Monday, 20 July 2015

Interview & Single: The Wood Burning Savages - Premier League

The Wood Burning Savages Derry

The Wood Burning Savages, 'Premier League'

Info: Today sees the release of new single, 'Premier League' from Derry punk rockers The Wood Burning Savages. The band released their first recordings back in 2012 with a small collection of demos and have had a consistent output since then, including a self-titled EP in 2013, the highly enjoyable Boom E.P. last year with a spattering of singles in between, all geared toward releasing a full album in the near future. Their aim? 'the creation of a relentless yearning to sing about the things everyone else is too afraid to sing about...the band are currently laying the foundations for their first album which is guaranteed to grab listeners by the lapels and shake the build up of mainstream popular culture candyfloss from their heads.' A noble cause.

New single 'Premier League' is a rip-roaring punk rock single that doesn't let up from the off with it's hyper-intensive bass and drumming, rally calling chorus and swaggered guitar-playing. Nods to old school punk, 90's indie such as Supergrass and a more recent drift into Maximo Park territory, all melded together with the bands very own dark hard rock edginess providing the energy and pow. 

Having already cut their chops on the BBC's Introducing Stage at Glastonbury, The Wood Burning Savages are about to set off on a tour of Ireland and the U.K., with local gigs in their hometown at Rock for Pride this Thursday, as well as dates in Draperstown and Lisburn at the start of August, all followed by four dates in Scotland. Before all that though, I caught up with Paul, Dan, Shea and Aaron to shoot the breeze about the music, dopplegangers and Karen Carpenter.

The Wood Burning Savages Premier League

Remy: First up, can we get a whistle-stop tour of The Wood Burning Savages
musical history, previous bands and getting together etc.?

Paul: The Wood Burning Savages have kinda been going with our foot firmly on the pedal since mid 2013. We clock up crazy miles in the van and have played all kinds of crazy gigs all over Ireland and the UK. Before that myself, Aaron (drums) and Shea (guitar) had played around in a garage rock group called The Q. We got together again after The Q when myself and Aaron had seeds of ideas and Dan came on board, then Shea joined us a while after. It’s strange as Dan and I went to university together, in the same building, just one floor apart. Point being, it’s odd how people do the ships-in-the-night thing sometimes only to meet at the right time.

Remy: You've had a very eventful and successful 2015 so far playing at Vantastival and recently being nominated in the Best Irish Act category for Pure M Magazine, any other excitement on the cards for the remainder of 2015?

Paul: Yeah! We’re just happiest when we’re busy, so we’re always looking to play in front of new crowds. We were delighted about the Pure M nomination, it lets us know that people are digging what we do live. 2015 got pretty busy pretty quick! We had a sold out show in LOFT in Belfast just last Friday (17th) promoting our single which was great fun. As far as the remainder of 2015 goes, we’re really looking forward to Knockanstockan next week, we love that festival. We’re hitting Scotland in August for a set at a great festival called Belladrum alongside Manic Street Preachers, Idlewild and loads of other acts we love. We’ll be playing at the Edinburgh Fringe too as well as a few other Scottish dates.

The Wood Burning Savages, 'Colza Hotel', Boom EP (2014)

Remy: Listening to new single 'Premier League' which is out today (20th July) and your previous E.P. Boom, I get the comparisons to punk and indie bands such as The Clash and Manic Street Preachers. With that in mind I notice in the lyrics that there are many brief nods to political and cultural figures and events, would you consider yourselves a socially conscious band, and are there any recent domestic or international events that have particularly pissed you off?!

Paul: Absolutely. Without sounding like an asshole, I think when you write a song it really has to be about something. I’m rubbish at writing love songs so for me the music we write is a perfect framework for getting across important messages and reminding people that there are bands out there who want to sing about more than holding hands and candyfloss. Nationally, we have politicians who are groomed for positions as politicians who have the sole aim of serving their pocket not the people. That pisses me off. The weird glass ceiling in Ireland and the UK of ‘jobs for the boys and to hell with the plebs’ irks me to no end. 

I’m not a tie-die wearing hippy by any means but one of my mantras in life is to be decent to your fellow human. On an international level, I’m concerned with upholding the free movement of people for work or refuge, minority rights, gender equality and fighting prejudice with every fibre of my being. We touch on each of these issues in our songs, if we don’t who else will?

Remy: I've covered some excellent bands from Northern Ireland over the last few years including Go Swim, Abandcalledboy, the mysterious Lilla Vargen, as well as fellow Derry artist, Catmando, can you recommend any other local acts that are worth checking out?

Paul: We’re big fans of a local electronic group called Strength, they make music that just creeps up behind you, puts a sack over your head and makes you dance with them…metaphorically speaking of course. We also love Son of the Hound, Ports, The Bonnevilles and Plain Zebra. 

Remy: As you'd expect during this time of year most of your live performances have and will be at festivals including 'Rock for Pride' in your home city, the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in the Highlands (which Manics are headlining) and the Edinburgh Fringe. From the selfish perspective of a Dubliner, any gigs planned for here in the near future?!

Paul: We’ll be living in the van and eating cereal bars for dinner at the festivals for a while this summer, which is great. As far as Dublin goes we’re working on a couple of dates for September as we chat. We love playing Dublin, Whelan’s have been very appreciative of what we do and had us on their WhelansLive stage at Sea Sessions Surf Festival this year, so if we’re ever in the big smoke it’s always a treat to be playing in there.

'Man, these kids these days, so much noise'

Remy: Can each of you share a piece of music you like from any genre or artist whatsoever, that is totally at odds with either (a) The Wood Burning Savages 
sound or (b) that people you know personally would be shocked / horrified by?

Aaron: I like Charlie Landsborough, there I said it. 

Shea: I’m a big fan of Mike & The Mechanics, I’m glad to get that out in the open actually haha. 

Paul: I love The Carpenters track ‘Superstar.’ No messing, I actually just do. It’s good music to drink a beer and have a cry to. I have a The Carpenters t-shirt which I wear around and people think it’s some sort of weird joke, I actually just like the band.

Dan: Kate Bush’s track 'The Dreaming'. It’s just class from start to finish. 

Remy: I agonised over my next question because I think it's an awful thing to draw attention to people's personal appearance (particularly those born with say, facial hair - it's not always a lifestyle choice). But Dan, we need to talk about the uncanny resemblance between yourself and another bassist from an English band called Motorhead, surely you've performed 'The Ace of Spades' live, and if you haven't, why not?!

Dan: Many's a time I’ve wanted to, believe me, but there’s a prophecy written under one of the tables in our local pub (Sandinos, they do good stout) that states if two hairy, facially furnished, western European bassists should unwittingly play ‘Ace of Spades’ live at the same time that the Earth’s tectonic plates will reverse and Pangaea will be reconstructed thus resulting in cities colliding and volcanic islands sunk. So it’s best I don’t chance it and let Kilminster do his thing. Plus, the chorus is a bit tricky. 

Remy: Finally, with regards to recording which will probably not be on the cards until after the far end of the summer with touring etc., will 'Premier League' form part of a new E.P. or even album or is it far too soon to be contemplating such matters? 

Paul: We’re building these new singles with a hope to have them on an album at some point in the future. I think we’re an album band, an E.P. is nice but an album is the full cheeseburger that will hopefully have people eager for more.

Download The Wood Burning Savages brand spanking new single, 'Premier League' here

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