You know it, everyday there’s a new band popping up to remind you that UKHC is on top. Every band is putting killer records after another and it doesn’t seem they will stop that soon. They’re playing USA and left mainland where it was. And to top it off, they even named themselves the New Wave Of British Hardcore. Just so you know they’re running the game.
But there’s plenty of other bands coming from the UK that aren’t linked with the New Wave. I’m thinking about bands like GETS WORSE, CLOCKED OUT or PERSPEX FLESH amongst others, who I think are still great bands for example and are a bit underrated. I know, you will say it’s not the same sound and maybe you’re right. But aren’t they bands whom helped UKHC to be where it is? Maybe they don’t do it the “right way”, I don’t know, I’m not living there and only know what I’m seeing through zines/sites.
Anyway, in this category of unknown-bands-that-shouldn’t-be, there’s also Durham’s own CONTROL. I did a little interview with their singer through mail, and I’m glad Ed got me in touch with him. Check this out
DxR : “What do you want to control? Are you fine with what you can control? Are you in control?”
JxP : “Just the world, you know, I’ll be happy when I achieve world domination by the end of 2015. That’s something we’re aiming for…”
The first time I came accross CONTROL, it was through a tape out on Self Acceptance Records (The label that also put out BLIND AUTHORITY also) in 2013 and for me it sounded pretty much like Wishingwell/88′ Youth Crew.
JxP: “That’s a cool comparison. I think the basis of the band is definitely built around that sound and similar lyrical ideals. I don’t think we fit exactly into that exact period though. But for sure without either scene there wouldn’t have been a Break Down The Walls or a Screaming For Change and without doubt there wouldn’t be a Control. We take our influence from all of the Youth Crew scene. I think we’ve always had our main influence come from stuff like YOT/Uniform Choice, but now I dare say we have a bit more of a diverse influence from bands like Chain/Turning Point/4 Walls Falling which nicely mixes things up. With the new 7” we’ve definitely got more of our “own sound” going on now. But between Verbal Assault or Control though? Both different bands. One difference is we haven’t used a piano on any of our recordings (yet).”
For the VERBAL ASSAULT reference, it’s about a pun they made on their facebook, saying they dropped a new club banger, but really, who else than VERBAL ASSAULT can write down club bangers huh?
Of course, at the time, the first thing I thought is they were a new Straight Edge band. They played with SLAPSHOT, don’t blame me for that.
JxP : “We’re not a straight edge band but because we play Youth Crew influenced hardcore, people do seem to assume us to be straight edge. I think we might have thrown people off once when we played Dublin a few year back and the flyer had our name on with an X’ed up youth crew looking dude haha. But do I think it’s vital to be straight edge to play Youth Crew influenced hardcore? No I don’t. I’m straight edge myself, along with our guitarist, and don’t see why we should need to be anything in particular to do something we want to do.”
And they weren’t a new band either. Damn I wasn’t good for finding infos in those days.
JxP : “We started off in 2010 (with a slightly different line up) to make a band that we wanted to see happening in the UK. At that time I guess the main wave of hardcore bands were chuggy, “moshy” hardcore with quite a “hard” attitude, which we can kinda get behind, but there just wasn’t much differentiation in sound and even less so with bands having “thought provoking”/make a change style lyrics, which has always appealed to me. Now nearly 5 years later I feel we’re still a band breaking the mould with the rotating trends happening in UK hardcore, especially with a lack of a “Youth Crew scene”. With the new record we’ve definitely progressed and evolved and I like the way we’ve gone with that, both sound and lyrics wise. There’s always new experiences to be had which in turn creates new subjects to write about. It’s always cool when there’s people picking up our records and saying “yo, I can get behind that” too. I think the fact that we’re able to adapt and change and we haven’t put our style and sound in a particular box means we haven’t written the same sounding songs for the past 5 years and burnt ourselves out.
Well, I’m glad I had the chance to talk with this guy to know more about them, as all my expectations were wrong. It’s the purpose of a zine I suppose anyway.
Last year, they delivered the above said new 7″, and now he said it, I can totally compare that to something close to 4 WALLS FALLING. The sound is a bit clearer than the other releases and there’s clearly an evolution in the songwriting, definitly more 90’s oriented. Yes I said it, and of course it appeals to me, as I’m not repeating myself enough already. I found it more intense and interesting than the others release, even avoiding some cliché of our days. It reminds me of this other UK band, now disbanded, called GUIDANCE. They signed this new record on Headrush Records, a pretty new label from Yorkshire, not to be confused with the UK hip hop label.
JxP : “Headrush Recs. is Sam and Kieran and they’re based in Leeds/York area. They wanted to start a label and they wanted to release our record, it was as simple as that! We’ve released previous stuff on Hemlock 13 and Self Acceptance which have released cool bands and we were happy working with both those guys. For our first release (the 2010 demo) our original singer left and I was playing guitar then. We had a little break and the rest of us decided to carry it on and I felt I could take over vocals being the idealistic motherfucker I am, so we got young JS on guitar. We got straight back on it and recorded some new stuff and that was the 2012 demo. Hemlock 13/Nate was hella slow with putting it out (sorry mate!) so we just did some sampler CDs to throw about at the shows we were playing until the tape came out. We’ve always just done stuff at our own pace and I guess along with DIY style hold ups you get with releases and multiple line up changes we’ve had, things can take a while. Future releases? We’ve briefly talked about a full length but we’ll see how things go…
Yeah, I’m the only one who writes the lyrics in the band. You know, other than covers that I can agree with lyrics wise I don’t think I could shout other people’s words, it just wouldn’t feel right. It wouldn’t be from me and my own opinions.
I’ve been playing in bands since I was about 13 and been doing this for a few years so, yeah, on stage I feel fairly at ease. It’s where I just let loose and just go for it. I’ve always taken to bands that have energy onstage. I’m a relatively quiet guy any other time, I keep myself to myself, but playing in Control is my time to rip it haha. It’s my release and my way to express shit.
I guess the lyrics are based around being in control (not exactly rocket science) which stemmed from Billy’s lyrics on the 2010 demo. My lyrics are usually based around the optimism that I always try to have. They range from realising you’ll get out of a situation what you put in (I Try) to taking a stand against forms of discrimination (Won’t Play Along) whether that be homophobia, sexism, racism etc. I guess that song is more about the little things people let slip and they don’t realise that those things they’re saying are discriminative. It shows a lack of understanding and sincerity of a situation that they claim to be in support of.
Another thing that I take influence from in life, and influence Control’s lyrics in some ways, are my overall liberal views. I started out as a kid listening to punk, skating and wearing anti-fascism patches and shit and that whole “fuck authority” type of kid’s rebellion eventually evolved into a better understanding of issues with age.
I’m not a follower of religion at all, however, I do appreciate the principles of Krishna and Hindu related religions. I guess it’s no surprise but I got into that through bands like Shelter and 108 etc. but reading books on it and learning some of the theory from my girlfriend who is training to be a yoga teacher furthered that. It’s a very self-aware religion/ideology and I dig that.
For our songs, I still write most of the guitar parts. I think writing the songs helps to get the right vibe for the song’s lyrics. I usually turn up to practice with some song ideas/riffs and then we structure it together. Some ideas for lyrics are usually kicking about when I write the guitar stuff and then I’ll usually base the lyrics on the ideas from that.”
On their bandcamp, when you try to read the lyrics of the song No Way, on their 2k12 tape, the only thing written is “DIY OR DIE”, which bugged me since there’s nothing written on the other songs.
JxP: “Yep. That song is nearly 3 years old now and we don’t usually play it that often but we still have that moral stand point about hardcore music. I’d say, my views on the subject have evolved slightly since then. We usually played for practically nothing and didn’t cover costs most of the time, but the need for covering the costs as you get older and have more responsibilities becomes a reality. So now most of the time you can’t just go play with your mates 2 or more hours away for very little/nothing. Money is a little more important than I’d like it to be.”
DxR : “Why rerecording Take It Back? Are you still covering the almighty Uniform Choice? What other cover are you doing on stage?”
JxP : “For us we like the song and it’s a bit of an ode to us as a band, that song is nearly 5 years old. For me, it’s also still relevant. I don’t think hardcore is “something to be looked at for old time sake”, it’s something to put effort into and not be half arsed about, working against the idea of major label bands who sit back and let other people do everything for them. Cover wise, we do actually still rock UC usually because we get asked to play it haha. We played a YOT cover set last year because we played one venue twice over the course of an 8 day tour and our boy Sam (Headrush Recs.) asked us to play the second time around so we thought we’d do something a little different to mix it up.
We also used to play Warzone’s intro, Beastie Boys – Time For Livin’ and learnt UC – My Own Mind at some point but only played it like once, but haven’t played any if them in a while. It’s kinda mad thinking about it, but people usually don’t know a lot of the older stuff we tend to cover. I mean, it’s not vital in any shape or form for people to know a YOT song or a Chain song to be at a hardcore show but it’s something you kind of “expect” some people to know to a certain. However, it’s cool at the same time if we can introduce people to those type of bands that we feel are important to know about within hardcore.”
When I discovered BREAKING POINT from UK some years ago, they had this whole “Souther Rise” thing going on. Same thing for WITCHCULT, with their “Southcoast Powerviolence” (Oh and while I’m at it, if any of you got this longsleeve in any size I’d be willing to pay much for it, no doubt). If you go to the Bandcamp page or the Facebook page of CONTROL, you can see “Northern Wolfpack” written. You know, NY vs DC vs BOSTON style.
JxP : “There’s no “clash” at all but there’s definitely divides between certain scenes. When I look at hardcore I like to think of it as the Anti-Matter comp. Different bands with different ideals and sounds but it’s still all, very loosely in some way, hardcore. We’re happy about it and tend to play a lot of mixed bill type hardcore shows and we find that cool, it’s not all the same kind of bands playing the same 4 chords or all the same bands trying to write the catchiest/heaviest breakdowns, you know?
I guess there’s a lack of links between the North East and a place like London down south but I’d like to believe it’s mostly because of the 6 hours it takes to get down there/up here. Realistically we only get down south if we’re doing a weekender as it’s just too far to do London and back to then go to work next morning. Costs probably come into play with that too as it’s harder to be able to cover cost for the further travelling bands, as I know myself through putting on shows in the North East. Down south there’s more people which in turn means more shows and more bands. They kinda have all they need down there. So they have the differentiation of bands, more
people to attend shows and people are able to cover costs easier. Plus the fact that it’s a bigger place with way more venues… so people from the south won’t really feel the need to branch out that far to find what they dig.
I think in that case there’s definitely bands from up here that have been and do get over looked. But yeah, thankfully no civil wars are happening haha.
Northern Wolfpack is from years back from the likes of members of Voorhees. The NW “flag” has just been passed on through to bands people from the North have been in, like Break It Up in the early ’00’s to a couple bands up here now featuring same members. I put shows on up here under the promo name Northern Wolfpack and Control identify with it through our friends from those bands like Voorhees and Break It Up who’ve influenced us and just acts as a label to show that shits happening in the North I guess! “Crews” however, always tend to segregate (NY and Boston, perfect example) so NW isn’t that. I tend to keep away from that shit, it’s just not really productive in anyway.”
Talking about the VOORHEES, they come from the same city! And what a great 90’s band, UK finest mean-as-fuck hardcore punk in my opinion.
JxP : “Too right! I actually played guitar for them, along with Break It Up, at a “secret” reunion show for charity a few years back at Morrowfest! Sean their guitarist is also the reason I got into hardcore. He gave me a CD of the band that he was in at the time, previously mentioned, Break It Up. It took me a couple listens to get into it since I’d only really listened to Rancid/The Clash at 15 year old but after that my first hardcore CD I bought was the Minor Threat discography so he set me on the right path and I’ve been straight edge ever since haha.
So do I consider them an important band in UKHC? Definitely. I also think they were the first UK hardcore band to tour America? And I may be wrong but I’m sure Hatebreed supported Voorhees on that tour too. How many bands can say that? Haha. I live near Sean so sometimes I bump into him about Durham or a local gig and Gaz’s band (the original drummer of Voorhees) plays locally with some mates of mine so I go out and catch them play/put them on. Control play at Lecky’s venue Temple of Boom quite a lot in Leeds too. I talked to him the other day when we played there and we came to the realisation that I was born the same year that Voorhees started haha. Mad!”
DxR : “Which UKHC band would you bring back to life and tour with? Perfect UKHC flyer?”
JxP : “That’s a hard one! I’d probably say Break It Up because they got me into hardcore and that album they released stands the test of time for me. It’s definitely an influence on Control so I think that’d be my go to band. Other bands that I’d love to see/see again are some of the southern bands like On Thin Ice, The Break In and xCanaanx, they slayed and there isn’t any bands doing anything much like that these days. I’d have to have a bit of SecondsXOut, The Last Chance and Fastpoint on there too though!”
At the end of our skype meeting, Jonny was about to go see a match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, you know, good ol’ Classico.
JxP : “I’m a season ticket holder for Newcastle United. I used to go to matches a lot with my dad as a kid and lost a bit of interested as I got older and more into travelling for shows and stuff but over the last few years I got back into it. I think my favourite player right now has gotta be Ayoze Perez for us. He came right into the team and hasn’t really had a bad game since. He’s gonna be a top player. I just hope we don’t sell him soon! Am I a hooligan? Naaah, I’m most definitely not. I go to the matches with my dad haha.”
Thanks for your time and patience Jonny