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We first met Brighton skate punks Gnarwolves two years ago at Hevy Fest 2012. Back then we called them “one of the fastest rising bands the UK has to offer.” And two years on, they’ve been just that.
Having played a ton of shows and festivals in that time, the trio are now set to release their debut full-length. Simply titled 'Gnarwolves', the record takes the thriving punk elements of the bands previous EPs and combines it with a plethora of raw hooks along with the occasional introspective number.
We caught up with Thom Weeks and Charlie Piper at the Leeds Festival after they defeated the monstrous task of opening up the Main Stage. Along with Senior Editor Sean Reid, the pair discussed at length a range of topics; the step up to the Main Stage, their growth as a band, being a strong example of independent music in the UK, what UK bands we should know about, working with producer Lewis John again, their up and coming debut US tour and more.
AH: Earlier on you played the main stage. How was the transition from playing the Lock Up stage last year?
Thom: It was a transition.
Charlie: It was great step up. The Lock Up last year is such a hard show to beat. It was so brilliant. One of the best shows I’ve ever done in my life. Still until this day, when they told us we were doing main stage, we were like “really? As if we are going to do this?” But it still paid off. Obviously the barrier gap is a barrier gap, there was last year as well, but you kind of forget about it. It took the last 3 songs for kids to get into today but it was still really good. We were having so much fun. I was pulling away from vocals and I could hear people singing along and stuff.
Thom: It was amazing. It was a cool experience. We are really privileged to be able to do it.
Charlie: It felt so good after the set. It was really fucking rad!
AH: By playing on the main stage, did you find it daunting at all?
Thom: Yeah it’s really nerve-racking. I imagine anyone you ask that opens up that stage tells you the exact same thing because mostly it’s bands who play small club shows. It’s terrifying. How do you know if you’re going to fill up that space? I’m 5ft 5 and a half, it’s not an easy feat really but it was really fun to give it a go.
Charlie: It’s interesting to see how everyone is going to act. It’s a surprise isn’t it?
Thom: But then every show should be a surprise. It’s very rare you go into a show and you’re like “I know exactly how this is going to go.”
Charlie: We always go into shows not knowing. We always try and guess but you can never judge.
AH: Did you find it difficult taking that intimate show you have and putting it on the big stage?
Thom: I think we just did the same thing we normally do and hope for the best really.
Charlie: Well for a while we spoke about certain things we would change then in the end we toured for the last few weeks, then at the end of the tour we thought “why don’t we just do this on that stage?” So we did that instead.
Thom: I think that is what went well about it. We didn’t try and turn into a “main stage band” or throw it all out of the window just because we’re on a stage the size of a football pitch.
Charlie: Kids can’t stage dive, so crowdsurf. Things like that here and there. We just want to see people having fun, that’s all we really care about. We don’t want to be like what you said structuring a set to make it everyone sits down and stand up and everyone jumps up and down. If we feel people should be jumping at any point we go “oi! Jump! Go on! Do it!” And if they don’t do it then fair enough.
Thom: It’s all about spontaneity.
Charlie: It’s like we say “it’d be nice to see some of you guys go a bit mental” but if not don’t worry, thank you very much.
Thom: Do what you want.
AH: I think also you get seen by people who may have not heard you before.
Charlie: Definitely. If you think about the amount of people walking at the back of the crowd…
Thom: Seeing our stupid faces on those screens. (all laugh)
Charlie: “He looks a bit weird.”
Thom: “He’s got a creepy face.”
Charlie: “His hair is a bit long. He needs a haircut.”
Thom: “He’s not your typical handsome indie NME male.”
Charlie: “He’s not some weird dressing gown.” (all laugh) Zebra print trousers - get off!
It was real nice of Gnarwolves to mention us in their interview with Already Heard.
There is no struggle here.
Two of our favourite illustrators: Wolf Mask & Lew Currie have drawn up some pretty great badge designs for us. We’re going to make these suckers really soon so you can start pinning them on your bags and suchlike.
These are gonna be sizeable badges to showcase these cracking illustrations, 38mm wide to be exact.
Let me know what you think, how much would you pay for 2 chunky badges like this?
Just added to the webstore: A handful of copies of the new comic xGAVx (ex Offside frontman) called Rapid Gazzer. A Glesga twist on a sci-fi action adventure with plenty of humour.
Support indie comics and publishing.
When it comes to DIY music in the UK, I don’t think it should be a competition, I reckon there’s enough ‘business' to go around, and while we have a tonne of records we'd really like you to buy, that doesn't mean there aren't other labels putting out great stuff that we really think you should pick up too.
Here’s a short non-comprehensive list.
Black Lake Records
Our pals from Aberdeen helped us out with the Thin Privilege LP and have plenty of great hardcore, punk, screamo & more to buy.
Dundee based punks who take care of the scene up there very well with great releases and shows that embody the spirit of DIY punk rock.
Wolf Town DIY
Wolverhampton based label Wolf Town DIY have put out some essential releases, including the Healing Powers 7”, Crows An Wra LP and Ploughlines 7”. We’re stoked to be teaming up with them on the Maycomb 10” coming out in September. TOWN TOWN DIY!
Get Into It Records
Newcastle punks who release great emo and punk tapes, CDs and records. Lovely people, great label grab a spirit print poster & get spooky.
Dog Knights Records
If you don’t already own some of the records this Brighton based label has released I would be surprised, the likes of Nai Harvest, Old Gray, Tiny Moving Parts, Headroom and recently Turnover have all put out music on this brilliant label. The focus on quality packaging and vinyl is clear and all their releases look as good as they sound.
Specialist Subject Records
With bands such as Bangers, Doe & Muncie Girls on their roster, you know Specialist Subject is the label to check out for fantastic punk rock in the UK.
Dealing with pop punk, emo, and heavier brands of hardcore, Enjoyment have put out plenty of brilliant records that are well worth your time.
Art for Blind Records
Based in Cork, Ireland, Art for Blind have released some pretty awesome releases in the past few months, including the Carson Wells/Human Hands split (in association with other great labels) and Perfect Pussy (1).
Everyone’s favourite DIY screen printer Mikee also runs this brilliant label, dealing mostly in screamo and noisy hardcore, the Jackals LP and the Foxmoulder 7” are some of my personal favourites.
Close To Home Records
Pick up the Walleater 7” and the Sneeze LP at the very least from this awesome Essex based record label, there are more great releases to check out too, but those two are essential.
Moshtache is a one man operation with plenty of great releases under it’s belt. Genre is no issue. Key releases include: Wade - Full Fuck 7” and Coma Regalia/Cavalcades/Heart On My Sleeve split 10”
Pinky Swear Records
A Leeds based label with a knack for picking bands who go on to become huge (Neck Deep) Pinky Swear are one of our earliest collaborators, putting out pop punk, emo and hardcore records for the past 4 years.
Thanks For Nothing Records
Catering for the heavier hardcore fan and recently branching into releasing pop punk legends, TFN are our arch rivals in Glasgow.
strictly no capital records
When it comes to UKDIY, look no further than this awesome label/zine/blog for clues on how it’s done. Excellent releases with DIY packaging that really suits the genre. Keeping it all about the music and no extra bullshit is what sncl does best.
There are way more labels in the UK, Europe and across the world, this is just a selection of the people who are working hard to keep the DIY scene going in the UK. I’m sorry if I didn’t mention your label, please feel free to reblog and add to this list.
Thin Privilege - Thin Privilege (LP) June - Available Now
Algernon Doll - Omphalic (LP) July - Available Now
Push Ups - Grow Up or Try Dying (Tape) July - Available Now
Bright Side - Bright Side (7”) August - Shipping Soon
The Sinking Feeling - Ugly / Old Friends (12”) September - Preorder
Maycomb - Little Ease (10*) September - Coming Soon
Bear Arms - Strength & Conviction (LP) October - Coming Soon
Wank For Peace - Fail Forward (LP) October - Coming Soon
Struggle 38 at Bloc - Thursday 11th September
with Bear Arms & Civil Elegies (Free Entry)
Superheaven at Stereo - Saturday 27th September
with Nai Harvest, Concave & The Sinking Feeling - £8
Struggle 39 at Bloc - Thursday 9th October
STRUGGLEFEST WARM UP - Lineup TBC - (Free Entry)
STRUGGLEFEST 2014 at Stereo - Saturday 11th October
with Wolves At Heart, Wank For Peace, Prevenge, The Sinking Feeling, Bonehouse, The Great Albatross, Algernon Doll, Bad Luck, Bright Side & Great Cop - £10
Lovely chaps, support Alburn!
Sketchbooks going out free in bigger orders, VERY limited quantity!
These are coooool.
Having abandoned the solo route in favour of a full band, the third album from 24 year old Ewan Grant aka Algernon Doll, 'Omphalic' was recently released through Struggletown Records. Ewan has now be joined by Wull Swales, Owen Wicksted, and Tom Mitchell, and in 'Omphalic' they have created a record that is rooted in 90’s alt-rock with brooding, fuzzy numbers that thrive of Grant’s emotional lyrical prowess.
Since its release we’ve been spinning 'Omphalic' a lot at Already Heard HQ, so much so we gave it a 4 out of 5 rating last month.
Now as a treat Ewan recently spoke to us to talk us through 'Omphalic' track-by-track.
If your band would like to set up a ‘Track Guide’ feature for Already Heard, please email Sean Reid.
Spilt Milk Perfume
This song, as many on this record, came together in the studio. I had a riff idea with a bunch of 7th inversions that I was playing about with and the bones of a song I’d written on an acoustic the night before. We jammed out the bridge and really had fun with it and I like what that adds to the song as it did turn out to be pretty poppy.
The lyrics are about having to assume a smell or persona to get by in this world with the least amount of hassle. I feel very disconnected from our species and our acts and behaviours embarrass me.
I came into the studio with this song only and the idea of recording an EP so this was the only song on the record that I had fully worked out before hand.
The song is named after Kirsten Dunst’s character in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and the lyrics are about realising your place in the universe and the implications of that. The more you realise you’re meaningless in the scale of everything: that insignificance comforts me but the idea of being alive, forever living repeat lives, or dead forever after this life terrifies me and leads me to spiralling depressive turns. I imagine death is a lot like it was before I was born… that’s the only comfort I can find in this train of thought.
Check out this awesome track by track explanation of Omphalic, and then buy a copy while you still can, there’s not too many left.