Durham punk band Relitics came to my attention earlier this year with the song Anti Fascist. I like bands that proclaim their politics through their lyrics and Relitics are one of these. There’s no fences to sit on with these. I sent singer Carol Nichol on a few questions and here’s the results.
1. Can you tell us a bit about the band and releases. Any previous bands?
3 releases which includes Vinyl Anti Fascist Do Something and Paying, vinyl split with Australian punk band Myrtle Place. The Relitics formed in 2015 by guitarist Mick Hall who is the main songwriter he had been part of the punk scene in bands such as the nothing which amounted to nothing at the time one member went on to play with Uproar and red london some band members deceased, he also played in other punk bands The horrid lads 79 80 young boys,and ended up with The Kicks for years up until 2015 until he decided he wanted to form an original political band being inspired to write born out of anger and frustration and current state of the country. Myself I started age 14 original bands first being band Gerbils in Red wine was my first band and we would rehearse at Durhams,fowlers yard home to Toy Dolls and Prefab Sprout we where more post punk inspired by punk post punk, I was big fan of Iggy pop Ian dury, The Damned Bowie etc, I was and still am a lover of visual front people as you go to see a band as well, because of my diversity in music I played with many styles of bands but my heart was with making a statement in the music and punk inspired me to join a band at a young age.
Our drummer Vince Ward another kid in 1970s into punk attending early gigs he played with band Mid life crisis up until 2014 a Durham punk band, Vince hates religion and came up with the name The Relitics meaning Religion/Politics. Our Bass player left after a year I think our vinyl release finished him off liaising with Australian band and the hard work getting it out, he also was a lover of American hardcore and we where more melodic punk. We where spotted by Steve Hoggart who saw us play The Hop 2016 wknd of rebellion and liked what he heard so joined the band he was inspired by early SLF gig to get into bands and play bass. We have supported many established bands in the two yrs including Uk subs, Chelsea, drongos for Europe, The Vibrators, Gimpfist, 999, MDC and many more also doing charity gigs to raise money for minors memorial for Hetton le Hole home to Bob Paisley Liverpool manager.
2. When did punk rock rock start meaning something to you and what is that meaning?
For me Never mind the bollocks album and New boots and panties album the image appeal first and then the controversy around the queens jubilee my sister painted our tortoise with album cover im afraid my dad was upset with posters going up in box rooms as they where royalists in the 1970s and we wanted to rebel with society. I saw Killing joke The Tube and wanted to be a front singer writing to rebel to make a statement about how unfair life was in our society young I suppose but exciting times for music, our generation. Mick our guitarist was jam fan his first live band was boomtown rats who got all bands banned from Sunderland empire as it was destroyed.
3. Does D.I.Y. mean something to you? why/why not?
All inspired to write, play an instrument, arrange gigs,self release,self promote,no management, we all work DIY is what we are.
4. You “combine political lyrics with driving guitars” How important are lyrics?
Mick writes the lyrics wat he feels what is from his heart, put together with strong hooky arrangements. Lyrics can have different meanings to different people, painting a picture with words, sometimes powerful statements sometimes mystery.
5. You’ve played some decent gigs, What has it been like in the quest for getting to play live?
Played some great gigs with great bands we are not oi oi band and not easy to put us in a box. Played NSleazy last yr when I was called a fucking hippy by two girls who didnt know me and know I was getting up next in band, must been flowers in my hair these two girls where very punk in image and preferred to go and see a tribute band.living in Durham is not great for original bands but all the struggling original venues like us to play I say struggling as venues do struggle. We would like to go further a field with gigs. We playing with lurkers next yr waterloo bar Blackpool. Rebellion was great for us but again its sometimes down to who’s more punk in image who screams the most. We try to be different in creating different styles of punk dont want to be in an obvious box.
6. When i saw you play I was very impressed by your anti fascist band statement. What gives you the fuel to write such a song and make. e such a statement
Mick wrote AF so people know in no uncertain terms where we coming from as there are so many levels in punk scene. I’m not a racist you hear so many times with bands playing with dodgy right wing members.
7. You are from Durham which voted extensively for britain to leave the EU. Why do you think it voted that way?
there are lots of reasons peolpe voted out of the eu, many are intelligent peolpe who are tired of being ignored and governed by archaic laws from europe. many for the wrong racist reasons , immigration was obviously an issue for many . The nhs would collapse without its foreign workforce, the leisure industry etc but that seems to be overlooked. thinks its all been said now . the end result is now the tory party has no brakes and are effectively free to cause more suffering / impose or remove laws which are there to protect. .. our song short changed was written about brexit. to be recorded shortly.
8. What is your opinion on the aftermath of the vote? is it as you were expecting?
A bono fide shambles the British people systematically lied to again
9. What would have been your ideal outcome to this years british election?
Labour All the band Corbyn has won many people over especially the young, he has his weaknesses but as the rich get richer, press more manipulated, divide continues to grow. A rich country with food banks used by public service’s, no alternative.
10. Durham is also home of the annual Durham Miners Gala. Do you think trade unions have an important part to play in todays society?
Trade Unions have an important role to play in today’s society weakened by the defeat of the minors,strike mrs Thatchers the milk snatchers hand the truth is coming out. Unison/Unite to protect from the big businesses tearing the working class to bits what with 0 hour contact s, terms and conditions decimated. HS ignored. Our Bass player is a trade unionist branch Secretary for a college of a 1000 staff. So yes very valid today trade unions.
11. Can you tell me a bit about lo-fi? Why the need to do something completely different to relitics?
Music is my life wrote my first song age 14 after being inspired by live bands I have always performed as a front person and wrote music. I love music I love music history, as it goes way back, lyrics can be powerful in all ways. I have always been diverse in what I listen to and watch. A lover of front people visual, individuality. I am dyslexic and struggled at school wasn’t the support for visual people back then. Can sometimes be criticised for not just listening to punk but I love to go back to see artists who set the spark. Lo Fi is a project I do at home record produce arrange all styles of songs no style in particular. I work with offenders and have helped alot of people in life but I would love to write for a living as I am so creative that being in a job that isn’t creative can sometimes destroy you as a person. I dont watch much tv but got inspired to write around the character s of peaky blinders I’m a big nick cave fan and so stated writing the album Pow, however I struggle with the mainstream music industry today I find it bland mundane and shallow. I go to see bands all the time the smaller the venue the better for me. Lo fi is getting into an occupation I would love to be in as a,songwriter for tv film will probably never happen but I love what I do, and the Relitics is also something I love to do feeling passionate about the band and what it stands for.