Image by Cole Gilroy
Though Bares have only been around for a short time, the Newcastle-based trio have managed to make a pretty big impression on the local DIY scene. Like the bands that inspire them – Brand New, Basement, Modern Baseball, Title Fight et al. – Bares have that life-affirming quality which inspires emotional investment in their endeavours, and the potential to build a cult following, something they have already achieved locally and are set to cement further with the release of their upcoming single, Nice One, this August.
Featuring Mike Dand on guitar and vocals, Jack Charlesworth on bass and Ben Fitzgerald on drums, Bares formed when Dand and Charlesworth, both originally from the Lake District, moved to Newcastle for university and met native Northerner Fitzgerald. As a collective, they play with the kind of passion that gives the impression that being in a band like Bares is something they’ve wanted to do since they were teenagers. “Musically, we’re inspired by your usual teenage emo stuff, you know Brand New, that kind of thing. Individuals like Jesse Lacey and Jason Butler [letlive.] were the kinds of people I aspired to be,” says Dand.
Bares have that life-affirming quality which inspires emotional investment in their endeavours
Dand’s description of their sound as “kinda grunge, kinda punk, kinda emo, kinda fun,” is a pretty accurate summary, though despite being a melting pot of alt. sounds, Bares are in no way derivative, creating a sound with enough nuances to make them stand out from the crowd. Their debut EP, Now Then, released in June 2015, is led by Dand’s gritty sing-your-heart-out vocals that have a raspy, raw Kurt Cobain-esque quality to them. Paired with crunchy, driven riffs and urgent drumming, the result is fist-in-the-air, heart-swelling punk rock. “Lyrically, when I start writing a song, the inspiration will at least come from personal experience,” explains Dand. “But they’re certainly not stories of mine word for word. It will set off like that, but soon becomes a broader subject. The new single for example contains a lot of material written in reference to my friendship group, and a lot of positive issues which I felt were important to me, but also adopts a wider view of deceit and mistrust which wasn’t necessarily an experience of my own.”
Though new single Nice One is their first release since the Now Then EP, Bares have been keeping busy. “Since Now Then we’ve been really lucky to play with some of our favourite bands, like Beach Slang and Great Cynics,” says Dand. “We’ve done some cool shows at Little Buildings and played Evolution Emerging and NARC. Fest.” Nice One builds upon Bares’ anthemic tendencies, as Dand explains: “I think we’ve definitely found our ‘sound’ a bit more. The songs have a bit more structure and are a bit more dynamic, and the more we write the more it feels like we’re developing a set rather than a bunch of tunes. We’re much more confident live than when Now Then came out and that hopefully shows in our sound.”
As for the future, Bares hope to inspire people the way the bands they look up to inspired them. “There isn’t a lot of stuff like us round here, we don’t think. We bring a sound that nobody else really does, which I guess would make us stand out. Hopefully we can bring more bands like us locally. It’d be good to see some new stuff round here – people trying new things. Less indie nonsense, more fucking tunes.”