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

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Brighton-based gruff punk trio Gnarwolves are one of those rare bands that could play a sweaty basement show or a huge festival stage and still make the audience feel connected to their music no matter what. Though they’re an insanely fun band, with a well-documented love of skateboarding, drinking beer and smoking weed, there’s more to Gnarwolves than being just a ‘party band’, and their new album Outsiders is further proof of that.

“We recorded in January of this year with Lewis Johns at The Ranch in Southampton,” says vocalist and guitarist Thom Weeks. “We’ve been going there since our second EP so it’s all very familiar and Lewis has been a friend forever. We had eleven days and set everything up and recorded live, then overdubbed a second guitar and the vocals. We’ve always tracked everything separately before but I think the way we play live comes across better on this record. It was also super fun to play loud together!” Though it’s been almost three years since the release of their debut, there are no signs of second album syndrome with Outsiders. “It definitely took us a while to get to the point where we were ready to make another record, but that was mostly to do with us now living in different places and having some time away from the band to do other stuff. Obviously, we had all the classic worries that come with making a record, but they’re only songs right?”

There’s an authenticity and honesty to Gnarwolves’ songs that give them a life-affirming quality. From rip-roaring opener Straitjacket, Outsiders is ten tracks of white-knuckle, anthemic punk (with emo, pop-punk and hardcore nuances) bursting with unbridled passion and introspection. “Lyrically, I think that it’s about how when things change it can make you miserable and make bad decisions, but if you’re constructively reflective then you can learn lots about yourself and that’s a positive thing. As for influences, hearing Cloud Nothings for the first time a couple of years ago changed the way I thought about song writing and made me interested in finding a different way to write ‘pop punk’ songs. Also, listening to lots of bands that sound like The Ramones. Being a massive emo in a punk band. And being alive right now.”

I’ve learned a lot about the kindness of strangers and how to be kind to strangers

By their own admission, Outsiders is a little more grown up, but Gnarwolves’ hard-working DIY ethic and exuberance has never waned. Intensive touring and regular releases (alongside two studio albums the band have also put out four EPs, a live album and a compilation) mean Gnarwolves have a pretty good handle on the whole being in a band lark. “I’ve learned how to sleep in any environment. I know how much I can drink before I have to go to bed. I’ve learned a lot about the kindness of strangers and how to be kind to strangers. I’ve learned that the world is pretty huge and varied, but on the whole, people are really nice. I’ve also become a lot weirder, but I think that happens to everyone as they get older.” So if Gnarwolves had to give any advice to new bands starting out, what would that be? “I would avoid my advice if possible. However, I’d say go to gigs and get to know the people in your local music scene, because they’re the key and your future mates. Play as much as possible because it’s fun. If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t be a dick.”

Gnarwolves released Outsiders via Big Scary Monsters/Tangled Talk on Friday 5th May. They play Riverside on Wednesday 10th May.

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