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

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Image: Tin Ribs by Nostalgia Kid

Tin Ribs are Newcastle’s most exciting new punk rock prospect, on the precipice of releasing their debut EP, Council Pop. A breathless, rumbustious affair, Tin Ribs take humour and astute observations to make relatable, well-crafted tunes. How well developed their sound is in such infancy speaks to how well they know each other: “We’ve known each other since we were kids, really,” muses frontman Jason. “The first band I was ever in was with Rob and Luke, and we’ve always kind of flitted about together musically, on and off, hither and thither. Towards the end of 2019 I moved back to the North East from Manchester. When lockdown hit, I was given a week of leave while everybody figured out what the fuck was happening, so I built a makeshift studio in my bathroom and wrote and recorded an album’s worth of shitty punk songs in about five days, start to finish, mainly as a bit of a joke. I showed the demos to Luke, he liked them, we sat on them for a while, and then one day we decided to do something with them. Thusly, Tin Ribs was born.”

Tin Ribs do something quite rare in incorporating humour well into their music, and deal with the macro on a micro level impeccably, which Jason says is “like a self-preservation instinct: the big picture is a daunting, scary thing, and the best way to handle it sometimes is to focus on the world in our immediate vicinity. It’s why Eastenders can have Ian Beale go through eight engagements to seven different women and nobody bats an eyelid – we’re all just stumbling along trying to make sense of our own shit while everything else kind of floats around in the background. And then in doing so, we begin to make sense of the broader, louder things in our own way.”

the big picture is a daunting, scary thing, and the best way to handle it sometimes is to focus on the world in our immediate vicinity

The band’s songs may initially seem absurd, but tightly reigned in musicianship and an inherent honesty keeps them vibrant. Jason says of the subject matter: “When we’re singing about a vigilante pest controller who keeps getting into bother with social services, we’re sort of singing about everything that’s going on beneath the surface of that story too – the implied lunacy and tragedy. When I write a song about the council estate I grew up on, I’m kind of writing about every council estate. The experience might be personal to me, but the feeling has a universality to it. I think just because something isn’t overt or explicit, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

When it comes to the humour in their music, Jason explains simply: “the songs are funny because life is funny. It’s not absurdity for the sake of absurdity or anything like that – we just reflect and amplify the things around us. Everything is true, especially the stupid bits. I really did meet the Ratman, our mate really did get stalked on Instagram by Dennis Rodman for a bit. I’ve never really understood why music isn’t funnier. Television is funny, books are funny, films are funny, but it’s like we instantly disregard songs that have a touch of humour as being novel or daft. Not everything is black and white – sometimes sad things are funny and sometimes funny things are sad, or unsettling. By that logic, why can’t you write a song like Eggs Benny, that deals with the crushing weight of late stage capitalism through the prism of brunch addiction? Just because the subject matter isn’t that serious, it doesn’t automatically mean the message isn’t either.”

Tin Ribs release Council Pop on 28th July. 


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