Chris, Dave and Zowie of
1. The history of the band thus far please and what are the personal musical histories of each player please?
CHRIS: We wanted a band like Dischord to exist, so we made it happen. It was born out of frustration - with all our previous musical endeavours, and with the state of alternative music locally and worldwide. We were just sick to death of all the bullshit. All the posturing and insincerity. Every band we had ever liked had either split up or just gone shit. I was previously fronting an electronic band, desperately trying to bring a bit of rock and roll energy to a scene populated by people more obsessed with their hair than the music. I suppose a lot of that frustration made its way into Dischord. Before that I'd played with Dave and Zowie in a goth-folk band. (In which our goal was to play each song faster with every rendition - so it was practically hardcore punk by the end.) One day we were providing the rhythm section for a friend’s band. After practice the three of us sat down at my kitchen table and said "let's make the angriest album in the world." The next day I went out and got some newspapers, scissors and glue and made two collages which became the lyrics to Seaside Suicide and Recession.
That was always the attraction of punk - scissors and glue. DIY. Safety pins not because they're cool but because you've got a draw full of them and you can make stuff. With my last band there had been a bit of a struggle for creative control. The guitarist was a perfectionist whilst I preferred the rough and ready approach. I mean, it’s great to have your own custom bass drum skins, but if I can't afford it I'll just tipp-ex it on. Then suddenly I was in a band where anything goes. I have no money, I can't sing, I can't draw... and yet I still get to be creative. And in a really exciting and brutal way.
We never decided to be a "punk" band - that's just what it was. It's where we were. Emotionally, spiritually, politically... Between us, we had always listened to heavy music, but never played it. For the first time ever, we were in a band that was free from any kind of compromise. From the moment of inception, we all knew exactly what we wanted to achieve. The album was the goal, making it nearly killed us but we got what we wanted and then had to go about trying to do those songs justice in a live environment. On the record I sing and play the drums, and for the last band we played in together I was doing both on stage, which I never really felt worked. It felt like being in prison. I was supposed to be the voice of the band, and yet there was a wall separating me from the audience so it's really hard to connect with anyone. In the electro band we'd had drum machines, so it wasn't a problem, but for this we were adamant that we needed a live drummer.
For our first few shows our friend Craig helped us out. (Although he was slightly reluctant being a professional blues drummer.) It took us about a year to find the right person, but eventually we enlisted Parker. In true punk rock style I accosted him in the street - we'd never met - but there was an ad in a pub window for a band seeking a drummer, and I caught him writing down their number, intervened and made him join our band instead. Of course, we had gone for several drinks together first. It's all very well and good being an excellent drummer, but not being a cunt is much higher on our list of priorities. We were scared by the amount of potential drummers we spoke to, people we didn't know from Adam, who just wanted to "meet up and jam". Fuck that, what if you're some kind of Nazi? Luckily Parker got that, and he ticked all the boxes. We wrote our first song, Seaside Suicide, in October 2011 and by October the following year we'd self released our début album, The Wakes, Persuaded a film student to shoot a free music video for us and stolen a drummer from a street corner. In their review, Punktastic said The Wakes was the punk album of the year, and we got to see 2012 out by supporting one of my favourite bands, Subhumans in December. It was a fairly amazing year, we're just hoping to make this one several thousand times better by playing as many gigs as is humanly possible.
2. The chosen mode you seem to have opted for is primarily hardcore but those extra touches are from influences further afield - elaborate please!
CHRIS: We're not a joke, a parody or a tribute band. We're not playing this music to deliberately sound like anyone else or intentionally fit in with anyone else. If punks like it, that's fantastic. I love everything about punk, the aesthetic, the attitude, the music. But Dischord is for everyone. There's nothing worse than musical cliques. With regard to the afore mentioned bullshit, we want to be in a band that can play anywhere, to anyone. Just as long as they don't mind us saying "cunt" a lot...
As I said we've played all manner of genres previously. We never had a particular affinity with the punk "scene", you can tell that by looking at us, but it just got to the point where we wanted to make music that was fast, loud and angry. Punk music has always been one of the things that united us as individuals, but we also love metal, folk, indie, dance... Whatever. There's good music and bad music, and they're about the only labels we're interested in.
Even within punk we're into completely different aspects of it. I grew up listening to old vinyl’s of Subhumans, Crass, Dead Kennedys, Anti Nowhere League etc, whereas Dave was into stuff like The Offspring and Rancid, then there all the bands that we met in the middle with like AFI, Gallows and Anti-Flag. But most of the bands we all like aren't remotely punk. Like Radiohead, or Marilyn Manson... I guess a lot of the ferocity of our music comes from not wanting it to be boring, after having sat through so many dull gigs. But, of course, if all you're doing is shouting and playing really fast then that can quickly become uninspiring. What we really wanted was to create something that was intense, but interesting and unpredictable. We've been accused of being gimmicky... but the truth is if we're doing the same thing for more than two minutes we get bored. And seeing as we have such eclectic tastes, all those influences sneak in and we find ourselves saying "Ok, let's have an acoustic bit!" or "Let's do a synth part." One of our new songs actually has a waltz section. When you're playing hardcore stuff, it's different to writing an ordinary rock song. You've got your verse, bridge and chorus in the bag but the song's still only forty seconds long, so you either repeat it over and over or introduce some other element to make it more exciting, which is what we like to do. Or of course just have a ridiculously short song, which is always fun. We've got a couple of less-than-a-minute hardcore explosions, but having a 400 track long album of mini songs wasn't something we wanted to do.
CHRIS: It's culturally dead. We play all over the country, and when we meet people from Blackpool they say "How come we've never seen you??" Because when we play Blackpool, no bastard ever comes! You're lucky to get more than ten people, unless of course you're a classic rock covers band. Getting your tits out helps, too. Obviously, it's a shit hole, but it's our shithole. It's very odd for me, because I was born there and I have all these happy childhood memories of roller coasters and slot machines and feeling that you lived somewhere special, then fast forward nineteen years and you're getting the shit kicked out of you because you look different to everybody else. It's difficult to reconcile the two. Blackpool is synonymous with everything I despise, neon, stag nights, casinos, kebabs and casual violence, but it is inescapably home. When I look at it that's what I think. And it's where my friends and family are. I moved away for a bit but it didn't change that feeling of belonging and yet not belonging simultaneously. Anyway, enough of that. I wouldn't say our songs are specifically about Blackpool, but I sometimes think of albums as being like films, in which case The Wakes is definitely set in Blackpool.
The reason for this is that when we inadvertently found ourselves in a punk band, there's that dilemma of wanting to do something that's new and contemporary and relevant within a genre that's already well-trodden. Like I said, we're not a parody, and to avoid that I think you need to have a point. The point of Dischord was always to tell it like it is, and to do so with no pretensions or delusions of grandeur. We were determined to do the absolute best we could do, even if we weren't good enough. You know, tipp-ex on the drum skin. Dischord was to be warts and all. We've never been cool, or fashionable, so we decided to embrace that. That was why we decided to shoot our video in the vilest venue we could find - a grotty little working men's club. It actually had plastic music notes glued to the wall behind the stage! Yes, it was shit, but at the moment we're more likely to be found playing in a shit hole like that than the Manchester Academy, so why pretend? At that point we didn't have a live drummer, so we just stuck a blow up doll behind the kit.
If there's one thing worse than a band pretending to be cool, it's northern musicians singing with fake cockney accents. I wanted everyone to know where we're from for no reason other than it's true and therefore authentic and sincere. The punk scene is synonymous with London. I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all - Punk by its very nature is anti-authoritarian, and what greater symbol of British authority is there than the houses of parliament? There are countless "fack the government!" songs (and you've got to love them) but we wanted to take an alternative perspective. It's what the album, and the band, is all about. Discord! Disagreement! Not everything should be rejected, but neither should everything be accepted without question. Yes, the government are twats, but I'm very wary of simply pinning blame on authority figures, because that absolves the individual of responsibility. The only authority these people have is the authority that we give them. People are bitching about Cameron - and yet most of these people voted him in. There are terrible people in the world, but all the Margaret Thatchers, Saddam Husseins and George Bushes are not the real dangers, the real dangers are people like us who sit by and allow them to get away with it. So that's what our whole angle with The Wakes was. Looking at Britain but from the perspective of a small town - in our case Blackpool, but it's relevant to anywhere - and looking at how individual actions affect the whole country socially and politically. Resist! Rebel! Get off your arse and do something. I'm sorry, what was the question?
4. Ken Dodd always appears to be doing a stint at Blackpool and it does get me wondering if the resort is some kind of tax haven. However did you know that a flock of Sand Martins have nested in the orifices of Mr Dodd for the last 26 years and his air has been to hold up to 5 families of Partridge at any one time. The question is twofold - a/ Would you build a home in the rectal passage of Mr Dodd and invite guests to stay - if so what would be on the breakfast menu - b/ When Mr Dodd is dead would you wear his old skin and get in a local wrestling ring and have a bout of grappling with his ex-lover Ken Goodwin - elaborate on how the 3 round bout would go!
CHRIS: Now that I've finished a violent outburst of vomiting due to the fact that you mentioned Ken Dodd, I'll try and answer the question. The last thing Blackpool needs is another guest house, and seeing as most of the B'n'Bs already look uncannily like someone's rectal passage anyway, it's not like we're going to attract any tourists with originality. Breakfast or not. Most of the disused, crumbling old seafront hotels are now being used as cannabis farms these days so I suggest we just cut to the chase and stuff his orifices with narcotics.
I envision the Ed Gein style fight to transpire thusly: To begin with I'm on good form. A little slimy and sweaty in the skin suit but I think "Hey, Dr. Lecter managed to keep his cool whilst wearing another man’s face so I can too." I'm all over the bastard. Jabbing, hooking... Okay, I don't know anything about boxing, but I'm hitting him a lot and this is basically a good thing. Oh, hang on, you said wrestling? I know even less about that. Kind of like gay porn with leotards? Sorry, I've already mentally mapped this out as boxing. I'm wearing big gloves and a silky gown (and Ken Dodd's skin), so can we just stick with it? So, the bell goes. I'm in my corner taking a swig of water. But too late do I discover that it's not water: It's FANTA. (The drink that Coca Cola invented in 1941 so that they could secretly sell fizzy pop in Nazi Germany without besmirching their good name, Coca Cola of course being symbolic of all that is pure and righteous...) I'm drinking NAZI COKE! This is like kryptonite. I'm seriously weakened. Round two is nothing more than a haze of pain, I can't believe I'm still standing. A sick smile creeps across Goodwin's ridiculous face, he knows I won't last another second.
Round three. I can barely stand. Here comes the killing blow... And then something occurs to me. Ken Goodwin is dead! Whoever my opponent is, he's ALSO in a flesh-suit. I get my Scooby Doo on, and with a cry of "Let's just find out who you really are..." I use my last ounce of strength to rip the skin mask from my enemy’s face to reveal.... KEN DODD???!!
"I wudda gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling punks." He spits. It turns out that Mr. Dodd is one of those Illuminati human-reptilian hybrids that are secretly running the world, which explains a) why he never has to pay tax and b) the fact that he's still alive. Turns out he just sheds his skin every few years... the very skin I'm now wearing. Goodwin or not, the fight is still on and I know I'm a goner. But there's something. A tiny spark... A glimmer at the back of my mind. And there it is. 1987. Delta and the Bannermen.
"You bastard!" I growl. My uncontrollable rage has given me new-found strength. "YOU RUINED DOCTOR WHO, YOU CUNT!!!" He isn't prepared for the frenzy I unleash. He narrowly escapes with his life, but upon arrival in hospital he's instantly arrested when they find all that crack we hid up his arse.
5. I love to hear about how songs make the final cut and from where they originate - tell us about some of yours and what you deem to be the best outbursts of the band thus far?
CHRIS: Our song writing process is very organic and also extremely collaborative. We sit down with an acoustic guitar and cups of tea and just talk about ideas. Everything gets written down and recorded. Usually I'll have a verse and chorus, which I'll sing and Dave will figure out the music, the rest of the song tends to evolve from there. I don't really like putting lyrics to music. I know some bands work like that, but I feel like the song needs a definite theme before you go too far. I'll usually have lyrics to a chorus and a title for the song before we think about music, that way we all have a definite goal rather than just being some people playing at the same time. That said, we don't have a set way of writing. I write most of the lyrics, but then Zowie contributes too. The last song on the album was the last one we wrote, for which Dave wrote most of the lyrics and I actually came up with the music. Well, sort of, anyway. But that's how we work - anything goes, as long as everybody is totally happy with how a song sounds.
Luckily, we've never abandoned a song yet. I Came Here To Ruin Your Life very nearly didn't make it onto the album, until the last minute when we suddenly came up with the middle 8, which somehow tied it all together and now it's one of my favourites. Again, it was totally spontaneous. I was sat there writing the lyrics, I wrote "OH NO I don't want to go", and then Zowie just shouted "Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!" as it is on the record. I think she was just joking, but I thought "That's it! That's how it goes!"
Certain songs came from ideas I'd come up with in the past that just hadn't been right at the time. I wrote the verse and chorus for Vote for No One during the 2010 election, and I'd been wanting to use the words "credibility crunch" ever since all that recession bullshit crept into the papers... The chorus to Animals in the Palace had been kicking around in my head for years, as had the chant from Live a Lie, but they were all definitely punk songs! I had too much suppressed rage, I suppose starting a hardcore band was inevitable.
There's a song called Second Hand Model, which is very closely based on a poem by my friend Charlie. The first time I read it I said "This is a punk song!" It really put me in mind of early Manic Street Preachers - that sleaziness. It reminded me of Little Baby Nothing. So I tweaked it a bit, to wrestle it into a useable structure, changed a few words so that it rhymed, but it's pretty faithful. That's actually Charlie playing lead guitar on that track on the album. There was another of his poems, "The Sickness Seeps From the Magazine Gloss" that I wanted to use for a song, but it didn't translate as well, so I wrote a song based on that poem, or rather my interpretation of it, called Lights. Camera. Satisfaction. Although, I should say that Charlie came up with that title. We were desperate for a drink one night and ended up in the only place that was open, a shit Revolution bar. They were playing a song that we later found out was Kesha. We were taking the piss out of that and generic electro (because I was in an electro band at the time) and he started singing "Lights. Camera. Satis-faction!" I insisted it should be segued into a rock song to disturb the listener. A few weeks later we wrote the rest of the song. I just came up with the verse and chorus on the spot, but the middle 8 came about slightly bizarrely. We were talking about a dreadful Marilyn Manson song called "We're From America" and how repetitive it was. Charlie got his guitar and realised that it was basically A all the way through. He said "Why can't it have a chorus? Something like..." Then he started playing this f, G, Am, C sequence and I started singing "Meanwhile in Hollywood, they're tearing skin from bone." Then I thought, Shit! I like that! It’s going in the song! Both of those poems are in his book; In Memory Of Real Trees by Mark Charlesworth. Go and buy it.
As for favourite outburst, that's hard to say. Seaside Suicide will always be my favourite, because it's the first one we wrote, and I think we surprised ourselves that we could actually do this kind of music, and it didn't sound awful. Music is Dead and Vote For No One are the songs I enjoy playing live the most. The more audience interaction there is, the more we get into the performance, so it's great to end shows with the “Labour, Tory, same old story...” Chant.
6. Tell us a little about the art work on the CD please and your after thoughts on the finished product?
CHRIS: Albums, as a concept, are really important to us. As I said, in the beginning the album was the goal. Everything else came second. We'd written a handful of songs before we'd even decided on a band name. An album - a proper album - is so much more than just a collection of songs. I think it's the ultimate form of art, it consists of every creative element, and they're all equally important. The artwork of the sleeve and the pages, the poetry and storytelling of the lyrics, the music, photography and even film in the sense that a good album should be accompanied by some really interesting music videos. To me it's so much more three-dimensional than a lone painting, or just some words, and yet it still leaves room for individual interpretation. With any great album there will be reams of theorising all over the internet, like how Dark Side Of The Moon allegedly syncs up with the Wizard of Oz, and there's this theory that Radiohead's OK Computer and King Of Limbs combine to make some kind of super-album. Or something.
Personally I hate digital music. It makes music disposable, and having a bunch of songs shuffled on a playlist is so far removed from actually holding something physical, and feeling like it's important... But you've got to give the kids what they want, so obviously you can download our music. It's slightly odd that we poured a small fortune into getting these sixteen page CD booklets printed knowing full well that nobody would actually buy it, but not to have that physical end product would have been sacrilege. I just wish we could have afforded a vinyl release too.
We wanted the album to look perfect, but none of us are artists, so we basically got all of our friends involved. My girlfriend painted the cover for us based on my shit biro drawing... Even my mum painted something for us! We couldn't be more satisfied with the finished product, and it was a great feeling realising how many talented and creative people we knew. There is a Wakes website under construction, and hopefully a few new videos. Watch this space.
As for the look of the album art... That just came organically from the songs. From the start I had that gas mask imagine in my head, that really set the tone for the album. I think there's something quintessentially British about it. It's simultaneously horrific and tragic, fragile and yet defiant. There's something very relevant behind the idea of "a nice weekend at the seaside" whilst the world is ending around you.
7. Where do you find your inspiration from to get up and rattle out your thrashing vibe - add to this whether or not the politics of this day and age play a major role!
CHRIS: Total rage and frustration with everything that's happening in music! Actually, no, just everything. I think everything is political, even when it's not intentionally so, as everything is a product of its time. I'm a big fan of horror films, and I think you can tell much about a generation from the horror films of their decade. In the 70s you had films like The Omen and The Exorcist, films about demonic children, and that's how the youth were perceived by the establishment. They were rebelling, listening to rock and roll and challenging everything, attitudes to race, sexuality, drugs... Gender politics, human rights, animal rights and nuclear power. At the moment zombie films are the in thing. What does that say about the youth of today? Brainless fucking morons tapping aimlessly at tablets. They're playing Angry Birds, and that's about it. There are the hopeless optimists who will tell you that the youth of Britain are "waking up" and they'll cite the recent riots. Come off it, all they did was smash up some shops and nick some trainers. There was no agenda, just savage human filth and it's not going to bring the government to its knees. All shit like that achieves is more police brutality and increased CCTV surveillance. Nice one.
I'm not going to say "the politics of the day" particularly influence us, simply because I'm not interested in it. I think its all bullshit because nothing ever fundamentally changes, it's all just a pantomime to distract our attention and crush any hope of actual change. The only real change is the slow death of freedom, and we're just fucking giving it away. "We can't some in pubs? Oh, OK." "I can't take pictures of my own children? Fair dos!" "Toasters in the workplace are against health and safety? Thanks for protecting me!" My faith in democracy died when we invaded Iraq. I was brought up to believe that the Tories were evil, and that we should vote labour just to stop them getting in. I was pretty much unaware of anything political until 1997. New Labour! Brit Pop! Tony Blair was going to single handedly save the world. But, of course, it was all a lie. The man didn't have a sincere bone in his body, but then none of them do, just little boys in suits that have all been spat out of the same fucking school, crafted to be devoid of any humanity. Labour said they would ban fox hunting... It happened on paper, of course, but it's an activity (I'm not going to call it a sport) favoured by the rich, and we all know they're above the fucking law, so nothing really changed. I could no longer believe that this country wasn't becoming a fascist state when over 80% of us said no to that war anyway. I don't care what you believe, EVERYONE should have protested that war because when it got to that stage it wasn't just an attack on the Middle East, it was an attack on us and our most basic freedoms. Fast forward ten years to 2013 and the Police are arresting potential protesters BEFORE they've even committed any crime, just anyone that MIGHT want to disrupt Thatcher's funeral. What the fuck are they going to charge them with, thought crime? America's just as bad. We're expected to believe that Bush, a man-child who can't even read an autocue, was running the most powerful country in the world (ignoring the fact that he didn't even win the election), and then along comes Obama. Mr "Change." Nobody ever actually specified what that change was. He said he'd shut down Guantanamo Bay, he said he'd get the troops out of Afghanistan, but of course that didn't actually happen. It's a fucking freakshow.
If you get caught up in the idea of "contemporary politics" I think you end up chasing your tail somewhat, focusing on things that aren't really relevant - like who's currently living at number 10. What we really need to change is the idea of anybody living there. It's like all these Thatcher's Dead parties. Well, yeah, fine, any excuse for a piss up... And she was a monster, but people are treating it as some kind of victory. If Hitler had died in 1939, that would certainly have been cause for celebration, but how old was Maggie? 87? If anything she was the victor. It's ironic that the year in which she died, her values were more alive than ever. If you hated what that woman stood for, don't fuck around celebrating, start fighting against what's happening now. Bedroom tax, disability benefits, fucking Trident!
8. Constantine Accordian has just bred a 22 legged chicken and a mouse with 12 anal openings - can you tell us the advantages of these and what animal (with extras) would you like to breed and introduce to the world - the reasons are essential?
CHRIS: 12 openings? Not 12 anuses? Surely the effect would be that of a faecal colander? Call me old fashioned, but I don't really see the advantage, just a weird looking chicken with shit all over its legs. Someone else can answer this...
A 22 legged chicken would look like a feathered Kerplunk. And I fucking HATE Kerplunk, feathered or no. A mouse with 12 anal ‘openings’ wouldn’t be too dissimilar to a pumice, but less abrasive so therefore pointless. There might be a couple of mildly enjoyable evenings sticking the pumice mouse to the Kerplunk chicken but I think the novelty would soon wear off….
9. Best bands you have played with, best venues, best gig to date - reveal all and what is your most memorable gig you have ever been to?
10. Your heroes and zeroes in life and music please - go for it!
Heroes: Dexter Holland of The Offspring, inspired me to learn guitar and join a band in the very beginning.
Heroes: My awesome husband on guitar and my amazing brother-in-law on vocals/drums (Say I’m sappy to my face people, I double-dares ya)! But also my grandfather who was a beautiful singer and Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio for all his goth-punk bass lines of doooom!
11. Stick two wires in an orange, turn on the electricity supply, draw a bottle of Vicks vapour rub on your chest, insert one clove of garlic in your ear and shout 'Go Edwin Go' and I'll guarantee your penis will grow 2 inches (if you are a girl or not), your buttocks will grow corners and Noel Edmonds will find you irresistible - it has gotta be done. The advantages you foresee by these 3 mesmeric occurrences happening to your good self?
Nice try Mr. Fungalpunk, your dastardly plan has been thwarted!
CHRIS: The band Crass said that when the Sex Pistols proclaimed there was “no future” they saw it as a challenge. A challenge to their creativity, they knew there was a future if we were prepared to work for it. “Music is Dead” is our battle cry. Our challenge to you. Prove us wrong. Come to one of our gigs and show us that people still care about music, art, creativity and rebellion. And if you don't like our band, start your own. Make your own music. And make it have a point.