Scottish DIY legend Derrick Johnston shares some wisdom and some love for our flourishing punk scene.
2018 has been a busy year for Derrick Johnston. As one of Scotland’s DIY musical stalwarts, he’s probably best known for running Make-That-A-Take Records and being one of the organisers of Book Yer Ane Fest. His band Uniforms have recently released a new 7” EP via TNS Records and he’s been solidly touring his solo project Tragical History Tour. He’s part of a crew that runs Conroy’s Basement in Dundee alongside a good ol’ regular job. It’s been non-stop.
Fortunately, Derrick managed to impart some of his wisdom and share some mutual music appreciation with Sarah on today’s podcast. With years of experience in booking and playing shows, promoting bands and making the most of what you’ve got, Derrick’s an honestly inspiring individual and a pleasure to listen to.
Enjoy today’s podcast and remember, even when you’re feeling like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill, the pure love created by the DIY punk scene is more than worth the effort.
Listen to our Spotify playlist for all of August’s hottest tunes!
This August Shout Louder’s keeping quiet whilst we all go rock out at Brakrock Ecofest and Punk Rock Holiday! We’ve still got time to share all of our favourite tunes with you, though. These are our hot tips for August 2018, enjoy!
P..S. Clowns, Astpai and The Penske File are all touring the UK in the next few weeks – go catch them live!
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.
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]”
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 SBÄMFest, 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.
Tragical History Tour’s new EP Old Words is four tracks of great, gritty, emotive songwriting. This is the mostly-solo project from Make That A Take Records’ Derrick Johnston, the latest EP in a long and colourful history of similarly spirited projects.
Johnston’s a seriously accomplished songwriter, and Old Words continues to demonstrate the richness of his talent. A lot of sadness, sorrow and thought has gone into these songs, which allows them instantly to tap into your emotions. It’s feels like a slice of perfect Americana or alt-country, but with a Scottish backbone that’s both unusual and fucking delightful.
Title track Old Words is a hefty foot-tapper of an opener. The tones of the acoustic guitar remind me of Love Is Hell-era Ryan Adams, while Johnston’s vocal recalls Chuck Ragan if he’d spent the last five years smoking Marlboros and gargling glass shards. Towards the end the song lifts with an unexpected little electric guitar line that weaves into the rest of the tune seamlessly, contrasting beautifully with the pessimistic lyrics.
The lighter, finger-picked opening to Gratitude is a nice change to Old Words, and it feels like a good natural progression between songs. This mournful track starts to incorporate some more earnest storytelling, demonstrating how well Johnston’s mastered his craft. His Scottish accent still gives his chewing-on-grit vocal a unique sandpaper edge that works well in these gentler songs. Lyrics like, “I refuse to give into choices I didn’t choose,” match the bitterness and optimism that’s conveyed in the combination of the gruff vocal and heartwarming, bright acoustic guitar. Continue reading “EP Review: Tragical History Tour – Old Words”