Relitics – Interview

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?
DIY
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.

niallhope

I Am A Carcrash Interview

 

The couple of times I’ve seen I am a car crash live have been challenging experiences. Definitely more post thank punk and angular rhythms aplenty but tunes sneaking in the back door. Once or twice I have been rocked from my comfort zone, unsure of where John is going with his lyrics. In anticipation of their new record coming out before the end of the year I sent him a few questions

For those interested can you give us a bit of history to band and some of the other bands you’ve played in?

Myself and j have been long time band mates after our last band lebowski disintegrated, I thought I’d never play again hated all of it and had nothing in me to say. But after few years I just started to write again. Felt the compulsion. Called jay and together we formed I am a Car Crash. Jay is the director. Shane is the keeper of my focus and together it’s a sound we love.

What is the connection with foad?

Peter jones saw us play early on and was instantly on board and a gigantic support. We’ve a lot of thanks owed to him

How many times have you played rebellion? What are your honest impressions of it? Did your opinion change after attending the festival?

This year was our second rebellion. We loved the whole thing. Last year was great too but this year we have the right people and got to play a bigger stage and I felt we lost ourselves in the set and did ourselves very proud. I’m no massive punk guy but there’s lots of artists there who I have huge respect for, paranoid visions, I had some good chats with Steve ignorant and what a fucking lyricist he is also our good buddies Protex and Lee Harvey’s are great company. I think my onstage self and our vibe is what the punk audience latch onto and I’ve no issue there. I’m ridiculously ethical when it comes to music so there that too.
But rebellion I loved the community of the punk crowd. That’s thing I’ve been struck by most, a love for music and for community

You’ve also done rocking Road festival. How did that come about?

Rocking road is a great cause that’s why we do that. My son goes to that school and to help in anyway is a privilege, the drummer dad David runs it everywhere and is a special guy so it’s a total pleasure.

If you had a limitless budget for your own rocking road festival what would be the line up (6 bands if you can)

Cure.
Gang of Four
Future of the left
Xtc
Whipping boy
Kaisier Chiefs cause they’d probably get onto the bill anyway somehow, they always do

Can you tell me your favourite gig a) to play and b) to see ?

Favourite gig? Well, I’d love to see future of the left live but I’d probably have to say sonic youth at electric picnic or pavement, a toss up. Favourite place to play? lots of great places round Dublin, fibbers can be great, Thomas house is nifty, Whelans.  But I’m looking forward to getting our album out and hitting far more stages.

What made you pick up an instrument to begin with and decide yes I can be in a band? What makes you keep doing it?

I always wanted a guitar. Before that I was just dancing round like a sap with a tennis racket in my room. Brothers and sisters used to catch me, now that’s embarrassing, I’d rather of got caught masturbating which I never did and don’t don’t do anyway cause I’m a born again catholic.
Started to jot words in sixth class just did. Never been able to explain it and it morphed. Got guitar at twelve and slowly slowly got better. Now it’s the same. I’m writing at various stages. I think I’m just a writer who happens to be in s band using a guitar I could put it down and use some other instrument which I’ve always thought would be interesting. It’s always unconscious what comes out there is. So yeah we don’t really sit down and say it needs to be this or that. We change structure about. Each one is its own thing so we never know what’s next. This album is I dunno dark, funny, loud, post punk, pixies smacking into talking heads but I’m told I’m bad at referencing us by the other two. But when this album is out we’ve no idea what they next thing we do will sound like.

We love doing it. Creating is the fun. We wanna up our output and this album is just the beginning. Everyone is writing and is everyone feels peak and it’s just a great fun outlet. I love playing live and I love being in the studio with this band.

Your sound is more based on angular rhythms rather than straightforward punk rock. Do you sit down and think, yes this has to sound a certain way or is it just the way it all flows

Again. The lads will tell ya. I know nothing of time signatures and beats and middle 8ths and all that. So ye the music just flows with the words. I may try throw a subject in but once it starts I’m not even in the equation then suddenly there’s a song and we hone it. That’s really it. We only have comparison to make with last ep ‘white people problems’ and it’s a million miles from that in a lot of ways. So we are just really really excited to finish and share it cause it hits everything in its nose. We are thinking of calling it Them Not Us but no definite yet.

We are hoping for the album to be out by the end of the year. It’s 80% there.  This album is just inspired by what I see around, everyone losing their humanity while speaking online, ridiculous presidents, identify politics, love, the limits being put on free speech, people’s belief in magic and conspiracies, unemployment all things I’ve seen and have got to me in someway or make me think we must be in a simulation cause this shit would only be happening if someone was just having a laugh. I hate left I hate right it’s hard to tell the difference some of the songs poke at that sad truth how they’ve both gone extreme and then meet, the horse shoe affect. Everything is a team, everything is worth digging in for, there’s many wars on but there’s definitely one on intelligence and reason taking place. Then the next song will be about a gym bunny or “what about building 7” which is one of my favourites cause it just hammers at the silliness of it all.

I’ve seeen you a couple of times and each times it seems like you are about to say something controversial. Is this done on purpose?

Nope. It’s the listener who decides if it’s controversial.
I just have fun and switch off it’s the same as writing. But I think most bands are so sterile now so we stand out but that’s more there thing. Outspoken I don’t even know what that means. We are just a band having fun it’s no big deal I think the majority at gigs get it and see what’s being done, thought it’s not always instantly obvious but isn’t there bigger pay off in that. I challenge and poke st subjects I care about but it’s always more fun to me to joke with it cause I always find that’s the best way.
But it depends on the mood some gigs I’d be very quiet ya never know with us

Do you use music to entertain or challenge?

Both I guess. Predominantly it’s us saying we like this so. So I would say I never think oh I’m gonna try challenge it’s more just a natural occurrence if that does happen but we don’t look for that, that’s easy and ultimately pointless I reckon. No matter what you do or say or don’t say or do, someone somewhere will be upset and all good music should upset some people that’s the point of any meaningful art, blandness offends me and there’s plenty of that.

Entertain is also just an offshoot but never the point. The point is only to make music and to share it with others. Some we entertain some we bore as long as we aren’t referred to as nice band with nice songs, I’m ok. We can switch to most rock bands dressed in black pretending to be something important for the nice but packaged as unrulely hard rock.

Just out of interest were you going to punk gigs before playing in the band? Had you come across the diy scene in Dublin?

DIY never belonged to punk all the bands we were round when we started were putting out their own music. We played with many a punk band and we’ve played with many a band who call themselves some other descriptor. I’ve never felt the need to call us a punk band or a alternative band or a slow dance group that was the point of the band name I AM ACar Crash doesn’t make you think of a genre, The main reason I liked it. But for now we are 3 with guitars and drums so we are a rock band and then it’s up to everyone else to name us and I always enjoy hearing what people think, I hear a million different things after gigs always usually lovely even though I’m not the most comfortable person post show
So when we were younger there was that whole treasure island thing which was the pop punk thing I was aware of that I was aware of hating it to its core. I’ve never been a network guy or a click lover. If I really wanted I’d be out at gigs every night telling some little eager beaver scene band how great they are and trying to get an opener by use of felatio cause that’s what happens but I couldn’t be making eye contact with myself then. or we could water down our sound and try tick as many boxes most bands do that stuff. It’s very much business over art with most now. It’s like football, you look at some players and think, wait does that guy even like football at all.

Old band was called levowski so j and stu from that band went on to form Liz is evil our bassist works at golden plec and I just sunk into a bad state for a year or two I’d say doing nothing and love for nothing I always remember j telling me he thought I was done for overweight and in a mental crisis but one day it left or subsided and the need to write returned and hasn’t left since, it could do but there’s no point worrying about something. I will never understand. But you’d hope people find our brand of lark entertaining, we certainly do.

niallhope

Rebellion 2017 – Day 3

Rebellion 2017 Day 3

My introduction to los Fastidios came a few years ago. They had just finished an Irish tour that I missed out on. Their background is in oi music. They proudly proclaim football as an interest but also are anti fascist and animal rights exponents. Sure what’s not to like. Sing along intelligent anthems from Italy were the perfect post lunch punk tunes and as the new album proclaims the sound of revolution.

My journey to Rebellion music festival started when my brothers were bringing home/ punk records in the late 70’s early 80’s. I then started buying my own tapes and records and wrote to as many people as possible. AOA were one of the bands I wrote to. 35 years ago. I did an interview with them in my fanzine at the time and here they are now, singing anarcho punk songs to us. The topics they sing about are still the same with words being screamed on stage that none of us have any chance of understanding. Thankfully they talk between songs and have information on their records.

Radical Dance Faction were regular visitors to Ireland in the 90’s, amazing night how it doesn’t seem all that long ago. They are still banging out their white reggae whit lost post punk vocal.

The rhythmites played with nomeansno in mcgonagles, their reggae beat being the equivalent of what major promoters used to play through the speakers before the main band would come along. We decided we would provide our own soundtrack that night with nomeansno and rhythmites are still dancing to the revolution

The GAKK are from Dundalk and had their travelling home crowd out, complete with Dundalk fc flag. They play 77 style strong punk rock, lots of clash and ruts references. The travelling crew all ventured along to see Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions, but three days on veggie burgers meant I needed to get something else to eat. Amazingly Blackpool now has a vegan restaurant and top quality too. It meant missing out o. A selection of classic Crass, flux and Poison Girls songs being played by Paranoid Visions with vocal assistance from Steve a Ignorant. Some things you just have to live to regret.

My interest in bands like AOA slightly decreased when hardcore bands from Washington DC hit my radar, Scream being one of them. Today was special day, seeing Scream up on stage. I have been suspicious for years about bands reforming for events like this but as an attendee I sure am glad Scream are back. So tight, so good and with audience participation and a Bad brains cover to boot. Dave Ruffy, from The Ruts DC, will face competition for “drummer who makes it all look ao easy” as Kent played at breakneck speed right through and didn’t look like he broke a sweat. This was a lesson on hardcore history and I could quite easily have gone home content after this set

It was a huge contrast seeing the Tuffragettes. These, along with Brattakus and Petrol Girls are vital bands for our day. These are modern day Scream, they sound nothing like them but the energy and enthusiasm as shining. Synth punk smashing the stereotypes

Louise Distras played two sets tonight, her electric show last time was in the main Empress Ballroom but it was good to see her on the smaller Pavillion stage as well as acoustic. Tonight louise asked us all to fall in love and don’t fall in line. Wise words indeed that we all sang along to.

Ruts DC need no explaining. Part of the rebellion furniture at this stage, as vital as Steve Ignorant and TV Smith and as revered and respected as Cock Sparrer or any band that plays here. SUch good songs that have stood any test time may want to pass on. I danced and danced and delighted in the fact that I was here and this was happening.

Angelic upstarts had a huge crowd in the empress. Working class spokespeople and the 2,500 people were ready to give the fox a gun in any effort to bring back hunting. The upstarts have been on the go since 1977, 2 years prior to scream’s inception. Their tunes are more direct and as I wondered about the difference between the two bands I heard Mensi proclaiming from stage he will be the next James Bond and how surprised he was that “the lasses weren’t all rushing to the stage”. Their debut single “Teenage warning” came on and I then thought I noticed pete from gold blade and the membranes on guitar. I got confused as he was announced on stage as Neil. My eyesight is definitely going At least Louise distras calls it the Louise distras band and maybe the upstarts should really be the Mensi ensemble as he is the sole remaining original member

Bnorthen Irish punks took over in the form of Outcasts and Defects and we popped and pogoed into the late night

 

niallhope

Rebellion 2017 Slice of Life

Slice of life

Here we have Steve Ignorant of Crass with an interesting piece of theatre. And by interesting I don’t mean crap/self indulgent. This is raw emotion with a lush background of keyboard, acoustic guitar and bass from a cracking backing band including beautiful male female harmonies.

It’s a reminder that Crass’s gift was to inject punk with a healthy [over]dose of sixties subversive theatre.
Instead of Crass black this is a white workingman’s shirt with boots and braces show, it reminds me of Yoko Ono’s primal screaming. A good reminder that the counter culture of the sixties didn’t end in a full stop.

There’s no middle ground here, take is love-it-or-hate-it no prisoners raw theatre. Ignorant performs as a deranged 1930s [hard]workman. And Ireland’s own hardest working man in punk, P.A. Jesu from Paranoid Visions formed a spontaneous choir in the audience during tonight’s performance, proving there is no barrier between artist and audience.

Ignorant was a true anti-star and tonight he spoke of Las Vegas but this was Blackpool vaudeville with the ghosts of the men and women who were never given their own show, their slice of the spotlight.

Rebellion 2017 Bratakus,

BRATAKUS

 

It’s not even four o,clock and I already have a new favourite band.
Girls and boys looking for contemporary punk role models need look no further
They are two-piece, so lazy comparisons with House of f
Freaks and even Carter the USM are inevitable, yet that shouldn’t take away from how original and powerful Bratakus are.

I love their song Open Your Eyes with its manic panic energy.
They did a wonderful cover of the Cress song Breakdown which again had an industrial-scale full-throttle force.

They are fast, frantic, fantastic and fun and show that the spirit of true girl power is alive and thriving in 2017. Their new CD is just out and boasting songs like I Know Nothing it is well worth checking out. They finished their set with Products a song proudly introduced as an animal rights song.
Michael

 

In Evil Hour
were a revelation when I saw them first at Rebellion two years ago. They have got even stronger in the interim. Packing a visceral push without sacrificing melody and boasting a commanding female vocalist they are well worth seeing if you like your rock. It is easy to understand why Niall splashed out on their album when we saw them last. They are still comfortable on the main stage and I look forward to seeing them move up the bill.
They move seamlessly from melodic singalong to growling shrieks with a pulsing rhythm of the classic four piece rock bands.
Michael

 

Pog
So sad to say that I missed them today, but we managed to buy three of their albums. The covers are just what you hope an indie band’s album covers would look like. Artful, beautiful, distinctive and evocative. And we got to meet the band-member who designs them too. Really looking forward to checking them out.
Michael

Cheapskate, Gout, Brian Bannon, Stomach – Dublin 1996

StomachCheapskateGout

Mar 29 1996

Cheapskate, Gout, Brian Bannon, Stomach

Attic

Stomach, Bambi, Cheapskate, Blackbelt Jones – Dublin 1996

StomachCheapskate

Dec 7 1996

Stomach, Bambi, Cheapskate, Blackbelt Jones (Benefit for St Vincent dePaul)

Attic

Down By Law, Wheel, Groundswell Barnstormers – Dublin 1993

DownByLaw

May 10 1993

Down By Law, Wheel, Groundswell

Barnstormers

Bluetip, Kerosene 454 Dublin 1997

Bluetip_Page_1

Oct 26 1997

Bluetip, Kerosene 454, Jackbeast, Hylton Weir

Fusion Bar

Bikini Kill, Team Dresch, Bis – Dublin 1996

BikiniKill

 

Apr 20 1996

Bikini Kill, Team Dresch, Bis

Charlies Bar