Write Yer Ane Zine

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

Tag: Scotland

BOOK YER ANE FEST X; THE ZINE

This is the upload of the zine I put together for Book Yer Ane Fest X.

There were 150 of them made, printed by the workhorse that is Big Mick’s old HP printer that lives in our living room and collated by my own sossij-fingered hands. I felt it was an important thing to do and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to it.

I am humbled by the response to Book Yer Ane Fest X and have not yet had the mental space to process everything, memories and moments coming back to me in flashes. The story is also truly not exclusively my own; none of this could be done without the contribution of the many wonderful humans I have the privilege to call friends and the participation of the wider DIY punk rock family. That story will be told in time.

Everyone has their own Book Yer Ane Fest experience. That is a beautiful thing.

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“What’s the craic with Conroy’s Basement?”

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So what’s the craic with Conroy’s Basement? Good question, for which I shall endeavour to provide the answer right now!

Basically, it’s been almost a year since MTAT hosted our first show there (okay, eight months) and since then it’s been both an entertaining challenge and learning experience for us all. With every new idea comes new challenges and, as we’ve never been ones to shy away from such things, we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into trying to make things work. Personally, all I’ve ever wanted is a basement space to put on shows so, in effect, that dream has come true (pity I don’t have a functional punk rock band, right?!?).

Firstly, we’d very much like to thank everyone who has supported us thus far with this endeavour; it takes a crew of people to make ideas work and put concepts into action. We are very grateful for all of the hard work and graft the extended crew has put into making things work and it must be known that we wouldn’t be in the position that we are without the support of our friends and colleagues. Y’all know who ye are.

We must also thank our landlords at Conroy’s for their welcome, understanding and patience with us as we worked through the teething problems. We are under no illusions that we are very lucky to be in the position that we are and cannot overstate how grateful we are. While things may not have been perfect since the get-go, I strongly believe that what we are doing is important and that it directly relates to many of the discussions that have been had throughout Dundee’s musical community of late. Hell, The Skinny just published a piece I wrote the other day (check out “Venues, Scenes and Spaces“) that addresses this exact issue.

Conjecture and debate is one thing, action is another. Without resorting to Minor Threat quotes, if ye want to get something done the best thing to do is to it yourself (DIY, ken?). As such, the craic with Conroy’s Basement is thus; we are now open for third party bookings.

Basically, Kenny G and I have formed a new company called Burst Cow. We have invested in a new PA for the basement and will be running the bookings independently of MTAT, for both logistical reasons and so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. We have begun taking limited third party gig and private function bookings, with a bunch of shows happening in November, and will be looking to gradually expand things once Book Yer Ane Fest X is in the bag.

Terms and conditions for all bookings apply, of course, but ultimately we aim to help nourish the scene that has helped nourish us so greatly for so many years. To us, DIY need not be a byword for “slack” or “shitty”.

Kenny G will be the go-to dude for all third party bookings and should be contacted at conroysbasement@gmail.com

I (Derrick) shall remain the “face” of MTAT and, as such, any and all MTAT related emails/enquiries/vegan recipies should be sent to info@makethatatakerecords.com

So yeah, it seems Conroy’s Basement is open for business!

AGAINST IMMISERATION; An Essay by Dom Kaddish

WYAZ presents the second post-EU referendum essay by Dom Kaddish. Please read, consider, respond and circulate as you deem necessary. Discussion and discourse is actively encouraged.

End, As In Aim.

So picture the gravest fear and dread.
Here hope is the lie that keeps its head.

Say you’ve got a hope.
Say you want an end to fear.

An end to fear.

Say you’ve got a hope.
Say you want an end to fear.

Photo by J. Cumiskey

AGAINST IMMISERATION

What’s the fucking point of playing in a band when your body is ageing and your hearing damaged? What’s the fucking point of going to gigs and chatting, on the level, to people of different ages, genders, colours, cultures, and backgrounds when the media constantly chastens us with images of violence, and enjoins us to hate others and be suspicious of them? What’s the fucking point of voting in a referendum where the crunch matter appears to have come down to an entitled Tory elite masturbating over how to convince one of their female members to reheat the tired ghost of Margaret fucking Thatcher?

Here’s a suggestion: couldn’t it be that the deluded little spaces in which we play, chat, act, think and commit ourselves are more political by a long shot than the black hole at Westminster that awaits the next bunch of careerists perverse enough to get sucked into it? The fucking point, then, would be that our whole conception of politics has to change. For example, what created the current constitutional crisis in the UK was misplaced faith in an out-of-date form of representative government centred on individuals as well-informed agents, capable of making rational choices in their own best interests, and of acting in the best interests of others when presented with a crude either/or choice on an issue of massive complexity. This model was co-opted by greed, self-interest, stupidity, lack of information, and a giant dose of the negative affects of shame, fear and hate. Given the fallout, perhaps it is now time to try to do something paradoxical, different, and more excitingly difficult: to try, at one and the same time, to think and act both above and below the out-of-date model of politics.

By ‘above’, I mean this: we have to aspire to have the courage and the temerity to look the complexity of our world straight in the face. That is, we have to aspire to a culture, not where no-one is an expert (à la Gove), but where everyone is. This would be a culture in which everyone aspires to learn something about such heady things as economics, statistics, as well as big data patterns in demographics and human geography, and where an understanding of the role of nonhuman actors in politics would be encouraged (e.g. the role of such actors in the current UK crisis as mobile computing, agricultural and fishing yields, the English Channel, globalisation, the ecological crisis, etc. etc.). This would not be a culture where knowledge of such things was used to baffle and belittle; rather, since no one single actor could feasibly claim a knowledge of the whole, it would be a culture where everyone takes some responsibility for educating themselves and others, and where each is empowered and encouraged to do.

By ‘below’, I mean this: the UK referendum of 23 June 2016 was a coup for a reactive form of politics that traded on affects and gut reactions, instead of on concepts tied to the out-of-date model of politics mentioned above (e.g. the concept of the transparently well-informed and rational voter; or that of a ‘minister’ who is ‘prime’ in the sense of being the first and most powerful person to look after the needs of all the people in his or her polity, when the then incumbent was exposed by events for an incompetent beholding to the interests of Tory bigots of depressing resilience and longevity). What was far more effective than concepts and reason in swaying the campaigning in this instance was the propagation of the aforesaid negative affects of shame, fear and hate. Faced with these affects, the fatal mistake of left/liberal sections of the media/social media/the Twitterati was a retreat into the echo chamber of fatalistic intellectualism (consider the typical Brexit crisis moves made by these sections of the media: black humour, condescension, introspection and soul searching, cod philosophy, historical musings, irony, droll memes, the attempt at agonised liberal ‘understanding’ of what could have driven the dispossessed and disenfranchised to it, etc., etc.). The result was two modes of political address that comprehensively talked past one another: one employing the ‘post-fact’ logic of icons, hates, and anxieties; the other employing a form of reason that had become too clever and self-reflexive by half.

One solution to this impasse, I am suggesting (the one that goes ‘above’), is to aspire to better education, in terms of better concepts that have a better purchase on the complexities of our interconnected and interdependent world. Here’s another solution for how we might simultaneously get ‘below’ the impasse: first, let’s give up old concepts tied to the values of liberal/humanistic education and grand parliamentary politics; second, let’s avoid propagating negative affects in their place; third, let’s focus instead on the creation and nurturing of positive affects, such as joy, love, and openness. If such an agenda seems liberal, Christian, ‘new agey’ or out of step with what I said above about the necessity of arriving at better concepts, then you have simply missed the point. This is because what is at stake here is not how ‘good’ or ‘wise’ you or I might be, nor how much right we might have to the moral high ground, nor how much we might like the recourse to safe, comfortable, and ultimately hopelessly out of touch old political categories. Rather, what is at stake is what should be termed the ‘ecology’ of our mental health, well-being and fellow feeling, and by ‘our’ here, I mean the mental health of everyone with a stake in the issues of which the current UK constitutional crisis is symptomatic, including everyone else in the world right now, and all future generations.

The ecology of mental health concerns how one’s mindset, mood, and general sense of affect relates to the world in which it finds itself. This ecology has not, we should admit, been in a good way, globally, for some time now, and its problems predate the 2008 financial crisis by some way (in fact, they feed into it as conditions of its possibility). Here’s a suggestion as to what has eroded it: spaces of immiseration. Under this concept, we could group any number of environments that go into shaping the character of the contemporary globalised world, including, but far from limited to: factories in China; Coltan mines in the Congo; sweatshops in Turkey and Bangladesh; battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria; Social Security offices and dole queues in any ‘developed’ country; all that urban sprawl that was so ripe for sub-priming in the US pre-2008; open-plan offices; bookies; grey and ill-equipped classrooms; call centres; slaughterhouses; Amazon depots; police cells; and the countless situations in which way too much solitude is frittered away in front of a TV or a computer. Here’s a suggestion as to what might act as the antidote: spaces of possibility. Such spaces, to start from the highly dubious base of idealising what I personally know and esteem, might include: live music spaces; classrooms where participants are encouraged and equipped to learn from all others present and not simply shut their mouths and act as consumers of information spoon fed by the guy mansplaining at the front; parks; wilderness; sports pitches where moments of team creativity emerge; seashores; long walks through places either familiar or unfamiliar, with or without guiding thread; art galleries, studios, and workshops where you might actually stand the chance of speaking and interacting with artists and craftspeople; book shops, record shops and libraries; day centres, drop-in centres, and clinics where you can bump into people all too burned out by the state of it all not to speak themselves honestly, with heart.

I said that it was dubious to start from what I personally know and esteem. You are therefore entirely free to take issue with the list I have just contrived, as too ‘male’, ‘romantic’, ‘liberal’, ‘hipster’ (God forbid), or whatever. This apart, however, let me extend two invitations to you that are centred on the concepts mentioned above, and not on what I have grouped under them. First, to reflect on the spaces of possibility that matter most to you. Second, and far more importantly, to reflect and act on how we might convert spaces of immiseration into spaces of possibility. The first of these tasks, undertaken collectively, would amount to an inventory of our weapons: a stocktake of the spaces that matter to us, and that renew our sense of health and possibility for the living of meaningful lives. The second task would involve using these weapons on the battlefields where the real politics of our lives get fought out (and not in exclusive, outmoded, rarefied political vacuums such as Westminster, where fractions of the battles of our lives get misrepresented and used as pawns in games played by self-serving political cadres).

Fear of the other. Fear of the self. Fear of death. Fear of the unknown. Fear of technology and the pace of change. Fear of not ‘being a man’, whatever that means. Fear of irrelevance and poverty in an age of celebrity and the ‘super rich’. Fear of being fat, stupid, old, or useless. Fear of gun and knife crimes, rape, and hate. ETC. FUCKING ETC. These are the negative affects that spaces of immiseration nurture like cancer. How do we take the love, hope, joy, respect, and sense of other possible worlds and horizons that spaces of possibility involve and use them to bring out the possibilities that spaces of immiseration keep repressed under the increasingly shabby and disingenuous veneer of consensus and polite society? And what makes this struggle both worthwhile and eminently doable, on an everyday basis, and from this very instant?

Consider whether something like the following might work for you (if not, invent your own tactic, as is your right and your want): the next time you realise you are in a space of immiseration (and the gut sinking feeling will be sufficient to establish it), think about how you typically act in a space of possibility, and insinuate one such way of acting into the space of immiseration. The next time after this, insinuate two acts. After that, insinuate three. After that, four. And so on, and so on, until new possibilities have reached such a pitch that they have somehow cracked open the space of immiseration in favour of something better and more liveable. The acts I have in mind here can be crude or sophisticated, and might include: making passionate music, for purposes other than consumption; being playful; thinking tangentially; daydreaming; humour; kindness; openness; interest in others and their stories and fates; acts that are revelatory of self and history without tipping into narcissism; expressions of wonder, weakness, and astonishment; recognitions of limitations and ignorance; the construction of a shared focus or creative goal between you and others that adds some measure of dignity to the space, however small; the vigilant attempt to keep the spectre of the profit motive to a minimum. And so on, and so on, etc., etc.

What’s especially funny about such acts is when they work subliminally – that is, when others within the space recognise that a new possibility has been introduced, but resist it, preferring instead the tendencies of immiseration as a kind of short-term comfy/long-term deadly safety net. Because the roboticisms of immiseration cannot recognise new possibilities, you can rest assured that there will be no immediate explicit reproach for the possibility you have introduced (that is, no shared recognition that the recognition has taken place individually within the separate actors in the space). What there might be, however, is a more or less collective implicit recognition – a seed planted that will grow with time. In this case, the words, actions and affects you use to make spaces of immiseration become spaces of possibility will take on the character of a sort of gentle and subtle guerrilla warfare: a thousand little harrying tactics intended to perplex and provoke others into giving up the dubious safety net of immiseration.

To sum up:
Stop thinking in terms of redundant concepts representative of a bygone age of politics.

Start aspiring to think in terms of the complex concepts that we all know are required to think the world in which we live.

Stop tolerating the poisonous effects of negative affects through inaction and resignation.

Start spreading positive affects in any practicable way you can, because they are sufficient to convert spaces of immiseration, however overwhelming, ubiquitous and monolithic these spaces may seem in the contemporary world, into spaces rich in open and positive possibilities for new forms of life.

***

ASTHENIA PDF-page-001

Kaddish play Conroy’s Basement in Dundee with Asthenia (Japan), Human Hands (eng) and Arkless (eng) on Wednesday 17th August.

The New Situation; An Essay by Dom Kaddish

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The world we live in is not the world we were born into. The following is an essay written by a man for whom I have the deepest of respect in all capacities; musically, artistically, professionally, as a thinker, as a peer, as a human; and someone I am grateful to call a good friend, Dom Kaddish.

In solidarity and hope, I am humbled to provide WYAZ as a platform.

The New Situation.

[Dear All, the following is overtly, and not allusively political. If you disagree with it in style or substance, come along to, for example, a punk rock show or a University class room and tell us or someone else why. In other words, use every available opportunity to keep up the impetus for a new grass roots progressive politics to emerge in the UK and elsewhere post-23 June 2016. It is necessary but not sufficient for us to discuss such things through the Internet. We also need to make them count in building a better society, through our actions and words in the spaces where we actually commit our bodies].

Yesterday, 1 July 2016, the Conservative party in the UK attempted to assure us that politics in the UK is ‘back to business’ in the wake of Brexit. A Mr. Gove invoked further deluded promises about the NHS, when discretion suggested this was a thing best avoided. A Mrs. May invoked her talents as a hard worker, as well as her gender (this last point being important in the context of the obnoxious ‘boy’s club’ that led to Brexit, but Mrs May’s party is attempting to cash in on it in a way that superficially emulates but actually runs counter to the progressive female strand of politics running through, say, Holyrood).

None of this can stand: we simply cannot allow the elite of the Conservative party to try to convince us that they are operating on the basis of a post-Brexit consensus, and that they have our interests at heart in any way at all. We cannot allow politics to return to a state of unscrutinised Tory-led ‘management’. Doing so will only validate what has always been at the heart of the Tory party: upstairs privilege over downstairs servitude.

Instead of building a consensus and helping the people of the UK, the Conservative party has perpetrated an act of unparalleled violence against the social ontology of the UK in the lead up to, and in the wake of, the referendum of 23 June 2016. That is, they have effected a shift in the way that every entity related to the entity ‘the UK’ relates to every other entity related to this entity. They have done it by instrumentalising a mode of politics (the either/or referendum) that was always too crude to deal with the complexities of this ontology, and the consequence of this is that neighbours, words, glances, embraces, sighs, stares, handshakes, schools, immigrants, jobs, friends, taxis, hopes, fears, pensions, pounds and Euros (etc., etc., ad infinitum) no longer relate in the same way as before.

Given this violence, attempts to move on are appropriate. These include: humour; changing the topic of conversation; smiling a bit more; feeling a bit more driven to think, write or feel something; being warmer and more open to people who don’t look and think like you; wanting to strive for a better and more tolerant society that doesn’t condone or cynically instrumentalise racism, etc., etc. These attempts to move on are not attempts to move backwards. On the contrary, attempts to move backwards are, by definition, ‘conservative’, and if there is one entity that events since 23 June have comprehensively destroyed, it is the party that bears that name.

There can be no ‘business as usual’ on behalf of the Conservative party because there is no Conservative party. Instead, the convulsing psychotic ghost that persists in the wake of that party has no consensus, no mandate, and no real vision at all, and this makes it a deeply dangerous, reactionary, and volatile force (witness May’s party’s instrumentalisation of the female card, one of the few apparently progressive moves that was left to it). That said, it also makes it a potentially weak and waning force, provided we, the progressive and internationalist forces in the game, play our cards right, and cease to be so haunted.

There can be no business as usual in the wake of 23 June, in whatever sense (as resigned, as alienated, as disenfranchised, as relieved, as whatever). We have to lay claim to our changed social ontology and recognise that the Conservative party and the hideous forces they have recently colluded with can have no real part to play in it, provided that we have the courage to exorcise them. We have to do our business differently, by not giving up and accepting Conservative attempts to manage what they have conjured. Much more is possible than that for progressive, tolerant, and socially just reform of all sorts of entities, including, but not limited to: the EU, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the age divide, racism, the North/South divide, the European sense of self and other.

Let’s resolve to be socially responsible and just citizens in a time of spectres.

***

Kaddish released “Thick Letters To Friends” in 2014. Their new LP will be released soon.

Write Yer Ane Mini-Zine; Issue One

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Write Yer Ane Mini-Zine; Issue One

Click the link to devour. Please feel free to read and share.

I’ve uploaded the PDF in its original form, with no hyperlinks, etc. All the bands/records are easy to find so go have a swatch!

Ten Years of Cowpunk; My Top Ten – Jonny Domino

As has been well-documented, 2016 marks Ten Years of Cowpunk. As such, rather than just me banging on about all the stuff that I remember and the cool shit that has come to pass over the last decade, I thought it’d be fun (and more interesting) to ask the troops and close associates of the MTAT family to recall some of their favourite songs/moments in our shared history. It’s always very interesting for me to hear the perspectives of others, as I’m usually so (self?) absorbed with everything that’s going on that oftentimes I forget to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

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We start with the picks of Jonny Domino. It feels as though Jonny and I have known each other forever, certainly since we both started getting more deeply involved in the local music scene at the turn of the century. Jonny is also a total workhorse; he did all the driving on the Uniforms tours, has driven heaps of bands around the UK, does loads of the cooking for visiting bands, has regularly had bands and total strangers kipping on his floor and his wife Michelle even baked the Burst Cow Birthday Cake for the show last Saturday. He’s a good dude with an at-times questionable taste in music and dress, but he’s got a heart of gold and this list is full of some absolute zingers and fond memories.

Joey Terrifying – “Getaway Driver”

The first MTAT release that I personally appeared on, I was part of a bunch of MTAT all-stars that included Kev from Broken Stories that shouted “no school I don’t know!” in the bridge of this in the basement of Seagate Studios.

Billy Liar – “Piss Artist”

Billy Liar is basically my Kaddish when it comes to Book Yer Ane Fest, his streak is getting almost as good as theirs and for some reason every Sunday even though everyone is strung out from 2 days of Festing, there always seems to be a bit more energy getting dug out for Billy’s set.

The Riot Before – “Uncharted Lands”

The Riot Before show in The Balcony stands in my mind as one of the undiscovered gems in MTAT history, just a great night with some genuinely nice dudes and also the first night I met Christian Tollner, who played a much bigger part in the development of MTAT’s touring bands than he probably realises.

Question The Mark – “Bottoms Up!”

By far my favourite thing that I’ve got from 10 years of Make That A Take is some amazing friendships with great people. The chance to see all these people is what makes Book Yer Ane Fest my favourite weekend of the year and the fact that I can go all over the country or in fact the world and never be too far from some of my best friends is not an opportunity that a lot of people will get in a lifetime – QTM are the perfect example of that, I love all these dudes.

Loaded 45 – “Making Enemies Not Memories”

Loaded 45 are genuinely some of the weirdest, most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. We spent a combined 6 weeks living 8 of us in one van in places that I’d only ever dream of visiting otherwise (and also Rhyl) and we all have a bastardised MTAT HxC cross with the letters MENM after this song tattooed on our stupid bodies to commemorate it, couldn’t leave it off this list!

Franz Nicolay – “Home Is Where They Take You In”

To say I’m proud of what MTAT has achieved in the last 10 years would be a massive understatement and everything about this song is a testament to that. Franz has played in some of my absolute favourite bands of all time so to have this released on our label absolutely blows my mind. The subject matter also speaks to one of the things that I’m most proud of about the MTAT crew, which is the fact that over the past decade we’ve tried extremely hard to be as accommodating as possible to people who have come from all over the world to play for us, and I hope built a solid reputation for that in the process.

The Walking Targets – “Circling The Drain”

Including The Walking Targets on this list is something of a bittersweet experience for me – one of my most vivid BYAF memories was watching these guys play Saturday afternoon, the first time most if not all of us had ever heard of them, with Derrick, Bunky from Question The Mark and Fraser Murderburger and just being blown away. I remember Max winning a bottle of Jager which the QTM guys made him polish off through the course of the day before he vomited all over my house and I remember thinking they were something special. Later that night I still remember the chat being “holy shit did you see that band The Walking Targets?!” and there’s no doubt they got really great, really quick. They’re still my “what could’ve been” moment.

Bangers – “Church Street In Ruins”

Bangers are without doubt my favourite British band, they’re really lovely guys to spend time with – smart, funny and really patient (I know Andrew was one of Derrick’s go-tos for advice in the early days of MTAT as a functioning label and I don’t think I’ve ever said thanks) and they’re a great advert for DIY punk who I’m thankful for a few opportunities to work with. That being said, Uniforms did a few all ages shows with the DIY Rock Shop in Perth and the one time we invited Bangers I remember Roo saying “if I could give you one piece of advice it would be – always say yes to free drugs if someone offers you them, that’s what being a rockstar’s all about”.

Get It Together – “Hole In The Head”

If I was pushed (which I’m not being, but I’m gonna tell you anyway) I’d say this is the best song MTAT has ever released. Get It Together just nail the posi hardcore vibe and their energy and enthusiasm is pretty hard to match. Some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet they’ve been nothing but a pleasure to be around and this song is pretty much guaranteed to get any room going.

Dear Landlord – “I Live In Hell”

From my favourite song to my favourite show, it’ll be a long time before we pull off anything that compares to hosting Dear Landlord in the basement of Drouthies and it will probably always be my favourite MTAT moment. These guys put on one of the most full on live shows you’ll see and there was sweat (and Guinness) dripping from the ceiling of Drouthies before they finished. Occasionally to this day I still wonder how they ended up there and not in some much bigger venues but I’m also really, really glad they did.

2016; Ten Years of Cowpunk (Mailshot!)

This is a copy of the Tuesday 19th January email newsletter to the MTAT mailing list. Sign up here.

We at MTAT hope that everyone had a good time over the festive period and is looking forward to what the new year brings. 2016 marks ten years since MTAT put on our first show as a collective and we are very excited to be kicking off Ten Years of Cowpunk with another step in our evolution; we have a new HQ!

We have come to an agreement with the good people at Conroy’s in Dundee and will now be hosting shows in the basement of the pub. Conroy’s used to be The Beat Bar/Satchmo’s/The Saltire in years gone by and was one of the first venues we ever used back in Dundee, first hosting Frank Turner and Even In Blackouts there on November 15th 2006. An intimate basement space in the city centre, it’s pretty much perfect for small DIY shows and we’re very excited about the possibilities this arrangement may afford us.

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The inaugural show at Conroy’s Basement will happen on Friday 27th February and is a collaboration with Oh No! Not Another Wild Goat that brings together Bear Arms, Get It Together, Robot Doctors, Lachance and Polar Bears In Purgatory to kick things off with a bang. We shall then be celebrating the tenth anniversary of our first show on Saturday 12th March, ten years removed from hosting Glass and Ashes / I-Farm at Dexter’s with The Try Hards and 15 Minutes. Full details of the birthday show will emerge soon.

Some other show dates for the diary;

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Book Yer Ane Fest X will take place at Buskers, Dundee from Friday 2nd through Sunday 4th December. The original BYAF took place in 2008 and we did two in 2009, hence why the years don’t align, so it’s serendipitous that in coincides with our tenth anniversary. We’ve already got some plans in place and we look forward to seeing what develops over the course of the year!

Before then, we are very proud to be part of the forthcoming split single release from Billy Liar and Paper Rifles in support of Refugee Survival Trust. A collaborative project alongside Anti-Manifesto and Struck Dum Records, the split single will be released on CD and as a digital download accompanied by a series of short films by Steve Cardno documenting the project.

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The single will be launched at a benefit show at The Southside Social in Edinburgh on Saturday 30th January featuring a host of multi-discipline talent. The RST was set up in 1996 as a reaction to the problem of refugees and asylum claimants being made destitute in Scotland. Grants made by the RST either alleviate poverty and destitution, or help refugees and asylum claimants to overcome obstacles in accessing educational and employment opportunities. We are proud to show solidarity in this endeavour. Thanks also to For The Love Of Punk for covering the story.

To help in the combat against the winter blues (and to help us clear some space for new stuff), we are keeping our End Of Year Sale going until the end of January. We’ve got loads of cool stuff from as little as three quid, although we are down to our last one or two copies on a many records, so please do act fast if there’s something specific you’re looking for!

Season Ticket

2016 MTAT Season Tickets are also currently available for £100 and are limited in numbers. A Season Ticket gives for entry to ALL SHOWS (including BYAF X) and physical/digital copies of ALL RELEASES this year, plus a welcome pack with a MTAT HXC shirt and cool free shit. Knowing some of the plans we have in the works, it’s the bargain of the year for sure!

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Cheers to everyone who has picked up a copy of the excellent “Swells/Repels” EP by Stonethrower thus far. The EP was released on the Sunday of BYAF IX and we still have some copies left. We’d recommend checking out Minimal Media for a series of tremendous live videos from the weekend too. For our full recap of all things BYAF-related, check this story. Keep your eyes for new videos on Cowpunk TV too!

Right, that’s enough banging on for now. There is much to look forward to this year and loads of incredible new music coming your way. Thanks to everyone who has bought records/season tickets recently and everyone that continues to support what we do. The last ten years have been a continual evolution and we look forward to seeing how things develop further in 2016.

Thanks for the continued support, as always!
Make-That-A-Take Records

BOOK YER ANE FEST IX; FIRST TIMERS

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Book Yer Ane Fest IX is only a couple weeks away and we are beginning to get mad stoked (and freaking out!) about spending a weekend in the company of some of the finest DIY punk bands and best people we know. BYAF has grown into something we’d never envisaged when we started in the back room of Mucky Mulligans in Perth way back in 2008 and for that we are truly grateful. This year marks another step in the BYAF evolution and we’ll be hosting it in Buskers and The Vestry for the very first time. Dougie and the troops have been very understanding and accommodating of us, so hopefully everyone has an awesome time. This will also be the first BYAF with a proper stage (no barrier!) so please behave accordingly and look out for one another!

Thank you also to everyone who has picked Weekend E-Tickets thus far, it’s always a massive stress reliever when you know that people are stoked on what you’re doing. If you haven’t got one yet, you can grab one RIGHT HERE (cheap pop, right?). Ye can check out the day splits on the MTAT website. Also, both Pre-BYAF and Post-BYAF in Glasgow and Edinburgh on Thursday 26th and Monday 30th November respectively are pay-on-the-door and all early shows at Cerberus Bar are free on a first come, first served basis as it’s tiny.

For updates as they occur, keep your eyes on the event page and our twitter.

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One of the best things for us about BYAF is the opportunity to bring new and interesting bands to Dundee and to catch up with friends that we may otherwise seldom see. As such, we’d like to extend a very warm welcome to the following bands to shall be playing BYAF for the first time over the weekend;

Make War (USA)

Formerly known as Sad and French, Make War are a three piece melodic punk rock band from New York who will play their first and only Scottish show of their debut European tour on the Friday night at Buskers. They’re touring in support of their new self-titled LP that is out now on Black Numbers / Gunner Records. The band shall also be playing an exclusive acoustic show on Friday evening at the pre-show/weekend ticket collection gathering at Cerberus Bar from 4-6pm.

FFO; Lucero, The Bouncing Souls, Gaslight Anthem

When; Friday 27th November at Buskers.

Above Them (ENG)

After many years of trying, we are absolutely thrilled to finally be able to welcome one of the greatest UK punk rock bands of recent times to Dundee for the very first time. Veterans of the UK DIY scene and venerated throughout the worldwide punk scene, these Yorkshire punks released their new “Water Lane” LP through the wonderful Specialist Subject Records earlier this year and will join us for an exclusive Scottish show.

FFO; The Weakerthans, Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker

When; Sunday 29th November at Buskers.

The Spook School

Currently setting the world on fire with their infectious and vital “Try To Be Hopeful” LP, these Edinburgh queercore indie pop punks join us at BYAF for the first time and play their first Dundee show since playing a packed Cerberus show with ONSIND and Spoonboy way back in February. The Spook School have had an incredible year, playing all over the world and we’re very excited to be hosting them in Dundee.

FFO; The Buzzcocks, The Slits, The Vaselines

When; Saturday 28th November at Buskers.

Good Grief (ENG)

Upbeat bittersweet fizzy bangers from these witty and intelligent Liverpool fuzzy melodic indie punks who will be bringing their lo-fi pop jams to Dundee for the very first time. Well traveled and with releases out on the esteemed Boss Tunage and Drunken Sailor Records and splits with BUZZorHOWL and Eureka California to their name, we’re very excited for a late afternoon sugar rush.

FFO; Superchunk, Dinosaur Jr, J Church

When; Saturday 28th November at Buskers.

Forever Unclean (DK)

Full blast bouncy gobby melodic Europunk from these three piece punkers from Copenhagen, Denmark who visit Dundee for the first time as part of their UK tour around BYAF. Bringing together slacker indie and tight 90s skate punk, their new EP “Shreds” does exactly that and was mastered by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Rooms in Colorado. They’ll be reunited with their old touring buddies Terrafraid, who will themselves be returning from their own three month European odyssey!

FFO; Kid Dynamite, Smoke Or Fire, Broadway Calls

When; Sunday 29th November at Buskers

Will Wood (NZ)

Kick-ass boot-stompin’ countrified punk blues murder balladeer from New Zealand joins us in Dundee for the first time on his UK tour with fellow one-man-band compatriot and partner in crime Freddy Fudd Pucker. Will Wood brings a wild-hearted whisky-soaked punk rock fire in his belly and a glint of wickedness in his eye.

FFO; Steve Earle, Murder By Death, Nick Cave

When; Saturday 28th November at The Vestry.

Great Cynics (ENG)

Another band that we’ve long hoped to play, we are delighted to welcome Great Cynics and their wonderful heart-warming melodic folk/punk bangers to BYAF for the first time. The band released their inspiring “I Feel Weird” LP on Specialist Subject earlier this year and have just returned from having everyone in Gainesville at Fest fall in love with them all over again. Excited to have them in Dundee again after last being seen with The Smith Street Band at Mini-Fest in 2013.

FFO; The Lemonheads, Billy Bragg, The Get Up Kids

When; Saturday 28th November at Buskers.

Chrissy Barnacle

From the “grimy side of the Clyde” comes nylon-stringed acoustic-wielding Glasgow singer/songwriter Chrissy Barnacle who brings her sharp-witted and heart-warming feminist political folk-pop to BYAF for the first time. We’ve been fans of Chrissy and her songwriting for a long time and we’re very pleased to finally be able to play host.

FFO; Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Ghost Mice

When; Saturday 28th November at The Vestry.

Rational Anthem (USA)

Life-affirming fist-in-the-air old school gobby melodic pop punk three piece straight outta Sarasota, Florida and out on the road on a European tour with kindred spirits The Murderburgers, Rational Anthem are an explosive fireball of punk rock power and will joining us in Dundee for the very first time. Their “Emotionally Unavailable” LP came out on Bloated Kate Records last year and is rammed full of bittersweet pop punk zingers. Guaranteed to be a fun time!

FFO; Lipstick Homicide, Dear Landlord, Screeching Weasel

When; Saturday 28th November

Lenin Death Mask

Aberdeen indie noise-poppers wrap up their ten day UK tour in celebration and support of their debut “Three Hits” 7″ that is released on November 16th through Fitlike Records, Allende Records and Dingleberry Records in Europe. As part of an active Aberdeen DIY scene, we are very pleased to welcome our east coast comrades to BYAF for the first time.

FFO; Husker Du, Titus Andronicus, The Cribs

When; Sunday 29th November at Buskers.

Veto

Glasgow Young Team emo/pop punkers shall be opening BYAF IX with their youthfully energetic take on classic emocore and modern pop punk. These troops have been super active in their local Glasgow scene and have organised a heap of benefit shows as well as touring the UK for the first time this year in support of their split EP with Brightr. One of the best young bands to emerge in Scottish punk in recent times.

FFO; Modern Baseball, Gnarwolves, Spraynard

When; Friday 27th November at Buskers.

Stonethrower (EP Release Show)

 Dundee’s latest Ecossemo punks of weel’ kent faces play their first BYAF and celebrate the release of their new “Swells/Repels” CDEP on MTAT by bringing us their angular and agitated take on alt/punk rock, combining math-y time signatures with an undeniable taste for the ferocious punk banger. Stonethrower are one of the spiciest Dundee bands to emerge over the last year and we’re very proud to be working with them to release the EP.

FFO; Faraquet, Kaddish, Future Of The Left

When; Sunday 29th November at Buskers.

PMX

It’s crazy to think that this is the first time that PMX have played BYAF but the band were already on hiatus when we started this shindig back in 2008. Reunited and refreshed, PMX have blazed back into action in 2015 with the release of the incredible “Dark Days” EP that we’re super proud to have been involved in and they’ve been absolutely shredding it since their return to action. BYAF will be their first Dundee show in over seven years. PMX also play Pre-BYAF at Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow on Thursday 26th November with Murderburgers, Rational Anthem and Dead Neck.

FFO; Propagandhi, Lagwagon, A Wilhem Scream

When; Friday 27th November at Buskers.

Edgarville (ENG)

Tour mates of Terrafraid throughout their three month European tour and veterans of the DIY punk underground, Lancashire two-piece Edgarville bring their folk-ish acoustic indie/pop punk to Dundee for the very first time to conclude their tour. These guys have faced almost every challenge imaginable throughout their time as a band and have lived to tell the tale. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide a happy ending for them at BYAF.

FFO; The Front Bottoms, Apologies I Have None, The Smith Street Band

When; Sunday 29th November at The Vestry.

Bettie Akkemaai (NL)

Bettie Akkemaai is a feminist folk punk singer/songwriter from Den Bosch, Netherlands who joins us in Dundee for the first time as part of a series of shows with her kindred spirit and Different Circle Records comrade Dave Hughes. Inspired by the global DIY anarcho-folk scene, Bettie plays acid tongued witty acoustic folk with bite and intelligence.

FFO; Even Greer, Mischief Brew, Kimya Dawson

When; Sunday 29th November at The Vestry.

The Exhausts (ENG)

These London born, Glasgow based super spiky gobby melodic punks started their European tour in October before playing as Misfits at our Halloween Party and have been on the road ever since with tour concluding at BYAF. The band has just released the awesome “Leave The Suburbs!” album through the excellent Everything Sucks Music and will bring a hefty dose of tongue-in-cheek garage rock’n’roll madness to night one of BYAF.

FFO; Misfits, The Shitty Limits, Bikini Kill

When; Friday 27th November at Buskers.

Paper Rifles

Skyscrapingly melodic beautiful acoustic folk/punk rock from the former Curators man now ploughing the field solo and knocking it completely out of the park. With a busy year behind him, we’re involved in a special little project to be announced soon that will precede the forthcoming 7″ coming soon on Struck Dum Records. One of the strongest voices in Scottish music, we’d highly recommend not missing this.

FFO; Manic Street Preachers, Chuck Ragan, Deacon Blue

When; Saturday 28th November at The Vestry.

Elk Gang

Hard hitting passionate punk rock/post-hardcore from the capital from the troops behind the Anti-Manifesto collective featuring the engine room of Shields Up, these fiery Edinburgh punks will play BYAF for the first time and will bring their lung-bustin’ melodic hardcore and scissor kicks to light a fire under your Sunday afternoon. One of the dark horse bands to watch out for over the weekend for sure.

FFO; Small Brown Bike, Iron Chic, Lifetime

When; Sunday 29th November at The Vestry.

Tim Loud (ENG)

Foot-stompin’ hard-rocking virtuoso country/punk/folk/pop masterclass from Leeds based one man band/singer/songwriter who plays BYAF for the very first time and joins us in the midst of his UK tour with the equally eccentric Tim Holehouse. Last year’s “Born To Lose” album is an under-rated pop masterpiece and was released on MTAT in conjunction with TNS and Gin House Records. Very pleased to finally get Tim up to BYAF.

FFO; The Levellers, Gram Parsons, The Beatles

When; Saturday 28th November at The Vestry.

Salem Street

Dundee Youth Crew wrap up an exceptional 2015 that’s taken them across the UK for the first time and seen them play some massive festivals including Nice N Sleazy. They’ll be bringing their first generation 77 inspired punk with deep reggae/ska grooves to the Sunday afternoon and will be the perfect band to ease your hangovers as ye get started for the last day of festing.

FFO; Stiff Little Fingers, Operation Ivy, One Man Army

When; Sunday 29th November at The Vestry.

Benny Monteux

Edinburgh based acoustic folk/pop punk singer/songwriter joins us at BYAF for the first time as part of his Scottish tour in support of his new single. Benny joined us in Dundee at Cerberus Bar earlier in the year and we are delighted to welcoming this charming, forthright and honest young man back.

FFO; Kris Roe, The Gaslight Anthem, The Wonder Years

When; Saturday 28th November at The Vestry

Brendan Dalton

Bruised and introspective lo-fi acoustic singer/songwriter from rural Perthshire playing solo at BYAF for the first time having played BYAF III with his former pop punk band Versailles many moons ago. Brendan in a talented and intelligent writer who’s had a great year including putting out his first single “Medium” through the emergent indie label Meraki Records. No stranger to Dundee, we’re delighted to welcome Brendan to BYAF.

FFO; Bon Iver, Belle and Sebastian, Ryan Adams

When; Sunday 29th November at The Vestry.

Please, Believe!

From the ashes of Ecossemo stalwarts Bonehouse comes Please, Believe! Ploughing a similar field as their predecessors in terms of emotive DIY post-hardcore/punk rock, PB bring an added sense of urgency and chaos to proceedings, creating a cathartic and noisy expulsion of emotion. No recordings yet but with such pedigree, we can guarantee some prime cuts of east coast Ecossemo goodness.

FFO; At The Drive In, Sinaloa, Life At These Speeds

When; Sunday 29th November at Buskers.

Phew!

Can’t wait, bring it on yo!

Incoming; PMX “Dark Days” EP, September Vistors, Dundeemofest + More

Once again, apologies for the lack of WYAZ posts recently. Between work, running the label and everything else that I’ve got going on, I simply haven’t had much time to write. Miss it though I do, there are times when something has to give. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time working on new Tragical History Tour material for my forthcoming LP, which I’m hoping to release sometime during the first half of next year. If any other labels wanted to get on board with a co-release, do please hit me up! I’ve also been working away diligently in the background on the upcoming MTAT releases and Book Yer Ane Fest IX, which is pretty much fully booked now. We’ll have the “official” poster and full line-up to announce very shortly.

Our first order of business for September is the release of the long-awaited new “Dark Days” EP from reunited Perth punks PMX. The band’s last release was the incredible “Rise and Shine” album way back in 2004 and the first release of any sort since “The Ballad of Tony Montana”, a 25 minute progressive punk rock epic that many people may have missed. “Dark Days” is also the first release featuring the new line-up of Scott Henderson on lead guitar and Kev Henderson on drums. The EP was self-recorded/produced with the drums being tracked by Bruce Rintoul at 45-A-Side Recordings in Glasgow, before being mixed by the band in Perth. The EP was then mastered by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Rooms in Fort Collins, Colorado and it sounds absolutely incredible. To say that we are excited for this release is a considerable understatement.

There’s a lot of history in this record too; I first met Chic sometime in the late 90s when we’d spend our time moshing down the front at the all ages shows put on at the Lesser City Hall in Perth by the Youth Enquiry Service. I remember one time we smashed our heads together while Threshold Sicks were playing; it was the start of a beautiful friendship. PMT, as they were at the time, played the last ever Humus Kife show at the launch of the “Eye of the Storm” CD at Perth City Hall in August of 2000, when there were 10 bands set up individually, Jools Holland style, all around the City Hall. We then played loads of shows together when I was in 13 Broken Fingers (with Craig from Get It Together no less) while I was at university before eventually living together in the “flat of doom” above Domino’s in Perth some years later. I’ll never forgot walking down the line outside a sold-out Curly Lloyd’s handing out anti-war propaganda before the beginning of the Iraq War way back in 2003. I’ll also never forget some people looking at me like I had two heads while I did so. I remember manning the fort with bookings at Barcode/Angry Mic’s whilst PMX were away touring with Randy in Canada and I skipped out on going to Taste of Chaos with them as I had a show of my own somewhere that night (I’m pretty sure that’s right anyways!). Abbie and I lived in Matt’s house, Chic played drums in both Joey Terrifying (replacing Kev no less!) and Uniforms, we were the Asbo Brothers; the connections go on and on.

Needless to say, there is considerable personal emotional investment in this EP and there were times when we thought that it’d never happen. MTAT never work with artists without whom we have personal resonance and connections, with the release of this EP following perfectly in line with this tradition. To put one’s energies and resources into something with which one has no emotional connection, for the purposes of financial gain or some other motivation, is an exercise in futility, at least as far as I’m concerned. The EP itself is, to my mind, an absolute masterclass of modern melodic hardcore punk; taking everything that we loved about the “old” PMX and marrying it to a greater darkness and maturity that comes with age and experience. It also fucking rips.

The record is currently streaming in full at DyingScene.com and is available for digital and physical pre-order with an instant download of the track “Brave Face”. The EP is officially released tomorrow morning and will go live at 9am. The initial pressing of the CDEP is limited to 300 copies worldwide and all orders from MTAT come with stickers. All pre-orders will also have a link to the full release emailed first thing on Saturday morning.

Following the release of “Dark Days”, we have a couple of absolutely cracking shows coming up in the following week.

Billy Joe September

We are very excited to welcome back Scotland’s finest guitar-slinging angry young punk rock poet Billy Liar and Richmond, Virginia’s Joe McMahon of Fat Wreck Chords’ punks Smoke Or Fire back to Dundee as part of their ongoing UK/Ireland tour. Billy and Joe were last seen in Dundee back in April, although I’m looking forward to actually seeing this show as I was in Europe on tour with Get It Together when they played Cerberus Bar last time.

This show will see the Billy/Joe tour crossover for one night only with that of Kate’s Party. Kate’s Party are a “female fronted” (I’m no fan of writing that shit ‘cos, y’know, gender is over, if you want it) power-pop/punk rock band from Dublin, Ireland and I’m very pleased that we were able to make something work at pretty much the last minute. They’re a hard-grafting bunch who have put out releases on Dublin’s Toast Office Records and are one of the most acclaimed indie/punk bands to emerge from the Emerald Isle in recent years, so we’re very excited to be able to host them in Dundee.

These touring parties shall be ably supported by Dundee’s finest indie/emo-punks (not sure they like being referred to as such) Robot Doctors, who shall be stripping things back and performing acoustically for us, and Edinburgh’s finest history-teaching soulful acoustic punk rock balladeer Paper Rifles, who just dropped the 3-track “Songs For Ophelia” single through Aberdeen’s Struck Dum Records. It’s a cracker of a mixed bill for a Monday night and it’ll cost ye five bones for the pleasure. It’d be great to see things get nice and cosy in Room at the Top of a Monday evening.

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The following Friday, 11th September, sees the inaugural DUNDEEMOFEST happening at RATT and it will be the first and only Scottish show from Nashville, Tennessee emo punks Free Throw as they make their way around the continent on their first European Tour. These dudes are on Count Your Lucky Stars Records and are firm favourites of us in the MTAT camp, so we’re very happy to be hosting them for their only Scottish show. If you haven’t heard these guys before, then I’d recommend checking out the wonderful “Those Days Are Gone” LP for a heart-warming slab on midwestern emo that falls somewhere between the sepia-tinged landscapes of American Football, The Weakerthans and Dikembe; some may call it “emo revival”, I just call it honest, heart-on-sleeve earnest American emocore stripped free of pretense and played with heart, passion and soul.

They’ll be joined on the UK leg of tour by Holy Pinto, who come with great acclaim and shall be playing Dundee for the very first time. These guys have been making a lot of noise recently and have been plying their trade across the UK, Europe and the US so we’re delighted to welcoming them to Dundee. Holy Pinto play a quirky, danceable style of emo/punk not a million miles removed from the likes of Tigers Jaw/The Wonder Years and their “Stenography” EP out on Get This Right Records is a little cracker that I look forward to picking up at the show.

Joining the touring party will be a foursome of Ecossemo’s finest. It’s always a pleasure to host the gentlemen of Carson Wells, who have delivered one of the albums of the year in the form of “Tread A Northern Path”, an utter spellbinding journey and a tour de force that encapsulates everything we love about the Aberdeen three-piece. They’ll be joined by fellow north-east soul punks Min Diesel, who released an incredible LP on their own in the form of “Mince” through Cool Yer Jets and Struggletown Records earlier this year.

It’s only fitting that Dundeemofest features a couple of Dundee bands and we’re very excited about the prospect of hosting the first home town show from Please, Believe! You’ll reckon this band of weel ken’t faces from their previous projects that include the likes of Bonehouse/Gone Wishing/Pensioner/The Fall of Boss Koala/Little Anchors and countless more. These troops take the templates laid by their former projects and inject it with the fire that only being a three-piece can bring, creating a fragile yet chaotic emo/punk rammy that is universally understood while retaining a distinctly north-eastern Scottish identity. With a band of such fine calibre, we expect nothing less than emo fireworks.

Opening the show will be our very own Lachance, who continue to knock it out of the park with their emotionally-charged melodic punk rock, coming over like Latterman being given a solid skate punk kicking for spending too long with their poetry books. Lachance absolutely destroyed it at the Songs For Mum CD release show last month and the addition of Maxwell’s Dead’s Russell Broon on drums has lit a firecracker under them, adding a healthy dose of punk rock fire to the brooding emo flames. Make no mistake, hearts will be bursting out of chests all night long and it’s shaping up to be one of the most emotionally intense nights of what has already been an incredibly emotionally intense year.

There are a limited number of e-tickets remaining that are available for £6, otherwise it’ll be £8 on the door please. We shall also be hosting a hostile MTATakeover of Kage Nightclub after the show and will be spinning the finest in punk/hardcore/emo in the club until the early hours. The show itself is open to all 16+ although I’m afraid that the club night is only open to those 18+. Such are the limitations of Scottish licensing laws I’m afraid. Physical tickets are also available from Groucho’s and cost £6 plus booking free.

Finally (for now), we have an absolute BEAST of a last minute hardcore show happening at Cerberus Bar on Saturday 19th September. This show has come together in the last couple of days and we are still awaiting confirmation from a couple of bands so don’t yet have a poster, but we can promise you that it’s going to be an absolute face-ripper.

Nothing Clean are an absolutely uncompromising powerviolence/hardcore/thrash band from Leicester who had a show fall through in between their Aberdeen and Glasgow shows, so we were more than happy to step into the breach and help them out with a show. I’m compelled beyond my will to lend I hand when I know that I’m in a position to do so and, having spent a fair amount of time out on the road, know that there is nothing worse than having a day off on tour when you were planning on raging!

They’ll be joined to Fife’s newest gnarly instrumental hardcore band God Never Did Anything For Us who will be playing their first ever show. They’ll be joined by another two bands although it’s probably wise to await 100% confirmation before divulging names. Either way, the show will be kicking off at 8pm on Saturday 19th September at Cerberus Bar, Bell Street, Dundee and donations upon entry to support the touring band would be very much appreciated. Please keep your eyes peeled on the MTAT facebook page for futher developments.

Shirt HXCFinally, thank you so much to everyone who picked up merch and records during our Summer Vinyl Sale, the support is very much appreciated. We have limited numbers of these cracking MTAT HXC shirts left in a variety of sizes in both black and white, so please head over to our merch page and grab one if you’re keen. We also still have a handful of tote bags left. Thanks so much to our pals BW/WB for hooking this up and we wish them the very best of luck in their future endeavours.

See ye in the pit, punx!

Terrafraid; European Tour Diary (April 2015)

Terrafraid are one of Dundee’s finest musical exports comprised of some thoroughly good dudes who I’m glad to call my friends. When I saw that singer/songwriter/mastermind Gavin Luke Ross was looking for a task with which to occupy his time on the treacherous bus journey from London to Dundee, I noised him up about writing a tour diary for WYAZ. Thanks a lot to Gav for taking the time to do so.

I’d strongly recommend downloading the “Despondent” album. Not only is it a Scottish DIY dream-pop masterpiece, all proceeds go directly to the Scottish Association Of Mental Health. Terrafraid were my personal highlight of Rock The Tay this past weekend and kudos must go to Not Another Wild Goat Promotions for organising a weekend of shows to benefit SAMH also.

Terrafraid EU Tour Diary (April 2015) by Gavin Luke Ross.

When most people hear that you are going on tour and that you frequently do so, the sort of image that they seem to conjure up is “wow, you must have a fair bit of money to go to all them places” or “you must be so organised!”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just ask any touring musician.

tour poster

Setting off for London:

It wouldn’t be a proper “first day of tour” without some sort of moment of panic. No matter how prepared you are, even sitting around that morning bored at the thought of “I’ve done everything there is to be done, now I’m just waiting around until I have to leave”, it always ends up in running/dashing in some form with a close call of “that could fucked up the whole tour…”. In my case, it was my doctor forgetting to put my prescription ready to collect & take away with me before leaving, even though I spoke to him a couple of hours beforehand to be safe. So it resulted in turning up there 30 minutes before me and Sean’s 11:00am bus to London to see why they hadn’t called me back yet, as a couple of hours had passed and it was drawing nearer to our bus leaving. It was then that they were dashing around the place in panic at realising they’d forgotten. As I eagerly awaited in the hope of “I can still make it”, I eventually got the prescription and took it over to the collection point. They informed me “it will probably be about 15 minutes if that’s okay?” I looked at my watch, seeing it was 10:42am, & in a moment of panic I texted Sean “I may not make it back home, may have to run to the station! Take my things! I’ll meet you there!”. It was worrying the lack of reply, but luckily it only took them a few minutes before calling my name. Luckily, I live close to the doctors, but sprinted back home with 10 minutes left. As I got in the door, I seen a note in my kitchen; “gone into town for travel snacks, I’ll meet you at the bus station. Sean”. It was then that I remembered Sean’s phone was broken, so he wouldn’t have seen my text. After that brief moment of “close call…” I grabbed all my things & ran to bus station with the passport (double then triple) check with the running thought of, if there was anything I’d forgotten, “fuck it!”. Luckily, I made it just in time with Sean waiting at the station. All I thought of the close call was “typical”.

The journey consisted mostly of sleeping on the bus o the way down. A long bus journey is always a breeze when the bus is fairly empty, because you can lay down across your 2 seats with your legs up in the opposite sides seats. We had our bags containing clothing to last a couple weeks, so it was t-shirt pillows as an added bonus. Plus, earphones are always the top saviour of any journey for any length of time. Sean, sadly, discovered his were broken after the bus had already began its journey.

We met Jason at Victoria station as he had went ahead to London the day before. We all shared a dread at the thought of what the night had ahead of us. The sleeping conditions of the floors of Stansted airport. We were right to dread it. It was the middle of the night and there were close to a hundred passengers sprawled across the floors of the airport. We would wander around trying to find a spot for ourselves, which wasn’t easy. Purely for I was more fixed on needing caffeine, for the less than usual amount I would normally have due to the day long journey, and our hunt for food. It was easier for Jason and Sean to be able to find snacks available for vegetarians, but for me, trying to find something suitable for a vegan was like trying to find a new rare species. Clearly to Stansted, I was that new rare species.

We would find a spot to sleep on, where Jason had his sleeping mat (as his hand luggage was the size of King Kong’s fist, so had such luxuries in there. He had forgotten that we had all this stuff arranged and waiting for us in Sweden) and Sean settled for emptying his bag of clothes to form some sort of laundry mattress. I stayed awake to drink my coffee and continue the hunt for something edible. We had to move when we realised we were resting/sleeping in the front of line to check in for a flight to Spain. So we walked like zombies to the next available spot. I managed to get some rest for a minute, until an airport women walked around yelling out to everyone to get up. She did so in such a rude manner. “The airport is officially open now. Come on! This isn’t a hotel! Get up!”. Fair to say, she made a hundred sleepy enemies very quickly. We just walked from one side of the room until she fucked off then we walked back to where we were then went back to sleep. Other people in the airport choose to do the same thing. Viva la revolution. ✌🏻

airport

After getting through security ( giggling immaturely at Jason being frisked; uou have to when it happens to someone else), we saw there was a lot more offer food wise. Well, not for me. All I could purchase was a souvenir box of Oreos. We had a look in an electrical goods store. All, of course, over priced and we have no intention of purchasing anything, but then it’s just the sort of bored shite you do when waiting around in an airport all night (that and tanning all the free aftershave on display). We made our own amusement and Sean set every tablet, iPad and such wallpaper background screens to images of his face. The staff may or may not have noticed or cared. If you worked in an airport electrical store at 4:30 am and still had to wear a purple shirt/tie, you probably wouldn’t care either.

Sweden/Denmark:

The flight was easy enough as I slept through it. I sat near the front of the plane while Jason and Sean were sat next to each other near the back. Unfortunately, Sean didn’t have such luck with getting a sleep on the flight, thanks to ‘Little Billy’. ‘Little Billy’ was a long blonde haired little Irish boy sitting behind Sean who spent the flight keeping himself entertained by kicking Sean’s chair profusely and being loud. Asking his dad;

*insert Irish accents
Little Billy – “Daddy, how high are we going!?”
Daddy – “Alllllll the way up to the stars Little Billy!”

This became a running joke throughout tour. More funny for those who weren’t Sean, who would look back with dagger eyes at every seat kick Little Billy delivered. The dad could possibly sense Sean’s impending explosion. But eventually Sean did get to sleep though, wearing my eye mask I lent him to sleep better without the light. But when the plane hit the ground, Sean leaped with the fright of his life ripping off the eye mask wondering where he was, then trying to calm his nerves. I’d of given anything to have that moment filmed.

We were collected by our friend Olle from Gothenburg, who was filling in on bass for us for this tour. We quickly went straight to the practice room in our van which was the van being used for the tour. As soon as we had arrived, Sean’s bag straps snapped and it fell to the floor. We laughed.

We were so exhausted from the long day/night/morning of travelling that we gave the songs a once over, as it was the first time we had ever played them with Olle who learned the songs before we arrived, and after going over each song we immediately suggested we go find food. The only thing nearby the practice space was a subway so we swung around there for some verge pate subs and coffee, as I was just dying to eat something that wasn’t an Oreo biscuit. Sean had reservations about ordering anything at all due to his limited money he had in his account. Although seeing us all order, he couldn’t resist the urge so did the same. We just got our sandwiches and coffee, he made the instant regrettable decision to also purchase a cookie. If someone at a food counter offers him such an item to go with his food, he will cave. Even if he can’t afford it. As soon as he joined us at our table he was trying to grasp with why he bought the cookie and that he really couldn’t afford it. Swedish prices, it was the most expensive cookie he had bought in a long time. It may have cleared him out. Especially as he purchased (only the day before) a £30 vapour stick package for smoking. It was a very spur of the moment purchase which he instantly regretted, asking me how long I reckon it will be before he either loses it or breaks it. I gave it a week (more on that to follow). He tried looking to the positive side though in that it will be a nice sugary treat for when he is to drive to Copenhagen in an hours time (which he knows, the rest of us will be using that time to sleep). He didn’t see the funny side however when Jason would hide his cookie when he went to the bathroom.

We returned to the practice room and just quickly went over everything once more for Olle’s sake, as we were just in a rush to get going for how tired we were, so then loaded up the van with what we were bringing from our end then set off for Denmark. It was after we left Gothenburg that I was woken up by an angry driving Sean, punching the inside van roof screaming “I FORGOT MY FUCKIN COOKIE!!!”.

We got to Copenhagen and met up with Forever Unclean (Lasse – Vocals/Guitar, Troels – Bass & Leo – drums) at their practice space (which is an underground bunker by the way! Truly awesome) and loaded the full back line in before heading off to the venue. It was great to catch up with them and look forward to the next couple of weeks ahead with them. We got to the venue, it was our first time seeing this one, as we had always played other venues before in Copenhagen, and it was fantastic; set up like a log cabin. Like a vegan hunters log cabin theme. He people were lovely and the food was magnificent. Sean spent a lot of the evening asleep in the back room where there was a bed. The dreadlocked girl who owned the venue woke up Sean who was asleep in the floor in the middle of the room and asked “would you like to sleep in my bed?”. He woke up dazed and confused and said “fucking….yes”.
The show kicked off a great first night and we spent the night at F.U bassist Troel’s flat. There was little sleep on my side that night, as it was that night we discovered Jason’s anti-snoring nose straps were useless.

Forever Unclean

Forever Unclean

Germany:

A gig for the following day had fallen through, which we were aware of in enough advance before tour, but we had a place to crash that night in Hannover. It was a shame to have a day off only on day 2 of tour, but the past 48 hours had been hectic for us Scottish bunch so it was quite nice to have a day to relax and take it easy. More so, for me to make the most of the fact we were in Germany, which is just generally awesome for vegan food. Our host for the evening took us to an amazing pizza place that served incredible vegan cheese & polony pizza, so we sat in the outside of this restaurant eating like kings. What followed was a pub crawl of all the nice places surrounding the area that our host liked to attend.

I was the only person on this tour who no longer drinks alcohol. The first show the night before marked exactly 10 months of being sober for me, so this tour was my first one abroad without alcohol. I would make up for it with chain smoking and caffeine drinking as everyone else would get drunk. As everyone would toast to shots or get in the next round I would distract my attention to elsewhere, like my phone, going outside for a cigarette or thinking random thoughts of where we would be going the next day and such. It’s easier to just zone out than be too focused on the surroundings of alcohol in all its forms, prices and mostly the enjoyment others seem to be getting out of it. It would be a challenge over the course of the next couple of weeks, as there isn’t any getting away from it, so it is all down to how you handle it. The next couple of weeks would test that.

Lennestadt was the next town to play in. We set off with a number being hungover. I myself was exhausted, from the lack of sleep. The snoring party was in growing numbers and when everyone is drunk, it is much easier for them to pass out cold. Being sober, and a seriously light sleeper, it was near impossible to rest with such earth-rumbling, ground-shaking explosive sinuses belting out like drums amongst a tribe through the night. I’m not one to talk, any little sleep I did get, I would snore too. Endless smoking will do that. But it was rare that I did, as it was rare that I slept. Lennestadt was a beautiful town, with a twin peaks vibe to it. We could see it was clearly a very religious town, and that sparked off the running jokes throughout tour how much Troel is the spitting image of Jesus Christ. The venue we were playing in was also a Christian centre I believe, but you would never think it at night when the local gig goers would come by to get wasted and watch the bands. Local band Living & Fading opened the show brilliantly, they were super nice guys and great live, I recommend checking them out! A personal highlight for me was seeing an older gentleman there who was the spitting image of a German Ed Begley Jr. Nobody else got the reference for not knowing who Ed Begley Jr was. It was beyond infuriating, because it was insane how much he really did resemble him.

We were lucky enough to stay in a glorious house with a beautiful balcony that has a gorgeous view of the surrounding snowy mountains of this town. We were off to a perfect start for sleeping conditions. Jason slept in the attic whilst I slept in a bedroom. We made a pact so I would have a Jason snore free night to try sleep. Unfortunately, Jason wasn’t the only snorer, so the room that a few of us shared was pretty noisy regardless. Still though, the time spent in this lovely home with lovely people and their hospitality made it a nice night over all.

The next day we played in Saarbrucken. It was a lovely place that hadn’t put on much gigs before, but were so welcoming and had a great atmosphere. It was just us & F.U playing. The majority of the gigs were, which was a first for me in doing a tour where the shows weren’t with a line up of local support to bring in audiences. It showed that these towns had plenty of people who came out to shows (even weekday ones!) to see music coming to town, which was a very enlightening sight. That night, after we played, everyone was hanging around the venue to drink up the free alcohol on offer and just have fun hanging around the venue. I would take the opportunity to rest with some alone time by going for a walk and chilling out in the van until we left. I would be social too, but after a few nights of being surrounded by a group of guys having fun drinking, some time to relax was needed away from it. I generally find myself drained & mentally exhausted without it. Being around groups of people in general tends to have that effect. Not in any way to be anti social or not enjoy the company I am with, but more so that I can enjoy it much more by having my own space to regain energy to then participate in the fun we have together. Otherwise, it can be quite emotionally hard too. Waiting outside in that van, I had a little cry. Not at anything in particular or any reason/person, but just because I felt I needed to. In a week of being on the move endlessly and with new people and environment every day, it felt like I just needed to get it out of my system so I could move on. This would come up some nights, purely for relief to just let it out there so that I can start afresh afterwards. Otherwise, it would all suppress. The place we were staying at that night had 2 dogs and a cat, so I perked right up by then to have fun playing with them in all their fun energetic madness. I would wonder if they would be more confused by what I say, being that they are more used to hearing German, but then I quickly stopped as I would be aware that I tend to over think things like that too much.

cat

Switzerland:

That night was another night off and on our journey we realised we didn’t have a place that was best on the route to stay over, but luckily F.U brought their large tent, so it was going to be a night of camping for us, which we were excited about, as we have never thought to go camping on any previous tours! After stopping by France for some food groceries, finding a spot was quite a mission t, as most land is owned and suitability was quite rare. A camping site wouldn’t let us in because we didn’t have a “camping card”. Asking where we could get one resulted in said informant telling us they have no idea. We would keep moving location to location. There was one spot we found, but given that there was used toilet paper and condoms, we realised it was more popular a spot than we first thought. Time was getting on and we realised we had at least an hour until sun down and we’d rather not put up a tent in the dark. Managing to get online briefly using Jason’s phone, we found that there was a cheap camping site about 30/40km away, so we aimed for that as our last shot. Getting there it had become dark, there was nobody at the front desk so we asked a fellow camper walking around. He suggested we just go ahead and drive in, set up tent and settle it in the morning (or leave early before they catch on and drive off scott free). There was drinking happening from all the guys (I went wild on peach ice tea) and we had a fun talks. I was amazed how well I seemed to sleep in there. But then again, I wrapped my scarf around my whole head/face with my hat pulled down and sleeping bag over. Everyone else seemed to have a cold night. Sean at some point just went and slept in the van. I was the first one up bright and early so managed to go on a coffee hunt and use the shower facilities.

The drive to Switzerland was just heaven. The most beautiful sights to behold. A lot of journeys would be sleeping in the van, but this one was worth staying awake for as we would drive through the Alps and be blown away. Arriving in Chur, we would be in amazement at the surroundings of these surrounding mountains of this town. It was all just generally very photogenic from every angle. We were put up in a great hostel not far from the venue. It was huge and we couldn’t be more relieved at the gift in the form of beds and showers. The venue itself, Tom’s Beer Box, was incredible. Again, it was just us 2 bands playing, but we were amazed before tour to learn that we would be paid 400 for this show. Especially, being a Monday night, which is when they tend to have most shows (!?). After hanging out at the venue and setting up we were taken to a nearby restaurant/cafe where we had a nice meal. I can’t quite remember the name of my dish, but the waitress seemed very shocked by my insistence of “yes, withOUT cheese”. When it arrived then it was a nice meal, although basically tomato-ish bread with salad. Still, the poshest bread I’d had in some time, it was grand! We finished up with coffee and we were brought complimentary shots of some drink (I didn’t have mine, so gave it away). It seemed to be hit or miss. As we walked back to the venue, Lasse whispered to me “did you hear how much we are actually getting tonight?” “No?”. Let’s just say, it was relatively much higher than 400 we originally thought. We couldn’t believe it and thought surely not! For just us two bands? Apparently, Switzerland has a lot of money to throw away…

The show was fantastic. The locals were fun, energetic & surprised us with having a Monday show go down so well. Not long after playing, I went back to the hostel to relax & catch up on sleep while the rest stayed out to party. Seems they had quite a wild night ahead of them…Late at night, I heard them come back & enter our room drunk. They decided there was still fun to be had out on the streets of this small town so off they went. I vaguely remember hearing them come back later that night even more drunk, but I was too half asleep.

The next morning I heard about all the events the night before & how they were nearly arrested. It seems on their drunken adventures, they had come across a building, with drunken curiosity, saw that the door was open. They went inside wondering what this place was, only to discover it was actually the Chur courthouse. Before they knew it, they heard speeding cars and sirens. They went back outside to be surrounded by police cars, while they played the ‘dumb tourist’, saying that they thought it was their hostel and it was a mistake. They were all just thankful that they all happened to come up with the same excuse to tell, so they were sent on their way. But it looked like they had all sorts of fun the night before after I had left the venue. I saw photos of Sean having a go in the wheelchair of the girl who was at the front of the floor all night as both bands played, and plenty more of everyone dancing with the locals.

sean alps

Slovenia:

Slovenia was another great place to play, with a beautiful town and beautiful weather.
Throughout this tour during our set on each show, I would make an announcement about The Scottish Association Of Mental Health and that it’s who we support with album sales, and requested if there was such a charity like them that they knew of in their own country I would love to hear about it. It was in Slovenia that Lasse got a phone call to inform him that a friend back home had taken his own life. It was heartbreaking to say the least to hear such news. I didn’t know this friend that they were speaking of and had never met him, but it was a real eye opening matter for a lot of us, which would lead on through the rest of the week with myself having conversations with the guys about mental health; the stigma surrounding it in which like the circumstances with their friend, nobody had any clue that there was anything wrong. SAMH is an organisation that helps one speak out about it, and  seeing/hearing of these things in other countries was so tragic to know of. I wondered what they had to turn to, and how the people of these countries coped with or without such support from such organisations. It made for a lot of bonding and opening up amongst ourselves. I still think of this friend of theirs. I know they all will never forget him.

We were warmly received by the locals. I was so surprised how known we seemed to be, in that our name was becoming more known in Slovenia. At one point, during the end of our first song Sean’s amp broke. So to stall time while his head got switched I played a solo song, “Where There’s Warmth“, to the crowd. We always joked throughout tour about how we would be received to the punk audiences on this punk tour when our music is unashamedly pop influenced. I figured an acoustic ballad would be a strange choice to go down with (in an amusing sort of way), but was surprised when Sean informed me afterwards that a girl approached him saying she was glad she got to hear that song live as it was a personal favourite. It was then that we really pleased to think of the crowds each night and how open they were to the realms of punk rock; what it is and what it stands for. Heart.

We spent after the show outside most of the night, chilling out in the beer garden area by the entrance as the locals watched late night football. I was automatically drawn to a stray cat that had come over to play and we all gathered round like amazed children and swooned at its very sight. It was so very hard to leave it behind but we headed off eventually and stayed over in a large squat building that night. I tried to sleep as the rest of the guys explored the hallways, given the haunted mansion look of it all. I would have done he same if I wasn’t so tired. It did have a fantastic run down Stanley hotel vibe going for it.

The next day was spent having a walk around the streets in the sun looking for second hand stores to do some shopping. We were determined to make the most of it, as Sean had always gotten the most ridiculous/wonderful outfits out of Eastern Europe shops like that and we were determined for more. He bought himself a new shirt. Well, by shirt, I mean top half of pyjamas. The woman selling him it seemed very confused.

band

Croatia:

So back to the organised musician part, we all fuck up! When others I’m with do, I laugh it off. Mostly glad that it wasn’t me. But a lot of the time I will fuck things up royally. Little things, but you have to laugh! Early on in the tour Leo realised he had forgotten his passport, which would have been needed to enter Croatia. He had tried everything up to that point in calling the nearest embassy and such but nothing was of any use, so we would continue with our plan to smuggle Leo in.

Of course, we didn’t do that. We’d heard that a valid form of identity was all that was needed so would attempt that. So we arrived at the border and we accidentally pulled into the wrong lane, which maybe got us off to a bad start with the current officer, then we all provided our passports and Leo provided his driving licence and such, but he was having none of it. He was clearly in no mood for coercing and told us to be on our way. So turning back around, we stopped by a little cafe for coffee and to think of our next move. Our first thought was to go to the next border and just try there. But with the thought of perhaps this grumpy officer giving the heads up to the other border about a bunch of punk scots amnd Danes on their way, F.U insisted we go ahead without them, play the gig, get the money then come back and collect them. We eventually settled and agreed that was the best option, as Leo had already informed the promoter of the plan. It meant they also got to have a nice night out in the nearby town too.

So ahead we went. Getting through the border this time seemed to be much easier. That same officer wasn’t there, instead was another one who was in a booth, and when handing him the passports, he just asked “where’s the other ones?” “Ah, we ditched them” “ok” and off we went. On reflection, we could have probably just had F.U in the back seat…

We arrived at the venue. It was an enormous building. A squat-like building that seemed to serve many functions inside, like rehearsal spaces and even dance classes for children. We got into the room we were playing in and realised we were the only band playing that night. The general sort of gigs they tend to have there were a bit heavier than our sort of thing. One guy in his mid to late 40’s who was hanging around in the room after we had set up, waiting for the sound guy to arrive for sound check, was making conversation with Jason. Now, if you know what Jason looks like, it’s quite easy to make the mistake which this gentleman certainly did. He told us;

“I must go now! BUT! If you boys be on around 10pm, I’ll be back! I love to see some fucking good proper crust! All these punk kids trying to tell me what what fucking hard stuff is, no! I want some fucking real heavy crust shit!! Look forward!”

Oh boy was he going to be disappointed….

As we hung around waiting for the sound guy & for food to be ready, Sean was on their computer (I should mention that Sean’s mobile phone has been broken for some time. It ONLY works if it is plugged in) trying to find a place to crash that night at someone’s house that he knows, as our drive that night (including picking up F.U from the nearby town) would be about 8 hours and the venue wanted us to go on around midnight. This seemed to be a normal time for gigs to start there, as the pubs would close and that’s when people would come along (or that was at least the logic in my mind). We managed to talk down to 11:30 for going on. It was around about the middle of playing ‘Is It Worth It?’ That I noticed the look of confused horror on that middle aged crust punks face.

The show was super quiet. The sound guy was awesome and definitely gave us the best sound out of the whole tour, but unfortunately there were just little numbers there. We didn’t care though, we just wish we could of stuck around to hang out all night there with those who were. Coming off stage, the promoter gave us money he got from a whip round of donations from the folk who were there. Incredibly generous people! Being late, we packed up super quick and stocked up the van to go pick up the Danes, staying over at a squat in Germany that was halfway to our next destination. It was when carrying the final things to the van that we saw the crowding herd approaching the venue coming to check out the gig….I could only assume the pubs finally closed by then….fuck….

We were lucky that we didn’t attempt to smuggle F.U in on that second attempt, as on the way out, it was flashlights in the van from another grumpy bugger. Having our passports checked like they were Rubik’s cubes. The officer asked Sean “spring break?”. We informed him we were musicians (not frat boys…) then he just quickly “oh ok. Bye” and we were gone. Collecting F.U, Lasse informed us that it wouldn’t have worked anyway, as he’d noticed that night that his passport was a month expired.

gav alps

Back to Germany:

The squat we stayed in that night was built with bunk beds which were wholeheartedly appreciated. We were so lucky to have such good sleeping places throughout this tour, not one rough night! (minus the snore battles that sound like a flemy minefield). It was perfect for regaining energy to get to the next venue; our buddies’ rehearsal room/venue space in Nürnberg, which I last played at 5 years ago. This place was run by the awesome guys in Money Left To Burn and had a long cherished history for its use as a punk space. It was saddening to hear during that tour that the guys had forced down on them the decision to be out of there by September due to the noise. Same old story, eh? At least we got to have a great night there once more. After our set, we took the opportunity to just have some fun. I got on the drums & others would pick up instruments and we jammed a linoleum cover. Sean got up to play a solo set at the insistence of the owners. He didn’t know what to do so played singalong covers of Cher’s ‘Believe’ (you can find that on YouTube) and Ronan Keating. Also jamming out Metallica riffs. Eventually I went up and did my cover of R Kelly’s “Ignition (also can be found on YouTube) and an Osker song. There was more folk going up and jamming, making it a party. The party continued late into the night until people went out to the nearest bar. I stayed in to sleep. Although everyone was back after 15 minutes after realising the bar scene there wasn’t quite so upbeat as they hoped.

Frankfurt turned out to be a fantastic night ahead too in terms of place, people, food, the whole package! The venue was literally next to the border of Poland. I was in Germany, then nipped over to Poland to buy a pack of cigs. It was strange, but lovely to see Poland for the first time. Nice to say I walked there too. It took me 20 seconds.
Theshow was full and after playing, parties proceeded. Lasse had some super hot chillies (no idea what kind, I don’t know chillies very well, but insanely mental is how I would describe them based on everyone’s reactions). Everyone did the challenge on camera of taking these chillies and proceeded to suffer immensely from it. I did not participate, I just filmed gem all & laughed my arse off at the state of them. Not long after, I decided it was time for getting away from it and rest. A lot of bars were hard for me on a personal level. A serious struggle. Back home, anxiety had limited me to how often I could be out in public or any forms of crowded atmosphere. I couldn’t handle it well, just given how late we were into the tour, I hadn’t been in this kind of position in a long time, as I had gotten so used to living in seclusion and being on my own in my own safe environment. It was a major worry before coming on this tour how I would cope and if I would even be able to cope at all. Some nights felt like I couldn’t and if have to take a little private time to myself. That night was the most daunting and heavy hitting, feeling struggles to express anything and not knowing what to express. It was only a thin curtain separating me from the rest of the venue & drunk folk, as I would switch the lights out & lay in the dark trying to forget where I am & fall asleep. But I’ve never been a great sleeper in general, and it doesn’t help when you see that it is 5:30 in the morning and you can hear Sean dancing and singing along to “Who Let The Dogs Out” as it blasts in the speakers. They are all having a good time and it is essential that whatever I am feeling is personal and should not be a burden on them. That’s where the guilt lies mostly, which makes it harder to shift when you have no way of letting it out of your system or retreating to your safe place when you are miles away from your bedroom.

Eventually more started to fall asleep but I decided to move into the back room where it was further away from the blasting speakers. Although it was near 6am so it was pretty light, but my biggest regret; Jason was passed out on the floor. Given the choice of them blasting speakers playing bad 90’s synth pop and Jason’s sleeping nostrils, I should have stayed in the other room. A thrown pillow and hitting of a cow bell did nothing.

By the time everyone got up I was like a zombie. I just needed coffee and a cigarette more than anything. Several of both on repeat. The others seemed surprisingly fresh. Possibly because before going to sleep they had a swim in the German/Polish river, which gave them a great buzz and woke them up quite a bit. Our host laid out a massive table with a massive breakfast buffet out in the sun for us. Not a whole lot was vegan and I was far too light headed to do much talking, so I just grabbed some rolls knowing I had my own fillings and such for them for the journey in the van. Loading up the van, an old lady in her car was trying to get out of her street which was blocked, so Jason moved bags and such out the way to help her car get through. To his surprise, the old lady got out of the car and approached him with a fruit basket and some fruity sweets. If this was the local hospitality, we were loving it; sweet old lady locals.

We got to our next venue after trying figure out how due to road works. F.U told us how they remember playing there 3 years ago and those same roadworks were there and have been ever since. Strange. We pulled in to the venue and, as we are getting our things out the venue, Leo nipped inside to find the promoter. He comes back out and says “they are playing your album in there and there’s a cat on the bar”. I thought I’d misheard or didn’t understand the metaphor, until I realised he was being literal. I went in and there was a cat resting up on the bar. The cat seemed to justice this venue and had his usual resting spot up on the bar. Already, this was my favourite venue.

They, by far, served us our best meal; a huge dish of home made vegan meatballs, steamed vegetables, so much. It was glorious. The room upstairs we were in was great with its high built bunk beds. It looked like the most comfiest spot yet. I even took the couch while everyone took the beds, as the couch looked like even the most comfiest thing I’d sat on in some time. It was that good. We played that, an emotional night, as it was our last show with Forever Unclean. We had a fun night doing our final singalongs to each other’s sets, but for me and Sean it was another early night, a chilled out evening for the long journey the next day, to Copenhagn then Gothenburg.

tour over

We dropped off our Danish brothers in their home town and said our farewells. It was real sad, as they were by far the most incredible people and best tour buddies. We really connected on a lot of levels and loved spending the time we had together with each other. I still sit their songs on repeat in my head and you better believe I am bringing them to Scotland!

We headed up to Gothenburg to play a secret rehearsal room show to friends of ours, but time was getting on. It was a struggle to know if we would make it. We’d get there for at least 10pmish, mostly with the hope of going around the corner to the vegan pizza restaurant. We were so insanely hungry that we would consider playing just one song so we could run and get our pizza. Obviously joking around, we got there and played through our set for friends and had a lovely catch up. They even brought us clean socks and vegan cake!! (Thanks Svetlana & Petter!) but sadly, we got round to the restaurant and they were no longer cooking. You could buy already cooked pizzas, but not vegan ones. Heartbroken.

The next day, I had to get a morning flight back to London. The plan was that me and Sean would fly back together, he already had his flight booked well in advance. I booked mine in Saarbrucken. Asking him if it was the morning one I should book. Obviously, he wasn’t paying much attention, as I learned a few days later it was the night one I was supposed to get. So it was a whole day in London on my own trying to figure out what to do. After my phone battery dying when landing, the first couple of hours were spent in a coffee shop charging my phone and contacting buddies from our last tour, members of The Exhausts and Petrol Girls, then I made my way to their house to hang out. Sean wouldn’t arrive at their house until near 3am, then we set our alarm for 6am to get up and grab our bus back up to Scotland.

Oh, also, about Sean’s vapour stick, I was right. It broke within a week.

Thank you so much to Gavin for sharing his tour story with us. Terrafraid play Redd Suite, Dundee on Monday 18th May with Sweet Empire (NL), Irish Handcuffs (GER) and Shatterhand before supporting Andrew Jackson Jihad (USA) and Hard Girls (USA) with The Murderburgers on Saturday 13th June.

sweet empire