10 January 2016

Interview: crumbs

crumbs (L-R: Stuart, Gem, Ruth, Jamie. Photo: James Robert Birtwhistle)

Stuart, Gem, Ruth and Jamie are crumbs, from Leeds. I first saw them supporting the Spook School at the Wharf Chambers (my band, Grubs, played too) and totally loved them. They write no nonsense indie pop songs with post-punk influences and it's very good.

I sent them some questions about being in the band crumbs, being in Leeds, other bands they're in, other stuff they do, other bands they like, and the stuff they having coming up. They were kind enough to send their answers back to me and here they are below.

Hello the band crumbs. Who plays what instruments in your band? 

Stuart: Ruth sings, Gem plays drums, Jamie plays bass and sings, and I (Stuart) play guitar.

Who writes the songs/how do the songs come about? 

Stuart: Ruth writes all the lyrics, and the rest of us write the music, but we all come up with the song titles because we like puns and dad jokes. Ever since the beginning the music just kind of happened, usually just starting with a beat, and usually develop very quickly, then Ruth puts words/stories over the top.

Which two or three bands did you bond over most/aim to be similar-ish to when the band was starting out? 

Stuart: Myself and Gem used to cover Beat Happening and Vaselines songs before we met Jamie and Ruth. Then we didn't really aim to be similar to anything, but our influences can definitely be heard. When we all first got together we talked about Shopping and Antelope I remember, because we liked them and noticed some similarities.

And how do you think you compare/have changed as a band since then? 

Stuart: As our confidence and ability have improved we try out new things, I think the songs have become a lot more eclectic, and on stage we talk and joke more and that interaction with the audience is more fun than just shivering with fear like before!

What's good about Leeds? 

Stuart: The d.i.y music scene is so fertile and welcoming, and seems to get better every week. Oh, and the market. Gem saw a woman with a cat stuffed down her coat drying her socks under the hand dryer in the toilets. They also do cheap crisps.

Gem: The Brudenell. I base everywhere I live on it being within walking distance. It is really that good!

What's bad about Leeds? 

Stuart: All the corporate and consumerist elements that seem to be fuelling the gentrification of the place. But that stuff is avoidable if you are able to create your own world within it, and the d.i.y music scene is one such world, hooray!

Which new bands from Leeds and beyond should people be listening to? 

Stuart: Not sure how 'new' new is! Buttttt Commiserations from Leeds, Dirty Girl from York, and also Hilary and the Hate Crimes from Leeds are some of my favourites.

Ruth: I am very excited about the new band from the former members of Dauntless Elite (Leeds). I've not even heard anything yet but Dauntless Elite are one of my favourite ever bands! I am also constantly playing the demo from Bloodbuzz (Hampshire). It's so bloody good!

Jamie: I am a large fan of Dirty Girl and Syslak, who are both reasonably new and unreasonably very brilliant . And I saw Pale Kids’ [Members of No Ditching, T-Shirt Weather, Martha, and Ferret Legs] second gig in Durham recently and they were a dream. A deeply perfick dream. I strongly advise keeping your eyes peeled for them (not literally; it might sting a bit).

Gem: Milk Crimes are super great! I also saw Golden Meat for the first time this year. It's really exciting electronic music with a live drummer. They are both Leeds/Yorkshire based. I put on Arkless recently and fell in love. They are London-based emo. Nice!

Do any of you play in other bands or do stuff outside of music? 

Stuart: I am in another band called Molars, making kind of krautrock, indie-pop influenced stuff, and I draw posters for gigs and bands and make zines. I used to make conceptual art, but the compulsion wore off!

Ruth: Crumbs is the start of the end of a musical hiatus for me (mostly due to moving cities twice then becoming a teacher and having zero free time.) I had been in bands in Manchester and been pretty involved in putting on gigs and I am so jazzed to be making music again. Thanks, crumbs pals! I am also working on my first zine at the moment. It's a mixture of exciting and scary. We'll see.

Jamie: I play solo indie-folk as Travels by Telephone which I’ve been doing for 7 years now (cripes), and is currently having one of its periodic hibernationary dozes. I’ve recently been helping out various friends’ bands playing live which has been lots of fun; playing keyboard/bass/glockenspiel and a percussive plastic yellow egg for Mama Lips, and bass for Dirty Girl the once (again please!). I also put on house shows in York as Owls Owls Owls.

Gem: I want to start a Nope tribute act with Hilary Cowtown. It's going to be called Yep. But in all seriousness, no – this is the first band I have been in ever! I have been putting on DIY gigs for nearly nine years now, though, under the guise of Fancy Claps!

What stuff are you hoping to do in the next 12 months? 

Stuart: With crumbs, we just want to keep playing, and we are close to being ready to record an album, so pretty excited about that. Other stuff, I dunno, I'd like at least one other cat, and maybe a mini pig. Yes.

Thank you, Crumbs!

In October, crumbs released a split cassette with Dirty Girl. You can buy it on bandcamp here. They also have a five-track demo release on bandcamp, which you can listen to above.

They play a house show in London in 6 February, Wharf Chambers in Leeds on 26 February, and at the Fox & Newt in Leeds on 5 March.

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(Photo stolen from their Facebook, taken by James Robert Birtwhistle).

18 February 2014

Interview: DOE

I wrote about London pop-punk scamps DOE for the NME, didn't want to repeat the same boring words on here, asked them some questions instead.

Who plays what instruments?

Nicola plays guitar and sings, Jake plays drums and sings, Alex plays guitar. We don’t have a bass because we can only just about bear each other.

Who writes the songs?

Nicola and Jake come up with the main ideas, then make each other’s ideas better, then we all get together and work on arrangement and finishing touches.

Which one band did you bond over most when the band was starting out?

Helium was the first band we chatted about when we started putting the band together; we properly bonded over a shared love of Weezer in those awkward early days though. (We’re still awkward and we still love Weezer).  

What's good about London?

There’s just so much going on all of the time, you can do whatever you want. The people we’ve come across on the DIY scene since starting out have been so lovely too, just great people who are all super supportive and passionate. It’s a great place to be in a band and make friends and have loads of fun.

What's bad about London?

People that walk slow. And pigeons.

Which three bands from London and beyond should people be listening to right now?

No Ditching are an excellent band from Durham, we played with a band called Cousin in the Summer too who were ace. Playlounge (no brainer).

Do any of you play in other bands or do stuff outside of music?

Jake plays in The Exhausts who we’re good friends with, we’ve played a shit ton of shows together and all love each other a disgusting amount... all the guys have seen each other’s balls far more than is necessary too. He also does a tiny wee label called Keroleen Records which we put our Summer tape out under. Nicola’s just started an all-girl punk band which is super exciting, so watch out for that. 

What stuff are you hoping to do in the next 12 months?

We've got some shows coming up in London and further afield over the next couple of months, we’re recording for a split 7" with Canadian band Taxa as well as for a tape/zine release on Keroleen, and we’re almost done booking a UK tour which is happening in April. I’m sure there will be loads more stuff later in the year too. We’re kind of incapable of not doing stuff constantly.

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4 February 2014

Interview: Pinact

I wrote about Pinact in NME Radar because I like them. Instead of writing another short, boring bio on them for here I thought I might as well ask them some questions. I guess maybe I'll make this into a little regular thing.

Pinact are Corrie and Lewis from Glasgow. They write noisy pop songs that sound a little bit like Paws and a little bit like No Age but not that much like either really. They're about to feature on a split alongside Poledo, Radtsewart and Joey Fourr jointly through Reeks of Effort and Art is Hard. Questions below.

Who writes the songs?

I (Corrie) write the songs although they don't really become Pinact songs until we get in a room together and learn to play them. They usually end up changing quite a bit from me playing them on an acoustic guitar in my room. There's no set way we go about it though, sometimes the song comes about the complete opposite way. We might start jamming something in practice we think sounds cool and then I take it home and work out what to sing over it. They usually end up being our favourites.

Which one band did you bond over most when the band was starting out?

It's really hard to bring it back to one band but I guess at the time we were really into the Milk Music EP Beyond Living. I don't think we've ever particularly sounded like them but that EP was a big influence when we were first getting the band together. We were living together at the time and when we got drunk we would always blast that EP. It's safe to say our neighbours weren't as enthusiastic about it as we were.

What's good about Glasgow?

Glasgow is great, there's a lot of really good bands at the moment and a lot of good people supporting those bands. In comparison to somewhere like London it's pretty small although it still has the feeling of being in a big city. We've made a lot of friends in other bands from here we probably wouldn't of made unless we'd started the band and it really feels like everyone really supports each other and wants the best for everyone.

What's bad about Glasgow?

It rains a lot, although I guess in terms of being creative and making music being stuck indoors can make you quite productive.

Which three bands from Glasgow and beyond should people be listening to right now?

Tuff Love
Algernon Doll
Passion Pusher

Do either of you play in other bands or do stuff outside of music?

Not at the moment, we're both pretty busy balancing the band with jobs and a constant lack of money. Although I've been saying for ages I'm gonna start a monthly club night in Glasgow where we get a band we love to play that might not really get a chance to come up here very often. Over that past year or so we've met and discovered some really great bands form all over and from a purely selfish point of view I'd love to see them live! It's gonna be called Stand Still Until You Rot and I'm definitely gonna start it soon (Hopefully this year).

What stuff are you hoping to do in the next 12 months?

Well we're writing what we hope is gonna be our debut album right now. I guess the aim is to get that finished soon and once we're happy with it we'll look into how were gonna record and release it. I think we're pretty bored of doing EPs and we want to challenge ourselves with a full length. It feels like we're ready to do something a bit more substantial.

Apart from that we're gonna try and play as many shows as we can, wherever we can. Hopefully we'll venture over to Europe for the first time before the year is out. That definitely seems realistic!

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4 November 2013

All Dogs

"Punks making pop music in Columbus, OH" is how All Dogs sum themselves up on Tumblr. You can't argue. It's somewhere between Swearin' and Waxahatchee. What more do you need?

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28 October 2013


I've been sitting on Pinact for a while because I'm a terrible new music blogger. They're a two-piece from Glasgow and they're fucking great. Abrasive yet melodic, they write pop songs with riffs and distortion and fuzz and cymbal crashes and "WOAH"s. Music comparisons are lazy and shit but if you like Paws and Poledo and Rice Milk and Joanna Gruesome and Dolfinz and all those other sweet bands then you'll like them.

They've just streamed new track 'Brew' through Art is Hard as part of the label's postcard club series and also have a lot of ace stuff on bandcamp - including the really good (and totally free) 'Spill Your Guts, Let Out Some Noise' EP.

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