Trading Blows with Bear Trade

Bear Trade‘s merry band of beer swilling, fun loving, gruff and ready lads from the North West having been winning hearts and minds across the UK and beyond for a few years now. With their superb new release ‘Blood and Sand’ earning rave reviews all over the shop they’re getting all the credit they so richly deserve.

Scene Better Days caught up with bassist Lloyd Chambers to talk bears, beers and erm…Sleaford Mods. Enjoy!

Bear Trade playing at Scene Better Days Fest earlier this year

You seem like a nice bunch of lads. Are you?

I am glad we seem like a nice bunch of lads…because I’d like to think we are. We are truly four of the best of friends, and when we get together we always have the best of times…I am glad that this comes across in the music we play and people we are…both collectively and individually. We’re alright.

We get some serious Leatherface vibes from you lot. Come on then, who are your major influences?

Leatherface are one of the finest bands to have come from our shores…they should influence everyone to a degree. We share collective love for many bands, such as The Replacements and Iron Chic, and our listening of choice when away is Absolute 80s radio. It is fair to say we are a split camp when it comes to Springsteen and Sleaford Mods.

The album has been out a few weeks now. Everyone I know loves it. Are you pleased with how it’s been received?

Writing songs and recording them is a very personal thing…those songs were the product of our collective experience and friendship, fuelled by numerous cheap beers. We wanted it to stand as a document of those times, and we are so happy and proud that it does…our two recent DIY videos are a further extension of that. What has been quite overwhelming is the response to the record, and the fact that people ‘get’ all the above and the songs come across in exactly the way we hoped they would…listeners sharing how we feel about them. That is a great feeling. The work our friend Jason put in recording and mixing also was a massive help, as all of the subtle guitar parts (as well as the ‘all in’ backups) are audible amongst our usual racket. The artwork and vinyl colours and everything are all spot on too. We couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out and the fact people are loving it too.

We like it when you go “oof” in your songs. Why do you do that?

It’s a natural sound really…an exclamation that speaks more than a hundred words could encapsulate…why use a hundred words when one sound will do?

You’re playing Fest you lucky bunch. I bet you’re excited, to put it mildly?

Yeah…we went a couple of years back when we didn’t have anything properly released, and had the best time touring down and playing a lot with The Smith Street Band. It was an amazing experience for us all. This year we are going a bit earlier and spending some Bear time at St Pete Beach. We are playing 5/6 times in Fest week…some more obvious appearances than others from what we know already, it is going to be ridiculous. On a personal level I find Fest to be a lot of fun as a social event, and I am looking forwards to catching up with dozens of friends from around the globe when there.

You seem to be well versed in your ales. What’s the tipple of choice in the North East at the moment?

The north does indeed have any number of great breweries and boozers to drink them in. Picking a single beer would be pretty impossible, but from Newcastle I always look out for Temptation beers (Kay and Tony once brewed Bear Trade our own beer when we returned from Fest) and Hand Drawn Monkey from Huddersfield who do some brewing collaborations with Cats? Aye! Records (and shortly me).

Are you named after a) a bullfighter film from the 20s, b) the cocktail named after that film, c) a really bad TV series of Spartacus, or d) none of the above?

It’s d), an East Riding term used to replace an expletive which I picked up from my mother in law.

We have to ask, obviously. Did you enjoy playing Scene Better Days Fest in Leeds?

We did indeed. Love Wharf Chambers, and loved seeing so many great bands and friends in it! Look forward to many more…

If we offered you a ‘bear trade’ of our polar for your grizzly, would you accept?

We’d probably sit down, crack open a couple of beers, listen to some records, talk a load of old rubbish, switch to the whisky…what was the question again?

– Alex Phelan

Bear Trade‘s new record can be picked up here:

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