Greet Death on exploding ice cream machines and being called ‘Target music’.

Photo by David Beuthin

Middle school friends Sam Boyhtari (bassist) and Logan Gaval (guitarist) have been making music together since their early teens, with Greet Death being a long-term passion project accumulated from previous experiences growing up in Flint, Michigan. Established in 2011, the profound success of their slow-burning studio releases Dixieland and New Hell and signing with veteran hardcore label Deathwish, Greet Death make a brand of quiet-loud shoegaze at a slow tempo and sad thoughts that keep you up at night.

With the addition of fellow Michigan rockers, Jimmy Versluis on drums and Jackie Kalmink on bass, we sat down on Zoom to discuss what makes them all tick, and diving deeper into their latest single releases.

In terms of songwriting, do you and Sam have a Blink 182 Tom and Mark situation going on where you have songs specifically catered or is it more of a collaborative effort?

Logan: That’s pretty much it. Tom and Mark thing, I think, me and Sam always thought that it was cool that when you listen to a Blink 182 record, there are Tom songs and then there are Mark songs, but then there are also songs where they clearly collaborate, you know, so we pretty much just dropped that from Blink 182 Or, as you say, blink one eight two which I thought was really cool. What do you think of Blink one eight two, are they your Beatles?

I’ve got mixed feelings. The self-titled album, in particular, holds a lot of nostalgic value for me. When I was 11, I was given the Greatest Hits CD which got me really into drums, I never got to see them in their heyday, but I did see that reunion show that you mentioned, in 2009, So before Matt Skiba joined.

Logan: Yeah same, we saw them on the reunion tour, but it was before they put out all that new stuff. So they just played the hits and it was awesome.

So aside from Blink, what made you interested in guitar music and more specifically this genre of slowcore guitar music?

Logan: I’m honestly not sure. There’s a super old photo of me as a child playing an inflatable guitar. And then after that, my parents bought me a toy classical guitar, but I’m not really sure why. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that everyone in the band is around about the same age. When we were growing up, it was still very cool to play guitar, in movies and TV, skateboarding or becoming an artist in general. Those are the coolest things that you could do. I’ve always gravitated toward the guitar specifically. A lot of my earliest obsessions were guitar rock bands such as Nirvana and Guns and Roses, Ramones, and Good Charlotte. I’m not sure how exactly that correlates to the music that we play now, but I’ve always been pretty about guitar music. Jim can speak now and probably say something smarter.

Jim: I grew up on a lot of pop music and the music from my parents. So, as far as guitar music, I was really blown away by “Good Times Bad Times”. That was a big song. So it was from the Led Zeppelin two disk- this fucking thing they reissued five times, I had that. I remember being blown away by that kind of guitar. Black Sabbath was a big one. My parents totally let me listen to whatever and showed me whatever so that was neat for music. For the guitar music that’s more adjacent to what we do, I think probably getting into thrash in middle school is- I know that everybody in this band, at one point or another was obsessed with Metallica. Maybe not for Jackie though!

Jackie: I grew up on similar classic rock stuff as Jim. I was a huge Boston fan. I think that was my favourite band for my eighth-grade year or something. So I always kinda liked that poppy rock, sort of sound. I feel that being in this band is really cool because it’s a mix of more accessible songwriting. To play the music itself, It’s really cathartic because you just load a bunch of fuzz on.

Logan: That’s honestly a very good answer, Jackie, thank you for saying that. I don’t know if many people have picked up on this and I know aesthetically we come across as shoegaze or slow indie rock, but honestly, we’re mostly inspired by classic rock chops, even down the equipment we bring to concerts. We use a lot of super loud tube amps and pedals that aren’t really necessary with today’s PA systems. When I’m onstage I just feel I’m on some kinda School of Rock shit you know?

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I love that! Jackie, how did you end up joining Greet Death?

Jackie: So Jim and I are still currently in a band called The Fever Haze and we’ve known Logan and Sam since before Greet Death. We went on tour together and yeah eventually we just naturally thought it would be cool to join.

Logan: We scalped Jim and Jackie because no one else wanted to be around us. In a way, The Fever Haze is minor league Greet Death. We drafted them, made them sign a contract and now they can’t leave.

How did you end up getting signed to Deathwish? I’ve not seen many bands from your scene be on their roster, to be honest.

Logan: I can’t remember if it was Jacob Bannon or someone else’s podcast, but Jasta from Hatebreed saw that we had recently signed to them and said “Oh fuck yeah, this shit could be played at Target!” I don’t know how much of a compliment that was intended to be but whatever. I’m aware the label has a very passionate audience but for whatever reason, they picked up our first record Dixieland and put it on their website. I think we were selected by a few staff members in their playlist picks over the years. I believe that was mostly this person, Mark Connolly that used to work at Deathwish. So I don’t know, I don’t know how much responsibility he had for us getting signed, but I have a feeling that it was 99% him. And he’s also now our manager.

I think another thing I read said that at the time we were selected, Jacob Bannon was really sad. So even though Greet Death has that sort of pop, rock feel I think lyrically, it’s still driven by the same emotions. I feel like it’s coming from a place in common with a lot of heavier music. And certainly, like, some of the textures with the guitars are reminiscent of metalcore or whatever you’d call that. To be honest, I don’t know, I think we still stand out on their roster, but I like that because a lot of our work isn’t typical of a heavy band. I feel like it works, even though it is kind of weird. I’d rather stand out in that way on the label than just be on like, you know, ‘we’re on the shoegaze label is like one of 100 different bands with reverb pedals’ or whatever.

One of my favorite facts about your band is that the title for New Hell came from an exploding ice cream machine at Logan’s work rather than something necessarily deep and profound.

Logan: Yeah, we love transforming the mundane into depressed, that glorious arc. That’s the connection that people need, like, take some boring shit and make it very sad. That’s what the people want. So that’s awesome. And as you mentioned that fact about Dairy Queen. So the general theme is; you think things are bad, and then they just keep getting so much worse. That’s the basic theme of that album, especially in shitty fast-food jobs.

What has it been like to record and write the new material during the pandemic?

Jim: I’ve recorded with Jackie more than anybody. So getting to lay down a lot of what we’ve put out so far with her has been like second nature. And so basically, recording new songs, new material. With Jackie, as she’s joining the band, it felt very, very seamless. The studio we recorded is great because it’s a cool place to hang out. You can just, fuck around and watch Bar Rescue and Trailer Park Boys or play Mario Golf or whatever. And maybe you’ll get to recording something, but at least you’re together. So that was that’s the only difference I guess it’s just that it was just even more comfortable for me to record with the new material.

Jackie: So since the pandemic has happened, I feel like I’m kind of a studio rat now. And it feels like having the band in there with me is a really fun way to kind of put stuff together without it all being completely set in stone.

Logan: Originally Sam and I would write a song and hash it out on the road, but obviously this time around, there weren’t really shows when we were developing our new material. A lot of those ideas were pitched and developed in the studio rather than months in advance. So I think for example ‘I Hate Everything’, the final recording is the third or fourth time we had played that song, having learned it just an hour or so beforehand. I definitely think I’ve always appreciated live recordings. I think it’s really easy to just keep revising and making revision after revision as weeks and weeks go on when you’re trying to make some sort of solid recording. I texted Sam, earlier in the pandemic, and I just told him that we should try to come up with some songs just to see what would happen if we tried to record them as quickly as possible.

What you’re starting to hear now is this stuff that we came up with at the height of the pandemic and a lot of it’s being described as mellow or acoustic. And I think a lot of that is just me and Sam not really feeling like rocking the fuck out. In those songs, you can hear that you can hear the environment that they were created, and you know, that it’s not that we’re writing something intended to make the crowd sing along and get lighters out, It’s just made out of sticks and stones, staring at a wall in the dark. I hope people don’t think that we’re not capable of doing the fuzz-rock thing. It doesn’t feel that much different than our older stuff. I think some of the textures are a little different, but I’m also not interested in making the same record twice. There’s a piano in the studio. So Sam has been using that a lot and he’s a very good piano player.

On “Your Love Is Alcohol” you talk about getting drunk with your girlfriend whilst watching Fox News, have there been any particular moments of watching that channel that has seemed funnier or even more ridiculous when you’ve been drinking?

Logan: I would like to clarify that. It was me and my girlfriend drinking, passing a bottle of Tito’s vodka back and forth. At this time, I lived with my parents still. So I would, I would hear the Fox News broadcasts that my parents were listening. That song to me is just about how my relationship with my girlfriend has helped me live in a lot of ways. It’s certainly taken away a lot of the pain and the fear of, you know, whatever, like the things that we all deal with.

Another song I wanted to have more of an insight about was ‘Crush’ from New Hell, what was the inspiration behind it?

Logan: When I wrote that song it was mostly just like intrusive thoughts in my head late at night. Hold on let me get the lyrics up from Genius….so it’s definitely a breakup song and not having a mutual group of friends with that person….I mean other than that, I know I was listening to a load of Big Thief at the time so at least that’s where it’s at musically speaking.

Okay so, in verse one you got some basic problematic, soft boy stuff, talking about killing yourself out of spite. By the idea that if I killed myself, what I would really want is to watch everyone around me hurt. So I’m not going to do that because I don’t believe in the afterlife. Damn, this is a sad song. I don’t normally do this. In general, the song starts off with a lot of unhealthy ways of coping with heartbreak. And then the last verse is basically if I were to run into you, I’d like to think I’m in like a better place now and I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone in any way.

Speaking of which, have you caught up with Big Thief’s new material?

Logan: Dude no I actually haven’t just yet. I would say I’m much more of a fan of the group’s solo material under the name Buck Meek but it’s been on my list. As you can tell though I do fuck with that band, another great band. carrying the torch for guitar music.

Any thoughts on your upcoming tour with Infant Island next month?

Logan: I always think it’s interesting to have a tour package with an interesting juxtaposition between the bands. Cloakroom have been hugely influential to us. But I think people can only take so much of slow, heavy, quiet, loud type music, you know. And before that, we had an opportunity to tour with Deafheaven, nowadays they’re more similar to our sound than they were back in 2019. I think it’s an interesting dichotomy. It’s also just fun to tour with different kinds of bands. For some reason, it’s always ended up being heavier bands. I’m looking forward to watching Infant Island play every night. They’re very good. I’m also looking forward to not going to work. I would say, that’s like, number one.

Jim: I’m excited to go to San Diego, home of Blink 182 and I’ve never been there so I’m excited about that. There’s a few other cities that I don’t believe we’ve been to. So that’s always interesting. A lot of times, it’s kind of hurry up and wait, you don’t get a lot of time to hang around. But we typically get in the habit because we have two people that like to drive through the night to get somewhere usually in the early hours of the morning or the night before. So then you can kind of set yourself up to go around or take a nap or go to a park or something. So I’m excited for more of that just more bonding time. And yeah, I’m excited to see Infant Island every night. I think we like to tour with those bands just because we want it to eventually be Portrayal Of Guilt. So yeah, we’re just like trying to we’re just trying to work our way there.

Jackie: Yeah, I definitely am looking forward to not having to go to a day job. That’s probably my number one also, but I think what I’m really excited for is like to meet the people in Infant Island. On the last tour we did with The World Is (TWIABPAIANLATD) and Bent Knee I made some really good friends with both of those bands. I’m really excited to like meet another set of people who all become lifelong friends with because we spend too much time together.

Logan: Jackie’s doing fucking doughnuts in the parking lot by the sounds of things, that’s how stoked she is!

I’ve never done an interview where someone has looked up their own lyrics on Genius before..

Logan: When you asked me that earlier I was living in a fucking nightmare. So in an interview like confronted with my own writing I was like ‘damn it’s kind of fucked.’

Well as much as I love the shoegaze genre, sometimes the lyrics feel more like an afterthought because of all the layers so when I discovered you guys it was a great change of pace to hear something so relatable!

Logan: When I think of New Hell, I think of Sam and I before we left for the tour at Great Lakes Crossing which is an outlet mall in Michigan, buying new shoes there. And then I remember showing him the demos on my phone-it’s fun to like go back since my short term memory is really fucking terrible, but my long term is painfully clear – crystal clear visions of whatever I was going through at the time, whether it was at the mall or in my bedroom. I remember it all.

US TOUR DATES with Infant Island, buy tickets HERE:

3/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club *
3/25 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *
3/26 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium *
3/27 – Des Moines, IA @ Gas Lamp (Matinee) *
3/28 – Wichita, KS @ Barleycorn’s *
3/29 – Denver, CO @ Meadowlark *
3/31 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
4/01 – Boise, ID @ The Olympic *
4/02 – Portland, OR @ The High Water Mark *
4/03 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
4/05 – Oakland, CA @ Elbo Room *
4/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident *
4/07 – Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer *
4/08 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick *
4/09 – Phoenix, AZ @ Nile (Underground) *
4/11 – Fort Worth, TX @ Tulips *
4/12 – Austin, TX @ Spider House Ballroom *
4/13 – Houston, TX @ Eighteen Ten Ojeman *
4/14 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *
4/15 – Mobile, AL @ Alabama Music Box *
4/16 – Atlanta, GA @ Boggs *
4/17 – Nashville, TN @ Springwater *
4/19 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor *
4/20 – Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall *
4/21 – Washington, D.C. @ Pie Shop *
4/22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Milk Boy *
4/23 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus *
4/24 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East / Upstairs *
4/26 – Middletown, CT @ Rednawa *
4/27 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Funhouse *
4/28 – Columbus, OH @ Spacebar *
4/29 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle *
4/30 – Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary *

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Taylor Madison on finding his feet with Webbed Wing

The Philadelphia group’s frontman talks to us about their upcoming sophomore album What’s So Fucking Funny?, Superheaven’s return to touring and why the term grunge dosen’t apply to the music he makes anymore.

How has life been for you since dropping the Webbed Wing demo in 2017 and the singles you’ve released this year?

I can’t really speak for life in general, because that’s always kind of all over the place. But as far as the band goes, it’s been sort of frustrating, honestly. I mean, that demo came out at the very tail end of 2017. And now, 4 entire years later, we have recorded a split, and 2 entire LPs. And in that time, we have probably barely played 10 shows, and only now does it seem like anybody is catching on that the band exists. And the pandemic didn’t help, but that fucked everybody over, so I’m not upset about that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m entitled to anything. I just feel like it’s odd to be that active, but nothing really happens. I’m not sure if people assume it’s just a fun little project or what, but I’m trying to tour and shit if we can.

In your touring career, have there been any venues that spark significant memories for you, both positive and negative?

Yes, absolutely. I won’t even try to go down the list, because it would be silly to type all of that. But some things that stick out – microphones that shock your lips, but the sound guy does nothing to try and remedy the issue. That happens all the time, and it sucks so bad. Whenever a venue doesn’t have at least a room for bands to safely keep their backpacks/laptops/etc. I can live without a green room (although that sucks too, if I’m being honest). Like cmon man, you don’t have a spot where I can put my few possessions for 3 hours, without fear of them getting stolen or something? But it’s not all bad, obviously. I love showing up to a venue and they have a good stage, or sound system. And if the sound guy isn’t a total pussy, that’s a plus too.

Who was your favourite person to interview when the Strange Nerve podcast was still active?

I’m not sure that I have a single favourite, but some of my favuorites were Alex G, Logan Pierce, my dad, Colin Young and Alec Faber (these were probably the most fun ones to do), Evange Livanos (Superheaven’s manager). But they were all cool in their own way. I miss podcasting a lot, and I’m actually working on a new one that should be out sort of soon.

What’s the one misconception people have about you and your music?

Hard to narrow it down to just one. I think from a distance, I can come off very cold, and maybe even dismissive or mean. And I absolutely can be those things if I’m caught at a bad time, or if someone puts off a vibe that I don’t like. But I like to think I am genuinely a nice and caring person. I’m just not a very social person, so many of my interactions with people that don’t know me can come off a way that I don’t intend. And sometimes, I do intend it because I just don’t want to speak to certain people. As far as the music goes, I think way too many people assume that I am constantly going for some like grunge rock shit, or trying to be like THE 90’s throwback guy. But I swear to god, that has never been my intention, and I resent the assumption to this day. I think Superheaven getting slapped with the “grunge” label hurt us more than a lot of people might assume. Which is fine. I can understand why people would call us that at first. But like, that’s all they ever called us, and I think we were more than that. And we never leaned into the grunge thing. If anything, we actively tried to get away from it. And now, when I’m writing stuff with webbed wing, that I would never consider to be “grunge-y” and people immediately call it that, it drives me fucking insane. In the end, people can call it whatever they want, and I’m gonna live my life. But when I see the word, it does bother me a little bit.

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Aside from the name change, do you feel like there is much of a difference between the music you released under Daylight and Superheaven?

Nah, not really. At least nothing beyond just normal songwriting progression. I think we got better and better as a band, but the name never dictated our style or the way we operated. If anything, people’s reaction to the name change made me really resent the people that liked our band. And you can probably tell at this point that I resented a lot about being in the band at that time haha.

What thought process came behind deciding to reunite for shows next year?

Ok, so this is kind of a weird thing to me. I’ve talked about this before, but our band literally never broke up. And we never said we were breaking up. We simply said we weren’t going to tour anymore, and everyone took that as us saying “we’re done as a band.” And I can sort of understand how someone might deduce that from us not touring anymore, BUT we have played multiple shows since then. Like at least one shows a year since our last tour in 2016. So we’re not really reuniting at all. Just playing some shows. And we will certainly play more shows in the future. Not a lot, but definitely some. Unless one of us dies or just refuses to take part. I would actually love to play like 3-5 Superheaven shows a year. Any less than that kinda feels annoying to me. Mostly because I am an idiot and completely forget the songs after not playing them for a year. So every time we have to play a show, I have to relearn everything. Total pain in the ass. But the shows will be cool, and I’m excited that people seem to be excited.

How long have you and Jake Clarke been making music together?

Since 2008, I think. Since I was like 20 and he was probably like 16 or something. It’s pretty crazy, because we had some rocky times during the years that Superheaven was touring a lot, and now we are very close. We have a great dynamic because he is very bubbly and pleasant, and I am a grumpy old fuck with very little patience for anything. But I absolutely love him. He really feels like my little brother, and I cherish our friendship all of these years later.

For the most part your lyrics have been incredibly bleak and hard-hitting. Are they written from first-hand experiences of MH struggles or do you tend to write about other people?

I would say 99% of it is personal stuff about me, and my own experience. But every now and then I like to mix it up and write about someone else, or from someone else’s perspective. And that usually comes out of me feeling like I write from my own perspective too much, and then I get kind of embarrassed, like “who wants to hear what I think all the time?” But yeah, I know everyone talks about their mental health now, which I think is mostly a great thing. At the risk of sounding corny, I think expressing my mental health struggles through songs is a lot easier than just saying them out loud for me. But I do also have a great time writing about other people. Writing from other peoples’ perspectives is so fun, but kinda scary because not everyone is smart enough to understand that everything you write isn’t going to be through your own eyes, or from your own experiences. For example, there’s a song on the new webbed wing record that is from the perspective of a school shooter. I am already anticipating a lot of people taking issue with that. And I’m ok with that, because that song fucking rules and I’m proud of how it came out.

What are your future plans with Webbed Wing and the Superheaven reunion shows?

Superheaven will always be a huge question mark, and I kind of like that. There’s no pressure to do anything, and it can just be fun. I truly love the 3 other guys in the band and I hope I can play music with them in some form for the rest of my life. Even if it’s just here and there. As far as webbed wing goes, that’s my baby. That feels more like my passion, and my purest way to express myself (for lack of a better way of putting it). I would love to tour with webbed wing, and just keep writing and recording music. Even though it hasn’t exactly “taken off” the way I’d like it to, it has been very fulfilling.

What’s So Fucking Funny? is out November 5th. You can pre-order the album here.

Superheaven will play the following UK shows in June 2022:

22nd-New Cross Inn, London

24th- Outbreak Festival, Manchester

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This Is Out Of Love’s World (and we’re all invited!)

Photo by Ashley Bea Photography

Formed from the ashes of bleak hardcore band Canvas, guitarist Daniel Marsh, vocalist Ricky Clarke and bassist Jack Rogers decided to start a new project-with the sole purpose of having as much fun as possible. This is reflected in their eclectic mix of 90’s skate punk, alt rock and grunge, with copious amounts of sugar and caffeine. Music made by hardcore kids always seems to hit harder, and Out Of Love are no exception to that theory.

Cut to early 2020, after releasing the music video for S.L.U.M.P, Out Of Love were set to play their first hometown show until COVID set back everything they had worked so hard for. 

Thankfully their time off the road was well spent, releasing two EP’s over the various lockdown periods, signing to Venn Records and gaining a significant amount of traction in a scene that desperately needed reviving. On a gloomy Wednesday afternoon, I sat down with Rogers- now fronting Out Of Love, over Zoom. It’s two days before the band’s debut sold out show in Milton Keynes and the anticipation is nail biting.

Hey Jack! How did you get involved in music in the first place?

I was exposed to like punk rock and hardcore from a very young age because I had cooler cousins that were older than me. They would just give me a box loads of CDs like Slipknot, Green Day, The Offspring. Whatever you could think of that was big in the 90’s they would chuck at me. I loved Slipknot. Then I found Dookie by Green Day. Burnout was the first track and like a light bulb went off in my head. And I was just like “Yeah this is cool, catchy poppy music”, but has an edge that I’d never experienced before. They were my gateway into these coasts of the West Coast, hardcore and punk scene and all the East Bay bands, like Descendents and NOFX, all that kinds of stuff. So I got really into that, which then obviously led to like discovering more of the hardcore kind of bands in that world. And yeah, I just started going to shows I saw, like, I saw my first concert was Green Day when they did in Milton Keynes in 2005 for the Bullet In A Bible live DVD.

I was also in some terrible cover bands in secondary school, covering Nirvana and shit. Then we formed Canvas, which we did really well with for five years. Sadly we weren’t around long and then that broke up, and then I was lucky enough to kind of join Acres and do some fill in for them and tour. Out Of Love was kind of born through just boredom with me and Dan really, he was someone that I’ve always written songs with.

Tell me about your first single “S.L.U.M.P” and where the lyrics came from?

“S.L.U.M.P” was just born out of frustration, again, really it was kind of a very , coming of age thing where in 2019 everyone around me was changing. I felt I was still in the same position I was when I was 18. I had this constant feeling of anger and jealousy, I don’t really know of where it came from. I kind of just felt like I was stuck in this, for lack of a better word, slump where I was trying my hardest to do things. Nothing was really working out. Everyone else around me was kind of growing up achieving these little milestones and I was stuck at home doing fuck all. So it’s about that really!

Does your band name refer to a relationship breakup, or doing something for someone else out of love?

It’s both, that’s what I love about it! We all consider this to be a passion project and we’re doing everything literally out of love for ourselves and the music we wanna write. Initially, it was just in the lyric of the song “S.L.U.M.P.”, we had the song before we had the band name. And then I got the band name while we were looking through the lyrics, we didn’t know what to call and I was like, Well, ‘Out Of Love’ fits perfectly. Naming your band is the hardest part when you start a new project, every band name is taken out of context and it sucks. So it’s totally fine. You can call your band whatever you want.

How the fuck are all of you so happy right now?

We’re just delusional, haha.  I think lyrically I wouldn’t necessarily say that our music is that positive. All of it has an undertone or a mystique of pessimism and self doubt, but I think because it’s kind of sugar coated immediately with poppy riffs. In that sense it doesn’t have as much of a hard hit as if we were still writing angsty hardcore music. 

How did you manage to record three EP’s without having played a single show?

It was the main thing that kept us all sane I think. If there was no creative output for us, and there was no abandon nothing to do, we’d all be in a completely different situation, we’d be kind of losing our minds, but the last year and a half, because there was nothing else to focus on, apart from writing music and recording music, we could just like, get our heads down and kind of still stay clear of all the noise and just focus on being creative.

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What was it like performing at House Of Vans earlier this year?

I was really, really nervous. I think the rest I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, I’m pretty sure we were all shitting ourselves. Because I’ve always said like, I never really wanted to do a live session in any band I was in just because I know how bad most of them sound. But we’re really happy that the guys at Vans invited us down and we were stoked with the outcome. It was a great day. Everyone was super, super nice and supportive and we made some really good friends. Overall it was a great experience! I’m so glad we got to do it, even if it definitely felt like diving into the deep end.

All the songs are very short at the moment, what’s up with that?

I think we’re just really lazy. Nah I’m kidding! The only rule in this band is to have fun. If it feels right, do it and we never want to force anything into a song, If it’s not supposed to be there. If we write a song, and it’s a minute long, and it sounds great, it’ll be a minute longer if we write a song, and it’s 14 minutes long, and it sounds great. In the future some songs may be 14 minutes long as there’s no real rules, but at the moment we’re just hammering out, on average, two and a half minute tracks, and I think it keeps the listeners and me as well, because I’ve got such a short attention span. It kind of keeps me excited and engaged because anything after about three minutes, I kind of just switch the fuck off. I’d rather just listen to something short and sharp and then you face rather than kind of long doubt. And there’s those parts that I call that kind of give them everything they want and you’re trying to squeeze all of the energy into such a short space of time. I think it’s more important than loaning it out and, and boring people, especially with kind of music but yeah, the way I like catchy punky songs to be to be short, sharp and memorable.

I feel that, I love Self Defence Family but sometimes it feels like the songs just meander aimlessly. I also find it weird that Drug Church end up touring with so many tumblr friendly pop punk bands but maybe that’s just me!

Yeah I still don’t know why, I’m sure that probably kills Patrick (Kindlon) a little bit inside…

Tell me about Dog Daze? On my first listen I thought it was a more wholesome version of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ by Iggy and The Stooges.

I was walking my dog one day and had the chorus/melody stuck in my head and was convinced that someone else wrote it. As soon as I got home I tried searching for it and luckily as far as I’m aware it was something original my brain made! That’s actually one of my biggest fears, writing a song, putting it out and then being like, “Oh my god, that sounds just like that’s like I had no idea”. 

Initially I wrote it about loving someone the way you love an animal and how unconditional it is. You love them who they are and not like what they do or who they hang out with or whatever. Then after writing the lyrics I was like “No, this actually sounds like I want to be like some sort of submissive person in a dominatrix kind of relationship”. I sent it to the guys and half of them were like, “Oh, this is really good”. And the other half were like “You’re fucking sick”.

So yeah, it’s been the funnest song to write, even the way we recorded it. In the last session, we put bongos in there and other percussion pieces. It was definitely fun to just mess around even the way the rhythm flows and stuff is completely different to what we’ve done. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I really, really like it.

What’s the deal with this third EP? You’ve released Sniffin Glue from it so far…

So it’s one of four tracks we recorded with Sam Bloor at Lower Lane Studios in Stoke On Trent last summer. We just decided “Fuck it, we’ll just go out there and record some songs again and see what happens”. So we just took a bunch of ideas and ran it off with my friend. We see him as like a sixth member of the band, we’ll run everything by him and he’ll be like, “This is shit, this is good”. He really kicks our butts into gear and makes us better musicians. So I can’t see us recording with anyone else right now. I can’t stress this enough like, he’s THE dude.

Has there been any clashes of opinions over songs so far?

I like to think we’re all on the same page. Really. It’s kind of again, the one where we have in the band is that if everyone’s enjoying it and it’s fun for everyone and it feels good for everyone, we’re going to do it. If it doesn’t feel good for one person. We’re not going to do it.  So it’s really important that we all need to be behind what we’re doing. Whether that’s like the bands we play with, or the music we record or the merchant puts out, like everyone needs to be 100% behind it. Otherwise, it’s just not what we want to do. 

Finally, what are you hoping to achieve out of these live shows?

I just want everyone to be included and just lose themselves for a minute and just forget about the bullshit that’s happening in their life. Just like a big just one big kind of A happy space where everyone can express themselves. We’re also happy to be playing shows with people we genuinely love. That dosen’t mean that support should be pigeonholed into bands that sound a bit like yours to fit a bill. One day we might have an acoustic opener or a rapper, who knows? I think there’s nothing worse than going and see one of your favourite bands and the support is just like a bad version of that headline.

Honestly, launching Out Of Love just before pandemic wasn’t ideal, so we’re happy to play anywhere. I couldn’t care less where it is or how many people are there. I just want to play shows now and we’re all really, really ready. Just try it out and see what happens I guess. Everyone is welcome no matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe in. Just don’t be a dick!

Sniffin Glue single is out now via Venn Records, listen here.

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Fiddlehead – Between The Richness Album Review

Run For Cover Records – 2021

The term ‘Supergroup’ more often than not is associated with one time projects that might seem interesting at the time but ultimately do not live up to the expectations or sounds of the band members main musical projects. This is not the case with Fiddlehead. After beloved emo group Title Fight announced their indefinite hiatus in 2017, hardcore fans were craving more bands that channelled Fugazi, Jawbreaker and Lifetime just as they did.

Formed by members of Have Heart, Basement, Youth Funeral and Big Contest, Fiddlehead’s first record Springtime and Blind, which came out in 2018, filled that niche incredibly well. I was lucky enough to catch them at the New Cross Inn on their December UK tour where they were welcomed with open arms and a fuck load of stage-dives along the way.

For vocalist Pat Flynn, grief has no expiry date, no time limit and absolutely no one’s place to tell someone to “Get over it”. Alluding to the passing of Flynn’s father, we have a life affirming intro to Fiddlehead’s second full length record on “Grief Motief”, a quote from poet E.E Cummings; “I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go, you go.” Following this, the Boston quintet launches into hard hitting instrumentation, Flynn giving us the long term symptoms grief we all must face when faced with a sudden loss of life; “Wake up and fall apart, sleep in and fall apart.” 

At face value, the songs follow a similar structure from last time, albeit with slower tempos in some areas, and Flynn occasionally unleashing his shouted vocals, not heard since members of Have Heart released a one off EP under the name ‘Free’ in 2015. The guitars still have that signature melancholic rock tone that feels familiar but just as impactful at the same time. Guitarist Alex Henery has a bigger role in terms of backing vocals, especially on “Get My Mind Right” and “Million Times”. Much like in Basement, his vocal contributions serve mostly to intensify the chorus rather than a dual singer-songwriter dynamic. They work incredibly well and help solidify the catchiness of each sticky vocal hook into aggressive chants when the group inevitably start playing live shows again.

As an academic himself, “Down University” is a recognition of the pressures in education to succeed painting an all too familiar picture in your head with the line; “Rising pressure and stress to measure up to standards set so high in your mind”. On the upside, Flynn urges the listener that all the prestigious American colleges listed are merely names, with the following mantra “You are worth more than your degree”. It’s a relatable tune that will undoubtedly bring comfort to those like myself who have struggled or are struggling to succeed and make their families proud. Shawn Costa’s drum fills are a notable highlight on this track, giving you the energy to jump off the nearest thing in your room and pretending that shows are still happening as normal.

“Stay in the Blue” and closer “Heart to Heart” show Flynn directly addressing his son Richard, who shares the same name as his late father. It is an optimistic side to the songwriting that feels warm and hopeful as well as deeply relatable. These songs are not only meant to be a time capsule of sorts but could also be passed on to anyone who’s recently brought a child into the world. These cuts also resonate the most emotionally, with gritty melodies and ear-worm worthy charm.

Ultimately, the world needed more Fiddlehead after Springtime and Blind, and we got more than we asked for, helping all of us to regain balance and catharsis in these uncertain times. I have no doubt in my mind that with time this will go down as one of the finest emo/post hardcore records of the 2020’s thus far.