Snippet #1 -
"The title of Distractions is referred to what it means to be distracted from being yourself and the desire of being another person. Did you suffer frequently all these distractions that inspire the record?
It was a way of trying to acknowledge all the things which could be perceived as distractions but creating something positive out of it… even seeing the band as a distraction from getting on with other things you should be doing, like working or leading a regular life... like if we hadn’t of been distracted then that album wouldn’t exist. I’ve seen some people perceiving it as a negative take on being distracted, I don’t think it’s either negative or positive, it’s just being aware of how much influence those things have on our lives. Also, it was a way of delving further into the fictional “Town Called Distraction” we introduced on the first LP, this record are stories and tales of people that exist in that world.
Continuing with the contents of the record, I believe that this is a very instinctive record, surrounding aspects that affect all of us. Reflect them on the songs is a relief?
Sorry, I don’t understand.
I like a lot the metaphors that appear in ‘The Bridge’. Do you believe that your music has a great reflexive component?
Great, thanks! I like thinking and writing about things which are ambiguous and can have different contradicting ideas placed upon them… That song is a good example of trying to hold something in place with words that disagree with each other but express a certain feeling or uneasiness about something as tangible as a bridge. Kinda goes back to how some people have definite ideas about our songs being negative or positive, where for me they’re neither, it’s just trying create situations that could be both.
Talking about reflections, you convert two poems in songs such are ‘Paul’ and ‘(Taking) a walk’, showing definitively that you didn’t want to get a conventional record. Did you have clear to include these songs in the record?
The idea to continue the theme of spoken word tracks on our records was there from the start, it was just working out how we’d frame them. I really enjoy words and often they can be pushed to the back of what is important in a song… this is has always been a way to approach communicating an idea more directly, cutting away the form and restrictions of a sub-2 minute punk song but retaining it’s essence.
This is a compulsory question. You are a punk band. However, nowadays the term punk is getting more and more confused. What involves punk for you?
I think it’s like I was saying about having something which contradicts itself repeatedly, which you can place whatever you want on to the word or concept and it can stick, it is tangible and people understand but at the same time as soon as it is questioned it collapses in on itself… like quantum physics and how a particle can be many things at the same time until it is observed."
SAUNA YOUTH INTERVIEW
As previously explained, this piece is concerned with punk and its legacy, with a focus on why there's been a recent surge in bands tapping into it. Apologies if some of the questions sound a bit generic... (And, by the way, I like what you do very much…)
You’ve been described as - amongst other things- a punk band that’s happy to embrace all the [inherent] contradictions”. Can you elaborate? Are we talking badge of pride, poisoned chalice, a bit of both…?
We said that about ourselves. It was a way of acknowledging that as a word 'punk' is essentially meaningless and a mass of contradictions that have as much validity as each other thereby negating each other. However, it is a signifier and a way of communicating quickly certain ideas and things we associate with... Much like wearing a Ramones t-shirt could do to a stranger in the street, it could start a conversation about a similar interest. However, for example, when you can buy Ramones t-shirts in Matalan then the edges start blurring of what that can mean, there isn't less validity of buying your Ramones t-shirt from Matalan same as there isn't less validity of just listening to the Ramones on YouTube rather than an original 12" but some people think that there is a problem with that and it lacks some cultural depth. Good thing about the fluid nature of the word 'punk' though is that it can be used to describe anything that pisses anyone else off so whatever you do you can't lose.
In what ways does punk/the punk aesthetic inform what you do? (Sound, culture, politics….)
All of those in different ways i think. Mainly though for us it has been about being self-sustaining and being responsible for our own lives, creating alternate realities that move away from ones that might've been prescribed to us when we were younger. We all are active in supporting ourselves through endeavours that engage with art and culture which the band compliments.
Buzzcocks, early Mekons, early Fall – I hear clear parallels in your work with that of the Class of 77/78. How important to go direct to the original movement, rather than draw from later punk-inspired eras – hardcore, riot grrrl, early 21st century post-punk?
Important but equally important to ignore them altogether. That's cool you hear all that and we take it as a compliment. We try to draw from as many different sources as possible. For example the beat from "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is used on nearly every song on Distractions... The use of samplers and samples is concurrently a nod to hip hop and modern composition / computer music... There's definitely shades of American hardcore in there, Australian punk, c86 bands, "noise" and ambient music too.
Punk in ’76 was a cultural movement largely born outside the music industry and with a manifesto to dismantle/deconstruct all musical orthodoxies (and more). There is no sense of 'movement' today. Is ‘punk' now simply about style and attitude? And is that enough?
I don't think punk ever had a manifesto, that's probably why we like it so much... It can be anything you want it to be. In terms of movement though, that just indicates a lack of involvement... The London and UK punk scene at the moment is an incredibly motivating and inspiring place to be, the bands and labels are some of the best in the world and there's a huge emphasis on destroying the embarrassingly commonplace sight of all-male, white, heterosexual, able-bodied bands that proliferate... In a feat of unimaginable strength of will and vision in the property cess-pit that is London the community has also managed to create an autonomous venue/record shop/cafe/community space called DIY Space for London which in itself demonstrates a very healthy 'movement' (the people involved also have great attitude and style btw).
M is a magazine that represents songwriters. What’s so great about a 'punk’ approach to songwriting that demands revisiting (and quite possibly reassembling)?
Why have 3 chords when you could have 1?
I witnessed punk first-hand. There was a lot of comedy and a lot of violence. In some ways, the bands seemed incidental; a chaotic sense of *belonging was everything. To me, that says everything about the difference between the power of music and subculture then and now. Am I missing something?