Gloucester-ites Still Bust are one of the most established ‘core bands on the Greater Midlands roster – and, like Worcester’s Fights and Fires, have blazed a trail across the mainland Euro Punk scene for some years now. Not short of a following, they also happened to play the Macbeth Stage at the Groezrock festival earlier this year (by popular vote), and show no sign whatsoever of slowing down. Quite the fucking opposite.
We caught up with these bright little fellows in advance of their support slot for A Wilhelm Scream at the Gloucester Guildhall later this month. And here’s how it went.
photo credit – Kristianne Drake
Still Bust – hello. Tell us a little about yourselves… I see you’ve had a line-up change?
Well hello there. We’re Still Bust. We’re a gabble of fools jumping about onstage playing an ‘off-kilter’ hardcore punk. Yes earlier this year our drummer of 10 odd years left. Since then we recorded with the help of Nath from I, The Lion who learnt the songs to a recording standard in just four practices. We toured with Nate Davenport, who used to drum for Fighting Fiction, and then accosted Niall from Officer Down who has been with us since April. It’s been a bit of a weird one as we’ve been together for so long, but these things happen and it’s pretty good to be on a bit of a steady footing once again.
And you’ve been at this for a while. What have been the high points so far?
Haven’t we just?!? If you said to me we’d be doing this 10 years on when at school I wouldn’t have believed you. Not actually murdering each other is pretty high on the list of high points I would imagine!
Groezrock must be the highest point so far in terms of our career as a band. To just see our name up there with some of the best bands in the world is an incredible feeling.
In this day and age some say that being “signed” to a label is getting less and less important. What’s your take? And how are ex-Worcesterites Lockjaw treating you..?
The guys at Lockjaw are great, it’s like one big punk rock family. All the bands involved have a similar DIY ethic to each other, all get involved with their own local scene and are always accommodating to other bands on tour. We’ve met some great friends through being associated with Lockjaw and they’ve really helped put our name out there.
With regards to having a label being less and less important, I guess that depends on what you expect a label to do for you, or for a better term, what you do when you’re on the label. The hard work doesn’t stop there, in fact it just begins.
Our agreement now with Lockjaw has moved on to a distribution deal. We decided the way forward with Still Bust was to create our own label (Matt Records) and use it to release our new EP on. It’s a step into the unknown for us, but it’s going to be an exciting one.
What do you think it takes to make it “big” these days? And is “making it big” even a relevant concept anymore in your opinion?
I guess it depends on what making it big means to you. For me, if I could live off doing this, then I would say that’d be making it big, and it’d be great. Who wouldn’t want to have playing music as a full time job?
Like Worcester homeboys Fights and Fires, you’ve toured Europe more than a few times – how was that for you?
Let’s brown nose for a second. Fights and Fires are the boys! They have a great mentality to touring, have absolute bangers of tunes and are generally lovely fellows.
Mainland Europe is awesome. Seeing new places is awesome. Generally there’s just a really good attitude to live music. People come out most nights of the week for a couple of beers and to catch some new music.
Where was best to play?
There are so many good places. One of the best would have to be Cross Club in Prague. That place is incredible. All of the furniture and decorations are made out of scrap vehicle parts. There are neon lights everywhere and everything moves! It’s one of those places you need to see to believe.
In particular tell us more about Groezrock… You got there on the basis of fan support, I understand?
Yes, via Macbeth Footwear. We really appreciated the help that people gave us to get there. We weren’t actually part of the final 30 bands when they were announced, but one of the bands decided they weren’t able to commit to being able to play so dropped out. Fortunately for us we were first reserve!
Groezrock is an incredible festival and to be part of it was something special. We were on early on the first day so really didn’t expect a massive turn out, but we couldn’t have been more wrong! It was amazing to see so many faces watching us, both friends and strangers. It’s just one massive punk rock party that we were so grateful to be involved with.
Upon returning home we found out our set was reviewed in an online magazine who rated it higher than some of the bands we really enjoyed watching so were pretty blown away!
Speaking of scenes, tell us more about what’s going on in Cheltenham and Gloucester these days… There certainly used to be a vibrant DIY scene down there, back in the day…
We kind of have fits and starts of great things going on, then it dies, then it picks up again and so forth. Venues open, then venues close. But it’s the same everywhere really. There are still some great venues open such as 2 Pigs and Frog and Fiddle in Cheltenham. In Gloucester we have the Guildhall which is a cracking venue to play and are really coming up trumps in putting on some great bands.
About two years ago we started up some shows in a friend’s rehearsal room. Just to help out bands that in turn had helped us out on the road previously. People would pay a small fee to get in and this would go to the bands. There was no bar, so everyone would bring their own beer, and we would all have a cracking time. Soon word spread and everyone was asking to come and play these shows. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and we had to stop doing these shows. But for those 18 months we had the best time ever.
Moving on to your actual music for a second. You’ve got a very literate, technical take on hardcore going on – how would you describe your sound?
Maybe you’ve just done that job for us! Literate Technical Hardcore. It’s got a good ring to it. Yes, let’s go with that.
Do you think genres and labels are even relevant anymore?
For the ease of looking for music you’re interested in I guess they have to be. Either that or we just start hashtagging everything… that’s probably a thing already isn’t it?
Who are your influences? There’s everyone from Rise Against (heh) to Rolo Tomassi in there…
Did you just say we sound like Rise Against…? Influence wise; Blakfish, those guys were the cat’s pyjamas. Everything about them was perfect. Their demise was such as sad loss to the UK scene. Baby Godzilla. They’re going from strength to strength and demonstrating how good you can make a live show by generally not giving a fuck. Definitely a band that make you look at your own live performance! The Dillinger Escape Plan. Those guys are fucking nuts. In everything they do!
Some say the global punk and DIY scene is more vital than it’s ever been – more bands, more shows, easier than ever for good bands to get stuff out there via bandcamp, soundcloud etc., better networks and idea sharing… Some also say that we’re reaching over-saturation and it’s too easy for bands that aren’t ready to release or tour, to do so – and generally we all should just concentrate on our own local scene. Bastard of a question – but what do you think?
We should all definitely take into account our own local scene. Bands should be helping bands. Promoters helping promoters. Scenes can thrive if everyone gets involved. The more people come out to shows, the more fun everyone has. But then again there’s a whole world out there to tour. That’s why we’re all in bands right? Get out there and play shows anywhere and everywhere. Meet new people. Don’t be afraid to take risks. That’s what makes things fun and exciting. Just remember breakdown cover. That stuff is a life saver!
Speaking of the scene, Are there any bands in particular you think our readers should check out?
As mentioned above, Blakfish and Baby Godzilla are well worth your time. Especially check out BG live. I may be accused of bias here but seriously go check out everything on Lockjaw Records. It’s such a good roster. You shan’t regret it. In Gloucestershire, I The Lion have a new EP out soon and have an excellent touring attitude, and if you fancy 15-second fart-in-your-face punk songs check out Fausto.
Looking forward, what’s next for you guys? I hear there is new material in the offing…
We have a new EP out soon called 77 For You (57 For Me). The title is the average life expectancy for someone without diabetes compared with someone who does. The theme of the EP is not ‘woe is me’ but more ‘deal with your shit’. Most of the songs are written by Matty (who is our resident diabetic) and reflect things going on in his head at the time they were written. It’s going to be out on 12” white vinyl later this year.
We’re playing New Age Festival in Bridgewater on August 16th alongside a host of incredible UK talent and have a cracking show booked in Gloucester supporting A Wilhelm Scream at The Guildhall with the guys from Darko. In September we’re heading out to the Mainland again so keep an eye out for the dates there.
And is there anything else we need to know about you, or your scene, before we go?
Our album ‘A Few Things We Might Agree On (A Few Things We Might Not)’ is available for streaming at stillbust.bandcamp.com so go check that out. Come and see us live. That’s where the party happens. Keep an eye on the Gloucester/Cheltenham scene, there are some wicked shows coming up.
See. Who says the only things to come out of Gloucester are mass murderers and Simon Pegg.
Find these boys on the interweb at…
Or better still, just catch ‘em live.
– Ed Ling