Focus: Irked | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
We are Irked – we’re currently based in Newcastle but we’re originally all from different parts of the North-East; which we feel is a very important detail to emphasise.

Irked are Zachary McDade (drums) Simon Hubbard & Sean Rafi Kenny (joint lead guitar) Mike Hill (bass and hair) and Helen Walkinshaw (vocals)

We’re all veterans of the UK DIY/punk/noise/underground scene – so you might be familiar with some of our stupid faces. You might also know other projects we’ve been part of, and will probably hear some of those influences in Irked (we’ll not list our individual band CVs here though)

What is it you do?
We make punk music.

How long have you been doing it?
Just over one year together as Irked – but we’ve been doing “this” for 100’s of years separately, as we’re all over 30 and get around. 

What inspires you?
Stuff that irks us. 

Tell us about your music.
Loud, snotty, radge and direct. 

Our debut Single ‘Backstreets’ – is released 15/11 

The lyrics are about the creeps who linger around your local music scene, where problematic behaviour isn’t policed; this track is upfront and confrontational.

(Helen has) based the storytelling on lived experience; it is written from multiple viewpoints – including the conversational perspective of people who are aware of dangerous people – or ‘characters’ in your scene – but do not act on the rumours or gossip, subsequently allowing perpetrators to hide in plain sight, and continue to abuse their power.

The ‘Backstreets’ chorus and artwork was inspired by an incident where a known problematic ‘local music character’ followed Helen home early hours one morning; as this is an all too common and familiar occurrence for women and queer people.

(Acknowledging the problem and challenging predators is daunting and often dangerous, especially in the music industry. It always comes with repercussions; however an abuser will continue to harm people if they are given passive permission, so it is important to keep the conversation going, despite how boring, frustrating or uncomfortable that may become.)

What have you got coming up in the future?
We release our debut single “Backstreets” 15/11 with a single launch party to celebrate 16/11 at Little Buildings with Parallel Worlds and Gaydar.

Locally – we’re playing Xmas Anti-Pleasure at Zerox w/ Loose Articles 16/11

For 2024 we have a tonne of UK tour dates, a few festivals an EP launch, and hopefully an album to share.

Where can people find out more about you?

Insta @irked_69
Twitter @irked_69
Facebook @irkedband 
TikTok @irkedband 

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