening-wasted, ready to do something dumb that I won’t hear the end of for weeks to come. It must be festival season.

I live for this. Warm weekends wasted in sweltering venues; stumbling out into the cool late-night air in a sweat-soaked t-shirt; watching band after band and loving every second of it. Summer of 2018 is loaded with punk festivals, with increasingly more DIY events popping up around the country. It’s beautiful to see so many more people getting involved and organising their own weekenders: booking a gig is stressful enough, let alone a whole festival. The scene is thriving.

These are our lovingly curated top picks of UK DIY festivals taking place this summer.

Wotsit Called Festival

  • Where: The Palace, Hastings
  • When: 28th-30th September
  • Cost: £20 weekend
  • Facebook Event Page
  • Bonus Points: Film night on Thursday + hangover acoustic on Sunday + Wotsit Called themed cocktails!

Wotsit Called Festivall.jpg

One of our top picks of last year’s festivals, we are pleased to see it growing even bigger this year. Music will be starting earlier on Friday and they have added a film-night on Thursday and an acoustic hangover session on Sunday afternoon. Music on the Friday and Saturday remain the main attraction of the festival, with this year’s main draws taking the form of a handful of TNS bands, including Wonk Unit, Faintest Idea, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Casual Nausea and Revenge of The Psychotronic Man.

The latest announcement from Wotsit Called includes the full music line-up for Friday and Saturday, featuring some really big names. Ska-punk stalwarts Inner Terrestrials will never fail to get a room skanking, and feisty Scottish punks The Murderburgers are reliably riotous. Recently announced are Skinny Milk, Punka, Haest, who will be joining The Barracks, Butane Regulators, Plot 32, The Mentstrual Cramps and Batwolf.

The other advantage of this festival is that it’s right on the beach and, although it doesn’t take place until late September, we’re British so we can handle a bit of cold, rainy sea action. If you’re not too hungover there’s also time to enjoy the arcades and quaint shops of Hastings, plus delightful coffee and vegan grilled cheese at Sham City Roasters. This southern gem of a festival is organised by a collective including members of Matilda’s Scoundrels, The Barracks and The Dead Anyways. It’s small, DIY to the core and definitely worth a trip to the South Coast.

Cromstock: Metal, Punk & Thrash All-Dayer

  • Where: The Green Door Store, Brighton
  • When: 14th July 2018
  • Cost: £12 + booking fee
  • Facebook Event Page
  • Bonus Points: There’s a Spotify playlist to get you up to speed with all the crossover thrash!

Cromstock

Cromstock is a brand new all-dayer taking place in Brighton that represents a fresh direction for underground thrash, metal and punk in the UK. This event will appeal to punks who came to the scene from a love of metal, tech or hard-rock… or anyone who used to go to Download before their bookings went downhill.

If you’ve seen prog-thrash-metal melee Almeida before, you’ll know that a) they’re exceptionaly talented and enthralling live and b) they stick out like a sore thumb on most punk line-ups because they can’t be pigeonholed into one genre. Well, they’ve taken matters into their own hands and curated this collision of punk and metal all in one bill. Continue reading “Summer 2018’s Best UK DIY Punk Festivals”

Festival Review: Dugstock 2 @ New Cross Inn, London [30/03 – 01/04/2018]

Umlaut Recond second annual showcase weekedender was a blast, with bands like Counterpunch, The Murderburgers and Crazy Arm.

Review by Sarah Williams.

What better way to while away a long Easter weekend than an indoor music festival with all your mates? The second iteration of Umlaut Records’ Dugstock festival is a diverse three-day line-up hosted at London’s New Cross Inn. Umlaut Records is a rapidly growing independent label that are integral to the London punk scene. They’re only in their second year so, if this is the sort of line-up they can pull off now, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in future.

I’ve been to plenty of gigs at New Cross, but this is the first time I’ve committed to three whole days, staying in the hostel above the venue. As I’m likely to be doing the same for Level Up and Polite Riot festivals later this year, I’m almost as keen to test out this festival-formula as I am to see the bands.

Shout Louder Crew At Dugstock 2 Cocktails
Some braincells were damaged in the making of this review.

Friday

Opening the weekend are Dirty White, a 3-piece that take influence from 90’s stoner grunge bands, although they bring the songs into a cleaner, more modern relief. The singer pulls off a Chris Cornell style that you don’t often hear. They go on to mix in some faster melodic punk songs – a gentle introduction to the weekend’s festivities.

There is already a reasonably good turnout for the Friday night, with a lot of hugs and catch-up chats exchanged. Things properly kick off with Dark Days, who provide vigorous, fun, melodic poppy punk. Guitarist, John Huffman, gets told off by the sound engineer for standing on the drum kit, so he capitulates and pulls out a high stool from the bar to stand on, before flaunting rock-star poses and writhing on the floor. Their sound contains a melee of references to current North American melodic punk bands, with an added dose of Kathleen Hanna inspired harmonies and a fuzzy, experimental guitar mess. They play a full-throttle cover of Nirvana’s Breed – the first of two Breed covers we’ll hear this weekend.

Kiss Me, Killer swagger on stage with a sexy, balls-to-the-wall riot grrl energy. Singer, Holly, steals the show somewhat as she cavorts wildly around the stage, as the band rages. She’s an excellent rock vocalist, which suits the hard-rock element in their sound It’s ferocious noise peppered with short bursts of rock ‘n’ roll guitar solos and enticingly sleazy bass lines. It’s infinitely dance-able from Rat Race to It’s Going Down (which actually sets off an alarm somewhere in the venue). As my friend eloquently shouts at me during the set, it’s also a pleasure to see, “Plentiful vaginas on stage.” Continue reading “Festival Review: Dugstock 2 @ New Cross Inn, London [30/03 – 01/04/2018]”

Podcast #6: The Bennies, Consumed, SBÄM Fest & El Topo

Episode 4 is packed full of punk rock treats for you! We have an interview with Australian party machines The Bennies, a massive Umlaut Records giveaway to celebrate the new Consumed release and tales of SBÄM Fest and El Topo Goes Loco. We also play new tunes from The Human Project, Youth Avoiders, Tragical History Tour and Consumed!

Our highlight was catching up with Anty and Nick from The Bennies in Beligum, and asking them about their worst experience ever! Hold on till the end of the episode for that.

First up, Mark and Sarah discuss their recent gigs, including an account Austrian punk festival SBÄM Fest, including talk of Propagandhi, Satanic Surfers, No Trigger, Astpai, Wonk Unit, Donots and The Murderburgers. Sarah gets emotional, has Iron Chic mansplained to her, gains a boob bruise and discovers the perils of getting drunk with Darko two weeks in a row.

We also cover Belgian sunny ska/skate romp El Topo Goes Loco, including The Bennies, Beat The Red Light, The Affect Heuristic, Thanx 4 All The Shoes, The Burnt Tapes, Slack Birds, Imperial Leisure and Not Available. Mark also chats about TIE Fighter Pilot, Project Revise and Butt Plug Babies, plus we share a love of a Bangers.

Come join us in Sarah’s living room, talking faster than light to get through all this awesome content.

Continue reading “Podcast #6: The Bennies, Consumed, SBÄM Fest & El Topo”

EAT DIRT: Shaking Up The Scene [Interview]

EAT DIRT are the latest London riot, taking no prisoners as they sweep through the city. Sarah spoke to vocalist Ben Mills to their future and their unique style.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

Meet EAT DIRT. As their all-caps moniker suggests, they’re going to shout until you take notice, so jump on this bandwagon as early as you can. This unusual quintet are the latest storm to shake the music venues of London.

In the flesh they’re a raucous bunch, unable to stay on stage and choosing instead to get up close and personal with their audiences. They’ve taken a dose of their riotous live performance and injected it into their new EP Welcome to Shithouse-On-Sea, which was released on Umlaut Records on April 27th. It’s four punk rock tracks that are short but nonetheless memorable, like getting punched in the face by a beautiful woman in a dream. Musically, I hear it as sleazy rock ‘n’ roll with a hint of 80’s metal, but their ballsy attitude is 100% punk.

There is a lot more to these guys than just the music. They have their own scrappy, hilarious podcast and their own YouTube channel. We’ve been watching them tear the scene to pieces for months, so we took the chance to speak to vocalist Ben Mills to learn more.

How did Eat Dirt come about? You’ve all been in multiple bands previously – tell us a bit about your earlier musical endeavours as well.

Myself and Richie have known each other since Hevy Fest 2012, we met before I went on stage with my then band The Smoking Hearts. Also Dai our guitarist played the day before in his band at the time Adelaide, I’d met Dai in Luton in like 2010 when we played with each other. Richie and myself started a side project called Dead Beat, with a few friends, one of which is our new bass player Joey Black (Shortcuts, Angst, BodyHeat). Any way I was taking a break from music from 2014 – 2017 after touring relentlessly across the world from 2010 – 2014. One day I heard the PearsGreen Star album, and I asked Richie if we wanted to start a band in that vein. Then we wrote EP 1 over email, drafted in some old friends from bands and started playing shows.

Ballad has the most perfect 7 seconds of any song ever in the chorus. Have you considered a second careers as 80 power-ballad masters?

What bit do you mean? The bit where me and Richie harmonise beautifully without any help from computer programming? Yeah, that was the second chorus for Ballad and it’s my favourite chorus I’ve ever written ever. Would love to incorporate those pop punky sing along bits in the next record.

You guys take a much more confident approach to a lot of the bands in the current DIY scene. Who do you take the most influence from?

I’ve learnt from years touring the toilet venues around the country and the world that you have to make an impression. It’s important to be remembered and to leave your mark. But I take a lot of influence from the likes of Davey Havoc, Fat Mike, Greg Puciato, and I spent a lot of time as a teenager in the UKHC scene so that up-close-and-personal, high energy performance attitude. I like to leave it all out there, if I don’t finish the set covered in sweat and gasping for breath I haven’t given it my all. Continue reading “EAT DIRT: Shaking Up The Scene [Interview]”