Fighting Fiction and Still Bust talk touring, recording, and the state of the UK Punk Rock scene.

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The EDGE caught up with Fighting Fiction and Still Bust midway through their April UK tour before their Southampton show at Goblets on 14/04/2011. The bands talked about touring, recording, Spotify and the UK Punk Rock scene.

Firstly, who are you and what do you do?

Fighting Fiction : (Jacob) My name is Jacob Glew and I play rhythm guitar and sing in Fighting Fiction. (Matt) My name is Matt Roffe and I play guitar, bass and backing vocals in Fighting Fiction.
Still Bust : (Matt) I’m Matt Stanley and I play guitar and sing in Still Bust. (Ed) I’m Ed Hudson and I do backing vocals and guitar in Still Bust as well.

For those who haven’t heard of you, what sort of music do you play and what are your influences?

FF: (Jacob) We are a quartet with punk rock influences. We like old style punk like The Clash and Billy Bragg and traditional song writing structures, but we like to be melodic as well as going a little bit heavier with it at the same time. I’d say the newer stuff is getting more agressive in some ways but also more melodic in others. I’d say there’s a sort of The Bronx/ Rise Against vibe emerging underneath the more melodic stuff that’s going on as well.
SB: (Matt) We’re also a quartet, we play hardcore: it’s fast, it’s heavy. We’re influenced a bit by some post-rock bands like 65daysofstatic so sometimes we go off a weird tangent. We used to be a ska band and you can kind of smell that a little bit but generally it’s just balls out as Nate (Fighting Fiction drummer) put it ‘dissonant hardcore’.
FF: (Jacob) Yeah, he said something like ‘not so dissonant that it’s hard on your ears, a pleasant sort of dissonance to listen to.’
SB: (Matt) Master of words.

How’s the tour going?

FF: (Matt) It’s awesome.
SB: (Ed) Pretty damn good.

You’ve been on tour for… a week now?

FF: (Jacob) Yeah, a week and one day. We went swimming yesterday at Splashdown.
ST: (Matt) It was amazing, I saw Matt Roffe‘s nipples. (Ed) They were very nice.
FF: (Matt) I saw yours too.
ST: (Matt) You didn’t, I was wearing a bra. Laughs. (Ed) I guess we match each other quite well in personality so it’s really easy to talk to each other. (Matt) I think we also all have the same outlook in life so it’s easy to get on with each other.
FF: (Jacob) And playing shows with another band and having a large group of friends to go around in is a nice mentality while you’re on a tour. It doesn’t feel so much like four people against the world. You feel that if a venue doesn’t show up you’re still united.
ST: (Matt) I find it amazing because we didn’t really know each other before, we’d had one show together and then Andy (Fighting Fiction guitar/bass/vocals) said ‘do you want to go on tour?’
and we thought ‘brilliant let’s do it.’
FF: (Matt) It’s a bit like a stag do but not really. Laughs. Although nobody’s getting married.
ST: (Ed) From the first day we really hit it off. (Matt) And now it feels like we’ve known each other for years.

Have you had a best gig so far?

FF: (Matt) The south coast, Plymouth and Truro, has been pretty good.
ST: (Matt) I likes the Truro one the best because my mum was there and she was really proud. Laughs. We live in Gloucester and she never comes to see us play but I have loads of family down in Truro and she turned up and said she might leave after the first song because it was so loud but she stayed for the whole thing and it was amazing.
FF: (Jacob) I liked Plymouth the best because I fell over at the end and it was a great comedic moment where I tripped over my cable and slipped on a pint of water and everyone thought I’d hurt myself. I just tried to roll around and make it look like I was in a hardcore band. It was a really funny ending to a good fun set.

It doesn’t sound like it, but have you had a worst gig? Any bad experiences yet?

FF: (Jacob) The Royal Oak in Ipswich, that was a bit empty but I can’t really remember if it was a bad gig. (Matt) That’s where Matt (Still Bust) got down on his knees and played guitar to a dog, Laughs.

Fighting Fiction have been in the studio recently recording their debut album, how was that and when will it be out?

FF: (Jacob) It’s going to be out on the 1st September I believe. It’s going very well, we’ve spent every weekend in March between working our 9-5s going over to Portsmouth and tracking 13 hours days so it was tiring and full on. We did it two songs a weekend so there was drums to do every weekend as well so there was a lot of setting up and taking down involved but it was still a really creative process. We had Mark Williams who’s done Biffy Clyro and Ocean Colour Scene doing it again and I think it’s going to turn out great. Just some finishing touches and it needs to be mixed and remastered and it will be released in September.

Both bands have music on Spotify, firstly as a signed band did Fighting Fiction make this decision or was it the label? What are your thoughts on making your music available digitally when you have CDs for sale?

FF: (Jacob) I personally would have wanted to be on the platform because I think it’s a great service, especially when it first came out. The best thing to do with these start up companies is to let it be free and realise what it’s going to turn into before it makes any money because people are going to enjoy using it and it’s going to become popular and then the standard. Basically, it comes as part of a licensing deal which we have with certain aggregators, they have a bunch of difference platforms they can put our music on and our manager said we’d like our first EP (A Lesser of Two Evils) on all of them and then our label Extra Mile had a similar deal going on for the single (We Will Not Forget). It wasn’t discussed that much, it just happened but I’m pleased it’s on Spotify. It’s nice to see yourself on platforms like Spotify and iTunes, it makes you feel like a real band.

Same question for Still Bust, as an unsigned band.

ST: (Matt) I didn’t know we were on Spotify! (Ed) I signed us up for a website called ReverbNation and they’ve got a thing that gets you on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Play and loads of others. You pay a certain amount and then it takes about 3 months for it to get on there but we’re now on around 30 different websites as well as international sellers like iTunes Japan. I just chose to do it and we’re getting a bit of money from it so it’s alright.

You’re halfway through the tour and it sounds like things are going strong, how are the energy levels? Any lagging?

FF: (Matt) I think it’s been ramping per night upwards generally.
SB: (Matt) You guys are getting crazier and crazier every night.
FF: (Jacob) Yeah, if anything it just gets better.

What are your plans for after the tour? What’s next?

FF: (Matt) We’re going to finish recording the last touches to the album. (Jacob) Go back to our bulls**t jobs. We’re playing a couple of festivals this summer and hopefully book a large tour in September to go along with the release of our album and we’d really like to go on a jaunt in Europe towards the end of the year or the beginning of the next.
SB: (Matt) We’re recording in May and then we’re playing a festival in Croatia in July so we’re making a tour around that. We’re headlining Frogfest in Cheltenham as well! We’re tempted to jump over to Europe now because we have loads of friends over there. We’re playing with Gogol Bordello in Croatia so that’s going to be super amazing.

All sounds awesome. Last question is a biggy: over the past few years there’s been a significant decline in the UK punk rock scene with attendance at smaller shows plummeting. Has this affected you at all and do you think the scene will improve over time?

SB: (Matt) This is literally why we keep going to Europe. Laughs. (Ed) I think people across the UK always say that there’s no scene but they’re also the ones that can’t be bothered to go to gigs. So because they don’t go to gigs there’s no scene but they still complain about it.
FF: (Matt) I blame vanity and fashion personally. Lately, especially this tour, I’ve been noticing a lot more people coming to shows and I don’t know if that’s a general trend but I felt that in Plymouth there’s a massive community in the Cornwall area that seems different to anywhere else music wise. (Jacob) I think that the UK music scene at an unsigned level, and particularly in London, has taken a turn for the worse in that there’s a rise in Pay to Play opportunities and it’s promotions companies basically trying to make their money out of unsigned bands instead of DIY promoters encouraging them which leads to it not being a community but a business. A community is where if you’re just starting in a band things need to happen. Even if it’s not a career choice then that’s the way things need to be, fruitful and exciting. It’s a worrying trend but you get peaks and troughs in every music scene and I believe things can change, especially after going down to Plymouth. There’s something quite special happening down there and [the scene]just needs a new wave of kids and new wave of promoters and a desire to buck the trend of what is happening at the moment for it to get better.

Both bands will have albums coming out towards the end of the year. Go to www.facebook.com/fightingfiction and www.facebook.com/stillbust for up to date information and where to catch them this summer!

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