Write Yer Ane Zine

Words about DIY punk; records, shows, interviews, whatever.

Month: June, 2013

Live; Ghost Mice (USA) / Billy Liar / Turtle Lamone / Broken Stories / Nyla – Dundee

One of the many beautiful things about acoustic shows is that they require very little in the way of setting up; sort the PA, plug in and go. This is just as well as I was running late from work and didn’t get to Cerberus until well after 7pm, with doors opening at half past. Luckily, MTAT is a slick team of crack professionals and Jonny Domino was on point to have everything good to go. I bumped into he, the Ghost Mice ensemble and the esteemed Turtle Lamone on the hunt for chips and noodles as I dragged my carcass up towards the bar.

The place was pretty busy by the time that Nyla kicked things off just before 8 o’clock. Armed with only a ukulele for protection, Nyla played a witty set of charmingly simple folk songs laced with politics, dealt with in a (mostly) sarcastic manner, covered a certain Glasgow hardcore band and set the “anti-folk” tone for the evening. As Pet Piranha mentioned in his blog, the Juno soundtrack could be accused of bringing Kimya Dawson-esque songwriting into the mainstream and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch of the imagination to imagine Nyla’s songs sitting comfortably alongside them.

Broken Stories were up next and absolutely killed it. The two piece have only been together for six months but their confidence not only in their performances but in their songs has definitely grown. Kevin Thomson is a great songwriter and an outstanding vocalist, trading melodies with Gillian’s razor-sharp yet sometimes sombre violin. Playing all of the songs from their very well received EP and a couple of new songs, Broken Stories ripped through their set and had everyone clapping and stomping along. Falling somewhere in the middle ground between the likes of Chuck Ragan, Flogging Molly and perhaps some more classic rock songwriting influences (Thin Lizzy pops to mind), Broken Stories take the often formulaic approach to acoustic punk and lace it with speed, dynamics and unquestionable passion. A very impressive performance all round.

Our good friend Turtle Lamone plugged in his piano and was next to take to the floor. Raph is one of the good souls of punk rock and he’s been on the road for the last couple of weeks, dragging his piano around the UK playing pubs, clubs and house shows all around the country and promoting the new “Unlikely Friends” EP. Although the EP features full band on songs tracks, Raph was playing solo on the tour and definitely appears to have grown more comfortable with the role of lone performer. Raph has a natural charm and this is reflected in his disarmingly honest song-craft; minor chords, haunting melodies and conversational lyricism dealing with the everyday problems and attitudes that we all face.  I sit cross-legged right at the front watching Raph and was delighted when he covered Descendents, as was everyone else in attendance. I’d recommend getting your hands on the EP, the same with everyone else for that matter.

The force of nature that is Billy Liar was up next and he was in full-blast fired-up Billy mode, which is perhaps one of my favourite sides of the boy. There are few solo performers who can captivate the attention of a noisy pub full of punks and metalheads, but Billy Liar is most certainly one of them. He’ll also let you know how obnoxious you are being if you’re doing your best to shout over the performers to the detriment of everyone else who is trying to pay attention.

Talking of obnoxiousness; there was a kid on the MTAT facebook page asking what we meant by “suggested donation”. I duly explained that we aimed to be inclusive and that we weren’t going to deny anybody who wanted to come to the show the opportunity to do so if they couldn’t afford it. It’s something many people have done before and it has always worked a charm. People who know what the DIY scene is all about will (mostly) always appreciate the effort that goes into putting these things together and are more than happy to put a couple of bucks into the pint glass. Anyways, the guy then asked “what if I choose to pay nothing?”. I again explained that that’s cool, but if he spent the rest of the night buying drinks at the bar, then that made him a bit suspicious and a bit of a dick. As it turns out, one dude came to the door and when I asked him if he’d like to make a donation, he said “nah, I’ve only got £20 booze money”. Well, that’s not too cool and it’s even more irritating when you spend that £20 being a loud-ass goof when people are trying to play. Just saying, ken?

All of this would be academic, however, if it weren’t for the music itself. Billy has grown from being a scruffy punk kid into one of the most powerful singer/songwriters that Scotland has produced in years. I know these words sound hyperbolic, but I believe them to be true as I’ve witnessed this evolution with my own eyes. From earlier works like “It Starts Here” with all their fist-pumping, adrenaline-charged chant along hooks to the more reflective, introspective and melancholic cuts from the “Ghosts Of Punk Rock” EP, Billy’s musical palette has expanded considerably, most notably on his upcoming countrified single. Whilst comfortable on huge festival stages, I think Billy is at his most acidic when faced with a rammed pub of rowdy punks, which is exactly what Monday night was and he delivered yet again, in spades.

If the rowdiness of the evening grew as it progressed (possibly in direct proportion to the amount of booze consumed by so many people in such a small space), then things really peaked with the appearance of Ghost Mice. Newly expanded to a three-piece to include guitar, fiddle and mandolin, the band have been on the road for nine weeks and have toured the length and breadth of Europe. Showing the sort of intimate musical understanding that comes only from a long time spent together on the road, Ghost Mice played songs stretching across the entirety of their sizeable discography. It was great to hear some of the songs from “All We Got Is Each Other” LP, having recently been gripped by Chris Clavin’s “Free Pizza For Life” book. The book and the LP are complimentary of one another, are highly moving and come highly recommended.

Of all the bands that we’ve put on across the years, it’s perhaps somewhat fitting that Ghost Mice were the first acoustic show to attract the attention of the constabulary. The sight of two of Tayside’s finest entering a small pub of punks singing along on a Monday night wasn’t exactly the image that we were expecting, but there is definitely something amusing about having noise complaints about an acoustic band. Regardless, once they had paid us their first visit, Ghost Mice battled on by simply unplugging their instruments and playing 100% acoustic or “the way we were born to do it”, as Chris put. As curfew crept up and the police approached for their second visit of the evening, Ghost Mice wrapped things up the only way they could; by jamming “Up The Punx” full blast.

A quality show all in, so thank you very much to everyone who came out and made it one of the wilder Monday night acoustic shows that we’ve had for some time. Huge thanks also to everyone for playing and being so engaging throughout. It’s very heartening to have such a diverse bill be so well received and afforded the same levels of respect by a rowdy crowd, some folks’ banter notwithstanding! I’ll have some more videos from the show on Cowpunk TV over the next couple of weeks. I’ve got quite the backlog so I’d probably best get the finger out.

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Interview; Billy Liar

billy

It’s no secret that Billy Liar is one of my best friends. We’ve played shows together, toured together, drank together, talked together and shared the same bed more times than both of us would care to remember. He is also, to my mind, one of the finest singer/songwriters that our country has produced in some time. I caught up with Billy recently when he phoned to needing a place to crash after a show in Dundee a few weeks ago. This interview was the result, coupled with a couple of live videos shot down by the River Tay on a Sunday morning in late May.

WYAZ; Greetings young man, how art thou? You’ve always been a very busy boy, touring all over the place. Where have you been thus far this year?

BL; Good evening Derrick. I am well. How are you? Yes, well. Burning the candle at both ends is an unfortunate occupational necessity, much to my mother’s dismay. This year, I toured for 2 weeks in the UK with Tim Loud (Bootscraper) and the X Ray Cat (X Ray Cat Trio). We got up to all sorts of hi-jinks (‘a babe’s a babe!’) and recorded an EP together that’s coming out in July, via Make That A Take and TNS Records.

I have also played Eden Festival, Strummercamp, the Reel Iraq Festival, toured with The Barents Sea and played with the Strawberry Blondes. There are many more that I can’t be bothered mentioning.

WYAZ; You released new music for the first time in a while in the form of the now sold out “The Ghosts Of Punk Rock” EP. The EP is in a more reflective vein than “It Starts Here”, adopting more of a storytelling style. Has this been a conscious shift?

BL; I did I did. You can download it now via bandcamp, but the physical copies are sold out. I will press more copies later in the year. It was my first release through the Make That A Take imprint.  As for the style, not conscious, no. I have written hundreds of songs since my last EP came out, so I guess it’s natural that things have changed in my writing. This is where I’m at now. The songs are a glimpse into my diaries, for better or for worse!

WYAZ; How has the EP been received?

BL; Everyone says it’s great to my face. I have no idea what they say behind my back. I’m still happy with it. I recorded three out of the four tracks in one day, and the other one in an hour, so ‘it is what it is’ as my mate Lost Soul always says.

WYAZ; New music wise, what’s next?

BL; The three-way split I mentioned earlier with Tim and the X-Ray Cat, and then a new single in early August. The single is called ‘All I’ve Got’ and I’m sorting out plans for shooting a video for it just now. It will have four tracks on it, and has my pals Stina (Honeyblood) doing backing vocals, Jen Hill on double bass, Fraser Fulton (Victorian Trout Conspiracy) on cajon and Rory Sutherland (Broken Records) on fiddle, and was produced by Garry Boyle in Edinburgh. I am very happy with it. Oh, and another stripped-to-the-bones EP like ‘Ghosts’ at some point. The two tracks in the videos on this site will probably be on it.

WYAZ; You are seemingly always on tour or making plans for your next assault. I know that you have yet another busy summer coming up. What’s on the cards and what are you most looking forward to?

BL; Playing three in a row with Ghost Mice next week, Leeds and Spannered Fest in July, and then a full UK tour in August, by the looks of things. Also, Rebellion Festival for the fifth year running, Fest in Florida (as part of my first American tour), Hempen Jig Fest and Book Yer Ane Fest. And I’m discussing touring with my old pals Ed Ache (I.C.H), Villy Raze (The Dead Class), and Cleavers, seperately. Oh, and Finland. Possibly Australia. We shall see. There is not enough time in the day. Nor weeks in the year. Can we have some more please? Great, thanks.

WYAZ; You’ve been announced for The Fest 12 in Gainesville alongside The Murderburgers and Mark McCabe. Obviously we are all excited by this. How do you feel about playing in the USA for the first time?

BL; Very excited. I’ve been to the US once but I was on a family holiday, and I was too young to appreciate it like I will this time. My dad took me to CBGBs and showed me some of the sites but I really just wanted to go to the big Nike store. I was nine.

WYAZ; There seems to currently be a lot of international recognition afforded the UK punk scene. Why do think this is and how do you feel about the UK scene as a whole?

BL; The UK scene is great. Everyone helps each other out.

WYAZ; You’ve toured in some very interesting places (New Zealand, Portugal, etc) with a wide range of different artists. Where is your favourite place to tour and what are the main differences between playing at home and abroad?

BL; I love touring everywhere. I am lucky that I can travel, see the world, play music and meet people every day. These are my favourite things. New Zealand was amazing. Portugal was amazing. Germany and the Netherlands are always great. The UK is great. What else have you got? Email me. I want to play wherever YOU are.

WYAZ; Edinburgh has always featured quite heavily in your work. You live there, live with Fraser from Murderburgers, are involved with The Forest, etc. How are things in the capital these days and does it continue to be an influence?

BL; Edinburgh is my favourite place to come back to. Things are good. I will always sing about it. The Forest has a lot of battles to fight, as we always will. But that keeps us on our toes! Fraser and I joined legendary horror/punks, the Misfits, earlier this year, so will be releasing a record entitled Project 1960 (Return From The Graveyard) in 2013 with Jerry Only on lead vocals and bass, of course.

WYAZ; What’s next?

BL; After I finish this interview, I’m going to stick the kettle on. And then read some Murakami.

Quickfire questions;

WYAZ; What was the last record you listened to?

BL; Ben Marwood – Back Down.

WYAZ; Favourite shows of 2013 so far?

To watch……
BL; Bruce Springsteen – Glasgow, Fist City/Cleavers/FUCK!/Kimberly Steaks – Edinburgh, Frightened Rabbit – Edinburgh, Uniforms/Loaded 45/Maxwell’s Dead/Jaded Playboy – Edinburgh, Richard Thompson – Edinburgh.

To play……
BL; Lach’s Antihoot Radio Show, Edinburgh. Lach invented anti-folk. And now lives in Edinburgh, putting on THREE amazing shows PER WEEK. He is insane. And brilliant. I’m bringing him to Book Yer Ane Fest in December.

WYAZ; Favourite tour breakfast?

BL; Real coffee. Orange juice. Cold water. A cooked breakfast. Bananas.

WYAZ; Favourite Charlotte Church song?

BL; Moodswings (To Come At Me Like That). I remember the day I brought that record back to the flat, and sat Fraser Murderburger down and insisted that he listen to that song. He listened. And stared at me. I think he thought I was joking. I just fucking love that chorus. And that bit where everything drops out apart from the bass and the vocal. I need to steal it. If you can book me as support for Charlotte Church, get in touch.

WYAZ; Where did you sleep last night?

My own bed. I just bought a new one. And it’s the comfiest thing ever.

Check out my latest news and updates here:
www.billyliarmusic.com

Thanks for reading. Those are lovely shoes, by the way. And your hair looks nice today.

Mini-Fest!!! Banger Alert!!!

Make-That-A-Take presents…

MINI-FEST!!!

mini fest

GREAT CYNICS (ENG)
We are delighted to welcome one of UK punk rock’s most beloved, endearing and hard-working bands to Dundee for the first time to headline Mini-Fest; three-piece London punks Great Cynics. Coming on like a more youthful and upbeat Billy Bragg fronting The Lemonheads with a modern punk energy, Great Cynics have grown from being the acoustic project of front man Giles Bidder into the hulking rock beast that they are today. Their second full-length “Like I Belong” is out now on Household Name Records of London and is one of the best records thus far this year.

THE SMITH STREET BAND (AUS)
Incredible, anthemic, searingly honest and gut-bustingly passionate folk-punk rockers from Melbourne, Australia play their first ever Scottish show on their first visit to the UK. One of the most inspiring and uplifting bands in modern punk rock, The Smith Street Band is based on the songwriting genius of Wil Wagner and have been setting the world alight since 2009. Last year’s “Sunshine and Technology” LP was a masterpiece and the new “Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams” EP is out now on Poison City Records. Expect grown men to openly weep with fists aloft.

THE MURDERBURGERS
Scotland’s greatest pop-punk exports come back to Dundee for the first time since March and the last time before they head off the USA once again to tour to Fest 12 in Gainesville. You know these dudes already; lightening quick super-melodic bittersweet sing-a-long pop-punk bangers played full blast. Freshly signed to the mighty Asian Man Records, their new “These Are Only Problems” LP is due out this “fall” and will blow your mind once again. Make sure you catch them in Dundee before they blow up!

CARSON WELLS
Premier league “Ecossemo” three-piece from Aberdeen come back to Dundee to charm us with their unique and noisy blend of skewed 90s emo, lo-fi 80s indie rock and 00s skramz. One of Scotland’s most treasured bands, the band have toured throughout the UK/EU and last year released the “Wonderkid” LP through Art For Blind/Black Lake Records. It’s always a pleasure to welcome these fine gentlemen back to Dundee.

THE SHITHAWKS
Dirty, driving and danceable high energy punk rock blues madness from Dundee’s finest art school garage band. There are few bands that kick out the jamz quite like these troops; coming on like Howlin’ Wolf fronting The MC5, The Shithawks are a wild rock’n’roll thrill ride marrying nightmare blues, stoner rock and hardcore into punk rock moonshine. Rumours of an upcoming record are making the rounds too. Get ready to bust out some serious dance moves.

THE WALKING TARGETS
Wise beyond their years Edinburgh young team punks bring their ridiculously infectious brand of grizzled gruff melodic punk rock back to Dundee. One of the most exciting young bands in the country, these boys have toured with The Murderburgers, released a the “Controlling The Motions” mini-album and the “Shape Of Cowpunk To Come” split EP with Maxwell’s Dead in the past year. Big things to come from these troops so get in early.

SATURDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2013
KAGE NIGHTCLUB, ST. ANDREWS LANE, DUNDEE
Doors @ 6pm. First band @ 6.15pm
£8 Tax (includes Asylum club night thereafter)

Advance tickets here (includes free download of Make Yer Ane Comp IV); http://makethatatakerecords.bandcamp.com/merch/mini-fest-ticket

GET STOKED!!!

Interview; Kevin Thomson (Broken Stories)

ghost mice dundee 2013

Broken Stories are a two-piece acoustic folk-punk band from rural Perthshire. They’ve been together just a shade over 6 months and have released the very well received self-titled EP in that time. The fiddle-driven two piece will be playing at Cerberus Bar, Dundee on Monday 24th June alongside Bloomington, Indiana’s folk-punk pioneers Ghost Mice, Scotland’s finest acoustic punk poet Billy Liar, travelling piano-punx maestro Turtle Lamone and Glasgow-based singer/songwriter Nyla. I caught up with front man Kevin Thomson recently for a bit of banter about how the band came together and to indulge in a little cowpunk nostalgia.

 WYAZ; Hey Kev, how you doing?

Kev; Hi, I’m very well thanks.

  • WYAZ; You’ve been playing music for a long time. What’s the “story” behind Broken Stories?

    Kev; Broken Stories is something i’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I have been THE biggest Flogging Molly fan for over 10 years and I’m also a huge fan of Chuck Ragan. Their music has had a bigger impact on me than anything else. Listening to their music made me want to put a band together that used traditional instruments and punk rock. I contacted Gillian a few years ago about putting a band together but the rest of the band just never happened. Story of my life. Last year, I spent 7 months living in Vancouver, Canada. I barely played any music while I was out there and felt completely lost without it. I contacted Gillian before I came home to ask if she would like to meet up for a jam when I got home. She said yes and within 2 weeks of me being home, Broken Stories was born.

    WYAZ; The “Broken Stories” EP has been very well received. How did the EP come about and how do you feel about it now that it’s out there?

    Kev; The EP is made up of four older songs and one new song. The old songs completely changed as soon as the fiddle was added and now feel like brand new songs. The new song “First Impressions” just seemed like a great first track and a great way to introduce us. The EP is about as DIY as it gets. All the songs were recorded in my living room using a couple of mics and an old version of Cubase on my laptop. The artwork was made on my iPad using a photo from my travels in Canada. All the CDs were burned on my laptop. We put everything together ourselves. It’s not the best recordings you’ve ever heard and it’s not the best artwork you’ve ever seen but we’re happy with the final product.

    WYAZ; Your songs have a distinct honesty to them. Coming from rural Perthshire, do you think this influences your song writing? What inspires your writing?

    Kev; I’ve always been a country boy. Living in a city is something that has never interested me in the slightest. I do a lot of walking around Alyth and the surrounding area. I just love being outdoors. It’s usually when I’m out walking that I think of song ideas and lyrics. I usually just take a note of my ideas in my phone and then work on it some more when I get home. My songs are very rarely about anything serious and when they are, there is usually a few light hearted or optimistic lyrics to balance it all out. I write songs about things that affect me and hopefully there are a few folk out there who can relate to what i’m singing about.

    WYAZ; You’ve been involved in MTAT activities since the beginning. Do you have any special memories of those house party shows “back in the day”? Do you think things have changed since then?

    Kev; I was actually thinking about those house party shows just a few days ago. I’m a very nostalgic person and sometimes I just sit and think about old times and how much fun we used to have. Those house parties were so good! We would spend whole summers just hanging out, drinking and playing guitar. The highlight would always be playing “Pints of Guinness makes you strong” by Against me with absolutely everyone singing/shouting along. Good times. Things have changed a bit since then. For a start, we’re all older. My hairline has receded dramatically and it’s taking me longer to wash my face every day as a a result. MTAT has just grown and grown. There is such a huge amount of bands connected with the MTAT name now. It’s great to see so many bands coming to play in Dundee. It’s a real community that’s been built here. I hope it continues to grow for many years.

    WYAZ; You’ve got your first Glasgow show booked for July. What are the plans for the rest of the year? Can we expect a follow-up to the EP?

    Kev; We’re really looking forward to playing Glasgow. We’re playing the 13th Note on July 24th with Jake and the Jellyfish, Billy Liar and The Screichs. Hopefully we’ll get some more shows there and in Edinburgh between now and the end of the year. I can’t rule out a follow-up to the EP before the end of the year but we have no plans for it at the moment. We’re just going to keep writing new songs, play shows and see where that takes us.

    ghost mice 2007

    WYAZ; You played with Ghost Mice and Paul Baribeau in Drouthies back in 2007. What do you remember about that show?

    Kev; That show was actually the first solo show I ever played. I was super nervous! It was a great show from what I remember. I think there was a decent crowd that night too. I remember Paul Baribeau hadn’t brought a guitar on tour with him which I thought was rather silly. Ghost Mice were great!

    WYAZ; Why is the Ghost Mice show at Cerberus on Monday going to rule?

    Kev; This show is going to rule because the line up is awesome and Cerberus is a cracking wee venue! I’m looking forward to hearing Nyla for the first time as well as hearing Turtle Lamone properly. I’m sure I had to leave during his set at BYAF. Billy Liar is always superb and Ghost Mice will kill it again. We are really looking forward to it!

An “Integrated Consumer Experience”

Bandcamp has launched some very suave customisable embeddable music players and as a means of testing them out for myself, I thought I’d share with you some of the different options but pimping some top notch Make-That-A-Take shit. That and the fact that I could be doing with shifting a few more 7″s. Merch and gear is taking over our living room and the Moose is getting anxious.

This is the “minimal” version. I think it’s pretty sweet. This was the first release that we put out this year and I think it’s awesome. If you haven’t checked out The Walking Targets (touring the UK with The Murderburgers next month) and Maxwell’s Dead yet, please do so.

This is the smaller “minimal” version and is pretty fly;

And this is the smaller “super-minimal” version;

This is the “standard” version. This is a pretty special EP and all physical copies are sold out. We’ll have news of a forthcoming release featuring the young Billy Liar in the next couple of weeks.

This is the smaller “standard” version with album art;

This here is the silver service version, the all-in piece de resistance with it’s full track listing, merch thumbnails and all sorts of other capers. It’s all really rather clever.

What an INTEGRATED CONSUMER EXPERIENCE.

Interview – Alan Easton (Sink Alaska)

sink alaska logo

Sink Alaska are a new Scottish melodic punk rock band featuring ex-members of The Day I Snapped and Scottish pop-punk legends Beauty School Dropout. With decades of collective experience in the punk scene, Sink Alaska may feature some well ken’t faces, but their infectious blend of early 90s UK punk rock and mid-90s skate punk has a freshness and energy that puts many younger bands to shame. Having just released their first recordings, I caught up with front man Alan Easton (hereby referred to as Alshy) to have a chat about the band, what’s been going on and where they go from here.

WYAZ; Awrite Alshy, how are you getting on?

Alshy; I’m good mate. Thanks for getting me involved in yer ‘zine!

WYAZ;  Sink Alaska is a new band with familiar faces. Can you give us a quick history lesson about your other bands and how Sink Alaska came into being?

 Alshy; Sink Alaska is Richie and myself who played in The Day I Snapped, Brad from Beauty School Dropout, and he was in Fire Exit aswell and finally Sneddy who drummed in Six Pack, The Neverland Sleepovers, The Social Lepers and years ago drummed with me in my first bands XL5 and then Mixu. Richie plays in Beauty School Dropout aswell. Sink Alaska were formed when the The Day I Snapped called it a day in the summer and Richie and I set about forming a new band. That was the easy bit! I felt we had very few options available to us with drummers and I’m just glad Sneddy was up for it! I’ve known Sneddy since high school and as I mentioned he drummed with me in my first 2 bands back in the day. We hadn’t seen too much of each other in recent times, but 5 minutes back in each others company and it was like we had never been apart. He is a great guy and an absolute fucking beast of a drummer! I gave him the hard sell and he was in! Brad was the last piece of the jigsaw and it’s quite strange that having known Brad for years and shared a love of the same music we have never played in a band together until now.

alshy

 WYAZ; The Day I Snapped seemed to come to quite a sudden end after the release of “Tales Of Everyday Madness” and a UK tour with Mug and Everything We Left Behind. Was it an acrimonious split? Was there any one particular incidence of the straw breaking the camel’s back?

Alshy; I didn’t think it was an acrimonious split but it seemed to turn into one. We finished the tour you mention which was hard work but absolutely brilliant fun. Mug and Everything We Left Behind are great bands and amazing guys and we all got on famously. For us though, it was the swansong for our bassist Andy, who had left the band the previous year due to work moving him to London. The tour was a chance for Andy to say goodbye to the band properly as he had to leave before we brought the new album out. When the tour ended, not for the first time, we had no bassist, but had a really good gig lined up. The remaining members couldn’t agree on whom a temporary bassist might be from the options available and Craig quit. The band had been going 12 years and although we had had our ups and downs and disagreements none of us (Craig, Richie or myself) had ever quit before so it was a bit of a shock, but he gave his reasons, we accepted them and we moved on. Richie and myself toyed briefly with the idea of continuing The Day I Snapped, but it had never been the same without Andy, and it certainly wouldn’t be the ‘Snapped without Craig, so we decided it would be a fresh project.

WYAZ; Okay, so focussing on Sink Alaska; the band seemed to come together quite quickly. How easily did your first batch of songs come together? Where did you record and was it an organic process?

 Alshy; Aye, once the members were in place everything did come together pretty quickly. I was slightly surprised with this myself as although we rehearse as regularly as possible, our rehearsing schedule was, and still is, a fine balancing act for all of us due to location, work and families. There are two reasons for us getting it together quite quickly. I think! Firstly all of us were super motivated to get playing live and therefore worked hard at what we each had to do individually. None of us are spring chickens and we all appreciate what it takes to be in a band and make it work. And secondly; the way the ideas of songs are now presented made it much easier. Richie has some awesome recording software, of which I have no idea how it works, which allows him to demo songs, complete with drum machine etc and produce really great instrumental demos. Thus he was able to email us all fully formed songs, often complete with tab, for us to learn on our own time, so when we went to rehearse for the first time we already had a couple of songs, plus the Chopper cover we were contributing to their tribute album, ready to rehearse! 3 songs is more than enough to work on initially and that was us off and running. The rest of the songs have been learned and worked on in the same way. For me these instrumental demos are also a great way to work on vocals, melodies and frenetic lyrics. Rehearsals are quite often strewn with a variety of (often bizarre in Sneddys case!) recording equipment as each member takes away their versions to help with their parts. Richie is able to record my ideas and turn them into demos which he then emails to everyone. It’s a great system. We recorded and mixed the Chopper song at Red Eye Studios in Glasgow in a single day before the band had even hit a live note in anger, but I knew I wanted to record our own stuff with our friend Chris Gordon who recorded everything the ‘Snapped had ever recorded. He has a musical pedigree and ability most of us can only dream of plus I knew he could get the best out of us individually. We recorded the drums for all 6 original songs we had at the time at 45 a-side recordings in Glasgow in a single day and the rest, like always, is recorded in Chris’s house!

 WYAZ; You’ve just released your first recordings as band. “Dolphins Used To Live On Land” is the fucking jam. Can you tell us about that song?

 Alshy; There’s a funny story behind this song. It’s strange that someone now asks about a song whose subject matter is a complete one off for me and is actually truly ridiculous! It occurred on 2 levels. Firstly, for many a day I have often felt, not with any degree of sadness it must be said, that I could write songs about anything as no-one ever asks what they’re about. I don’t actually want to tell folk anyway but that’s by the by! Secondly, despite the ultimately sad ending to the ‘Snapped, I’m not going to now pretend the banter at times wasn’t fantastic. There was an episode of The Simpsons that we all particularly enjoyed and talked about often in which Lisa freed a dolphin from Seaworld or somewhere similar only for the dolphin, who was king of the dolphins (?!?!?) to return to his kind, raise an army and comeback to Springfield and reclaim their place on dry land as, apparently, dolphins used to live on land! Because no-one ever asks me what my songs are about I joked that I was going to write a song about this episode from the dolphins point of view. And I did. There you go, fucking ridiculous!! It’s the only time I’ve ever written a song about nonsense, they are all normally generally quite serious. At least to me.

 WYAZ; Are there plans for a physical release of your first recordings?

 Alshy; The songs are available only for streaming at the moment until we go back and get Chris to fiddle with a couple of bits in the mix then they will be available to download and yes we will have physical copies available with lovely sleeves Brad has had made at gigs.

 WYAZ; Sink Alaska have only played a handful of shows thus far. How have they been and who are your favourite bands to play with currently?

 Alshy; At the moment we have only played 5 gigs and they have all had their merits in their own way. I think the Dundee one in Kage with Uniforms and Loaded 45 is my favourite. Plus we got paid that night! Our favourite bands to play with are all the bands that we have played with when Sink Alaska were in other bands and hopefully we can play with them again and also make some contacts that can lead to other gigs. We obviously (obviously!) love playing with Uniforms! We got on great with Loaded 45 and hope we can play with them again at some point. Shatterhand have always been great and we enjoyed No Contest too. We would love to go down and play with them in Grimsby at some point. I’m looking forward to the gigs with Taking Chase and Break Ups and I’m sure we will share the bill with all the usual Scottish stalwarts at some point. We’re still in our infancy really and there’s more to come.

 WYAZ; As part of TDIS, you played some huge shows with some of the biggest bands in punk (Against Me, The Offspring, etc). What were those experiences like?

 Alshy; Most of them were amazing. I’m really proud to have played some really big venues and with some of my favourite bands and I make no apologies for that. I get the feeling a lot of people resented us for it. The SECC was just ridiculous really. Approximately 7,000 people saw us open for the Offspring! We opened for The All American Rejects at the Barrowlands which was a dream come true (to play the Barrowlands that is!). We got to play with the Alkaline Trio whom we had all liked for years (don’t really care for their later stuff though!) as well as loads of bands like The Lawrence Arms, A Wilhelm Scream, Moneen, and Strung Out. It’s a great test for your band to mix with such heavy weights but the parameters in which we played were often really tight and testing for the opening band in terms of very short or no sound check, limited space on stage if the main bands gear wasn’t broken down and having to break down and get your own gear out the venue right away. You’re nearly always playing in front of a crowd that won’t give a fuck about you also! I guess when you look at it those ways it was actually quite a thankless task!

 WYAZ; How does the DIY scene differ from those experiences? What do you prefer?

 Alshy; The lines can often be blurred from the audiences point of view as bands like The Flatliners, The Menzingers, Red City Radio, Texas is the Reason, Off With Their Heads, etc have all played, or are about to play, for DIY promoters in Scotland and could consider their profile equal to anyone we ever played with in King Tuts for instance. DIY gigs may traditionally have a smaller market to aim at, but the crowds are more attentive and involved. You would also tend to know more people in the crowd. That said, at gigs years ago you would know a lot more of the crowd. Or at least I would! DIY gigs tend to happen is “less traditional” venues which can sometimes mean a really bad sound for both the band on stage and for the audience. I’d personally rather play to 20 people in a tiny venue who gave a fuck, than 150 people who didn’t, didn’t buy any merch and viewed you as a massive inconvenient interlude before the main act.

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 WYAZ; You’ve moved from Glasgow to Dundee in the past year. Do you feel there is a marked difference between the east coast and west coast scenes?

 Alshy; I notice more similarities and DIY promoters/scenes facing similar issues than differences to be honest. There are groups of people in both cities trying to make things happen. I would hazard a guess that both cities could do with greater numbers turning up at their gigs. Apathy within the concert goers must surely be the single biggest factor in folk who put bands on thinking “Fuck this!” and chucking it. I’ve been in Dundee for about 18 months now; my girlfriend is studying for her Phd at the Art School up here. I’d like at this point go on record and thank Make That A Take Records for putting on all the great shows I’ve been to since I moved and proving that good bands do play in places other than Glasgow, as that’s possibly the perception. It’s also saves me travelling “home” midweek if bands have Dundee on their touring schedule which seems to be happening more and more now. Possibly in recent years, and I’m making a massive sweeping generalization here, Glasgow folk may have believed that what happened in Glasgow was all that mattered within Scotland and previously wouldn’t have cast a glance Eastwards? I may have been guilty of that myself. That attitude has surely got to have changed in recent times? I may live here at the moment and I’ll never be a Dundonian, yet when I’m back in Glasgow I find myself “bigging up” DIY music in Dundee. I never feel the need to “big up” Glasgow DIY music when in Dundee!  Maybe Glasgow, being much bigger, doesn’t need anyone singing it’s praises as it’s just accepted and known that good gigs happen there? Anyway, I have a foot in both camps now!

 WYAZ; What is next for Sink Alaska? What shows do you have coming up? Do you have plans to tour?

 Alshy; Our next gig will be with Break Ups and Taking Chase in Edinburgh on July 18th and with those bands and the mighty Uniforms in Dundee the next night. Cannae wait! We are playing the Texas in the Reason after-show with Garrett from TITR who’s doing an acoustic set and The Cut Ups in Audio in Glasgow on August 2nd, and we’re  playing with Elway in Dundee on October 4th. We have an absolute beauty, which I’m not going to mention until it’s 100% confirmed sometime after that. Hopefully we can get something sorted for September somewhere. As for touring….we would love to do small jaunts here and there for sure. 19 dates in a row just isn’t going to happen for this band though as we try to juggle jobs and families. Really really want to get down to England at some point though (Hint hint anyone!!) Would be great to hook up with the guys from Mug and Everything We Left Behind again and there are some bands from Northern England we have spoke tentatively to about sorting something out with.

 WYAZ; When can we hear more music?

 Alshy; Ooft. We/I have recently had some discussions and made steps forward regarding a split 7 inch single with Uniforms which in the last few days has grown arms and legs and may well now be a 10 inch with 2 other bands also! We will need to go in and finish 2 more songs with Chris, which, thinking out loud, should be undertaken in the next 6-8 weeks. It would be hoped that this release would see the light of day in time for Book Yer Ane Fest, which we are hopefully playing! (hint, hint)

 Apart from that, if you want to hear more music, you will have to come and see us on one of the above dates!!

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The Kimberly Steaks / The Lemonaids UK Tour

kimberly steaks tour poster

The Kimberly Steaks and The Lemonaids, two of Scotland’s premier league pop-punk bands, will be heading out on a quick tour around the UK next week, starting in London on Wednesday before making their way to Cardiff, Leeds, Dundee then wrapping things up in Glasgow next Sunday. If you can make it out to one of these shows, then I’d strongly suggest that you do so.

The Kimberly Steaks are one of the best punk bands in the country and are, to my mind at least, criminally under-rated. They play lightening quick moody 90s Gilman Street melodic punk rock of the highest calibre, falling somewhere between the likes of Fifteen, Scared Of Chaka and Jawbreaker. If short, punchy stabs of bittersweet punk rock is your bag, then you’ve definitely got to make a point of checking out the Steaks. Last year’s “Terminal Boredom” EP was one of the best of 2012, gaining critical acclaim across the board, even managing to raise a smile from some of those hard-to-please critics at Punknews.org. They’ve also got a split incoming with the mighty Cleavers that MTAT will have a hand in releasing. Exciting stuff for sure so make sure and check these roasters out.

It seems that summer was made for The Lemonaids. They are a four-piece surf-influenced super-sweet sugary melodic pop-punk rock’n’roll band that sound like they’d be more at home on the beaches and boardwalks of the American West rather than the drizzle-soaked bleakness of Glasgow. Coming across like Screeching Weasel taking on back catalogue of The Beach Boys, The Lemonaids posses a Ramones-like infectiousness that is impossible to ignore. Last year’s “Drop In, Wipe Out” album was produced by Boab at Punk Rock Rammy and is crammed full of harmony-laden pop-punk sweetness.

The Dundee show is on Saturday 8th June and will be the first show in the newly-refurbished Kage Nightclub. The Steaks and Lemonaids will be joined by Edinburgh hardcore punks Spat, who pay their first visit to a MTAT show at what is a rare performance outside the capital as their band members are spread all throughout the UK. Spat play vicious political-fuelled noisy hardcore along the lines of DRI, Discharge and Dead Kennedys and will bring us a refreshing blast of brutality.

Rounding off the bill are moody Dundee pop-punks Panicbyflare who also play their first ever MTAT show. These guys have been gigging around Scotland for a while now and we’re stoked to have another local punk rock band on board. These guys play modern melodic punk akin to the likes of Rise Against and Alkaline Trio put through the Drive-Thru Records blender. Pretty much exactly Jonny Domino’s cut of tea.

steaks lemonaids show

The show is also free because we love you. We hope to see plenty of smiling faces there for our first show in what feels like forever, but is most likely just a month or two. Heaps of shows coming up so if you’re feeling flush and feel like saving money in the long run, you can order a Make-That-A-Take Season Ticket here. It’ll cost you £50 but will gain you entry to all MTAT shows of 2013, including Mini-Fest and Book Yer Ane Fest VII, along with some cool exclusive shit and the usual dose of freebies. You know it makes sense, so go will your boots. We’ve also go 36 releases on our bandcamp page, most of which are available for free/pay-what-you-want download.

Hope everyone has had a great weekend.