After last year's debut single and excellent split 12" with Australia's The Oppossition, Vic City's No Heart already have their next release lined up, their debut full-length "Can't Get Out" for Rebellion Records and LSM Vinyl! Time for a little chat with vocalist/guitarist Mick, right? Right! Enjoy.
Hi Mick, thanks for taking the time to do this interview! How are things going at the moment?
Hi Mano, good thanks and cheers for the interview! Gearing up for our LP record release this coming Saturday....literally this moment I'm juggling anwsering these quesions while feeding my daughter haha.
You are currently active in a variety of bands, but with No Heart’s debut LP “Can’t Get Out” around the corner I’d like to focus on this outfit first. Can you tell my readers how No Heart got together, who is in the band, past experience etc…?
No Heart was initially put together thru friends of friends type of thing, the only person I knew before moving back was Jordan our bassist. Mike Jo put me in touch with Will who had recently moved to the island, and also our friend Chuck put me in touch with Tobias who was our lead guitarist at first and played on the single but left before we played live, who was also new to the island(both from Vancouver). We started jamming within a few weeks of me having moved back as it was kind of set up before that. So since September 2016, the band has consisted of Will on drums(past bands include Emergency, Zip Guns among others) Jordan on bass(first band, and avid horiscope reader) and myself Mike on guitar and vocals(Last Crusade, Thankless Graft + shit punk bands in my teens). Also I suppose this is as good as any platform to annouce that we will be welcoming Mike Jo onboard as a rythm guitarist!
As said, the band’s first full-length “Can’t Get Out” is about to be released, quickly following up last year’s debut 45 and split 12” with Australia’s The Opposition. You like to keep yourself busy musically, don’t you?
Haha yeah I suppose so. We practice weekly and we always have shit loads of lyrics and riff idea's between us so it seems to flow pretty steady. We did have a year inbetween recording the split with The Opposition and our new LP to be fair ;) I think what's sped things up especially in recent months though is that Will has been writing about half the lyrics, and always has alot of good input about the structure of the song aswell as doing alot more backing and occasionally lead vocals(Do It Again on the LP). Jordan's basslines have come a bloody long way aswell since earlier recordings, he comes out with killer walking ones for every new song now.
I reckon fans of bands such as The Veros, The Clichés, The Janitors and of course one of your previous outfits – Last Crusade, will love this record. I know I do! How would you describe the album yourself and what can people, who are yet unfamiliar with your previous work, expect of it when you have to put it in your own words?
Kind of you to say! I would describe it as more musically involved then our previous releases and alot more melodic, I think this is our first record where we fully have hit our stride so to speak. In truth our influences are as much Mod Revival and power-pop as Oi!, and I think that definately shows in the guitar riffs and tone(no need to worry, the vocals will not change at any point haha). In truth I don't really see many parallel's between No Heart and Last Crusade apart from the vocals and the fact I am still using a tele... Definately appreciate the references though, love the Veros and Cliches!
As I wrote in my review, the artwork/lay out shows strong resemblances to Helen Of Oi! releases of bands like The Elite, Braindance and Another Man’s Poison. Is this a coincidence, or is there more behind it?
Good eye, this was completely dileberate haha. We have many different influences between the 3 of us, but the Oi! that we all particularly click on is the classic 90's Helen Of Oi! stuff. We currently have AMP's "Man Enough" in our set and plan on recording it for a split release towards the summer.
It’s funny, because the artwork from last year’s split 12” – ships in that old school tattoo style – is the complete opposite. Full-color, drawn, busy… while the artwork for “Can’t Get Out” is simple and direct. How come? Which style do you personally like better?
I love both covers personally, it's tough to say which one I prefer! I think part of it is that Bela from The Opposition is (obviously) a proper artist, and as far as tattoo flash covers go there is absolutely no way we could do one that would come close to that one haha. So instead we opted to go the 80's/90's route of a band pic in an industrial part of Vic....cliche or what! Part of it aswell is I think we are alot happier with the songs on this record, so I feel like the music speaks for itself...not to sound like a cocky bastard ;)
In terms of live shows, how are you going to support the release of “Can’t Get Out”? Do you think No Heart is able to do some sort of small tour – perhaps in mother Europe - at some point, or will it just be loose gigs here and there?
Apart from the release gig here at home, we don't plan on doing extensive touring for the album as most of us have families now. So while we don't really plan on playing North America apart from say Western Canada, we DO plan on getting over to Europe! We've talked briefly to a couple folks and nothing is a firm plan at all, but we are hoping to do a jaunt over there at some point in 2019, spring/summer kind of thing...so keep an eye out for that, and if any euro's want us to play their gig/fest whatever, get it touch
As I stated earlier, you are currently active in a variety of bands – another one is Off The Clock, with which you currently finished up the recording of an eight-track LP – or mini-LP. Any news on that front yet?
Thanks for the oppertuninty to plug this! Yeah we finished doing that in late February, in the span of about 6 hours haha. I can't say offically, but a good friend of ours here is in the process of starting a record label and "Off The Clock- Vic City Skins" is going to be their first release! It'll be a run of 300, 2 different covers....that's all I can let loose at this point.
Musically your bands differ a bit, but they don’t differ that much when it comes down to sound. How do you decide what riff, melody, lyric etc… you use for which band?
Haha in truth I don't see it like that at all, to me No Heart and OTC are opposite ends of the Oi! spectrum with NH being on the melodic and mod-revival influenced side and OTC being more rough n ready Oxblood kinda stuff, verging on hardcore punk at times. I've never had a riff that I could consider for both bands personally. Will who sings in OTC(a different Will haha) writes all the lyrics for that band aswell as doing the artwork. However if you are referring to Last Crusade/Thankless Graft I have to plead guilty haha. Thankless Graft was basically just picking up where LC left off, exept with it just being Mike Robson and myself there was no hardcore influence so abit more melodic....but essentially the same style.
Last, though certainly not least, is Thankless Graft, a band that originated when you were still living in the UK. I know you told me about a second EP at one point, but is this band still active and if so, is the line-up still the same? I am curious how the process of the recording goes then with you in Canada and the other half in the UK?
We did record a 2nd EP back at the tail end of 2016, it's still yet to see the light of day.....I'm told that's only a matter of time though as a friend of ours has said he wants to release it. With both myself and Mike playing in multiple gigging bands TG has ended up on a hiatus of sorts I guess. Basically, if and when the second EP gets released we will do more stuff, but if it doesn't it's hard to justify the money it costs to go to the studio etc. 3 of the 4 songs we recorded were actually ones I did byself as a solo project called Well Sick band in 2011, so there are recordings of those songs with a drum machine backing track that Mike listened and learned the songs from. The 4th song is a cover, and I just sent him a scratch guitar track and he was able to get a whole song together from that! By then time he's done all the drums, it's easy on my end to finish up it's him who's done the real work haha.
Aside of the fact that you now have a family in Canada, is the UK still a place you miss every now and then?
Yeah very much so, I have alot of family and good pals there and spent the formative part of my 20's living there so I think part of me will always think of Yorkshire as home aswell. It was the right decision for my wife and I to move back though to have kids, as alot of the maternity stuff over there is shit and all our immiediate family lives in Vic now....grass is always greener though I suppose!
Alright, I’m about to round this up, but not before I admit your bands – which are new bands – are outfits I like very much! Leaving me to ask you, what are some new bands you are really into these days? Shortly describe why.
Ah cheers bud! Hmm ok here goes off top of my head....
SABOTAGE from Sweden, wicked melodic Oi! and doing something totally different from the bulk of boring bands nowadays. They are I can say atleast both Will and my favourite current band, and we are planning a split 12" release with them late this year.
BROMURE from France are great, catchy as fuck stuff....should also mention SQUELETTE from Paris aswell, pseudo-80's french oi! also same as Bromure played by great folks.
ROYAL HEADACHE from Oz are a favourite for me, while not an Oi! band they play some of the catchiest fuzzed out power pop and garage punk you'll hear anywhere.
LION'S SHARE from Newfoundland I really like, very No Future records kind of stuff from Newfie b'ys.
BOILERMAKER from Darlington are a great new band Mike Robson has formed with some fellas from LAST ROUGH CAUSE, playing that catchy Northeastern street punk style.
I'll finish off by plugging Quebecer's ULTRA RAZZIA, probably the best Oi! band from Quebec since GASSENHAUER.
Okay, that’s it! Thanks again! If there’s anything you’d like to add, feel free to do so!
Thanks alot for taking the time to write this interview my man, appreciate it! Cheers to all our family and friends round the globe, and everyone who's supported us. Expect more releases and the odd mini tour in the not too distant future.....