“I remember seeing a clearly unhinged young man yelling at strangers and thought yeah, I could do that”… my interview with The Feckless’ Joe, plus new EP review

The Feckless are a new punk-garage rock band, who have recently released debut EP Empire. A blistering collection of gritty rock tracks, Empire opens with Take Back The Streets which is definitely my favourite track on the EP; the guitar is really raw and messy, with experimental riffs kicking in nearer the end of the track. I love how blunt and honest the track sounds, with heavy post-punk grit to Joe’s vocals. It’s a brilliantly heavy blast of punk, with a very pure DIY bite to it. Empire draws in those same guitar elements, with heavy riffs and a sharp set of chords to accompany the distortion of Joe’s voice and the drums providing a steady, solid beat throughout. Similarly, Transmission has that rough distorted guitar which makes the band’s tracks so unique and exciting to listen to; Joe’s voice throughout the whole EP is softly distorted, with a proper punk grittiness to it, sounding very raw and real. The blunt edge of The Feckless is reflected in Machinery, which is a slightly slower track. The hazily raw guitar on it though proves punk music doesn’t have to be loud and fast and in your face; it can be more subtle and vulnerable, whilst maintaining the intense rawness of typical punk. One Way Street is pure class too, rounding off the EP perfectly. It’s a really classic punk rock sound, bringing in elements of 70s punk and late 60s rock’n’roll. There seems to be an element of archaic frustration to the EP, giving it a retro old school punk sound, like something you’d hear under Thatcher back in the 80s. Punk is such a difficult genre to embody; but more so than embodying simply the sound of punk, The Feckless manage to embody the feeling behind it, something which can be so hard to do. A raw, exciting addition to the current punk/ alt-rock scene, The Feckless are a much needed new rock band, who deliver one million percent with the gritty filth of Empire.

You can listen to the EP via SoundCloud


For more on The Feckless, you can read my interview with lead vocalist Joe below

Tell me about the band: who’s in it and how did you form?

The Feckless is Max Mortimer on lead guitar, Louis Wild on rhythm, Ollie Carney on drums, Ed Hoon on bass and me (Joe Lansley) on vocals. The band kind of just fell together by default to start with – me Ed and Max had nowt to do so Ed nicked a bass from the school we were at, I started ranting I’m Waiting For The Man over it, and we spent a while writing songs and firing drummers. Ollie and Louis came in earlier this year and we made a bid for some degree of legitimacy, then I got this email.

Where are you guys from and what’s the local music scene like?

We’re not really from anywhere to be honest, we’re trapped by birth in the cultural wasteland of outer Derbyshire, but we’ve adopted the Sheffield scene and there’s some pretty cool shit cracking off, Baba Naga and the Eccentric Research council and that, inclusive vibes all round and a lot’s happening.

Who’s the dream artist to collaborate with?

That’d have to be Lias and Saul from Fat White Family – they’re kind of band-wide idols for us. To be involved in something that compelling and constantly fluctuating, especially in these times major-label landfill “quirky” indie products is definitely a kind of fantasy.

 Which bands influenced you growing up, and who would you say are direct influences on the band’s overall sound?

In the beginning we were all about the archetypal proto-punk Stooges, MC5 sound, and that’s stuck with us because it’s how we learnt, but since then we’ve merged that intensity with more musically interesting influences like a massive obsession with The Fall and some more Radiohead type vibes on a chill track called Machinery from our upcoming EP.

Who are your favourite new upcoming bands?

There’s been a really exciting round of debut albums coming from the Trashmouth label in south London, Meatraffle and Bat Bike and that – they’re not really new bands but the label’s recent relative notoriety has recently given innovative music normally confined to empty pubs access to the nation. There’s also some very vibrant youth on the go in Sheffield, bands like Knife Man and In Sulks, cheerful sounds going all the way to the top.

What’s been your favourite album/ single to be released this year?

The Wytches knocked out one of those singles in C-Side that just makes you want to massacre a guitar til it sounds half that fucked, but nothing’s come close for me to FWF’s (Fat White Family) second album Songs For Our Mothers, jarring lyrical content hasn’t been so directly personal or entwined with such original music since Mark E Smith looked vaguely human.

What’s the dream venue/ festival to headline?

To be honest I can’t really see it getting better than 200 cap warehouses with DIY vibes and people going skitz for it; we always used to say we’d get a generator and fill our local quarry when we made it though, so I’ll say that.

What influences your lyrics?

I was originally a writer and probably still would be if the novel hadn’t disappeared up the arse of the bourgeoisie, so literature’s pretty heavy in my lyrics – our new EP’s named Empire in reference not just to the short term fiasco but the backstory to it I got reading Things Fall Apart and 100 Years Of Solitude; post-colonial shit that puts Brexit in a long context of nationalist hypocrisy. As far as personal content it tackles intense moments of emotional clarity, I don’t bother with specifics because I don’t see the relevance to anyone else; it’s pretty nihilistic but it’s ok because I can’t enunciate to save my life.

What are the band’s plans in terms of recording and gigging?

We’re currently putting together a three or four way gig swap with young bands we love from other cities to mark our EP release, taking promoters out of the equation and getting a cheeky bite-size tour together for us all. Recording wise we tend to knock out a new track when we’re sick of the old ones and I’m still on honeymoon period with this new stuff but you never know when you might write Sweet Child O’ Mine or Don’t Stop Believing

What’s the best gig you’ve been to?

Had a bit of a life changer at Reading festival 2015 back when I used to have money for stuff like that, Imagine Dragons were on the main stage so we dived in the nearest tent and ended up catching one of the last round of The Amazing Snakeheads shows – I remember seeing a clearly unhinged young man yelling at strangers and thought yeah, I could do that.

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