INTERVIEW: Forever Cult | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Leeds pop-punk trio have built their increasingly strong reputation on three things: being fun loving, relating to young people and being deafeningly loud. Having recently released their latest thunderous single Antonio Banderas, the group have embarked on an extensive UK tour and, no strangers to the north east, they’re back in the region to play another Beyond the Wall-curated gig at everybody’s favourite basement venue, the Head of Steam.

Ahead of the gig, we talked to bassist Alex Greaves and drummer Aaron “Snowy” Snowdon about their new single, their favourite Banderas role, the burgeoning Leeds punk scene and their strong ties to the north east.

Tell us a bit about your new singe. Why is it based on Spanish Stallion Antonio Banderas?

S: Erm, well, the actual track isn’t based on Antonio at all haha. If I remember rightly, KK and Greaves were messing around demoing some tracks at Alex’s uni house in 2014. I remember hearing it and it being proper bouncy, and at this point having midi drums on it.

A: I wish I could say that the track’s about his luscious locks, charming smile and dazzling personality. But in reality, we drunkenly thought we’d do an EP entirely named after past it actors. Can’t say we’ve written any more yet though ha.

Are you particular fans of Banderas? If so, what’s your favourite Banderas role?

S: I’m a massive fan of his chewing gum adverts, I think the intensity of Antonio really brings out the best of him. It must be hard working batting away that Donut & Coffee breath. A real inspiration.

Your songs are about being young, and drunk, and skint. Do you think this relatable songwriting has helped you to increase your popularity over the past year?

S: I don’t know! I think KK writes these tracks about girls and being drunk and day to day life, then the fact we can go around the UK and play them to people and get drunk is pretty sick. I’d like to think people can relate our tracks and we have an amazing time getting in the van, drinking excessively and putting the songs out.

What are your particular influences? I imagine grunge and a bit of early-2000s pop-punk…?

S: We all have varied interests. I’m particularly into my American slacker rock stuff and bands like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Speedy Ortiz, DIIV, Real Estate and Cloud Nothings. But I also love Happyness, Theo Verney and The Wytches.

A: In terms of influences though, there’s always been quite a bit of old indie in there that we grew up with too.

“I’d like to think people can relate our tracks and we have an amazing time getting in the van, drinking excessively and putting the songs out”

Leeds is quite a haven for DIY and punk rock bands at the minute. Do you feel like now is a good time to be in a punk band?

S: Yeah, definitely. The Leeds scene is the best. Since we started we’ve kind of developed and forced our way into the Leeds scene, and we’ve had opportunities to support some great bands at great venues. It’s a “haven” for “DIY” bands because it’s outwardly encouraged to be like that for everyone. It’s great though, bands like Chaika, Colour Of Spring, Allusondrugs, Super Luxury are all wicked and should be checked out.

I suppose technically you met in Huddersfield – dare I ask what the scene is like in the birthplace of Forever Cult?

S: Yeah…. Technically we did. But it was only whilst we were at uni. For the majority of that, we weren’t taking it properly serious. It was kind of post uni that we decided to start playing more gigs and pushing ourselves out there. The Huddersfield scene comes in small waves of brilliance… I mean, The Parish is an ace rock bar that we love to play at, and they book some really good touring bands all the time. However, I personally think the Hudds scene is lacking variety of genre. It’s all quite aged, if that makes sense? There’s a lot of punk and metal. There are some cool young dudes who run a night called SLOP POP at another venue Bar 1:22 who encourage younger people to head to their nights. It’s cheap entry and 14+. I mean, overall, Huddersfield is a pretty cool music town, but considering there’s a university with 8,000 + people there, you’d expect there to be more uni bands playing lots of different genres!

You’re no strangers to the north east; what attracts you to the region?

S: Our singer, Kieran, is from Sedgefield near Boro, so we’ve always kind of found ourselves with a love for the North East. My dad was born and raised in County Durham, so I always tell him tales about the places we visit. We’ve had some fun shows at The Dog and Parrot [in Newcastle] before, but we’re especially looking forward to this show at Head Of Steam. Also, I can’t resist getting a parmo, and complaining about how full I am afterwards. I love complaining.

A: We play up in the North East quite a lot and it’s kinda become our second home as a band. We always love coming to Stockton, Boro and Newcastle.

Is it true that once when playing in Middlesbrough you gave Bi:Lingual nose bleeds from how loud you were?

S: Ha! Apparently so, I mean, I was in my own world at the back of the stage, so I never saw it! I didn’t even think that it was particularly loud that night, but I’m so fucking deaf I can’t tell. For three of us, we do make a right old racket.

What’s your next move after this tour?

S: We’re in the middle of recording two brand new singles for a Double A side 7” that’s going to come out soon and be announced shortly! In the meantime, writing material for an EP and touring in October and November as it stands. So busy times for us – hopefully we’ll come back to Newcastle!

Forever Cult play at the Head of Steam, Newcastle with High Tide 15:47, Picture Frames and Casual Threats on Saturday 18th July.

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