A couple days back I published an interview with BlackWaters, a band who I fucking adore live. The first time I saw them was back at The Horn in January for Independent Venue Week, but it wasn’t just their set which made that gig a standout highlight for me; it was the fact that they were co-headlining the gig with the immense Strange Bones. A screwy, raucous punk band, Strange Bones are one of the most abrasive and uncaring bands out there. Packed with politicised intensity, Strange Bones manage to blur the attitude of old school punk with a more fresh, unique edge.
Live too, they are something else. I’ve never been in better mosh pits than at a Strange Bones gig; they always get this hectic thrashing from the crowd, full of borderline violent circle pits, crowd surfing and just the craziest rowdiest atmosphere. Bobby always jumps in the crowd too, often standing in the crowd as he sings, or getting fans to scream lyrics into the mic for him (which I’ve unashamedly done quite a few times). So I’ve seen the band four times now; headlining The Horn in January, supporting Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes at Koko, headlining The Victoria in London (best 18th birthday ever), and supporting Cabbage alongside The Blinders a couple months back at Scala. It was before the Scala gig that their lovely manager Martin sorted me out with my press pass, and I got to chat with lead vocalist Bobby and bassist Will.
So first up we spoke about how crazy 2017 has been so far; ‘this year’s been amazing’ Bobby tells me, a specific highlight being the band playing as the official support for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on their sold out UK tour. ‘I was pretty scared’ Bobby admits, telling me how ‘I grew up listening to The Gallows.’ ‘It was a dream’ that tour, Will tells me, putting emphasis on it being a ‘dreaaaaam.’ ‘Yonaka are an amazing band’ too I’m told, with Yonaka being the other support act alongside Strange Bones. ‘Frank Carter messaged us on Instagram which was pretty cool’ Bobby grins, as I ask about how the support slot fell into place. ‘That Koko gig was the best gig we’ve ever played’ Bobby tells me, Will agreeing ‘it was fucking carnage.’
Too fucking right it was. One of the best gigs I’ve been to this year, Strange Bones’ set was an absolute riot, full of the most hectic moshing and thrashing circle pits I’ve ever seen at one of their shows. I asked the band about their January tour with BlackWaters too, which they laugh about as being ‘pretty messy,’ describing BlackWaters as ‘good lads.’ All Strange Bones gigs are messy and pretty fucked up though- it just comes with the territory. At one gig ‘we had to give a public service announcement mid set’ they laugh, as they tell me how one venue had a huge open window they feared fans moshing were going to fall out of!
We then go on to talk about style, and genre in the band’s music. Tracks like God Save The Teen, Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus and Dead are undoubtedly punk, but new track Energy is a fusion of grime and punk, with Strange Bones playing on it alongside Stormzy and Skepta (as well as Avelino). ‘It’s bringing two worlds together’ Bobby tells me, explaining how ‘we like all types of music.’ ‘I listen to a bit of everything really’ he explains, mentioning The Clash and The Cramps as big influences.’ ‘I like old bands, UK subculture’ he tells me. ‘I listen to every style of music’ Will agrees. ‘Not like space techno’ he laughs, but basically ‘every style.’
Both Will and Bobby go on a whim talking about new bands they’re into, mentioning some fucking good ones. Yonaka and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are mentioned as good live ones, with Bobby bringing up Ho99o9, who are ‘probably my favourite band at the moment.’ They also mention IDLES, Blinders, Yonaka, False Heads and Cabbage, having ‘played with Cabbage at Leeds fest.’ On the topic of festivals I ask the band about Isle of Wight which they had just recently returned from when I interviewed them. ‘That was a messy weekend’ they laugh, ‘just getting on it with the Blinders really!’ ‘Got burnt from head to toe’ Will adds. The band have done a shitload of festivals this summer too, including Y Not, TRNSMT, Tramlines and 2000 Trees. ‘Sometimes you get dead crowds’ they tell me, but from what I’ve seen with the band this is rare. ‘Sometimes people just look like they wanna fight you’ Will laughs. The band are based in Blackpool, and I ask if there’s a good local music scene there, to which Will immediately replies ‘no.’ ‘I mean there is’ Bobby says, ‘there’s bands that play and that, but it’s not thriving.’ Blackpool is a pretty cool theme in their music, mainly as the city is where they filmed the incredible We The Rats music video. The band also wear these sick rat masks, giving the track and video a more gritty, grimy punk bite.
We then get on to the topic I’ve been looking forward to asking the band about: politics. Their music has this blunt, abrasively left wing edge, with tracks like Big Sister Is Watching an intimidating dig at issues like social justice, privacy, and rights. ‘I feel people are starting to become more aware about the injustices in the world’ Bobby (whose shirt says ‘the scum’ in the style of The Sun logo) argues.
‘The toxic press, it’s pretty fucked up, and half the population just sit their mindlessly. Half the population listens mindlessly to a right wing press working for the establishment.’ The state of politics isn’t too bad though Bobby argues, as it’s ‘given birth to a wave of political artists and musicians.’ So in terms of band set up, you have Bobby as vocalist, Will on bass guitar, Jack on lead guitar and Stuart on drums. ‘Me, Will and Jack are brothers’ Bobby tells me, ‘and we used to play in bands when we was kids.’ ‘Our mum and dad have been in music’ Bobby explains, ‘and they managed punk bands so brought us up around that.’ ‘Jack went to play drums in Darlia for a bit,’ so ‘we used to be a three piece but we added Jack when he became available.’ The band have been around for two and a half years I’m told, ‘and we haven’t had any time off’ Bobby explains. The hard graft and work of the band though really is clear by a) how sick they are live, and b) how incredible their recorded music is. The name Strange Bones is pretty bloody cool too, so I wanted to find out how the band came up with it. ‘There’s no like deep meaning’ they laugh, Bobby grinning ‘I was just watching loads of dinosaur documentaries and was quite stoned.’
I ask them about This Feeling too, who as promoters have worked closely with the band. ‘They’re really good’ they tell me, as they’re ‘creating a platform for bands.’ ‘They’re a platform to so many young artists’ Will agrees. I ask the two what plans Strange Bones have for the future. ‘We haven’t really got plans for an album’ I’m told, mainly ‘we want more tours,’ Will agreeing that playing live is ‘all we wanna do.’ I ask the band what their favourite tracks to do live are, both Will and Bobby agreeing on Spitfire and Big Sister Is Watching You. ‘Pussy Galore, I like that one too’ Bobby exclaims. We talk about possible venues/ festivals they’d like to play one day, Bobby immediately telling me ‘I wanna play Glasto,’ Will agreeing ‘I think every band in the world wants to.’
It was so cool to hang out with the band before their KILLER set after. It’s funny cause they came across a bit reserved and shy almost, but on stage put on the most manic hectic show (as per). The killer aura of Strange Bones which makes them so good is the blinding sense of genuine punk they have. It’s an attitude they embody, and this paired with snarling over the top rock makes them one of the coolest, most exciting bands around right now.
Strange Bones will be touring extensively throughout late September and all of October, and if you’re gonna do anything then you need to see this band. You can purchase tickets here. Bobby’s The Scum shirt has since been made into official band merch, which will hopefully be added to the band’s official site soon. For now you can head to their online store and pick up a banging Strange Bones logo shirt here (which is fifteen quid well fucking spent).