Friday, 8 November 2013

From the Rebellion Archives: Runnin Riot Interview 2012

One of the best things about writing for a festival programme is that it gives you the perfect opportunity to get back in touch with people you may have only met on the odd occasion. This is what happened with the Runnin Riot boys. I'd met Marty and Colin forever ago but never really had the chance to get to know them properly. They were as lovely as I remembered them and gave some cracking answers. An absolute pleasure to share a Bucky or two with them and carry on our chat at Rebellion that year.

Belfast's finest Oi! band have been described as producing songs that "revere booze, brotherhood, and politics and their combined effect on the working class". A band set apart from the other Oi! bands who sing on these classic themes by their overriding sense of fun, their experience in gigging and by having the knack of writing bloody catchy anthems, they have become firm Rebellion favourites. They will be playing with Rancid later this year and with a new album due later this year, things are looking good for Belfast's premier bovva boys. Rebellion had a chat with singer Colin over a large Buckfast. It ended better for him than us.

Rebellion: Welcome back to Rebellion boys! When was the first time you played here? Has it changed?
Runnin Riot: We played at H.I.T.S way back in 2001. we played Rebellion in 2009 and 2011. We love the festival! It's good to see so many great and colourful people in one place, it's a great time for catching up with our mates. We wouldn't change a thing about Rebellion.

Rebellion: What's your favourite Rebellion memory?
Runnin Riot: That first year we played we'd been across to England a few days before the fest and had done a few gigs around the North of England and Scotland, so we had been partaking in quite a bit of Buckfast. Anyway, the day we play, our bassist is nowhere to be found. So with various search parties dispatched he is eventually located asleep on the beach. He is then virtually carried back up to the venue about a half an hour before we play. Incapable of speech he plays an absolute stormer of a gig, then promptly disappears again as the rest of us retire to the sanctury of our Buckfast.  Then around 3-4 hours later the bass player reappears with those immortal words (which still bring a smile to my face!) "alright lads? What time are we on at?" Laugh?.....I even bought Watford Jon a drink that day!!

Rebellion: Who do you recommend not to miss on the line up this year?
Runnin Riot: We're big Social Distortion fans so we'll be front and centre for them, The Slackers, Argy Bargy, Gimpfist, Booze & Glory, Control, Marching Orders, The Blame, Los Fastidios, Hardskin and of course Rancid! Far too many great bands to mention!

Rebellion: Who would be on your ideal line up?
Runnin Riot: All of the above with the addition of 'Sparrer, Cockney Rejects, The Skints, Patriot, and from Oz, Plan of Attack and the mighty ROSE TATTOO!

Rebellion: What are your live shows like?
Runnin Riot: It's somewhat of a Buckfast fuelled sing-a-long! We have the odd stage invasion too! I guess if ya really wanna know come down and watch us play.

Rebellion: Are you happy with being described as an Oi! band?
Runnin Riot: We don't really care how people describe us or label us, but the roots of the band and the music we produce are based firmly in the hey day of good old fashioned Oi! of the early eighties. It would be fair to say that our music has evolved immensely since the release of  "Reclaim the Streets" in 1998. Oi!, Punkrock, Streetpunk! We play working class street music! Oi! Oi!

Rebellion: You appear tread the very careful line of carrying a strong social message in your songs without being overtly political. How important is that to you?
Runnin Riot: We think its important to be responsible with lyrics. I think nowadays we have a lot to be pissed off about! We try to strike a balance with our songs. We have songs about injustice and working class struggle but we also have songs about George Best and getting pissed!

Rebellion: How would you describe the state of punk and Oi! in Northern Ireland right now? Any bands we should watch out for?
Runnin Riot: With the recent opening of the new Warzone Centre Belfast's scene is looking healthy! It's a drop in centre with a stage and huge sound system, a great place to put on gigs or play with a great atmosphere. There are a lot of great bands doing the rounds at the minute! Hardcase, Excuses, Thee Radicals, The Jollars, Section 4, 1000 Drunken Nights are all worth checking out.

Rebellion: You are all renowned for liking a beer/vodka/bucky, how did you celebrate completing your last album 'Boots and Ballads'?
Runnin Riot: Think we had a few bottles of the monks' finest to celebrate. We're very proud of the album. We have a great engineer who knows what we're looking for when we record. We're in the middle of writing our new album at the minute. We hope to have it finished and out by the end of this year. The new tunes are shaping up well and we're looking forward to airing a few at Rebellion this year.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

From the Rebellion Archives: The Other F Word is family, not fatherhood (2012)

When Daryl asked me if I'd write for the programme, he also asked me to throw in a couple of interesting articles that were about punk life in general. This article was published anonymously and very few people clocked that it was me that had written it, even people I had full blown conversations with about the article. So here is me owning up to having written it and telling you that I still feel exactly the same way. Exactly. 
This Father's Day I bought my Dad a copy of  'The Other F Word', the documentary about punk and fatherhood. It features a who's who of Californian punk from Black Flag and US Bombs to Blink 182 and this year's Rebellion headliners Rancid. The film focuses on Jim Lindburgh, the singer from bro-punk pit-inducers Pennywise and the conflict between the need to tour to support his family and the band, and missing important times in the lives of his children. 

The concept is an interesting one; the punk bands that are approaching their twentieth year mark are all reaching the age of marriage and children. The state of the music industry and the decline in record sales means that mid-level bands have to tour almost constantly to pay the mortgage and provide for their families. Having children has impacted on all of their lives, how has it changed them as people and altered their perspectives on punk? 

Whilst the weaving of the Pennywise narrative throughout the documentary allows for the other interviews to fit nicely into the structure, it was the discussion of fatherhood from the perspectives of the range of punk stalwarts that really give this film its strength. Those of us at Rebellion last year who saw the Pennywise play without the original singer already know how his story ends.

One thing that they all acknowledge is that the arrival of their offspring changed their lives. The majority of the men state that becoming fathers changed their outlooks, (all except NOFX's Fat Mike who stands out as the anomaly in his assessment of the bringing a child into the world he already occupies, rather than making the adjustments the other dads allude to). There's one particularly touching moment with Flea and his articulate teenage daughter, when he breaks down talking about how much joy being a dad brings him. There's a few other tear jerkers in there that I won't spoil for those that haven't seen it, but I recommend not watching it after a couple of bottles of wine like I did the day after Fathers Day when I watched it with my old man.

And it did make me think. I'm not a parent, so I'm not in a position to comment on that side of things. But I am the eldest daughter of someone recently described in a Czech review as an 'elderly Titan' of punk. I'll leave you to guess who. It struck me that I know lots and lots of English punk families but very few other families in the people I've met from around the world. And by this I don't necessarily just mean couples both being punks or skins, but actual generations of punks and skins in the same family. Needless to say we are one of them. 
A quick anecdote for you. At a local gig in which one of my friends was drumming for his former band, I turned to another punk woman I knew and asked her if she lived nearby. Turns out it was his mum. I'd known both of them for years and heard them reference each other on countless of occasions. I never connected the dots and I felt like such an idiot. They are now both friends with my family.

I think that the English experience of punk and families is different to the one portrayed in the film. The differences are only subtle but significant. There's one thing that I've always loved about Rebellion is that it has always been a family affair and my relationship with my Dad has been strengthened with the time we get to spend together in Blackpool or in Morecombe. I came to my first festival aged 14. It's now the first thing that goes in my diary each year. 

The best years for me have been those years when the atmosphere has that family feel. That means seeing the little kids in their first pair of boots and braces, or sporting their first mohawk. I love the fact that you see anarcho-punk parents with the biggest mohawks you've ever seen, carrying tiny kids in UK Subs shirts wearing ear defenders. Regardless of punk sensibilities, sensible parental choices prevail. The family feel means meeting the kids of my friends as they bring them to Blackpool for the first time, watching their faces as they are captivated by the sights and sounds of our summer's annual family gathering. And seeing those kids again next year, and the year after that, bringing their own mates and making their own friends.
I think that Rebellion does it better than any other festival in providing the space for people to have the festival experience they want. I have siblings who aren't punks, come to Rebellion to have a good time, and go home raving about what they've seen and the experiences that they've had. I have a friend who bought her elderly mother last year to see The Adicts. What other fesitvals could you say that about? 
I can imagine the concerns parents have when deciding when it's appropriate to bring their kids to a festival like this, and I also understand the argument that it's one of the only chances some people have to get messy with their mates in the year. But I think that for the sake of getting the next generation of punks who love live music and support the bands, we have to allow for other kids to have the same access to the gigs as I did.  
The important point I suppose is that I've always felt welcome, even when I was a youngster. Coming to Rebellion at a young age allowed me to grow up in the punk world, find the love of my life and a large majority of my closest friends in our smelly pubs and grotty clubs. And of course, on the streets of Blackpool and Morecombe. The reality is that family to me extends to the people I see once a year at the Winter Gardens. I hope it continues so I can one day bring my kids and introduce the next generation to the world's greatest festival. The Other F Word for me isn't fatherhood, it's family. 

From the Rebellion Archives: Downtown Struts Interview 2012

I'd got to know the boys in Downtown Struts when they'd come to San Francisco and stayed at the Pirate ship. The album was rarely off my turntable at the time of writing and we listened to it constantly. I Skyped with Dan sitting in my parents' house (my first Skype interview - that was weird!), which we recorded and I transcribed. I thought the band were great then, I still do now. I'm very privileged to now call them friends.

Don't forget you can get your Rebellion 2014 tickets now!

Downtown Struts play Rebellion for the first time this year in support of the release of their debut full length Victoria! The album was recorded with Matt Allison at Atlas Studios in Chicago and follows the release of the EP ‘Sail The Seas Dry’ and the first single to be taken from the full length, ‘Anchors’. This year has been unbelievably busy for the Downtown Struts, with much of it spent on the road. The band have been touring with The Business and Face to Face, and have dates planned with the Sydney Ducks, Street Dogs and Bouncing Souls later this summer, as well as a number of different festivals.

Formed in 2008, the band come from both Chicago and California but are now all based in the mid-West. Their music isn’t easily categorisable, but fans of melodic punk, clever guitar work and belting vocals should give them a listen. Many of the reviews have cited their inspirations as including The Clash, The Descendents and Springsteen, although you get the impression that their influences are broad and wide. The band themselves are passionate, professional young men, who take what they do very seriously. Don’t be surprised if they take over the world.

We sat down with guitarist and vocalist Dan Cooper for a chat about playing Rebellion, life on the road and visiting Europe for the first time as a band.

Rebellion is getting the drinks in, what are the Downtown Struts having?Dan:  Ryan our bassist would have a beer, guitarist Ben loves a root beer, Zach our drummer is a whiskey and soda man, and I’ll stick to the water thanks!

Rebellion: If you could only save one record from your collection in a fire, which one would it be?
Dan: We have an original pressing of ‘Damn The Torpedoes’ (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) at the house that I would jump through fire for.

Rebellion: The reviews for your first album Victoria! are overwhelmingly positive on the whole, how does the rest of the band react, and how do you react, when a positive one is brought to your attention?
Dan: We’re pretty stoked to be honest with you. When the record came out, we were really nervous about getting reviews back. Our first review, I don’t even remember what it said but it wasn’t super positive, and I thought from here on out they’re all going to be shit and I’m not excited to get any more reviews in. I decided I wasn’t going to read anymore. Then (bassist) Ryan sent me the second one and it was good, and then I started paying more attention. It got to the point where whenever we saw one another after that, we’d be like ‘did you see this one?’ It’s really funny too when we get a bad one, that’s when we make sure that we all read it because we find it funny, depending on what it says. You never take it too seriously.

Rebellion: The album has garnered incredible support from punks and other musicians that I grew up listening to and loving. What were your reactions to hearing some of those quotes?
Dan: I thought it was great, I didn’t expect people to hear my band or to say good things about it, so it was really nice to hear any sort of validation outside of just like good friends and other people you would expect. So it was really nice. Like you said, growing up, I never expected  to put out my first record and for people to hear it and actually like it. You never assume that will happen so it’s nice.

Rebellion: Were there any of the quotes in particular that you read and thought ‘oh my god, that’s wicked!’?
Dan: I really liked Trevor Keith’s (singer from Face to Face) just because it sounded like he actually loved it and you can tell that he listened to the songs and to me that’s the most important thing. If I read a good review even if they didn’t like it or love it, it’s nice to read it and be able to feel that they actually listened to it and have something to say about the music.

Rebellion: You’ve definitely got a reputation as a solid touring band, one that appears to have endless stamina on the road especially from looking at this summer’s dates. Where does that motivation come from?
Dan: Because if we were at home we wouldn’t be doing anything fun. When we’re at home it’s weird because now we’re just used to being on the road, so I still live out of my suitcase! It’s something you just get used to. We’re still young and we still like to play shows, and we still feel like we have a lot to prove, so it’s nice to go out and feel like you’re still on a mission to do what you have to do and make it bigger and better than it was before.

Rebellion: Would you agree with the assessment of your writing that you appear far wiser than your age should allow you to be?
b I try to be more honest and relatable. We’re very big on ‘what can we do to be different and better than other shit that we listen to?’ It’s a hard to question to answer, in one way I’m a dick and in the other way I’m indifferent so… I wouldn’t say that we are wiser, but that is an impression that some people get, and it’s a positive thing. Other people must just see that we try a little harder. I’ve read reviews that say that our song writing is more complex than the typical punk band. I think a lot of people just thought we were a streetpunk band, and I think that when we put out this record they were a bit surprised.

Rebellion: In my opinion, I think there is a maturity in the storytelling. I think the songs have an observational aspect and these are the lyrics that appear older and wiser because the observations that you make aren’t necessarily the ones are that fit your age. It’s not about going out and getting fucked up. It’s about what life is like in America. There’s a universality in that.
Dan: If I got to that point in my career where I was just singing songs about partying or just random shit, I would probably hate myself and wonder why I was even getting paid to do what I do. If the only things that were important to me were going out, being young and doing dumb things, then I hope my band would stop letting me write songs. I don’t want to be a pointless band.

Rebellion: Talking about your storytelling, there are some of the negative portrayals of American life on the record, how optimistic do you think America is right now about the future?
Dan: I think America is doing pretty badly right now, the recession feels like it’s getting a little bit better, but with the election coming up and people not feeling that they have a decent person to elect, that is getting to people. But the reality is that those aren’t my problems. My problems are do I have money to pay rent? Am I going to be able to eat a solid amount of food so that I won’t pass out later tonight? Am I going to go to a city, play a show and people there are going to enjoy it? Those are my problems. 

Rebellion: You’re playing Rebellion in the middle of your first European tour. How excited are you about crossing the Atlantic?
Dan: A lot, we’re very excited. I’ve been there a few times and Zach, our drummer, has been there once or twice, but everybody else hasn’t been there. I’m most excited about being the one who has already experienced it and being able to share it with my friends.

Rebellion: Is there anywhere you’re particularly excited to visit or any tourist attractions you want to see?
Dan: The two places on our tour I haven’t been are Denmark and the Netherlands, so I’m really excited about that. Europe is a lot prettier and a lot older, so any American tourist enjoys going over there. History is not something you get to see whilst touring America. On top of it not being a familiar place, Europe is also a better place.

Rebellion: The thought that goes into your releases seems to continue to the artwork and the design. How central to the Downtown Struts is the way that your records look and feel? And how do you decide what the visual aspects of your releases are going to be?
Dan: I’d say that it’s very important, the artwork is critical to the whole package. To me the visual is super important, it’s stronger than just the music on its own. I think that when you’re listening to something and you can look through the artwork, those two things should click and people should be able to relate to you even better. And Paul who does our artwork is very important.

Rebellion: Finally, is there anyone who is playing at Rebellion who you haven’t seen before and you’re excited to see?
Dan: I’ve never seen Rancid play, and I’ve never seen The Slackers play, those are two groups I hope I have time to see.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

From the Rebellion Archives: Sydney Ducks Interview 2012

At the time of writing, the Ducks were rehearsing downstairs from my living room a few times a week. Which meant that I was seeing them live on a regular basis and couldn't WAIT for them to get to the UK - there were loads of people I knew would love them. I wasn't wrong. This weekend at the Pirates Press 9th anniversary party, they will play together for the first time in ages. It's a must be there moment.
Don't forget you can get your Rebellion Festival 2014 tickets now, just click on the link!

The Sydney Ducks are a band gathering momentum at a rate of knots since forming in 2009. The unusual name was taken from "a crew of criminal immigrants" that burned San Francisco to the ground in 1849 (Wikipedia's words not mine!).

The San Franciscan five piece have been labelled as an Oi! band, and whilst this label does fit them to a certain extent, there are a number of different influences to be found in their music which make them stand out from the crowd. The simplicity of Oi! is peppered with influences ranging from classic American hardcore to first generation European post punk to neo-psychedelia and prog rock. Maximum RocknRoll stated earlier this year that "the resultant sound is like the Templars crossed with Ignition..." a mighty combination for any fan of street punk or Oi!.

This is not a band of newcomers to the scene though, and many of the members have been playing in other bands for over twenty years. The experience they have collectively amassed definitely lends a maturity to their writing and playing. Lyrically, the songs contain both an element of story-telling and of personal reflection. Musically, this might be the smartest Oi! you'll hear this decade, with weaving guitar lines and bass drop ins making them at times not fit that label at all. Recently back from the East Coast where they played shows with both Boston hardcore legends DYS and Rebellion favourite Cock Sparrer, this is the first time the band have visited Europe.

Songs not to miss: Espirit De Corps, Stray Dogs, He Lives For Today

Rebellion caught up with bassist Mike for a drink and a chat about their upcoming European tour and what they are expecting Rebellion to be like.

Rebellion: What are you most looking forward to about playing Rebellion?
Mike: For me, I'm just excited to be there!  I have never actually even been to Rebellion before!  I've been to so many All-Dayers and Weekenders in other cities and countries all over the world, but never to the legendary Blackpool festival!!  I'm sure there will be lots of old friends and familiar faces, so that will be a good time no doubt.  As a band of course, it is just an honour to be given this opportunity, especially as a relative new-comer. 

Rebellion: What does each member bring to the band?
Mike: We all have diverse musical tastes that border on eclectic for each of us as individuals. This ranges from classic to obscure, not only punk rock but metal, garage, glam, etc.  Yet there is a common-ground within that wide range of music that we can all converge upon to try to create what is hopefully a bit of a fresh take on "punk rock" in the year 2012!! As individuals, we all bring some unique quirks to the band as well.  I don't wanna incriminate or call anyone out, but I know that I am the nag of the band...  The "band dad" as they say!

Rebellion: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mike: We all have super diverse musical tastes as individuals, but as a group, I think we all started this band with the intention and desire to try to not be a typical "Oi!" band.  We all love classic music from the 60's, 70's and even the 80's, particularly anglo-centric stuff like glam and early punk like the Boot Power stuff.  Our drummer Phil is also a massive garage music fan and brings some really great ideas and influences from that realm.  Most of us are also super into stuff like old Black Sabbath and once in awhile there will be a bit of that kind of influence in our music I think when we try to do things that are a little "groovy" or "experimental" maybe.

Rebellion: How does the songwriting process work?
Mike: Uh...  Not very well!!  Haha.  We are all super busy with our lives outside of the band that we unfortunately only get a chance to practice once a week, so our productivity is somewhat limited by that, especially if we have a lot of shows going on, then we have less time to focus on the writing.  In general though, guitarist Grant has been the one to bring a cool riff or idea to the band, and then from there it gets worked on and usually goes through a bit of a drawn-out process of morphing into a finished product eventually!  There have been a few rare occasions though where an idea falls into place an becomes a song relatively quickly, but that is not the norm for the Sydney Ducks!!

Rebellion: Who would be on your dream festival lineup? Would you put yourselves on there?
Mike: I can only speak for myself, but I would have to say Bryan Adams, Neil Young, Rush and Nickelback of course, as they are all Canadian superstars!!  (Mike is the band's only Canadian). Just kidding. In all seriousness, I could create multiple "dream festivals" of different combinations of bands depending on my mood, but I think that for me personally, most would include the following bands for sure:  Black Sabbath, The Clash and The Who, all with original line-ups of course! I am always happy to see Iron Maiden and Motorhead live too, but I've seen both of those bands many times, so the previous 3 bands are much more of a "dream" line-up. And hell no, I would not want to be part of that show.  I am not worthy. I would be happy just to see those bands play!!

Rebellion: Do you agree that we are seeing a current resurgance of Oi, particularly from America?
Mike: I think that you have to agree with that statement.  I think that "Oi!" music has never really gone away for those of us that have always been into it.  It is just far more accessible now, thanks in part to things like the internet. And there are also certain bands out there that are breaking ground in the Oi!/streetpunk genre like never before which is expanding the fan-base of many bands and giving them opportunities that they would not have had previously.  So yeah... I guess that would be considered a "resurgence".

Rebellion: Who is the most annoying member of the band to share a tour bus/hotel with?
Mike: We are still relatively new at this, so I'm not sure if we've had a chance to figure out the "most annoying" one of us yet!!  I'm just gonna cross my fingers that it's not gonna be me, but that could be the case since I am the "band dad"...

Rebellion: What's next for the Sydney Ducks?
Mike: I think the next big thing on our agenda is to try to get into the studio to record about 6-8 songs for a 12" EP that we had hoped to have out by this time already!  But definitely by the end of 2012 we would like to have that recorded for an early 2013 release hopefully...

It's My Birthday!

Hello friends, family and loved ones,

Some of you will know that it is my birthday next week. And whilst part of me wants to hire a bouncy castle and eat jelly and ice cream all day, I am going to be turning 29 years old and apparently that's not what people who are almost 30 do...

Since the start of the year I have been working with an amazing organization called Justice Now. You know when you walk in somewhere and feel completely at home with their values and commitment? Well that's how I feel about Justice Now. (It's how I feel about the 12Bar as well, but I digress).

After being an intern for the first half of the year, I became a staff member in August. Let me tell you, the work I am doing is rewarding in a way that I have never found in any job I've held before. I am surrounded by passionate, smart and empowered people who I learn something from every day.

So this year, instead of jelly and ice cream, I have decided to donate my birthday to Justice Now, and ask not for cards or presents, but for donations to support the work that means so much to me.

If you would have bought me a birthday drink if we'd have seen each other, I'm asking you to donate the cost of a pint. If you'd have sent me a card, would you think about sending the cost of postage to justice now instead? $5, 5 pounds or whatever you can afford. I'll know you're thinking of me on my birthday and we'll celebrate in person the next time I see you.

Click here to donate.

I love you all and really appreciate taking the time to get to the end of this. As a reward, here's a photo of me at my first birthday party. (You have to watch the video to get this treat!)

Thank you and see you soon!

H xxx

Monday, 28 October 2013

Why I'm pissed off with Billy Bragg

A couple of Saturdays ago, we went to see Billy Bragg play at the Great American Music Hall. We left before the end, seriously disappointed and pissed off. You can find out why here.

From the Rebellion Archives: Jaya The Cat Interview

If the Booze & Glory interview was the first and easiest to finish, getting hold of Jaya the Cat involved numerous emails to press offices and a few emails to Daryl (Smith, programme editor) frantically asking him to just wait another day because I'm sure they will get back to me in time. They did and with some funny answers. Jaya the Cat just rule. And it's still weird to write as 'Rebellion' but you all know it's me... Don't forget that tickets are already on sale for Rebellion 2014. Get yours early!

Originating from Boston and currently based in Amsterdam, Jaya the Cat play an original and uncompromising combination of punk rock, reggae and ska music. Founded in 2002 through a shared passion for 60’s and 70’s dub and punk, the band draw inspiration for their unique style of music from seedy bars, cheap hotels, dysfunctional love affairs and political disillusionment. The resulting albums contain songs that range from booze fueled singalong anthems, to mellow tracks with a dance feel to outspoken social and political commentary.

Since their formation and transatlantic relocation the support for the band has continued to grow. They now have played hundreds of live shows to an ever expanding audience including a number of performances at Rebellions past. This is in addition to bolstering their sound with keyboards, samples, percussion and a tiki bar, which has now become essential to their onstage act. Whilst there is no such thing as an average Jaya the Cat concert, gigs usually become more of a party than a performance with the audience singing, dancing and drinking with the band onstage. With a new album out just before Rebellion, you know that this lot are up for a party. Make sure you don't miss the celebration.

Rebellion: Is it good to be back at Rebellion? When was your first Rebellion? Do you think it has changed since then?
Geoff: Hell yeah it's great to be back! I think this is our third or fourth year going, and it's always a blast. I actually don't see too much of a change in the festival. With Rebellion you pretty much know what you're getting into

Rebellion: Is Rebellion different from playing other festivals? If so, in what way?
Geoff: People are pretty damn cool there, from the stagehands to the audience it's pretty relaxed. And I like the whole vibe Blackpool as a sorta beat down resort town gives the festival as well. A lot of the bands we've played with and friends we've made touring the UK tend to be there as well so that's cool, it's a good party.

Rebellion: Do you have any top tips from this year's line up that we shouldn't miss?
Geoff: This is gonna sound bad but we play so fucking much, and we've also been so busy getting our newest album done, that I haven't have much of a chance to check the lineups of any of the festivals we're doing this summer. I usually just show up and hope to be pleasantly surprised. One good thing about Rebellion though is there's no worries, there's always a bunch of stuff I'm stoked to see no matter what.

Rebellion: I saw your set last year when members of The Skints joined you on stage, how healthy is the state of ska-reggae-party-punk music in 2012? How important has joining Bomber Music been to the band?
Geoff: I would say in the UK it seems to be fairly strong, I mean that sorta sound was pretty much born over here, right? In mainland Europe it's not as prevalent I guess, bands tend to stick in just one style, strictly rocksteady, or reggae or whatever. I personally like a bit of a mixup. Bomber is cool, they're a nice bunch and have quite a few of the bands in the scene we play with signed to them.

Rebellion: Would you agree with the statement that Jaya the Cat's philosophy is to drink as much as you can and don't take anything too seriously?
Geoff: That sounds like a pretty good philosophy! Maybe I'd change that to drink as much as you feel like and don't take anything too seriously. If I spent my days drinking as much as I could I wouldn't have time for anything else.

Rebellion: You've got a new album, The New International Sound of Hedonism recently released, where have you drawn inspiration from?
Geoff: I guess mostly just being on the road. We travel a lot and tend to imbibe in whatever the local poisons are when we get there, hence the international and the hedonism.

Rebellion: Is it work or play in the studio?
Geoff: It's a bit of both. It's a fine line, but I guess most of the work is done getting ready for the studio. Once you're in there you just want to cut loose, fuck it. You don't wanna come across as stiff or too professional on your recorded stuff.

Rebellion: What's your favourite track from the new album? Are there any which you'd recommend to people as being representative of Jaya the Cat in 2012?
Geoff: I dunno I've got a couple. My favorite one now is a track called bos en lommerweg, it's not so representative though. It's kinda a slow one. We did a few calypso style numbers on this album with guest vocals from some UK artists, Itch Fox from the King Blues on one and Adam Parsons from Captain Accident on another. It was cool to do some collaborations and I've always been a big calypso fan but have never been able to make it work before with Jaya. Every time I've tried in the past it just sounded too much of a stretch from our sound. So maybe that's a bit representative of the overall vibe on this one, it's still very much Jaya the Cat, but on this one we've been able to bridge out a bit more and expand our sound. You've gotta do that. Keep things from getting stale while sticking to your vision.

Rebellion: What's exciting about music in 2012?
Geoff: Music is always exciting, huh? I guess I like that technology just keeps getting cheaper, faster and more accessible. Say what you want, but the spirit of punk rock, the whole do it your fucking self deal, is more possible than ever now. As much as I still love the whole cassette tape single input 4 track deal, we're lightyears beyond that now and I think it's pretty rad.

- The Future is Unwritten. Make the most of every single day.