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The Guilty Pleasures Interview

01/10/2006 (with James)

Please introduce the band; who is in it, how you met and the average age?

I think we’ve now just about managed to secure a strong line up after a huge
change late last year. The Guilty Pleasures now consists of:

James; Bass / Vocals
Yohan; Guitar
Chris; Guitar
Ste; Drums

Originally we were a 3 piece to begin with but soon after expanded to a
4-piece after only a couple of gigs. We were just 3 / 4 good mates having a
good time. However, when we parted ways with our original guitarist and
drummer last year we brought in Chris and Ste who we found through other
people. I think it’s safe to say we’re now 4 good mates though!

We were all only 15 when the band first started a couple of years back, but
with the new members the average age of TGP is now 18 (but only just!)

You have an EP out (for sale on PunkOiUK) how did this come about and how
has it been received?

We have 2 EP’s out now actually! We must get you some copies of the new EP. if you’ve not already been sent some by the label.

Our first EP, “Think Of England”, has now almost sold out of two pressings
(I say almost because PunkOiUK is obviously the only place with any left so
buy them whilst you still have the chance!). We released that in July 2005
after meeting Noize Anoize Records. It all came together pretty quickly and
we were still only 15 when it was recorded! Its reception has been great and
we got on many of the gigs we’ve played through using that as a demo cd.

Once the line up change happened at the end of last year, we knew we needed to get some new material out as the first EP didn’t really represent the band as well as the new songs did. “Freedom Of Free Speech” was released in May of this year and is being received ten times better than “Think Of England.” We as a band are also a lot happier with this one as we feel it
represents how our sound has progressed greatly over the last few years.


What are the bands main influences, and how do you get described in reviews?

As a band we all have different influences really, as we’ve all been introduced to punk in different ways. I’m into almost all punk in all its various forms (from UK Subs to Anti-Flag to Less Than Jake) whereas Yohan is mostly into his old school British punk (UK Subs / Sub Humans etc); Chris is mostly into his American punk (NOFX / Descendents / Bad Religion etc) and Ste is mostly into his classic metal (Iron Maiden etc) … but we are slowly making him see sense and realise what proper music is!

We’ve been described as sounding like everything from 80’s hardcore to newer American punk so find it pretty difficult to describe ourselves. The best thing for people to do is to check us out on Myspace at www.myspace.com/guiltypleasures and take a listen for themselves


What is your take on many younger punks favouring US bands rather than UK bands?

Personally I don’t see there being a problem with younger punks being into US bands at all, as many of them are great, including Anti-Flag, Rise Against, The Casualties etc. However, a lot of younger people, we find, believe that these are the only good bands and aren’t as willing to check out a band from the UK. There are easily as many great UK bands that are still touring and putting out new music as US bands. Chances are they won’t charge rip-off prices to get into their shows either like many of the US bands do as well (not mentioning any names).

The sad fact is though is that new UK bands seem to be, generally speaking,
ignored by the larger labels. Many punk bands will claim that they don’t want to be on a larger label and see it “as selling out” (when referring to major labels rather than larger independent labels) but you can almost guarantee that a lot just say that because we all know it’s very difficult to get signed to a larger label if you’re a UK punk band.

In the US though, it seems to be completely different with there being larger independent labels such as Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords. These are larger than many UK independent labels and have the ability to give newer bands the exposure they need to break through into international markets. Sadly though, as there are so many bands, it seems pretty rare that UK bands get signed to these labels.

What I do like to see though is US bands who take out at least one younger UK band on tour with them. This gives the UK bands the exposure to their crowds, which they would usually not get by playing with the large majority of UK punk bands. Anti-Flag did this back in May and Rancid are doing it in November.


Do you think your age has acted in your favour or against you? What tips would you give to other bands your age looking for gigs? Is punk still relevant today?

I certainly don’t think our age has acted in our favour at all but that’s
partly our fault. On the other hand though, it hasn’t really acted against
us either.

When we started off we were only 15. However we didn’t really want to make
our age known as we were worried we wouldn’t get the chance to play in many pubs etc being underage. Looking back, this was a huge mistake though. We sometimes think people didn’t actually realise how young we were due to us trying to hide it as we’ve now seen how bands like Outl4w go down with crowds, who know that they’re so young! With us all being around 18 now, we’re stuck in an awkward spot. We’re too old to play on the fact that we’re a young band but feel we’re still a little bit too young to be taken
seriously by a lot of the older punks to begin with. However those who do
see us always comment on how impressed they were with us for our age!

How did you all get into punk in the first place? And what do mates think about you being into punk? What is the first record each member of the band ever bought?
We all got into punk in a variety of different ways. I’ve always heard punk from being very young, as my dad is into a lot of the older punk bands. So I’ve never really been into anything other than punk. For the others though, it’s something they’ve got into in a big way over the last couple of years. I think it’s safe to say though that without the huge Pop Punk outburst when we were 12 / 13 with bands such as Blink 182 and Sum 41 then there’s a good chance none of us would be into the music we are. These pop punk bands are great for introducing young people to other bands, as when a band like Blink 182 list their influences in interviews as bands such as Bad Religion and the like, you immediately go and check them out at that age. Then when you see their influences as 70’s and 80’s bands you then go and check them out as well!

To be honest, a lot of the people we know are into metal and emo but that’s the same anywhere now a days isn’t it? A lot of people knock punk for being so simple compared to their technical metal but to be honest we don’t care! We’re into to what we’re into and they’re into what they’re into. It does mean the punk scene round here sucks though!

I won’t even attempt to remember what the first record I bought was and I’m sure the others are the same! It’s fairly safe to say that when bands are asked that, they make up a record to impress readers as no one can really remember what it was. Most likely it was something embarrassing at the age of 8 or something though so it’s probably a good job we can’t remember.

What is the scene like in your area? And what do you think abuot the younger punk scene in general?

As I mentioned before, the punk scene in Lancaster sucks! Having said that,
when we played with the Sub Humans here last year the gig was sold out weeks in advance. Put a known band on and the gig’s easily sell out, but have a night of less known punk bands and you’re lucky if the venue’s half full. The way to create a scene in the local area is to support the newer bands as well as the established bands … after all, the older bands can’t carry on doing what they’re doing much longer (with the exception of maybe Charlie
Harper and the UK Subs who seems to love what he’s doing more and more the older he gets!)

The younger punk scene in general, to be honest, isn’t that amazing at the moment. Not where we come from anyway. Like I said above, people are more than willing to pay £10 or more to see an established band (either from the UK or US) but aren’t prepared to pay £2 or £3 to see a number of younger / newer punk bands. This can get quite annoying at times, especially when a lot of the newer younger bands are as good as, if not better than, the older bands.

What is the best gig The Guilty Pleasures have ever done and who else was on the line-up? What bands would you like to tour with?

We’ve done so many gigs over the past 2 years that it’s pretty hard to choose one as being the best. There’s been a couple which have been amazing though such as the Leeds Cockpit Punk Festival last November which also had Sub Humans, GBH and Goldblade on the line up. That was the first bigger gig we’d done and it’s led to an awful lot more. Supporting the UK Subs for the first time in Blackburn last December was also a really good night, and it’s led to Charlie Harper asking us to support them on quite a lot of occasions since. Playing with Discharge at Academy 3 in Manchester in March was also pretty good.

As for bands we’d like to tour with, there’s really too many to mention. I think we’d be a good match going out on tour with a band such as Anti-Flag or Bad Religion though. Who knows, maybe one day it will happen! As for the near future, we’d love to tour with Middle Finger Salute, another younger punk band from Blackburn who are great mates of ours.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2006.

We’re quite busy now until the end of the year gig wise. We’ve got quite a lot coming up with UK Subs in November and December along with support slots to The Grit, The Vibrators, Phinius Gage and MC Lars (Yep … we’re supporting a “Post Punk Laptop Rapper!”).

We’re also writing an awful lot of new material at the moment which will hopefully be recorded sometime early in 2007. We’ve done 2 EP’s now so I
guess the next step for us is a full album. Hopefully that’ll see the light of day sometime in mid 2007 once we finally take a break from gigging to get round to recording it.

Then next year we head out on the second Spit and Sawdust Tour in February / March / April. For anyone who doesn’t know what this is it’s a back to basics punk tour featuring many great upcoming UK punk bands. The promoters,
OMD (Fungal Punk) and Andy (Noize Anoize) did a great job this year and I’m
sure anyone who came to any of the gigs will agree with me on that.


Any final comments?
I’ll just quickly say thanks to everyone for reading this and thanks to everyone who’s supported us in any way over the past 2 years. Please continue to do so, it means a lot to us! It’s difficult at some times trying to juggle band commitments with school / college / uni but we manage pretty well.

If you’ve not checked us out before please do so at www.myspace.com/guiltypleasures and go out and buy our EP’s or come to one of our gigs! We promise we won’t disappoint!

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