2016 A Rock­star Re­view


Kerrang! (UK) - - 2016: In Review -

is the sea­son to be jolly, tra-la-la-la, tra-l… Oh, bol­locks to this.as the cal­en­dar year trudges wearily towards Kerristmas, it is time to re­flect on what has be­fallen us pri­vately and pub­licly since last time we sang Auld Lang Syne and watched some dis­ap­point­ing fire­works.

Nom­i­nate a word to de­scribe 2016 and that word might well be ‘shit­house’. But given that this may not be true for ev­ery­one, on a chilly af­ter­noon last week Ker­rang! con­vened at Soho’s Gar­lic & Shots – a lo­cus of the London rock scene – for drinks and dis­cus­sion about this most tur­bu­lent of years.

Join­ing us: Mike Duce from Lower Than At­lantis, Lande Hekt from Mun­cie Girls, Rob Dami­ani from Don Broco and Eli­jah Witt from Cane Hill. On the agenda: mu­sic, telly, pol­i­tics and more. Stok­ing the fire: raised voices, flailed arms, beers and un­told amounts of throat-burn­ing shots (or, for Mike, a few soft drinks).

Lights, cam­era, con­ver­sa­tion…


LANDE: “I’ve heard lots of good mu­sic this year. I’d par­tic­u­larly like to nom­i­nate a band called Pine­grove, who are so good.they put out an al­bum called Car­di­nal, which is re­ally great.” MIKE: “I’d nom­i­nate Non­stop Feel­ing by Turn­stile. Also a band called An­gel Du$t I think are re­ally good.” ROB: “I heard some super-ex­clu­sive demos by a band called Lower Than At­lantis. I want you to un­der­stand that I’m not say­ing this sim­ply as a means of bum­ming Mike…” MIKE: “You can if you want.” ROB: “But we heard their demos the other day and it was just sick. It was great to hear some­thing so fresh and ex­cit­ing in rock mu­sic.” MIKE: “You’re go­ing to make me cry… Can I change mine to Don Broco?” ELI­JAH: “I’m gonna go for Knocked Loose, ’cause they’re re­ally good and they gave me a free shirt.”

MIKE: “There’s been a lot of peo­ple re­cently that have been say­ing that rock mu­sic is dead and so on. And I find that re­ally an­noy­ing and a re­ally ig­no­rant thing to say. Rock mu­sic will al­ways be alive so long as it’s in ev­ery­one’s faces, and bub­bling away un­der­neath in the un­der­ground.t here’s al­ways gonna be a load of good bands, it’s just a ques­tion of whether or not you want to go out and find them.”

ROB: “I dis­agree with you there, Mike, and I would say that rock mu­sic is not in good health. If you look at the ’80s, the av­er­age Joe would lis­ten to Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi; in the 1990s you had nu-metal, which was ev­ery­where. But we’re in this cur­rent state of time where rock mu­sic isn’t as pop­u­lar as it used to be. There’s still in­cred­i­ble mu­sic out there, it’s just not in vogue at the mo­ment.”

LANDE: “But you don’t have to be as big as Bey­oncé to make a dif­fer­ence.you can make a dif­fer­ence to just one per­son.”


LANDE: “I think in terms of mu­si­cians and artists dy­ing, some of them were old. But I think it’s sym­bolic of this shit year we’re hav­ing.” MIKE: “I don’t want to sound like a prick, but of the peo­ple who died this year – Prince, say, or David Bowie – I never lis­tened to their mu­sic, so I’m not go­ing to pre­tend that I was af­fected when they died. I wasn’t. I found it so bizarre that my Twit­ter feed ex­ploded with peo­ple go­ing,‘oh my God, these peo­ple have died!’” ROB: “I think it was dif­fer­ent if you do love their mu­sic, though.” ELI­JAH: “I don’t un­der­stand peo­ple who go crazy when some­one who they don’t know dies. If you like that per­son’s mu­sic, well, the mu­sic’s still there.” MIKE: “That’s what I love about mak­ing mu­sic. How­ever ir­rel­e­vant it may be, I know that when I die the mu­sic will out­live me and will be there for­ever.” LANDE: “But you feel that you know [an artist] through the mu­sic they’ve made, though.” ROB: “Yeah, and you feel that some­thing has been taken away when they die. I mean, I wasn’t as af­fected as some peo­ple, but I get it.and I do feel it as well.”


ELI­JAH: “I’m not even gonna fuck­ing go there. I voted for Hillary [Clin­ton] in the elec­tion.there’s no way I was gonna vote for a racist, misog­y­nist piece of shit, who likes to get fake tans and won’t live full-time in the White House and wants to spend hun­dreds of mil­lion dol­lars trav­el­ling back and forth to Wash­ing­ton, and who has in­vited his white su­prem­a­cist friends into the cab­i­net.as a nice boy with Jewish blood, I’m not gonna have voted for the white su­prem­a­cist.” ROB: “Why did [failed Democratic nom­i­nee and lib­eral] Bernie [San­ders] have no chance?” ELI­JAH: “Well that’s who I would have voted for if I had the chance. Hillary had her money and her con­nec­tions and they de­cided that Bernie wasn’t go­ing to win.and mil­len­ni­als don’t go out and vote be­cause they think that their voice doesn’t mat­ter, and that we’ve been taught since we were young that ev­ery­thing’s rigged any­way, so why bother? So they didn’t go out and vote.and, do you know what, I think the xeno­pho­bia of Brexit prob­a­bly started the whole thing.” LANDE: “I think that it prob­a­bly did.” MIKE: “You know what, I’m a mu­si­cian and this is a mu­sic mag­a­zine.two things I don’t talk about are pol­i­tics and re­li­gion.” ROB: “Good an­swer. But with Brexit I voted to re­main, al­though I think that the ar­gu­ments were very poorly pre­sented.there was very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion. But when I looked at it I thought that I like be­ing part of Europe and so went with that.and as for be­ing in a band, which is ob­vi­ously some­thing that af­fects all of us, go­ing to any coun­try out­side Europe is a fuck­ing bal­lache. In Europe, it’s a lot less fuck­ing has­sle.at least it is for now.” MIKE: “I reckon [Brexit is] gonna re­ally af­fect a lot of bands, es­pe­cially lower-level tour­ing bands. Be­fore, you could just about break even on a Euro­pean sup­port tour; af­ter Brexit, it’s go­ing to be much more dif­fi­cult.” LANDE: “It’s gonna be a lot harder for bands at our level, that is for sure.” ROB: “The hor­ri­ble truth about be­ing a UK band is that the coun­try is too small to re­ally make a liv­ing. You have to tour Europe. If you break Amer­ica, then that’s great. But there are a lot of bands that make a de­cent liv­ing from be­ing a Euro­pean band, and Brexit is go­ing to af­fect a lot of UK bands.”


MIKE: “I would say that while a lot of racists voted Brexit, not ev­ery­one who voted Brexit was a racist.” ROB: “But it did very quickly turn into a racist is­sue.” ELI­JAH: “In the States we’ve had peo­ple paint­ing swastikas in pub­lic, on the sub­way, peo­ple shout­ing

racist abuse, fuckin’ [Ku Klux] Klan ral­lies. It’s the rise of the white su­prem­a­cist.” LANDE: “But we had racist at­tacks be­fore Brexit and be­fore Trump. I’m not doubt­ing that the num­bers have in­creased, but I’d also say that the me­dia has caught on to this be­ing some­thing to talk about now. But at least peo­ple are notic­ing racism now, and some are con­demn­ing it in the way it should be con­demned.” ELI­JAH: “But they’re also talk­ing about reg­is­ter­ing Mus­lims [in the U.S.], which is how [things like] the Holo­caust started.” LANDE: “But in the UK, one of the rea­sons for the rise in xeno­pho­bia and fear is down to the fact that we’ve had a Tory gov­ern­ment since 2010 and they stripped all our ben­e­fits and rights and power – or that’s how it feels, any­way – and ob­vi­ously the work­ing class peo­ple got re­ally an­gry, so I think, ‘Fuck the Tories.’ And in came Nigel Farage say­ing,‘so,

you’ve lost your home and peo­ple in your fam­ily have lost their jobs… here’s who to blame.’ He blamed im­mi­grants, and some peo­ple went for that line.”

ROB: “And this is what hap­pens – it’s what hap­pens with so many pop­ulist move­ments. It gath­ers mo­men­tum and peo­ple think,‘oh well, we can blame our prob­lems on some­one else.’ I think it’s hu­man na­ture to want to do that. It’s de­spi­ca­ble, but that’s the gang men­tal­ity. I think that’s the hu­man con­di­tion.we’ve seen it hap­pen in his­tory over and over again.”


MIKE: “For me, the best TV show I’ve seen in 2016 has got to be Stranger Things.” ELI­JAH: “Black Mir­ror.” MIKE: “Some of that was filmed in [Mike’s hometown] wat­ford!” ELI­JAH: “It’s like a mod­ern-day Twi­light Zone. It delves into tech­nol­ogy and where it’s tak­ing us.there’s an episode where peo­ple wear con­tact lenses where they can pause and rewind what they’re see­ing.and if you go on Facebook you can ac­tu­ally see that peo­ple are de­vel­op­ing lenses where you can do that.” MIKE: “I like Stranger Things be­cause it was in­spired by all the movies that I’ve grown up with. It’s in­flu­enced by Spiel­berg’s stuff, it’s in­flu­enced by Stephen King… I just love the way it’s shot.and the sound­track is great as well.” ROB: “Plus the ac­tors are fuck­ing sick.”

LANDE: “I didn’t watch Stranger Things be­cause some­one told me it was scary and I can’t deal with scary stuff. If it’s any­thing like that then I just can’t sleep af­ter­wards. But I do like the [Ken Loach] film I, Daniel Blake. It’s about an older per­son who has a heart attack but is judged fit for work by the ben­e­fits author­ity. It’s about him and others be­ing denied the ben­e­fits that they’re en­ti­tled to. It’s such a mov­ing film.

I cried seven times while watch­ing it.”


MIKE: “I’ve ac­tu­ally got a good story for this.this year a re­ally good friend of mine,tom Searle [Ar­chi­tects’ gui­tarist], died.tom was an amaz­ing and tal­ented per­son, and at his wake there was a load of bands there and of course we all got to talk­ing. For me per­son­ally, I re­alised that all of the UK rock bands in our lit­tle bub­ble – and I’ve been guilty of this – should stop try­ing to outdo each other.we’re all try­ing to do the same thing, so we should all be work­ing to­gether to pro­mote what we do, to pro­mote this un­der­ground scene.we should all be work­ing to­gether in­stead of com­pet­ing with each other.and the way I felt at Tom’s wake has lasted, as well, a mil­lion per cent.” ELI­JAH: “I ac­tu­ally saw [Tom’s] last show… I know noth­ing about the band, but it was the most emo­tion­ally ful­fill­ing show I’ve seen in my whole life. I felt blessed to have seen that mu­si­cian be­fore he passed away. I ac­tu­ally don’t care for live mu­sic – I don’t go to shows. I don’t re­ally care. But that day I went from side-stage to out in the crowd and it was the best show I’ve ever seen.” LANDE: “I think it’s dif­fi­cult for me to have any per­spec­tive on 2016 be­cause it hasn’t ended yet…” ELI­JAH: “2016 was the year of the racist and the white su­prem­a­cist. Noth­ing good has come out of this year. Jack shit.” MIKE: “Ac­tu­ally, 2016 has been the hap­pi­est year of my life. For me per­son­ally I’ve cleaned up my act and I’m just much hap­pier as a per­son. I’m hap­pier at the end of the year than I was at the start of it.” ELI­JAH: “I’m un­hap­pier.” ROB: “For me, there was three or four days of 2016 that re­ally changed my life, and that was when I went on hol­i­day to Lan­zarote with Mike…” MIKE: “Yeah, we went on hol­i­day to­gether!” ROB: “As a band it’s re­ally hard to go on hol­i­day.you can never book any­thing be­cause you don’t know if you’re gonna be off on tour. But some­how we made these dates work…” MIKE: “We booked it a few days be­fore, and quite a lot of us went.and it was so great. Me and Rob did karaoke, too – Mys­te­ri­ous Girl by Peter An­dre…” LANDE: “That’s a bril­liant song!” ROB: “I know, right! We dressed up, too…” MIKE: “We didn’t dress up.” ROB: “Is my mem­ory play­ing tricks on me?” MIKE: “Yeah. But the point is, that even in 2016 it’s pos­si­ble to have good mem­o­ries!”


The idea for a new su­per­group, Don Mun­cie, wouldn’t seem so good come morn­ing Um, guys, you know we’ve got an in­ter­view to do… Guys? Lande would sneak­ily dis­pose of her shot in a plant pot later on


ELI­JAH WITT CANE HILL With hind­sight, that tray should have given us an in­di­ca­tion as to how this would go… MIKE DUCE LOWER THAN AT­LANTIS

The fiercest de­bate of the day: whose turn it was to go to the bar next Mike’s Santa hat wasn’t the most tra­di­tional Best call it a day here, we reckon…

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