interview

NHC Talks To The Signal - A Rebellion 2019 Special - B.B.

NHC music will be returning to rebellion festival again this year. As you know, the NHC is all about representing and promoting upcoming unsigned bands, so on that note we decided to conduct a wee interview with one of Scotland’s finest punk bands, The Signal.  Who you can catch tearing the introducing stage a new one at 6:30-7:00 on Friday 02/08/18.

THE SIGNAL

Ok, first off. Who’s who and who does what? 

The Signal are- Kieran/Bass, Dave/Drums, Lewis/Guitar, Nikki/Vocals.

When/where did the band form? 

We formed in Inverness early 2008, with a few line up changes on bass & guitar over the early years. Lewis was our bass player but moved on to guitar when Kieran joined about 5 years ago.

How would you describe your sound? 

Our sound is quite hard to describe, we take influences from very early punk & everything in between. We all have vast & various tastes in music. We like to mix it up a bit with some Oi, ska, garage, metal. rock, whatever. We never really aim for a particular sound, if a song sounds good we'll just go with it. Don't really know how you'd describe our sound, it is what it is! The Signal.

What releases do you have to date? 

We have always done our own recordings since we started & we put them up for free streaming/ download, we used to burn a few CDs to take to gigs to sell for a few quid. We never released anything 'official' until 2018.We decided to go into a studio & do a 'proper' recording as opposed to just having home demos. We recorded the 'Suck It' 5 track EP at a local studio which we released in March 2018 to coincide with the band being 10 years old. We have just recently recorded another 5 track EP which is in the early mixing stages right now, it’s yet untitled but hope to have it ready in some shape or form in time for our Rebellion debut.

How does it feel to be playing the introducing stage at rebellion this year? 

Playing Rebellion is a dream come true for us. We applied several times before with no luck, but this year we got lucky & we get to play the biggest punk festival in the world! It's a big deal for us, we're proud of what we've achieved. Geographically we are not in a great location so we travel A LOT, but we have to in order to widen our audience & get the opportunities we have been given but we are grateful for these opportunities & travelling is just something we have to deal with.

What’s the punk scene like where you’re from? Is there one? 

One of the main reasons we travel a lot is because of the lack of a music scene in Inverness, particularly a punk scene.  There's plenty of people who like punk but not in a band playing it!  The 'music scene' in Inverness is very middle of the road & safe, there's a lot of cover bands, who have their place, but when you’re in a small town they tend to dominate the venues. The Market Bar in Inverness is the best live music venue in town & we play there 4/5 times a year. Shirley who books us has always supported the band from the very beginning & it's definitely one of our our most favourite places to play hand's down! It's a great wee venue with a great vibe about it!

Do politics belong in punk? 

Politics belong in punk, they belong in any musical genre.  Music gives a platform to that. Punk is synonymous with politics but not every punk band is political. Music can educate & also influence people, people who might not necessarily watch TV, the news etc.  If a band they like has a political stance they are more likely to take notice of the message & maybe educate themselves.

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Any bands you’re looking forward to seeing at rebellion this year? 

We're only at Rebellion for the Friday & Saturday, but there are so many bands we are looking forward to seeing.  UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, Steve Ignorant, The Exploited, Subhumans, Leftover Crack....so many & so many we are going to miss as well but work & money dictate. Really want to see as much of the Introducing stage as possible as well. It’s good to see what’s happening in the rest of the country and beyond.

Who have been you’re favourite bands that you have shared a stage with/what’s been your best gig experiences thus far? 

We've been pretty lucky with some of the bands we've shared a stage with. Stiff Little Fingers, Subhumans, Angelic Upstarts, Conflict, Oi Polloi, GBH, UK Subs. We were fortunate enough to play support to the Buzzcocks in 2016 when they played Inverness as part of their 40th anniversary tour, a real honour & a privilege. It's a prominent gig for us, more so now with Pete Shelley's passing.  We got the chance to share a stage with him & chat to him and we played rather well that night which doesn't hurt. Cramond Island of Punk 2015 is also a memorable gig & still probably one of the most surreal. It was a great day, it was our first time at Cramond playing/attending & definitely one of our most memorable gigs. A bunch of punks stranded on an island with bands & booze...brilliant!

Why should people come to see you on the introducing stage? 

People should come and see us at Rebellion because we are loud, brash, opinionated, energetic & melodic all at the same time.

NHC GONZO DIVISION MEETS JACK RABBIT SLAMS - C. T. Herron

I find my weary mortal-remains once again in the architecturally-delightful metropolis of Edinburgh, which is a city that puts me in mind of a cleaner, slightly-modernised  version of Ankh-Morpork. A city which is the polar opposite of its unruly neighbour Glasgow. Scruffy charisma vs. opulent ostentatiousness. Medieval lanes vs shady back alleys. Cliques vs overly-friendly drunks. And NEDs vs… Well, NEDs with more intimidating accents. I prefer Glasgow, that’s why I live there, but Edinburgh is not without its charm. I’d probably feel more at home in Edinburgh out in the surrounding areas, the rough parts, where everyone but junkies fear to tread. That’s more my kind of scene… I prefer Glasgow to Edinburgh for the same reason I prefer jakey old man pubs to yuppie wine bars.

I’m up here to see The Howling Lords and to meet a band who have been on my radar a few times but who I haven’t experienced yet; Jack Rabbit Slams (a cool name is always a good start for any band!). They’re playing in Bannerman’s Bar as part of the The Howling Lords’ ‘Texas Medicine’ tour, for the album of the same name; a fantastic album, you can find my review of it here: https://www.newhellfireclub.co.uk/news/2018/11/5/the-howling-lords-texas-medicine-album-review-c-t-herron

After circumnavigating the streets of Edinburgh which twist like entrails in the guts of the city; over vaults and tunnels, we arrive, quite high on potent marijuana and slightly tipsy on Stormy Cloudy Apple Strongbow, at the designated den of iniquity. Not being too familiar with this bit of Edinburgh, I don’t know what to expect at the venue Bannerman’s, and so when we arrive at a cosy little bar to find four dishevelled figures crammed into a corner poking each other with their instruments and trying (not unsuccessfully) to do a folksy version of a Ziggy Stardust song to a small disinterested crowd of onlookers we assume this is the gig and settle in…

After purchasing social-lubricants (meads, which they warmed by plunging a hot poker in) and settling in to watch the performance, with no sign of those damned Stornaway Vikings anywhere, our marijuana-laced minds became relaxed in the small confines of the wee bar, listening to the jangling of confused instruments, until Felix eventually materialised out of a side portal wearing a leather hood and carrying a large crossbow…

And now, armed with a guide to lead me through the archways and hidden rooms of the building, I realise I have mistaken this establishment for being a tiny little bar when in fact it’s a sprawling complex of interlocking buildings that houses a lounge, a gig room, and even an upstairs accommodation for the bands playing, and god-knows-what-else, probably a scullery and a stable! It’s not unlike a village inn you might find in Game of Thrones, just replace the swords with mobile phones and you’re there. What I mean is, Bannerman’s has a look and feel to it like it may once have been a medieval inn, filled with swordsman and serving wenches and peasants and cutthroats.

Carrying our brimming flagons of mead, and sidestepping a few dwarves playing some sort of game that involves throwing daggers into the wall, Felix shows us to upstairs; a winding staircase that leads up to what looks like a squatter’s flat, and is really, seeing as it’s given over to musicians; you know what musicians are like! There was women and whiskey and drugs strewn everywhere, actually not so much the drugs, well not strewn anyway, so I provided my own by rolling a blunt and sitting on the windowsill to smoke it, looking out at the jagged, smoky, hodgepodge rooftops of Auld Reekie.

After my joint I was introduced to a handsome bunch of rockers, and this was Jack Rabbit Slams; cutting a fine figure they sat down on a battered couch, Sean, Archie and Rob, and I sat on the well-worn coffee table and fired up the old Dictaphone; this is what happened next:  

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GONZO DIV: So how long have you been a band?

ROB (guitar/vocs): Just under three years, I started jamming with Sean first, and then it took us like an age to find a bassplayer, er for whatever reason it just took absolute ages and ages and ages, nobody seemed to play bass in the whole central belt of Scotland…

NHC: It’s really strange that, it seems to be a prevalent problem among bands!?

ROB: Aye, I dunno’, it just seemed to take like ages and ages to even get a reply, ended up Chris came and joined, but he’s actually just left us the now, nu’hin bad happened, just one o’ they things, we decided to part ways. So Archie’s jumped-in and replaced him, three weeks’ notice man, learned a full album’s worth o’ songs, fuck!

NHC: So why is it so hard to find a bassplayer Archie?

ARCHIE (bass): Easy way to put it; my dad’s been playing bass for years and every time he goes to the toilet someone’ll come up to him and tell him his band’s really class, or you were really good up there, and he’d be like ‘I’m not on stage for another fifteen minutes!’ So that’s why, cos’ no-one gives a shit about the bassplayer.

NHC: Maybe it takes a special, rare breed of demented human to play bass…

ARCHIE: You don’t wanna’ be seen in the spotlight…

SEAN (drums): Everyone’s wantin’ to be a guitar-player innit’, cos’ it’s cool.

NHC: Aye, showing off! So Jack Rabbit Slams, is that a reference to Pulp Fiction?

ROB: Ha! Aye, and naw… Er, we kept tryin’ to think o’ names and er, every time you try n’ name a band every name just sounds shite. If ye’ think o’ big bands now, like The Beatles, the first one that said ‘let’s be called The Beatles’…

NHC: The Beatles is a shite name, it’s not even a good play-on-words…

ROB: I know aye, it’s a mince name, but we were hitting about with loadsa’ ideas n’that and I actually thought the restaurant in Pulp Fiction was called Jack Rabbit Slams, but it’s actually Jack Rabbit Slims…

NHC: Haha, so that play-on-words was a mistake!

ROB: Aye and I put out all the posters and realised we’d misspelled it, but it actually worked out better cos’ on Youtube there’s lotsa’ videos for Jack Rabbit Slims, but we’re the only ones that come up for Jack Rabbit Slams…

NHC: And I thought it was like a play-on-words like a heavy-rocking band with a nod to Pulp Fiction’s dance scene! So speaking of heavy-rocking, what do you describe yourselves as, cos’ I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing you yet, judging by the sound-check I heard, are you stoner rock, psychedelic metal…?

ROB: Er naw man, just like… [long pause]…

NHC: Rock & roll?

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SEAN: Hard rock

ROB: Aye, high-energy rock, we’ve no really got any slow songs, sleazy rock & roll, sleazy, anytime we’ve been reviewed the word sleazy comes up. Dirty and sleazy, that’s the two words that always come up in reviews.

NHC: Grimy, grungy, unctuous. Any upcoming gigs or albums you wanna’ promote?

ROB: Aye, everything man, we’ve got an album called ‘Crackerjack’ which comes out in June, the first single will be coming out in the middle of May, we’ve got a video coming out for it, we’ve got merch; t-shirts, badges, everything, we’ve been really hard at work…

NHC: Have you got a website or is it just the social media? Stupid question really, who has a website these days!? When do you ever go on a band’s actual website!?

ROB: Aye, well we just finished the album and we were thinkin’ o’ different ways to promote it and obviously you’ve gotta’ have social media, although it should be about the tunes, not the likes and shares and that, but you can’t fight against social media, it’s impossible…

NHC: It depends how you use it, if you use it negatively, you can go on stuff you don’t like and moan about it, or you can go on stuff you actually like and promote it and spread positivity…

ROB: That’s it man, but you feel ever-so-slightly cheap having to go on Facebook and that and having to beg to promote your posts…

NHC: Ok, if I switched all your instruments to the left, would you still be able to function as a band?

ROB: Errrrm, naw! Haha!

SEAN: I can’t play bass or guitar or sing, so I’d be fucked…

ROB: Aw man the singing, holy shit…

NHC: So the band would collapse…

ROB: On the first EP we wanted Sean to do backing vocals for one chorus and er, it was…

SEAN: Autotune couldn’t even fix it

ROB: Aye, I’m no having a go at ye’ this is just genuine fact, it was fucking horrendous, cos’ he didn’t have anything to dae’ with his hands, he was just standing all nervous and we’re like “what ye’ daein’” n’ he’s like “what do I dae” and we’re like “just fucking stand and sing!” Like four notes or something like that, it just wisnae’ happenin’. I had to go and get my wee brother and get him to come through from fucking Glasgow just to record one line!

NHC: Okay, final question; the apocalypse is definitely coming, how do you think it’s gonna’ happen?

ROB: Ooft, well, it could be a zombie apocalypse…

NHC: You really think there’s gonna’ be a zombie apocalypse!?

ROB: It was actually just a ruthless plug for our video, which is zombie-themed, which’ll be coming out with the single in May.

NHC: That question was a good segue then! Sean, how do you think the world’s gonna’ end?

SEAN: Probably robots isn’t it, artificial intelligence, it’s slowly happening now, slowly but surely…

ROB: Skynet!

NHC: People say we’re starting to be infiltrated by AI but they don’t realise Google is technically AI and we’ve been using that for decades!

ROB: I’m prepared man cos’ I have watched The Terminator series maire’ times than any human on Earth…

NHC: And what valuable wisdom did you glean from that? The only way to kill it is to dip it in molten steel?

ROB: I’m the real John Connor, yiz’ are all laughin’ noo but I’m the real John Connor!

NHC: You look like the real life John Connor, you’ve got a post-apocalyptic vibe! How do you think the world’s gonna’ end Archie?

ARCHIE: North Korea man.

NHC: Good answer.

ROB: Fuck, you been reading the Daily Mail again!?

NHC: Ebola spiders coming from North Korea disguised as Muslims, that’s the kinda’ headlines you get in the Daily Mail.

ROB: Aye, I want to change my answer to that actually.

NHC: Yours was the most far-fetched I think, Archie and Sean were on-the-button. It could just be the flu; “A message sent to other worlds will say it’s ‘just the flu’”

ROB: Something needs to be done, the maire’ times I watch ‘Infinity War’ the maire’ I’m on Thanos’ side, know what I mean…

The conversation took a dark, sinister, controversial turn after that, and I’m knackered from scribing, so we’ll leave it there…

Except to say, that afterwards Jack Rabbit Slams absolutely fucking blew me away from the spot I was standing on! Call it stoner rock, psychedelic metal, hardcore rock & roll, high-octane rock, bluesy-grunge, cosmic chaos, call it all those things; call it what you like, but it’s fucking impressive! Bands with leporids in their name are always good, like the seldom-seen Bastard Killed My Rabbit, The Frightened Rabbits, Echo & The Bunnymen etc. and now Jack Rabbit Slams.

One of my best live experiences of 2019 so far (and I’m writing this in June). Their sound was very much in the vein of Kyuss, Clutch or QOTSA. If you like your rock music with a bit of testicular fortitude I suggest you get out and see them. I was absolutely astonished by the drumming, which put me in mind of Travis Barker a lot. I haven’t used the word sleazy to describe the band once, and if you were to consult the thesaurus for alternatives to the word sleazy you would find that none of them are very complimentary anyway.

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The Howling Lords were, of course, married finely to JRS with their own style of hard-hitting-blues-viking-rock! The two bands complimented each other well, and left my ears suitably-ringing.  Although the release of this article was delayed the timing has actually worked out well as JRS are about to drop their new video for the single from the forthcoming album, ‘Crackerjack’. And I have a feeling it’s going to be a very, very good album, maybe even a contender for local album of 2019! A real flagship album for Scotland’s heavy-rock scene no doubt. Check out the teaser for it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNxUQ_DjjJ0 and its due release is 14/06. A definite band to watch!

                                                                     Seeya’ in the world-famous Jack Rabbit Slams’ Twist Contest! 

C.T Herron (Gonzo Div.)

Rotten Core - Turning Pre-Loved Items Into New To Love Art

We had a chat with one of the amazing local artists we stock at our NHC shop, sitting within the confines of The Ice Box Arts And Music Centre about the work they do, the art the create, and what the future may hold for them. Check out the chat below then be sure to visit their Facebook page and website, as they have some amazing, and unique works of art to share with you!

Can you tell us a bit about what made you choose your specific style of artwork? Especially the use of old cd's and records as a medium?

I was always the arty kid growing up but it was through music that I really discovered the world I wanted to be a part of. Typical emo kid, spending all my Saturday-job money on cds and band t-shirts, it didn’t take me long to discover Alex Pardee, Dan Mumford, Shepard Fairey; incredible artists whose work in no way reflected the things I was being taught in my art education. Their work was fresh, bold, uninhibited and plastered all over the album covers of my favourite bands. They were exactly what I’d been looking for; where tutors told me ‘no you can’t’ their work screamed ‘do it!’ I’m not sure if I have a solid style yet but those guys definitely gave me the assurance I needed to work in my own way.

Using unwanted, unusable CDs and records as a medium came about quite unintentionally but actually seems to be the perfect fit for combining my love of art and music. Like a lot of creatives, I’m a terrible hoarder and becoming more conscious about my impact on the planet and wanting to reduce waste has only made me more obsessed with holding onto things ‘that’ll be useful one day’. Years ago, I came across 1000’s of unwanted vinyl records being sold off cheaply and knew I needed to save them before they ended up in landfill. (Don’t worry, I don’t paint over anything special!) Creatively I’m happiest when I’ve got a scalpel in one hand and a spray can in the other but I’d never really brought those skills into my commercial work. I was holding onto all these puzzle pieces for years and not putting them together then last year my Broken Records just happened. They’re my favourite thing to work on and having to work quickly and spontaneously painting them is a great release after hours of meticulous, controlled design work.

What would you say to other artists wanting to throw themselves into their work, any words of encouragement, or words of warning, you would share with your younger self if you could?

Oh man, so many cliché quotes spring to mind! If it’s something you love, you really will make it happen. If someone tells you you can’t, they’re just another hurdle to pass on your journey. Don’t let anyone stand in your way- they will try.

Early-on I pushed myself to discover lots of artists, not just the few they teach you about in school and I think it’s one of the things that’s helped me most. You can learn a lot about art and about yourself by studying the work of others and at the same time, you get to look at really beautiful art!

Also think about the sort of community you want to create and be part of. I spent years being taught that everyone else was my competition and I had to be better than them, it wasn’t good advice. The creative world becomes a lot more beautiful when we come together, collaborate, share; I wish I’d known that sooner.

Being enthusiastic is great but making a living as an artist is definitely hard work and anyone thinking of taking the leap should do their research first. I’ve had a lot of struggles since launching Rotten Core but even on my darkest days there’s nothing I would change about the journey I’ve had so far. Every lousy thing that happens really does make you stronger. Oh, and always get everything in writing, that advice will save you one day!

What is next for Rotten Core then as a brand? Do you ever see yourself opening up a shop, or a dedicated art space / studio?

How long have you got? I have a new business plan every other day! I think I’m a long way off having my own shop but it’s definitely on the list. As a brand, I would love Rotten Core to be doing more to inspire and impassion people to get outside, discover how incredibly magical the natural world is and do more to live kindly. I’d like to involve more screen printing in my work and I’d love my product range to all have eco/ethical credentials by the end of the year. I have a lot of grand plans involving t-shirts which I hope will come to fruition soon. My motto is ‘make pretty things and change the world’. I’ve made some pretty things so I guess it’s time to start on the changing the world part.

https://www.rottencore.co.uk/shop

https://www.facebook.com/RottenCoreCreative/

Women Underground- Eilidh Harris - From The Jenny Tingle Series

Women Underground- Eilidh Harris - From The Jenny Tingle Series

“I drink wine. I planned to only have one glass before our first gig but during our soundcheck, my heart started beating furiously so I had at least one more… Although, performing is honestly the best thing that I have ever done, and it is more of an adrenalin rush than nerves. After a couple of times playing live, I felt like I got used to it and I don’t need to rely on wine to drown the butterflies anymore”.

NHC Music talks to Lee J Cosgrove (LJ) from Alternative Promotions about their Charity gigs - Jenny Tingle

NHC Music talks to Lee J Cosgrove (LJ) from Alternative Promotions about their Charity gigs - Jenny Tingle

Honestly?  I've no idea!  I don't see myself as a "promoter", so maybe that's it... to me, a promoter has resources and let's those do the work for them, whereas, I pretty do everything from creating the events to flyering outside venues.  With charity gigs, I do it so that everything made goes to the charity, not just the 'profits', since those can often be less than the event cost in the first place.

Take Today talk to NHC Music about their forthcoming EP, Rise Above - Jenny Tingle

Take Today talk to NHC Music about their forthcoming EP, Rise Above - Jenny Tingle

Paul: “If I didn’t have music in my life, I seriously don’t know what I would be doing, it’s the only thing I know how to do.”

Alex: “Believe it or not, if I didn’t have music in my life I would be practicing medicine”.

Lewis: “I think music has done so much for me that I'm really not sure but I guess I would be still be doing Chemistry”.