Interview :: Dive Dive

“I fucking loved Reuben and I think Very Fast Very Dangerous is one of the great lost albums. Somebody needs to say, ‘that is one of the best rock albums of the past fifteen years’.” – Nigel Powell

Dive Dive are a band that are hard to categorize. Often compared to Reuben, the Oxford four-piece have been kicking it since 2001. In that time they’ve managed to release three albums and help launch the solo career of a certain Mr. Turner. Seeing as three quarters of the band would be heading out on Turner’s UK tour anyway, it only makes sense for Xtra Mile’s latest recruits to reintroduce themselves. We chatted to Jamie and Nigel for a while in Sheffield about the trials of touring and how they might deal with being thought of as ‘Frank’s band with a different singer’.

Anthony Barlow: How’s it going guys?

Jamie Stewart: Good

Nigel Powell: Very Good

AB: You seemed a little stressed when we saw you before Nigel, are you alright?

NP: I’m not stressed, no. It’s just that I’ve got a cold and I was just going out to the bus for something…

AB: When you got jumped by a bunch of people.

JS: [to Nigel] Someone stole your crumpets

NP: Yep, somebody stole my crumpet. I was getting the Marmite from the bus to put on my crumpet in the venue and someone took my crumpet. How about that?

Ian Critchley: Who’d do such a thing? That’s just sick.

JS: So low.

NP: That’s the kind of tour we’re on, guys. I don’t know what to tell you.

IC: How’s the tour going?

JS: We’re with a bunch of ruthless, merciless…

NP: It’s fine. I mean, it kinda felt to me like last night in Preston was the first proper night of the tour, because Aberdeen was fucked. We couldn’t get there. Trying to get to Glasgow for, what was, the proper first night of the tour was so stressful. A lot of our crew were in Newcastle so the bus picked us up in the South of the country and tried to get them from Newcastle. We couldn’t get to Newcastle, because Newcastle was covered in snow and the whole thing was just like “oh no, this isn’t going to happen!” So Glasgow, I think, for both Dive Dive and for Frank, things were a little bit tense, because everyone involved with the whole show was just going “oh my god, oh my god”. Last night was good.

JS: Everything dropped into place. In Glasgow, it was all so last minute and it came across as last minute. It was almost like watching a really long sound check, I’m sure. It was fine but, in terms of how much fun people had on stage last night compared to the night before, yeah. We’re rearing to go now.

AB: I thought it was a little weird actually for the tour to go North and then back down South again. Nigel, you’ve experienced one of Frank’s mad tours before…

NP: Yeah, that’s down to the people who book the shows. They try to make it sensible. This is actually a lot better than some tours I’ve been on. When you’re in a van and it’s kinda like Aberdeen, Southampton, Glasgow and you go “you really don’t know what’s going on, do you?” *laughs*. It’s fine, it’s good to be busy with this kind of thing. I’m actually, even though I’m playing in the support band and the main band, I’m slightly less busy on this tour than I was on the last Frank tour, because I was doing the lights as well.

AB: Jamie, you’re kind of the ‘tour rookie’ compared to the rest of the band, as it were…

NP: Yeah, yeah, yeah

IC: How’s it been?

JS: I try to preempt a lot of the bullshit that I was expecting from the rest of the band and Frank and stuff like that, so all of this condescending crap that they give me like “oh no, you don’t sleep in that bunk” or “you don’t ever poo in the toilet” I try to get it out of their systems by asking loads of really dumb questions over a series of days leading up to the tour, so they got really pissed off with me and now it’s ok. I think I’ve slipped into it quite well. I understand that the crew that we have on the bus are fairly superhuman and to not try and keep pace with their drinking or anything like that, because then there will be no more signing from me. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s luxurious. You talked about the routing being all over the place, I don’t give a toss. I go to sleep and I wake up in the next town. It could be badly routed and I’d never know. Yeah, it’s great.

AB: Dive Dive has recently just been signed by Xtra Mile and you’re two previous albums are being re-released. Is this something you guys wanted to do or just a requirement from the label?

NP: No, it certainly wasn’t a requirement. They were mainly interested in the new album, but our first two albums were released on two different record companies, who have both since gone belly up. I don’t know if one fact is to do with the other… *laughs*. It meant that, ultimately, they actually weren’t available anywhere, but we had the rights to them so we asked Xtra Mile to put them up on iTunes.

IC: The new album is being released digitally on the 6th [of December], but isn’t coming out, physically, until January. Why’s that?

NP: Partially because the industry, despite the fact that it’s kinda dying on it’s feet, there’s still some things in the industry which hold true. One of which is, Shops, between October and December, are full of compilations, Christmas carol albums, all of the big hitters – Take That – will release their album running up to Christmas, so people will buy it for people as a Christmas present. As soon as you get into the new year, that kind of all disappears immediately, so there’s more room for a smaller band to try and get actual CDs on the shelves.

AB: Could you not have just released a Christmas carol album?

NP: We could, but I fear…

JS: I like it!

AB: A Dive Dive Christmas?

JS: Totally. Oh, imagine it.

NP: Picture us with walnuts by the fire.

JS: I’d definitely go traditional with it. I mean, we have friends in bands that have done Christmas singles and they’re always a little bit comedy or punk versions of ‘White Christmas’ and stuff like that. Ed Harcourt, who’s playing tonight, has got a fantastic Christmas song called ‘Satan Came Down The Chimney’. It’s a great Christmas song. No, I like the traditional idea of doing it as well as possible, with sleigh bells and stuff like that.

NP: Yeah, absolutely.

AB: I can’t wait *laughs*. Are you guys expecting any kind of backlash after signing with Xtra Mile? People saying stuff like “oh they’ve only been signed there because they’re Frank’s band”

JS: I couldn’t give a fuck in all honesty.

NP: Possibly, but in order to have a backlash against a band they need to, at least, be reasonably successful.

IC: So you’re hoping for a backlash then? *laughs*

NP: *laughs* I think we’re pretty safe for the moment. It just makes sense to be with Xtra Mile, because a lot of people are gonna be interested because of the connection with Frank. Although he’s gone on to massive success, we actually pre-date Frank. We met him when we were supporting Reuben, before he left Million Dead. We got him his agent and kinda helped him out and stuff. From our side, it kinda feels like a parallel development, except someone’s gone a little further ahead *laughs*.

JS: And the label judge it on it’s own merits as well. They kinda listen to the album and go “can we work with this?”. Obviously, the answer’s yes and Matt’s got a band as well. I don’t see him releasing an album *laughs*.

IC: *laughs* What do you guys think of the song title ‘Swim Like A Shark, Not Like A Rock’? I thought of it last night, and thought I’d just put it out there. You can have that. That’s my gift to you, Merry Christmas!

JS: Swim like a shark, not like a rock? I like it. It makes me think of that Futurama monologue, There’s two kinds of people in this world, the sharks and the sheep *laughs*

IC: Yeah, I know the one. So do you think you’ll name one of your songs that?

JS: *laughs*

NP: If I could step in and say we can’t promise.

IC: Ok *laughs*. Musically, you seem quite similar to Reuben. Sort of like a more accessible take on what they were doing?

NP: Yeah, maybe. The melodic thing, I think our Jamie and Reuben’s Jamie have a similar grasp of…

JS: When we first started playing with Reuben and hanging out with them, we were very similar. Very, sort of, punk pop kind of bands. And then Jamie – Jamie number one – went a bit more hardcore with it and a bit filthier. I said to him, it was a little more metal and grungier and he said “you think it’s stupid or something?!” *laughs*. He got really arsey with me. But we went for a slightly more jagged kind of, poppy, side of things.

NP: I don’t see us as mainstream, strangely enough. Take us and Reuben at the time they were doing Too Fast Too Dangerous and we’re both about there [in the middle of a line demonstrated by Nigel’s arms] and we’ve kinda gone that way [left]. I feel that we’re equally away from the mainstream on different sides. We’re kind of more stop start and jagged.

JS: Did you see the video for ‘Liar’?

AB & IC: Yeah, yeah.

JS: That’s how he dresses! I said “is he just wearing that for the video?”, but no he just wants to look like that.

IC: We’ve got a bit of a joke question for you now. Do you think Reuben failed as a band finacially, because Jamie Lenman bought too many shit, expensive suits and too much tache wax?

NP & JS: *laughs*

IC: Sorry, that’s a terrible question *laughs*

NP: What a loaded question. I fucking loved Reuben and I think Very Fast Very Dangerous is one of the great lost albums. Somebody needs to say, “that is one of the best rock albums of the past fifteen years”.

Frank Turner: I have a question for you. Why don’t you play ‘Good Show’ anymore? *laughs*

NP & JS: *laughs*

IC: Will you play ‘Good Show’? *laughs*

NP: We can, if we can remember it. We’ve played that song two and a half thousand times. Every time we come to rehearsal we’re like “we can’t remember it” and then something just goes ‘click’ and we’re playing it again. Anyway, thank you very much.

AB: No, thank you guys. Cheers!

EP Review :: Frank Turner – Rock & Roll

“Who’d have thought, that after all, something as simple as rock and roll could save us all?”

How Frank found time to make this is beyond me. The man has spent the majority of 2010 on the road (so what else is new?), touring Europe, America and even China, yet he still managed to put out a new record. This five track EP encompasses everything Frank Turner is about. It’s a perfect introduction for the uninitiated, but won’t leave the  hardcore wanting, either.

Rock & Roll is a record full of tributes. It feels like Frank’s way of letting people know how much certain people and things – past or present – mean to him. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some sappy, emo-tinged cry along. This is the Frank Turner we all know and love and these five new tracks are fantastic. The record opens with ‘I Still Believe’, Frank’s tribute to musical greats like Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. It’s a song full of passion and power that can’t be ignored, helped by the fact that it’s catchy as hell too! Anyone who’s seen one Frank’s shows of late will have undoubtedly heard this and chanted along with it’s chorus.  It might take a while, but soon enough you won’t be able to get it out of your head. It’s a real feel good song that follows a tried and true formula. Such a great way to open up a record.

‘Pass It Along’ is a track some will have heard before, and it’s probably my favorite track on here. For me, the whole sentiment of the record was captured in this line: “So here’s to Ragan, and here’s to Marwood. Here’s to Tim, and Jonah too. Here’s to the ones who have to take the stage and sing the truth.” This is a shout out to people just like him. Musicians who go out there and do it, not because they have to, because they want to. It’s a more stripped down track, something that lends itself perfectly to the subject matter. Ben, Matt, Tarrant and Nigel are still there, but they provide more of a subtle backing for Frank more than anything.

Those looking for something completely stripped down will find that in ‘Rock and Roll Romance’. It’s the shortest track on the record, but maybe the most poignant. Perhaps it’s the subject matter? Perhaps it’s Frank’s hushed tones? Maybe it’s a mixture of both? What I do know is that it’s a heartfelt love story told in less than two minutes. Anyone who says Frank can’t write a love song is wrong and this should set them straight.

Considering the tone of the EP thus far, ‘To Absent Friends’ came as quite a surprise. Granted, ‘I Still Believe’ packs a punch, but this one almost knocked me out of my chair. Starting out with just Frank and an acoustic, the track builds into a fast paced crescendo that just made me want to run somewhere (with this in my headphones, of course). As the title suggests, this is about another friend of Frank’s and is a tribute anyone would be proud of. This track in particular shows just how versatile Frank and his band can be, and that fast paced rock tracks can co-exist wonderfully with the regular folk-style stuff fans have come to expect.

Closing the album is ‘The Next Round’, an ode to the bottle and those who drink from it. This is probably the closest to a typical ‘folk’ song as you’re going to get from this EP and it’s calming melody works as a great finish to the record. Simple, subtle instrumentation provides the perfect backing to Frank’s soothing vocal throughout before it, again, rises up to create the perfect feel good ending.

If this is a teaser of what’s to come next from FT, then I can’t wait. Rock & Roll showcases just how great songwriting and production can come together to create a masterpiece. It shows how the range in Frank’s music has broadened, but it retains the simplicity that first drew me and many others in. Disregard Frank Turner at your peril!

Promo :: Frank Turner – ‘I Still Believe’

Hello, and welcome to the Frank Turner Minute

Touring the UK, Europe, the States, China and wherever else wants him has taken up the majority of Frank Turner’s time this year. The Winchester-born singer/songwriter never stops. Even when he’s got time to rest, he’s still busy doing covers, helping charities and recording a new EP. Rock & Roll – Frank’s new five-track stopgap – doesn’t come out until December, but here’s a taste of what’s to come.

Debuted sometime this year, ‘I Still Believe’ is Frank’s homage to his heroes. Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all get a mention in this catchy new single. In true Turner fashion it’s a real crowd pleaser. Even before release swathes of people were singing the words back to him (good old YouTube), so I can only imagine what’ll happen now. This track will feature alongside ‘Pass It Along’, ‘Rock & Roll Romance’ and others on the new EP, as well as being included on his new album.

Watch the video, watch it again and then buy it off iTunes.

Rock & Roll is released on December 6th on Xtra Mile Recordings and Epitaph Records. Pre-order your copy here.

Promo :: 1969 Key To Change

If you hadn’t already guessed, charity is important to me. I do believe it first starts at home, but giving a little to a worthy cause is a wonderfully noble thing to do. After my promotion of Lexapalooza, I thought this charity album should be next on the list.

1969 Key To Change is an album with covers from the titular year by contemporary artists from across the UK. It’s being put out by Fairshare Music, a service I knew little of before now. They sell a range of music from a whole bunch of artists, with a portion of the sale going to a charity of your choice. How cool is that?! This latest project includes the likes of, ex-Smiths and current Cribs guitarist Johnny Marr, Manchester icon Ian Brown and Moon & Back’s favourite punk rock troubadour Frank Turner.

You can purchase the album for £7.99 (£4.45 goes to charity) and hear a bunch of cool covers. Check it out here.

Promo :: Lexapalooza

Love Boobs, Hate Cancer

This is just a quick reminder that goes out the whole of Moon & Back’s wonderful readership. Lexapalooza – an all day gig for charity – is happening this Saturday at The Flowerpot pub in Kentish Town, London. The gig is in support of Breast Cancer Campaign and is a more than worthy cause to get behind.

I wrote a piece about the event some months back now, so I recommend reading that to get all of the details. The event was the “brain child” of Lexi Burrows, a breast cancer sufferer, who wanted to make a difference. Unfortunately Lexi has now passed away, but each year her friends put on Lexapalooza in her memory to help raise money for research into breast cancer and the curing/prevention of it.

Artists such as: Ben Marwood, The Justice Force Five, Carnivores and Something Beginning With L will all be performing on the day. Entry is free, but donations would be nice. It’s gonna be a great day. Me and Ian will be there. Come on down, listen to some music and have a beer. Doors are at 12pm.

For more details go to the official website.

Germs Of Perfection :: Frank Turner

Yesterday I told you guys about the new Bad Religion tribute album that’s being streamed on MySpace. I’ve now decided I’ll do a daily post for each new cover, just to make sure you check out some very cool songs, covered by some very cool artists. Today we have one from a very familiar face.

Polar Bear Club’s cover of ‘Better Off Dead’ was streaming yesterday and they took the typical punk rock route with their cover. Today it’s Frank Turner’s turn and, as per usual, Britain’s premier punk rock troubadour put his own spin on his version of a classic Bad Religion track. It’s a much slower take on the song, and reminded me of his cover of Black Flag’s ‘Fix Me’. It’s different, and probably not to the taste of most hardcore Bad Religion fans, but I prefer my covers this way. If it was the same you’d just listen to the original, right?

‘My Poor Friend Me’ comes from Bad Religion’s, 1993 album, Recepie For Hate. An album which features one of the band’s most iconic songs ‘American Jesus’. If you’re not a punk fan or not really into Bad Religion, be sure to give this album a go anyway. I guarantee there’ll be something on here you like.

You can listen to the track as well as tracks from Polar Bear Club and Tegan & Sara here.

Frank Turner, Tegan & Sara, Fake Problems Featured On Bad Religion Tribute Album

Germs Of Perfection

The words “tribute album” might send shivers down your spine, as you think about all those terrible CDs sold in infomercials. Fear not, you won’t be getting anything like that here. I’ve talked a little about this on Under The Bridge, but haven’t had any solid details until now. To celebrate their 30 years as a band, Epitaph – with partners MySpace and Spin Magazine – are putting out a Bad Religion tribute album.

Germs Of Perfection: A Tribute To Bad Religion will feature artists like Polar Bear Club, Fake Problems, Tegan & Sara, Frank Turner and Ted Leo covering some of Bad Religion’s most famous songs. The album will be available to stream online, with a new track being debuted each day, before being compiled and available to download. The best thing about all of this is that it’ll be free of charge. You can’t argue with that, can you?

You can listen to the tracks here. Polar Bear Club’s cover of ‘Better Of Dead’ is streaming now.

Bad Religion’s latest album The Dissent Of Man was released on Monday (27th) and you can buy it from the official Epitaph Records store.

Promo :: Frank Turner’s New Single – ‘Try This At Home’

“Some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks”

I’ve not written about Frank Turner in a while, something that may come as a shock to casual Moon & Back readers (whoever they are, I know you’re all hardcore). Well now seems as good a time as any, because he’s got a new single out and it’s dead good. Honest!

Earlier this year, Frank asked everyone to do exactly what the song says and ‘Try This At Home’. Alongside a few other judges, Frank picked out two B-sides for this latest release (one from the UK and one from elsewhere) that were submitted by fans. How cool is that?! Well now the single is being released and there’s a video for it, also featuring a bunch of Frank Turner fans. The new video, which was shot in a park – a place more appropriate for another track from Poetry Of The Deed – can be seen below. Look at it, listen to it (in all it’s censored glory) and then go and buy it.

You could get it from your favored digital download specialist, or perhaps you want it on an exclusive 7″ vinyl. Well if you do want the latter (I do) you can order it at Banquet Records. Do it! Now look at this video.

Gig Review :: Frank Turner @ Birmingham 02 Academy, 21/03/10

It was one of those weeks, or more so, it turned out to be…

Okay, so this is meant to be a gig review, but I thought I’d make a more of a three date diary thing, as I wasn’t actually meant to be in Birmingham at all. It began with fellow Moon and Back-er/Frank Turner botherer, Anthony Barlow, planning on seeing the Frank man in Manchester on the Wednesday, then hitting the Leeds date the following day. The Manchester day went great, we did the interviews with Crazy Arm, Chuck Ragan and Frank Turner and they went really well. The gig itself was awesome. Unfortunately, the following day, I was DEAD. I’m not sure exactly why, I didn’t drink THAT much, but illness was a wash over me, my stomach felt like it was being eaten from the inside, and the anxiety that enjoys me so much was at an all time high, so Leeds, for me, was canceled. Barlow went, and said it was great, Chuck doing an extended set which included his cover of the Alkaline Trio hit, Bleeder.

So what was I to do? I couldn’t go a Frank Turner tour with only one installment, plus the lovely folk involved with Crazy Arm were super nice and I wanted to see them again, so here’s what happened.

The hugest thanks has to go out to, Xtra Mile’s very own Wonder Woman, Anthea, who has helped us, and Moon and Back in general, so friggin’ much. Once again she saved the day, hooking me up with a guestlist spot for the Birmingham show. But how the fuck am I gonna get there?! Alan Grundy is my dad, an old punker dude, and a God send. I bought him a ticket and around 5pm on Sunday, we were on our way. Once again, the impossible was pulled off with a little help from my friends (fuck off Beatles.)

Now onto the gig. First of all, we’ll get rid of all the negative points, Birmingham’s O2 Academy isn’t a great venue, Crazy Arm once again had a really short set, which is a shame, because they’re awesome, and people would not shut the fuck up during Chuck Ragan.

It has to be said that the Crazy Arm are thieves of the highest calibre, taking our insults from the interview and incorporating them into their set! GREEN ARMY! Plus, the guest vocals by Chuck on Crazy Arm’s International Front, frankly, gave me a music chubby.

Frankie baby takes the stage with a Bob Dylan backing soundtrack before bombing into Photosynthesis, one of my personal favourites, and by the sounds of things, one of the majority of Brummies too.

It seems that every gig, Turner gets a little more confident and his on-stage banter becomes a lot more transient, adding stories, jokes and politics seemingly in-between and even during songs. My personal best for the evening has to be before the song Sons of Liberty, where Turner asks the crowd politely to smash up any CCTV camera’s in their area, an example of just how much Frank hates this new Big Brother government horse-shit that seems to be coming more into effect with each day.

Musically, it’s a good mix from the FT catalogue, a good blend of new and old, with the usual acoustic/Frank solo installation about mid way through, with the full band Long Live the Queen we were treated to last time being scrapped and returning to its roots.

The set closed up with The Road, another of the new Turner tunes that seem to be putting his name up in lights. I can’t help but feel that a lot of the people at the gig were only there for this song specifically seeing as an otherwise stoic crowd seemed to erupt for this one, if only a little. There were no circle pits, but there was some sing-a-longs, with Turner and his band of merry men, as always, on top form.

On a trip to the bar I bumped into some of the Crazy Arm folk, and as the night continued I got to see them all, got a pint of cider in with Bassist Tim, and singer Darren even mentioned him stealing GREEN ARMY as soon as he saw me, damn I’m cool. After that, it was time to head home, filled with beer and cider, many service stops were made.

This turned out more like a blog-post than a gig review…….shit. If you enjoyed it though, you should check out my blog.

Interview :: Crazy Arm

Green Army!

Crazy Arm are one of the best bands to come out of the UK for some time and we like them. In fact, we like them a hell of a lot. We caught up with Darren Johns and Tim Rowing-Parker in Manchester before they took to the stage in support of Frank Turner. As always, it got political and we may have even started an international incident.

Ian Critchley: First of all, did you name your band ‘Crazy Arm’ after the Ray Price song Crazy Arms?

Darren: Good research man, well done. Yeah, nothing more, nothing less. That’s what it is, just a subtle country reference.

IC: I like it, yeah. Some of you were in a band called No Comply before…

DJ: Unfortunately, the two of us doing the interview weren’t actually in it

IC: Oh no, it wasn’t a specific No Comply question. We just wanted to know if there was any other musical history in Plymouth, because you don’t really hear of many bands coming from there.

DJ: I was in a band called … we were huge in the post-punk scene. We weren’t huge, but we did alright. We did ok, but we weren’t as high profile as No Comply were. Tim here, he was in Loggerhead.

IC: Yeah. I’ve heard of Loggerhead. I’ve heard the name before.

DJ: You didn’t release any records though, did you?

Tim Rowing-Parker: What? No. Well, just little bits here and there.

DJ: They were a good band, I used to like em.

TRP: Well, we’d always be supporting all of your bands.

IC: At the moment, is there actually any other bands in Plymouth?

DJ: Yeah, there’s loads of good bands in Plymouth.

IC: Is there? It’s not very well documented.

DJ: Yeah, there’s loads of good bands. They just don’t tend to do much outside of the town. A lot of them don’t push themselves enough. They create records and demos, but they don’t then say “right, we must get out of this town”.

TRP: It’s a bit further away as well.

DJ: Yeah but if you go on a tour, it’s only far away for the first show.  Then, once you’re on tour, you’re out and about.

IC: I read on your MySpace that some of you are vegetarian and some of you are Vegan. Is that like some are Vegetarian and some are Vegan?

DJ: Two of us are vegetraian, two of us are vegan. On tour, we’re all just vegetarian, mostly because it’s so hard to find supplies.

IC: Yeah, yeah definitely. How do you feel about people who don’t follow your views?

DJ: What, like my mum for instance or my dad? Yeah, I hate them.

All: *laughs*

DJ: I’ve got absolutely nothing against people do as I do. I’m not a Nazi *laughs*.

IC: Yeah, it’s when I go and see my Nan and she’s like “oh it’s only got a bit of ham on it, I’m sure It’ll be alright”. I’m like “no, you don’t really understand what’s going on, bless you for trying”

DJ: The only thing that I mind is when people start picking an argument with me. I used to be quite millitant when I was younger being vegetarian and vegan, but now it’s like if someone wants to pick an argument, well I’ll fucking jump on it. Especially if they’re just doing it to get some kind of oneupmanship on you. When they start thinking they’re more superior. Then it’s like, if you want to talk about it properly, go and read a book. I’ll suggest you a list of books to read. If you don’t want to talk about it properly, then I’m not going to listen.

IC: Could you suggest a book for us now?

DJ: ‘Animal Liberation’ by Peter Singer. That’s, perhaps, the bible of animal rights really. Yeah, there’s no more I need to say, just that one. Although he’s gone back on it a bit, recently. What is it he’s said? He’s said something odd about…yeah, I can’t remember what it is, but he seems to have done a bit of a U-turn on one issue in particular. That’s unusual. I’ve kinda blanked it out. If people are just being arsey, then I’ll give them a whole book list and tell them to read it. It’ll turn them on to a whole level of information. If you just want to be a twat and just try and get a rise out of me, it’s not gonna happen.

Anthony Barlow: So you’re not going to go and beat Frank [Turner] up for eating a ham sandwich before then?

DJ: Yes, I am *laughs*

IC: Actually, speaking of breating people up, last time Frank was on tour, one of his support acts was a band called Fake Problems.

DJ: Yeah, I know them.

IC: Do you think you could take them?

DJ: Fuck yeah *laughs*

IC: You seem quite a bit bigger than them. They were little guys *laughs*

DJ: I’ll tell you who could take anybody, Chuck Ragan.

IC: You could bring out every band that’s ever supported Frank and Chuck would take them all. He’s huge.

DJ: But, he’s also very, very nice. I can’t imagine him fighting.

TRP: Yeah, but I imagine if he was to, I don’t know if I’d want to be on the other side of that.

DJ: I don’t know what Fake Problems are like, I’ve never seen pictures of them.

IC: Oh they’re not big guys. They’re nice guys though. Lovely.

AB: Chris, the lead singer, looks a bit like Tom Gabel

IC: Yeah, if Elijah Wood and Tom Gabel had a bastard child, it would be him *laughs*. It is a pretty looking bastard child though.

AB: So, it’s St. Paddy’s day today.

DJ: Fucking hell, it is isn’t it! I’m a quarter Irish, I’m not lying.

AB: Guiness is not vegetarian friendly does that…

DJ: I hate Guiness anyway.

IC: Are you on the Jameson’s then?

DJ: Whiskey or cider, yeah. Although, my veganism stops short of alcohol. I’ve never been so fussed about the alcohol side of it. We are a bit more now, but there are times when you just think “well, y’know…” Because some cider’s aren’t vegan or vegetarian friendly. I just think, I’m here and someone wants to buy me a drink, I’ll have it. I’m not religious about it. I’m not religious about anything. I’m not religious, so I can’t be religious about veganism either.

IC: Getting back onto the topic of music *laughs*, was your album a full band session recording?

DJ: Yes. As opposed to?

IC: Like, individual instruments recorded bit by bit.

DJ: Half of it was done live. Well, five songs were recorded live.

IC: I could tell that on some of the songs. I could hear, like,  a drum rattle in the background and stuff like that.

DJ: Yeah, yeah.

IC: It’s good though, I like it.

DJ: You’ve done your research you, haven’t you. You’ve really listened and read. That’s good. It makes a change, doesn’t it. Yeah, we recorded four songs first, just because this friend of ours moved down to near where we were, about 20 miles away. He loves us, so he asked us to come and do a weekend of stuff. So we went down there, and we’d been recording the album first in a local studio and it was taking ages. Then when we did these four songs with Pete, it was like, we can’t go back, we have to do the album here. Those four original takes stayed on the album.

IC: It’s not like that’s a bad thing though.

DJ: No, not at all. It’s great.We did three or four really well, with click track and really made them release worthy. Then another couple, we did live. So it’s a good mix of professional and full on live. Apart from vocals, they were always done afterwards. Yeah, so it’s nice to have those little glitches in there.

IC: You’re quite a political band, you’ve got a lot of political statements…

DJ: Yeah, it’s all mouth.

IC: *laughs* Yeah, it’s all just a front.

DJ: It is.

IC: Every time we interview people, “what are your views on the BNP” just seems to crop up. Should they be allowed to say shitty stuff?

DJ: Should they be allowed to? That’s a hard one. We took part in the protest against the BBC allowing Nick Griffin on Question Time. We did a regional one in Plymouth. It wasn’t so much I was against him being on there, I just thought it was a good opportunity to highlight what he’s about, whether it stopped it or not. I was quite excited that he was on in a way. I don’t think anyone was doing anything else for that hour, other than watching him. I like the idea of using that campaign to highlight how idiotic and dangerous he is and they are. I don’t like the idea of banning anybody, but at the same time, if you don’t quash those kinds of extreme views, they rise up and then you’ve got no choice and it’s too late. Hitler used to say that if we’d have been attacked with the most ferocious force Nazism wouldn’t have existed.

IC: Who is it you’re rooting for in the election then?

DJ: I’m not. I don’t vote in elections. I have no faith in anybody. I’ve grown up being an anarchist all my life and I know it’s not realistic in every aspect of life, but that’s one thing I’ve always held true, that there is a field of irrelevance. I do understand the relevance of not getting the BNP in power. I’ll probably spoil my vote. That way it registers as a ‘spoiled vote’ rather than ‘no vote’.

IC: Just draw a picture on it.

DJ: Yeah, or just go into the voting booth and say they’re all shit. I think that’s a fair enough statement, if you want to make that statement.

TRP: You should have an ‘opt-out’ option.

DJ: Yeah. Then again, that’s pretty much what a spoiled vote is. They do get registered as ‘spoiled votes’. I mean, there’s no danger of the BNP getting in this year, so it’s not like you have to. The idea is just to expose them. If they’re not going to be banned, then the idea is to expose them and confront them and fight them on the streets when you have to. That’s my logic. Never let them get away with anything.

IC: You’ve got a live 7″ out with Frank [Turner] haven’t you?

DJ: His is live, ours isn’t.

AB: See, that’s what you get when I do some research. A bunch of lies.

DJ: It is out new single. ‘Still To Keep’ is our new single. It was a digital only release, but then the label said “how do you feel about doing a seven inch of your single with one of Frank’s songs for the tour”. That’s fucking perfect, y’know. We’d like to release our singles on vinyl. The last one we missed out, with ‘Henry Fabian Flynn’, but this one has worked out nicely. The timing is perfect for us to do it with Frank, because we’re on tour. I think it’s released in five days on the 22nd.

AB: Well, I’ve bought it.

DJ: You’ve bought the actual vinyl? Oh, bless you. It’s quite interesting, it’s nice. I don’t really see what’s in it for Frank, to have us on the other side *laughs*. For us, it’s just…

IC: It’s a big thing. As a band, you kind of transcend genre. Sort of like The Queen transcended from Nazi bitch to British monarch. How do you feel about that comparison? *laughs*. In fact, what are your views on the monarchy, The Queen and whatnot.

DJ: What the hell is this question? It started off about music and now it’s about the queen.

AB: We’re saying you transcend genre

DJ: Yeah, like The Queen. I think that’s a bit bizarre. I think the monarchy is ludicrous, it’s outmoded, it’s a waste of money and it’s quite offensive. The other part of the question…

AB: Basically, how would you describe your sound?

DJ: We try not to describe it really. We used to have the little tag, ‘Hobo-core’. We used to use that. I liked it for a while and then it became like a joke and we left it behind. Now, I quite like it again.

TRP: I like the Fugazi with banjos, but without banjos.

All: *laughs*

IC: I’ve actually got this written down as a question, Fugazi are fucking mint aren’t they?

DJ: Yes!

All: *laughs*

IC: I don’t know if that’s a question or more of a statement.

TRP: I think that’s more a statement.

DJ: A statement disguised as a question.

IC: I think I wrote it and then tried to make it a question. Yeah, they’re really good.

DJ: This is it, trying to sum it up is hard because a lot of our songs are different from each other and you’d have to have about ten different tags. I do like the ‘Hobo-core’ thing. ‘Roots punk’ is one I like to use a lot. Folk roots, that’s where we draw a lot from. We’ve got influences from the sixties and seventies in a folk roots style. So yeah, it’s ‘Roots punk’ music, not reggae roots.

AB: You’ve got some mad vocal harmonies in there as well

DJ: Yeah, absolutely. There’s progressive tenancies to it as well. Yeah, we like to mix it up.

IC: So for each of your specific roles within the band – vocals, bass e.t.c. – can you pick out someone that specifically influenced you?

DJ: No, I can’t do that *laughs*. I find it really hard. The others might be able to do it, but I can’t. I was obsessed with Fugazi from like 1989 until 2001, when they split up. I think that informed a lot of my style, but you wouldn’t see it in this band. You would have in my other band, but you haven’t heard it in this band. I still feel that kinship in the way they structured songs and the ideas they had, but you won’t hear that in this band. Baroness, I think, are the band that we aspire to be like. I absolutely fucking adore them. We all do. They’ve influenced us recently, more than any other bands. You won’t have noticed it yet. You won’t notice it until maybe another six months time, when the new stuff comes out. Have you heard of Baroness at all?

IC: No, I’ve not. I think I’ve heard the name, but…

AB: Yeah, I was gonna say I’d heard the name

DJ: They’ve got a few similar scenarios to us and they’ve got the Southern thing going on. They’re quite heavy, they’re very heavy and they’ve got a lot of sixties folk elements in their breakdowns. They’re all over the place, but I think they’re a bit more music based than we are, but I don’t mind that. They’re more music based than vocal based. We’ve got loads of words and they use sparse amounts of lyrics, but they are amazing. There are too many places to draw from really. In the past, The Clash were my favorite band. It’s songwriting that I care about more than how good a guitarist or a drummer or a bassist is.

IC: You’ve been quoted as being: “The most exciting band of the past few years” how do you feel about that?

DJ: Who by? You? *laughs*

IC: Ok yeah, honestly, it was me.

DJ: Really? *laughs*

IC: How does that make you feel?

TRP: I’m flattered

IC: Surely it’s not as good, because it’s just me

DJ: Every review is only another individual opinion so…

AB: I completely agree, by the way

DJ: Oh really? Cheers mate.

IC: I just think a lot of new bands lately have been the same old shit. There’s been some good ones, but…

DJ: That’s the thing. We’ve had a lot of reviews be the same, if not more glowing. Someone said our album was the best of the last ten years. I’m thinking “are you sure?”.

All: *laughs*

DJ: I mean, I’m gonna take the compliment, but have you heard all the albums of the past ten years? There’s been some great albums. It’s amazing, honestly. All the hard work has paid off y’know.

IC: We’ve got one last thing to ask you. Have you seen that advert with the guy going to the football?

DJ: I knew you were gonna say that. Green Army!

All *laughs*

AB: How many times have you been asked that, by the way?

DJ: Never.

IC: When my mate found out you were from Plymouth he was like, “get them to do a Green Army” *laughs*

DJ: This isn’t gonna get heard though, is it?

AB: No, but I’ll make it look cool in print.

DJ: You have a go at it then

IC: Green Army!

All: *laughs*

DJ: Green Army! You do it better and it’s my accent anyway.

IC: I’m glad I impressed you *laughs*

AB: That’s it I think, yeah thanks a lot for letting us sit in a room with you and slag your accent off *laughs*

DJ: That’s alright.

IC: The ‘exciting band’ thing was nice though, wasn’t it?

DJ: *laughs*

Thanks a lot to everyone in that room, especially Darren and Tim, for being such good sports. The best thing is, the “Green Army” thing did catch on and we’ve been informed that the band used it on stage every night after the show in Manchester. Very cool indeed. Do yourselves a favor and download Crazy Arms’ debut album, ‘Born To Ruin’, here.