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BRASH BULLETS – Interview

BRASH BULLETS – Interview

brash-bullets

Brash Bullets

Having recently playing their biggest gig to date, the Southampton Punk Festival, Brash Bullets are a new, young punk band hailing from the south of England. With one EP already released (‘Radio Therapy’) we were very keen to catch up with the band and see what makes today’s punks tick and get their opinions on the punk scene in general.

 

Can you give us the background on Brash Bullets – when & how the band formed?

Andrew Defiant: I joined the band in November 2014, after about one month of rehearsing and wondering if/when I was going to be told I was in the band… I put an advertisement up as a ‘singer’ looking to form a punk band and Cam got in touch with me… We then met at a pub in Southampton, The Avondale, and set out my vision for a band, despite having no experience of being in a band before, and, ultimately, the others like it because after a few initial ‘rehearsals’, I was told I was in the band. Back then, we were a five-piece but the other two left and then it was three months before Pickles joined (in March 2015) and just three months later we were playing live (in June 2015) and have been the four-piece of myself on vocals, Cam on guitar, Caid on bass, and Pickles on the drums.

Caid: Cam and Caid are brothers believe it or not and have been in bands previously. It took a while to find the missing pieces Andrew and Pickles. We all believe in the same philosophy and I think that’s what brought us together. That and the internet.

Cam: It was time to start a new band. Caid was an obvious choice as being my brother, we’ve always been in bands together. When we met Andrew for the first time, he had an unquenchable thirst for punk so he was in no matter what. Just had to find a drummer. Pickles slotted in nicely a few months later on.

 

Being a punk from the early 80’s myself, it’s great to see young, new bands emerging. What age are the band members?

Andrew is still 29. Cam is 28. Caid is 25 and Pickles will be 20 later this year.

So what made you get into punk?

Andrew Defiant: I began listening to the Jam (not a punk band, I know) as my Mum has a few singles and I was listening to them a lot. This was back in 2006, so I’d have been 18 then. Then I was listening to the, I don’t know if it is still around now, digital radio station, Mojo radio, and a song came on that I immediately fell in love with, The Clash cover of – I Fought the Law. It was around that time that the Clash singles album was out (early 2007) and I duly went out and bought it. Subsequently I went out and bought all of the Clash albums, as well as the odd punk compilation and my knowledge and, more importantly, loving of many punk bands began… So, if it wasn’t for the Clash then I would not be the person I am today and I certainly would not be in a punk band! For me, I am a huge fan of the ’77 punk bands (Clash, Chelsea, Sex Pistols, Ruts, U.K. Subs and Stiff Little Fingers in particular) in the UK and, obviously, the Ramones from the US. Nowadays though, I am mainly listening to the street punk bands (some of which are ‘old school’): Cock Sparrer, Cockney Rejects, Booze & Glory, Sham 69, The Business, Argy Bargy, Wolf Bites Boy, and Gimp Fist from the UK, and contemporary bands from abroad such as Saints & Sinners, Noi!se, Marching Orders, and Lion’s Law… Simply because I now prefer the street punk bands, as much as I love the old school punk bands, but I still listen to the old school bands just not as ‘intensely’ as I used to. I am also listening to a few Czech punk bands, The Fialky and Nežfaleš as well as Polish street punk band The Analogs… I can’t understand many of the songs but musically they are as good as any English-speaking punk band I’ve heard. All of these bands, and more, have greatly influenced me, not only as a person and listening to them whenever I can, but when writing lyrics too.

Caid: For me, I started with post punk and Joy Division. From there I went backwards and discovered the DIY philosophy. Cam, as a big brother should, got me hooked onto the likes of Ramones and mum brought me up on a wide range of music including punk. The appeal is definitely the philosophy behind it though, anyone from any background can give up giving a fuck and do something in their own way and do it themselves.

Cam: Musically speaking, me and Caid kind of always were. From the first time we picked up guitars, our songs were two minutes long and anti-establishment. The punk attitude comes from entering work life during the credit crunch, living in an overly PC health & safety clad world that’s wrapped up in grandma’s soft cotton wool.

Pickles: I like the originality of it. You can write a song about the meaning of life or you can write a song about Marmite crisps and it still manages to be entertaining and meaningful to somebody out there.

 

brash-bulletsAre you finding more of today’s ‘youth’ getting into punk or is it mainly the ‘X Factor’ type shit that people still follow?

Andrew Defiant: Difficult one really… In the U.K. it is not really popular amongst the youth from what I’ve seen at gigs. I think to get the young people, our generation, into punk we have to physically drag many of them to a gig and even then it is hit and miss… I know on the continent [Europe] that the punk scene is huge and, in fact, the majority of people at gigs, certainly in the Czech Republic, are under 25. With regard to the U.K. it seems that most of the youngsters at gigs are the sons and daughters of the original punks, so they have got into punk, and going to gigs, through their parents. I think in the U.K. many of the youngsters who like ‘punk’ are more interested in pop-punk and ‘post-hardcore’ than ’77 punk and contemporary old-school influenced bands. Will it change, I don’t know? Most young people that I interact with prefer either pop-punk or fans of other genres of music all together, with many watching the X-Factor and thinking that is what live music is, and it couldn’t be further from reality… X-Factor is contrived and is a cash-cow; I’ve [Andrew] not seen one episode in years and I don’t plan to watch it again… Then again, punk has always been a sub culture so if people choose not to listen to a punk song, or a punk band, then they are really missing out. Not only are the songs real and truthful, they are, to me, the voices of working-class rock ‘n’ roll and that is why I have identified with punk for the last 11 years, because it speaks to me in a way that other types of music does not.

Caid: To be honest, we predominantly see the old guard still flying the punk flag. But counter culture tends to be driven by youth and we do see some younger audience members. I think the problem with most people our age is that the man bun is restricting the oxygen to their brains; they can only process the mainstream shite and can’t handle anything else. It’s a problem when counter culture is defined as a man bun and cardigan.

Cam: We get a few teenagers liking our stuff but not enough. X Factor is pure fast food. You think you want it but you don’t need it. It’s not healthy. How about four lads writing and growing their own homemade music? It doesn’t have the glossy packaging that is pyro and glitter on a prime-time TV slot but fuck me it’s so much more rewarding to listen to. Just a shame not enough people realise that.

 

Do all of the band have the same musical influences – which bands & type of music influence who?

Andrew Defiant: The band have different musical influences. I am obviously greatly influenced by the ’77 punk bands, and punk and street punk bands of today, but I am also influenced by, and listen to a lot of different genres, artists as diverse as Eddie Cochran, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, and Bruce Springsteen, as well as being a big fan of Irish folk music, The Dubliners and Luke Kelly and, influenced by Irish folk music, The Pogues… I love those artists and their songs, but I am ‘mainly’ influenced, and spend the majority of my time listening to, old school punk and street punk.

Caid: Ha I would have to say I have the most expansive musical taste but I’ll chalk that up to being born after many decades of music. I think it is important to keep an open mind to other genres of music. That’s how you keep innovative.

Cam: I’ve got 2 bands who own my heart. Oasis & Ramones. The attitude, swagger & desire to be the best is evident in both. As Caid says, we were brought up on punk, indie, britpop, drum n bass and maybe some Jimmy Nail too!

Pickles: I’d say Cam is big on the Ramones. He likes his power chords, a catchy chorus. There’s defiantly a hint of Oasis in his style somewhere though. Andrews definitely more into The Jam and that old school punk. He was born in the wrong decade but it doesn’t stop him from delivering the message in his head.

 

You’ve been gigging since 2015. Is this mainly local to the Southampton area or have you gigged nationwide?

Andrew Defiant: Mainly in Southampton but we have, on occasion, played further afield. Our first ever gig was in someone’s living room, in Nottingham, for their university’s punk society. We have played also in Derby, as well as in Poole. In September, 2016 we also played in Prague, Czech Republic, in Klub Buben, supporting street punk bands Martens Army (from Germany) and Saints & Sinners (from Czech Republic) – I was fortunate enough to meet Degi from Saints & Sinners and he offered us a gig there, for their ‘Breakaway’ album launch gig.

Cam: We’ve always said we will go anywhere. Wembley stadium or some dingy sticky floored club in Dunfermline. We go where the gigs are but there’s a growing scene here in Southampton. It’s not a weekly thing (yet) but there’s plenty of punk bands around the south to have regular gigs. Andrew is pretty well connected in the Midlands so we play there as often as we can. We managed to get over to Prague last year for a payment of beer & pizza.

You were recently on the bill at the Southampton Punk Festival with the likes of Angelic Upstarts, GBH, Peter & the Test Tube Babies. What was that experience like?

Andrew Defiant: The experience was great. For me playing alongside bands that I had listened to when I first got into punk was great, and all the bands we spoke to afterwards were sound. Certain songs by some of the bands, and TV Smith, brought back memories, good and bad, of when I was a student in Nottingham. Plus, the beer fridge in the band room kept being re-stocked so it would have been rude for us not to help ourselves on occasion.

Caid: It was a great day! We opened the show and were received really well. Sold a bunch of cds, drank a shit load of free beer and spoke to a lot of new fans. It was a great taste of what’s to come.

Cam: Amazing but I’m not just content to be on the bill. I think we proved that we can hang with the best.

 

Was there a good number of punters there (rough numbers)?

Andrew Defiant: I think, from the stage, for us – playing first – there were between 30 and 50 people in the venue, but that, obviously, increased to a couple of hundred (I’d imagine) as the day went on.

Cam: There was people. Couldn’t stick a number on it. Being first on the bill you want a strong performance so those who were there will be at our next gig and in the meantime, will tell others what they missed.

 

Who impressed you on the bill that night?

Andrew Defiant: As a huge Clash fan I did like the Clash tribute band London Calling. I think I sang along more in their 40-minute set than I did in our 30 minute set! I also really enjoyed Peter & the Test Tube Babies (who I’ve never really ‘got’ when I’ve listened to their songs online), and the Angelic Upstarts were fantastic. Special mention also to GBH and The Members, both are legendary on the punk scene, and the UK Ramones who were good.

Caid: GBH were on one!I thoroughly enjoyed Peter and The Test Tube Babies. Cam and I also enjoyed UK Ramones although we do 53rd & 3rd better.

Cam: I liked GBH. Enjoyed a sing along with the UK Ramones of course but why they do Surfin’ Bird I don’t know. Waste of time.

Pickles: I quite liked the UK Ramones because It’s the closest experience I’ll have to seeing the real thing and that’s something I’ve always wanted to see.

 

Are Brash Bullets political (especially within their lyrics)?

Andrew Defiant: I have written some political lyrics which are yet to see the light of day. Having studied politics at Nottingham and political theory at MA level in Birmingham now, I have always had an interest in politics. The problem, as I see it, with having political lyrics is that it could well divide our fan base. The street punk bands are a good example of why politics is seen as a ‘dirty word’ in punk, with skinheads constantly fighting off accusations as to whether they’re ‘red’ or ‘nazi’… for that reason I would not like to be put into a box or viewed as being this or that. The most political we get in our performances at the moment is the ‘fuck Trump’ chant in Capital City Disappointment, interchanged with ‘fuck London’ – as the beer in London is too expensive! Outside of the band we all have political views and opinions, like everyone else, and like everyone else we would not all agree 100% with each other’s views but we don’t bring them to rehearsal and live performances and nor should we, I think. At the very least we are anti-racist, but that should go without saying, I think. If we were to suddenly play political songs live then there are plenty of issues to speak about…

Caid: Not deliberately. We don’t set out with a political agenda but if something, or someone, sat in the White House for example, pisses us off then you’ll know about it.

Cam: We hit certain subjects without going in depth. There are a few political undertones but we’re mostly about everyday life without sounding cliché. Fancy that girl? Write a song. Relationship issues? Write a song.

 

What really pisses you off about the state of the country/world at present?

Andrew Defiant: I would prefer not to answer this question… But if I were to, nothing ever changes. The rich get richer and the poor get the blame; unemployment issues and shit like zero-hours contracts and punitive sanctions at the Job Centre for ridiculous reasons; the vitriol after Britain’s EU referendum result, from both sides; the shit v shitter choice for the American people in their presidential election last year; all the important issues being hidden away from us by the corrupt elite etc.

Caid: How long have you got? For me, it’s this fucking silent majority of people who normally don’t vote, don’t bother trying to improve things, sit back and complain and all of a sudden come along and totally fuck your world view; probably grinds my gears.

Cam: People who say they love live music but can’t be fucked to come to a free gig on a Saturday night down the local for a few hours but will happily pay £100 a ticket plus travel plus £8 burgers plus standing around all day drinking £6 pints in a field with people throwing cup fulls of piss at each other waiting for Kings of Leon to play Sex On Fire. That PISSES ME OFF!!

 

brash-bulletsWith one EP already out, are there plans for future releases?

Andrew Defiant: Plans for another EP, to keep our fans wanting more.

Caid: #SpoilerAlert. Yeah, we have already put the wheels in motion. Just arranging with the studio – Mutant Lab – to get the time booked in.

Cam: Tell me he didn’t just hashtag? Stay tuned. We could drop a new EP any time.

 

Where would you like to see Brash Bullets in 1, 3 & 5 years time?

Andrew Defiant: I’ve never been a fan of ‘I want to be here in x amount of years’, I just think to continue to improve, to play further afield in the UK, to be asked to play Rebellion Festival, the jewel in the crown of punk festivals, then maybe Mighty Sounds in Czech Republic would be ideal… I am also aiming for a European tour, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany these sorts of countries where punk is huge and the audiences know their stuff! So, improvement, make a name for ourselves on the punk scene, tour abroad and see where that takes us.

Caid: 1 year : 2 EPs and more European shows. 3 years: American tour and taking a dump on the White House front garden. 5 years: complaining how busy we are with all the festivals we’re playing.

Cam: In a years time we will have bagged some roadies. 3 years time, some groupies and 5 years time? The world.

Pickles: Where would I like to be? Headlining Reading of course!

 

 

Many thanks to the band for taking out time to talk to us. I for one am going to catch Brash Bullets live as soon as I can – I implore you to do the same.

 

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