GUIDE & PLAYLIST: Decolonise Fest 2022

Event: Decolonise Fest

Where: Signature Brew Haggerston, London

When: Friday 16th – Sunday 18th September 2022

Tickets: Full Weekend ticket: from £31 / Day tickets: from £15.50 / Click here for info on affordable ticket schemes

General Info: Decolonise Fest – the UK’s only DIY punk festival created by and for people of colour – was founded in 2017 to provide a much-needed space for punks of colour from across the world to come together and celebrate the multiplicity of their identities, and acknowledge the influence people of colour have had on punk and alternative music genres. While the festival focuses on people of colour, white allies are welcome to attend.

Now celebrating its fifth year, Decolonise Fest have put together another eclectic line-up to showcase and celebrate the talent of underground punks of colour. This edition is the festival’s first in-person event since 2019, after it had to adapt to an online event during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival will also feature music-related panels and activities, including workshops on the Black history of the banjo, reproductive justice, how to make your own modular synths, and more. For more information on these events, visit the official website

Who’s Playing: Grove, BISHI, Racehl Aggs, Gurnal Gadafi, Fraulein, Miss Jacqui, Breakup Haircut, Passionflower, Break Fate, Marigold Spitfire, incaseyouleave, Dystopia, Swaraj Chronos, Spirit Sigh and Currls.

Who GIHE recommend you catch: We’re already big fans of grunge duo Fraulein, DIY punks Breakup Haircut, multi-talented musician BISHI, the amazing Rachel Aggs and garage rock trio CURRLS, so make sure you catch their sets. We’ve heard great things about Grove, Miss Jacqui, Spirit Sigh and Dystopia too!

Check out our Decolonise Festival Spotify Playlist below, featuring some of the line-up

 

Artists not on Spotify also playing Decolonise Fest:

 Gurnal GadafiRachel AggsMarigold Spitfire Spirit Sigh | Swaraj Chronos

 

Follow Decolonise Fest on TwitterFacebookInstagram

 

 

 

Five Favourites: Breakup Haircut

Having wowed us live with their scuzzy, joyous punk-pop at our January gig at The Victoria, First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut have just released their debut album – Punk Dancing For Self Defence. A collection of joyously lo-fi pop punk reflecting on themes ranging from social anxiety and break-ups to bi-erasure and existing in a Capitalist society. Propelled by a jangly, uplifting energy with gritty angst-driven undertones, the band’s colourful charisma and sparkling charm shines through each track with a striking relatable poignancy, creating an utterly necessary listen. Whether you need cheering up with some buoyant danceable anthems, or simply want to immerse yourself in the band’s raw emotion and relatable, resonant reflections on life, Punk Dancing For Self Defence will provide you with the aural comfort you need right now.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with members of Breakup Haircut to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and listen to latest single ‘I’d Say Yes‘ at the bottom of this feature.

Ripley:

Pat Benatar – Greatest Hits
I could pick my favourite Pat Benatar album, but I’m going to pick specifically the random ‘Greatest Hits’ album that my Dad bought off a market stall when I was a teenager and we were living in the USA. It was one of the first albums that I basically ‘permanently borrowed’ from my parents’ music collection. I fell in love with the intense and energetic ‘80s rock sound. I have always particularly loved music that generates energy and feels kinetic and I don’t think I’d heard anything that sounded so huge, epic and all big emotions before at that age (and as a teenager, I was of course relating to big emotions particularly strongly at the time). Their music had an intense energy and sincerity that I really connected with. Pat Benatar’s powerful and emotive voice; her aspirationally cool, badass attitude in her singing and lyrics, plus Neil Giraldo’s amazing guitar solos were also a big draw. Pat Benatar is probably best known for ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and ‘Love is a Battlefield’ in the UK (both awesome songs). I think their music was a lot more popular stateside than here, as a variety of their songs used to be played on rock radio there a lot. My favourites were songs like the emotional and epic ‘Promises In The Dark’ (the bridge vocal build and following emotional guitar solo is so amazing that I often end up listening to that section an extra time after finishing the whole song), and the inspirational ‘Invincible’ that makes you feel badass and ready for anything (it’s also a perfect inspirational training montage song).

Ishani:

Kimya Dawson – Remember That I Love You
I don’t get a whole lot of time to listen to new music – my partner actually spends a lot of time doing that, and makes this big playlist of releases of the year I should listen to which is hanging over my head. But a staple of my favourites in rotation is Remember That I Love You by Kimya Dawson. I found it when I was around 13 or 14, I remember seeing her at St Martin-in-the-Fields when I was 15 or so and meeting her. But I feel like that’s an album that has stayed with me through my years, because Kimya Dawson is someone that I take a lot of inspiration from, even a decade later – I think her work is so simple and poignant that it is really cutting. I love it because that allows for its hooks to be catchy without complication, something that relates down to the core. It’s pop, but it’s totally anti-pop. Everyone in the world would be better for listening to it once in a while, just to remember that the human condition is just a lot – and hearing it in such a simple way is kind of gutting.

Delphine:

Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
I think I‘ll have to pick Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World. This album came out whilst I was in a difficult period in my life and somehow, this album enabled me to allow myself to feel. ‘The Middle’ is to this day one of my favourite songs of all time. It was a pep talk and in song form. I’ve always struggled with lack of self-esteem and being self-critical so it was a good reminder that doing your best is all you can do and it’s okay to not succeed at the first try. It also reinforced the idea that one shouldn’t listen to people being overly critical when they know nothing about you and your circumstances and that you should do what you want rather than what other people say you must want. 

Jordan:

Biffy Clyro – Puzzle 
My pick is Puzzle by Biffy Clyro. I can’t remember how old I was – but it felt like a whole lifetime ago – I was at this super house party. The conversation is going great and I heard ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ come on. It was the first time both me and my friend had heard it and it instantly grabbed us. You’ve got the big build up and the shrill strings in the pre-chorus. I think we both dropped what we were doing to try to find the CD so we could steal it. For a good 9-15 months it was in contact rotation with other music we would listen to. We’d play ‘Now I’m Everyone’ whenever someone had a match or needed hyping up. I wasn’t really drumming at that time but when I started, this album became more important in trying to replicate the sound. The drumming on the album is especially interesting as it’s semi-technical and semi-mental. Some parts you just have to feel where the notes are, rather than learning the specific sticking. You also have songs like ‘Love Has a Diameter’ which are more soppy but still can maintain a strong groove and pace.

Band Combo Decision:

Green Day – American Idiot
With four of us in the band and five albums to choose, we decided to pick one album each and one shared choice. American Idiot was a young Ripley’s gateway album to a life-long obsession with rock and punk music, one of Ishani’s first discoveries from her brother’s speakers, the album that rekindled Delphine’s love for everything rock ‘n’ roll after a short stint into EDM.
Ripley’s favourite track: ‘Letterbomb’. An underrated high energy song from the latter end of the album. I always loved the intro build to this and the high energy mixed with nihilism vibes that this song gives off. It just sounded so huge, dramatic and intense to me when I was younger, with the driving bass and drums and sweeping guitar melodies. It’s one of those songs where it feels like it has so much energy that it has spare to hand over to you, and you can’t help but feel energised and ready to go by listening to it.
Ishani’s favourite track: ‘Homecoming’. I was always more of an early Green Day fan, like Dookie/Nimrod, but this came out at a time when I wasn’t paying that much attention to music beyond what came muffled out of my brother’s room. He played this a lot – I love the highs and lows, the harmonies, the theatricality of it – it feels like it was written for a stadium, it’s almost dadly. 
Jordan’s favourite track: ‘She’s A Rebel’. American Idiot was the first album I was excited to buy. I was taken up to central London with my grandma and we went into the Virgin Megastore in order to get a copy. It was so catchy and well produced, and it’ll always be remembered fondly. I say that I rarely ever listen back to this album now because having tracks 3 to 6 actually being eight songs has got to be the most colossally stupid fucking idea ever conceived. Why would you do that? ‘She’s A Rebel’ is my favourite and I have to sit through ‘Give Me Novacaine’ in order to get to it. Terrible. 
Delphine’s favourite track: ‘Jesus of Suburbia’. Mostly because it covers all the topics that encompass what a generation of disenchanted kids would feel strongly about. Green Day has always been engaged in their lyrics and giving the finger to the establishment. I guess, in this album, it’s that song. 

Massive thanks to Breakup Haircut for their amazing album choices for their Five Favourites! Listen to their latest single ‘I’d Say Yes’ now:

Punk Dancing For Self Defence, the debut album from Breakup Haircut, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy on Bandcamp now.

INTERVIEW: First Timers Fest

First Timers are a London-based DIY community of musicians and activists who believe that having access to creating & playing music should not be a privilege, it should be a joyful and social experience that empowers everyone. They encourage people from all walks of life – particularly those who identify as non-binary, LGBTQ+, disabled or female – to attend their workshops and gigs in order to experience and create music in a non-judgemental, low pressure environment. They aim to build people’s confidence, as well as forming a community of like-minded individuals who feel empowered to tackle the lack of diversity in larger music industry spheres.

Their next event, First Timers Fest, is happening this Sunday (8th May) at the Amersham Arms in New Cross. 14 newly formed bands will take to the stage for the first time to perform in front of a crowd, and we’ll be there cheering them on and witnessing this brand new talent!You can grab a ticket for the First Timers 2022 Showcase here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/first-timers-fest-2022-tickets-309402048857

We spoke to Deena, Ishani, Sian and Ripley from the First Timers team about how the initiative began, what they’ve learned from being part of the team and what we can expect from this year’s showcase…

 

Hello folks! Please introduce yourselves and explain how you joined the First Timers team & what it is that you do…

At the moment the core First Timers organising team is Deena, Ishani, Sian and Ripley. None of us founded the fest – that was Bryony who now runs the Good Night Out campaign – and all of us got involved through playing it! Making the fest happen is a fairly big endeavor, and involves booking teachers and workshops, publicizing, finances, liaising with teachers and bands, and a million other little things that crop up.

It’s a lot of work, but it seems to be paying off. You’re a fantastic grass roots organisation and you do so much for the DIY music scene.

First Timers Fest itself was a big thing for us and got most of us into playing music! Also, its easier to be what you see, so seeing other London initiatives like Girls Rock London and Decolonize Fest flourishing is super inspiring.

They’re both great organisations too. What would you say are the highlights of being involved with organising First Timers Fest?

Jam on your hands is one of our favorite bits, even though its probably the most difficult thing to bring together and is always chaotic. It’s a workshop where people get to try out a bunch of instruments then learn a song then we play it all at the same time – so you have three drum kits and five basses and guitars and a tonne of people singing – it’s fantastic! Seeing people having fun at workshops and then telling us they never thought they’d be able to play an instrument and now love it is also amazing.

I attended your Bass Workshop with Jodi this year and I felt the same, it was such a fun day. Tell me about the other teachers and volunteers who are involved with the workshops. I know that Joni from Fraulein ran your guitar workshop and Chuck SJ taught songwriting this year. How do you connect with teachers and get them involved?

Our workshops this year have been really very good and luckily it’s been easy to find great people to run them. Sometimes we put call outs for teachers on our social media, sometimes we source them from the pool of people we’ve got to know over the years, or musicians we rate, or even people who have played the fest before! We love it when our teachers are First Timers at teaching too!

What are your anticipations for the First Timers 2022 showcase on Sunday 8th May? Tell us all about the bands on the bill…

It’s going to be fairly eclectic- it always is! Floralis is bringing us art pop influenced by goth rock and hip hop. Achers will be playing hardcore. A N T I A are putting harmonicas into grungy punk. Melhole are combining synths and ukelele, and there will be THREE kinds of hand percussion in ROAD. Many of the the main food groups really.

Because of Covid, for most of us this will be the first Fest we’ve organised from start to finish so we are just really excited to see them all up there!

I’m excited too! If someone was considering coming to a First Timers event, but felt a bit too nervous to get involved, what advice would you give to them?

We are all really very nice and we also all understand how scary it can be to take those first steps! Advice? Bring a friend, or reach out to us before you come.

And if a musician reading this is interested in volunteering for the next set of First Timers Fest workshops, what should they do?

Keep an eye out on social media as that’s where we tend to put out calls for artists, teachers, photographers, and other volunteers. Aside from Jam on your Hands, the workshops are paid for teachers, but the rest of us are volunteers. We are always needing more hands on deck with organising so do get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved – it’s good fun and very rewarding!

Finally, any bands or artists that you’ve been listening to recently that you’d like to recommend?

Here’s a link to every First Timers Fest band ever! 

Lots of them are still going. Breakup Haircut are playing their album release gig on the 22nd of July, Big Joanie are touring soon, Charmpit released an amazing album over lockdown, Bitch Hunt, Whitelands, Panic Pocket, Irn Brunette and Trouble Wanted have been playing live recently. If we’ve missed anyone out please do add your current stuff to the spreadsheet!

But we are equally as in awe of every band that played the fest the one time then dissolved or morphed or started other projects. We’re proud of them all!

Thanks to the First Timers team for answering our questions!

Follow First Timers Fest on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Breakup Haircut – ‘Out Of My Way (I’m Not Getting On The Nightbus)’

Having wowed us live with their scuzzy, joyous punk-pop at our January gig at The Victoria, First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut have now announced the release of their debut album, which we could not be more excited about!

Taken from the album, latest single ‘Get Out Of My Way (I’m Not Getting On The Nightbus)‘ offers an ode to those of us who may not be too fond of big social gatherings. Flowing with a jangly, uplifting energy, it oozes a snarly wit as the band’s colourful charisma shines through. Another example showcasing Breakup Haircut’s ability to combine a radiant sparkling charm with a striking relatable poignancy. Of the track, Ishani from the band explains:

“I bill this as a song about hating parties, but I don’t actually hate parties. I just hate that I have to deal with the dichotomy of FOMO or being out past midnight and having to spend four hours or £60 (or both) getting home. I have held the belief for a while now that the best amount of people is four or less, so this song is in the spirit of that.

Watch the quirky new video for ‘Out Of My Way (I’m Not Getting On The Nightbus)’ here:


Punk Dancing for Self Defence, the debut album from Breakup Haircut, is out on 15th July via Reckless Yes.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Akil Kanukuntla