Dan: Everything sounds a lot cleaner on All Talk compared to the previous EP. Did you make any big changes to record this one?
Mark: Yeah, we deliberately went for the biggest sound we could get this time on an affordable budget. We had a few names in mind but ended up going with Ricky Beetlestone at The Clubhouse in Tunbridge Wells as it was reasonably local. We demoed a lot too compared to last time. The 3 tracks were recorded over 5 days which is also a luxury compared to some previous experiences in other bands.
Dan: Oh yeah for sure, awesome man. You’ve got what I’d consider quite an old school pop punk style, can you tell me about your big influencers and how the band works them into the songs.
Mark: Well, we’re technically millennials I think? So we’re still cool and young. I think if you were born in 1981 it JUST about counts. So, we still listen to all the hip new bands haha. That said, we grew up with Nirvana, Guns ’N’ Roses, early Weezer and all the run-off from the hair metal days. Subconsciously, we would have been influenced by a lot of 80s chart pop. The key period for us really is the late 90s to early/mid 2000s. Coheed and Cambria, Glassjaw, At The Drive-In and the Drive-Thru Records roster of bands were what we really loved as kids.
Dan: I hear a lot of New Found Glory and Fenix TX in your sounds, do you guys listen to them?
Mark: I only know that ONE Fenix TX song [All My Fault] that I can’t remember the name of. Doh. Classic era New Found Glory have always been favourites of at least 3 of us. For me, Catalyst is a classic album. Though I’ve always loved Homegrown, The Starting Line and Something Corporate in particular… not that it’s reflected in our sound though. Finch though 100%.
Dan: Cool. Yeah I'm a big Homegrown fan and Something Corporate fan too.
Mark: ‘21 and Invincible’ from North is one of my favourite songs ever. And they were, weirdly, a backdoor into me liking bands like The Hold Steady.
Dan: Yeah, I can see the connection. Talk me through what the songs on All Talk are about.
Mark: I never set out to write about a particular thing. Though I’ve tried to be a little less cryptic this time around. I have a stream of consciousness approach where I just write and write for short periods without stopping to think about what it is I’m putting on the page. Then I cherry pick lines that mean something to me for whatever reason and change things where necessary. The main themes seem to be money problems I’ve had, my general health and fitness and just trying your best. But there's a LOT of weird stuff in there that I’ve been noticing over the past couple of days. My grandmother's funeral, a stag-do weekend in Nottingham… and my own fears about death and everything, my worries about the band staying together and most importantly my friendships because I can be quite alienating at times for loads of reasons. The title really relates to just being creative for the sake of being creative rather than just talking about what you’re gonna do. Just put stuff out there.
Paterson Park seems to be mostly about my lack of discipline in a dietary sense. The struggle to accept my greed and chubby nature or just sort myself out if I’m unhappy.
Talk You Up! is kinda about thinking you can help people, but you’re in no position to help anybody, because you (I) can’t even look after myself properly…
Wow, somehow this has gotten mega negative haha. Sorry!
Dan: No worries man, the honesty in the lyrics is a major plus point of the EP.
Also that's an incredible way to write songs, I like it a lot. It's all things that you may feel like you're going through alone but trust me it's infinitely relatable to us all.
Mark: Thanks! I just really hope some people enjoy it. And that we’ll get to play some cool shows off of the back of it. We’ve really got to knuckle down and write some new stuff though. The London scene is amazing at the moment. It’s hard to stand out! The whole UK really.
Dan: That's true man, UK punk rock is having an incredible renaissance these days. On that note, You had a pretty busy 2017 tour schedule how’s 2018 looking for you?
Mark: Wellllll, we struggle to tour as such because I’m married with a full time job, Stephen is married with a baby and Phil is just about to have his first kid. So it’s tough. We aim to play at least once a month. We’ve got Dügstock next week [last weekend] with Counterpunch… and a bunch of other shows that I can’t announce yet just around the corner. All I really want is to play with Jeff Rosenstock, Iron Chic and Pkew Pkew Pkew. Then I can quit and be happy.
Dan: Yeah man, I know about that Dad Punk life. While we’re talking live shows, you have a pretty unique stage presence. Is that all natural Mark or something you practice beforehand?
Mark: 100% all me. If anything I’ve been told to tone it down. I honestly have no idea how other people are the way they are on stage.
Dan: I'd be sad if you toned it down.
Mark: I mean, what the fuck do you do with your hands if you’re just a singer?
Dan: It's hard I keep the mic on a stand and kind of dry hump it the whole time.
Mark: See, I can’t do that. I’d feel too sexy and that wouldn’t make me comfortable.
[Interview is suspended while I laugh my ass off for five minutes.]
Mark: Honestly… I hope this doesn’t come of as pretentious but I think it’s my job to communicate how I’m feeling on stage and give as much of MYSELF as I can without adhering to some kind of stagecraft code or something.
Dan: That sounds like the perfect way to do it to me.
Mark: I guess, and this is cheesy, Korn’s Jonathan Davis was the first person I ever saw on stage in a way that wasn’t in line with what I thought people should be doing in the metal/rock world. I saw them at Donnington at the MTV Headbangers Ball in 1994 and it was a big deal for me - and At The Drive-In playing One Armed Scissor on Jools Holland even more so. Just people wildly flailing their arms around and dancing in ways you wouldn’t expect. I can’t listen to Korn these days though, haha.
Dan: I know how that feels, I was super into Limp Bizkit at some point in my life.
Mark: Who wasn’t sort of into Limp Bizkit a tiny bit at our age? And Deftones and System.
Dan: Right, I've taken up an inordinate amount of your time so I've got a couple more questions for you. Any shoutouts you wanna drop?
Mark: Yeah… Mark and everybody at Umlaut Records for their incredible support of us since pretty much day one. Everyone at our second home at the New Cross Inn. Ricky Beetlestone for getting the best from us in the studio. Shout outs to Aerial Salad, Charmpit, Eat Dirt, Triple Sundae, FRESH, The Burnt Tapes, Ducking Punches and Murderhouse (my fave UK bands).
Dan: And lastly where can people find the EP?
Mark: Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/5BwHD6aQUcPkdaji5CLBMT?si=H3JJFIHnRqm-_aAku4UQgA
Bandcamp – http://ourlivesincinema.bandcamp.com/album/all-talk
Facebook – https://facebook.com/commerce/products/1239538032816259
This interview was conducted by Dan Peters.