Yorkshire's very own gutter punks Disarm have justified several years of total hard graft, tearing through just about every flea bitten venue throughout the UK with the long awaited release of their huge powerhouse of an album 'By Any Means Necessary', a no holds barred tour de force of angry riffs, snarling vocals and a truckload of energy and aggression! TrashPit caught up with three of the band, vocalist Brad, guitarist Jamie and drummer Ant, on the eve of the album's release to see how everything came together.
Let's get the crap, boring one out the way first off... How'd you guys hook up, you've been around the live scene for some years. Just how'd you get together... had you known each other a while - previous bands, etc?
Jamie: Ok, I'll not go into too much detail since it's a fucking long story! But we've all had previous bands ...me and Noddy have always had some sort of a band going and I sort of knew Brad from school along with our old drummer Tez. Brad joined when he quit Uni and after having endless trouble with god knows how many drummers Ant joined after he stood in for us on tour.
Ant: I joined the band in spring 2007. Jamie (whom I knew through a mutual friend and slaving at Tesco) asked me if I'd do a few shows with them and I enjoyed it that much I offered my services permanently!
You've been a heavy touring band from the start and must have notched up hundreds of gigs. Do you ever get jaded by the UK's fickle audiences or does that one great gig justify everything?
Brad: Nah, I wouldn't say jaded. It can be disheartening when you've travelled ages and you're playing to no-one. Sometimes it's just bad luck which is fair enough but when it's 'cos the promoter and/or venue are a set of idiots then that right pisses me off! The worst was a gig in Leeds when we played to the two people working behind the bar. The two other bands had dropped out so not even the promoter or soundguy bothered turning up. We only played because we started the Robin Black tour the next day so thought we might as well have a practice for that. Then some tool blocked us in from getting out the venue so we broke into their car and pushed it out on to the street, ha ha!
Ant: I find it more annoying than anything - it seems a lot of the kids now are more about what's fashionable (the term 'scene' springs to mind). They'd rather been spoon fed the same regurgitated crap than actually go and check out new bands that might offer something different for their aural pleasure. However, that one great gig every now and then really does make it worthwhile from my point of view - I'm an optimist by nature and it's always the good gigs that stick in my mind; there's still a lot of people in the UK who live and breathe music regardless of the current fashion and it's the opinions of those people I really care about.
Brad: Yeah, even if there's just one person there who's never heard you before but ends up really liking you and buys a CD or something then that's what makes it worthwhile.
Has there been one particular tour that has stood out as your favourite or does each have it's own stories and memories which makes them special?
Ant: The Trashstock Tour 2007 was definitely a highlight for me, but having said that I'm relatively new to the band so maybe the other guys have got better answers to this?
Jamie: For me each tour definitely has it's own stories and memories that makes each one special......something interesting always happens! For example we played four dates in Scotland as part of the "No One Gets Out Alive Tour" and somehow Brad managed to back the van into a Leisure Centre which was directly behind him about five metres away whilst going only about three mph!! We all watched for about 30 seconds before hearing a bang!! He still has no idea how this happened. Quite obviously we will never forget that.
Brad: It was only some bins I hit though. They were in the way of the wall, thankfully. Each tour has always been totally different so I couldn't pick a favourite. The Robin Black one was good because it was the first tour we did supporting another band so there's stuff you learn off that. Then the Dirty Rig one was a bit intense with all these dudes beating each other up trying to kill each other, plus we basically lived out of the van for the whole thing which smelt like a fucking landfill site after a few days! Oh yeah, and there was that girl who sucked off our old drummer, Tez, and then copped off with Noddy about five minutes later THEN tried copping off with our Manager, ha ha! Oh and we accidentally kidnapped a girl and her parents had the police looking for her all night! Erm... The Trashstock Tour was fun too 'cos everyone knew each other already so we just had a laugh, got drunk, threw bags of shit at Patchwork Grace, ha ha! As for the tours we've done off our own backs they've always been cool. I really enjoyed when we did a bunch of dates with Kitty Hudson last year, that was funny.. We've never really had any daft arguements or fallen out with each other, we just have a laugh and get rat-arsed!
You were initially fenced in with the upcoming 'Glam, Sleaze' scene that began to gain popularity some years ago but you've since managed to break away from that. Why do you think you were pigeon holed with that originally? Did it just seem like the logical 'genre' to be associated with?
Jamie: Fuck knows! Brad probably once had a Mötley Crüe t-shirt on at a gig and that was it.
Brad: I'm not sure but probably like you said it seemed to make sense at the time. We described our music as sleazy originally but we had no idea there had been a 'sleaze' scene years before, sooo we kinda shot ourselves in the foot with that one. As for Glam? The only thing I can remotely think of is some of us wear eyeliner. That's pretty much it! I'm glad though because as much as it pissed us off getting lumped with all that, it made us work a lot harder toward developing our own sound and distance ourselves from that particular scene. We became a lot faster and a lot heavier and in turn 'us'. I think that people have always been able to hear different stuff in us, regardless. I don't think it's a bad thing, it's just we've always been hard to catagorise. Recently we seem to have randomly had Social Distortion and The Clash which is awesome but there's some weird ones too. We have never in the fucking slightest sounded like Vain for example but every once in a while there's some old bloke who says we remind him of them or something similar. Eh? I don't get that at all. In fact we've just had an album review that described us as Glam Punks and compared us to Hanoi Rocks! Weird...
Who have been some of your favourite bands you've played with and why?
Ant: Kitty Hudson, Zen Motel, Patchwork Grace, TCC, Dear Superstar, Nightvision, Evil Scarecrow (+ more)... I really enjoy playing with bands that we really get along with personally as well as professionally - not only do we get to play a show with an awesome band, we also get to party with our mates!
You managed to capture the bands raw, in your face power on the new CD. Was this difficult to do on an unsigned budget or do you think if the energy is there then it can be captured on tape?
Jamie: Its hard to tell really. Obviously everyone has their own input, so everyone must put their all into it! Our producer, Matt, did a really good job capturing a good raw sound!
Ant: It's definitely difficult when you're strapped for cash, but I would say it's worth scraping the barrel to get a decent recording if you can. The energy will still be there regardless, but in today's 'loudness war' there's definitely a need for good production.
Brad: Yeah, I think that the recording is definitely what can make the difference between a good record and an amazing one. It's very rare for a band to have an album that still sounds incredible despite the shit recording but it can happen. Likewise I don't think I've seen a band who've had an amazing record and then been a really crap band live. There's got to be something there in the first place.
What did your producer Matt Elliss bring to the CD and how much did the songs change from initial concept to finished recording?
Jamie: I think Matt really got the best out of us with the way he recorded us and the different methods and ideas that were used. Some of the songs ended up sounding totally different to how we originally thought they would, but in a good way!
Brad: Yeah, we didn't need to rewrite anything but because some of the stuff was songs we'd written especially for the album and never played live so we weren't sure on their 'sound' as such so we'd just mess around with different ideas, different sounds and then something would just click and we knew that was it.
Ant: Drum-wise Matt really pushed me hard - I was exhausted after each session, but the end result is awesome! The drum tracks didn't really change that much from the initial concept other than a few different fills / cymbals used here and there - Matt's got a really good ear and has some good suggestions!
Brad: Like on 'Bullets And Blasphemy', which is a pretty full-on, evil sounding track, I ended up playing a Telecaster with this ridiculously jangly sound but... it's just perfect. Like what I said before, Matt could get something from sounding good to sounding amazing.
Jamie: His input definitely had a positive impact on how the album ended up!
You originally shopped the album around to various labels but settled on putting it out yourselves. What was the response from the labels you approached?
Brad: Ha ha, it was pretty much an across the board 'thanks but no thanks'. I knew that would be the case anyways 'cos a label wouldn't be willing to take such a massive risk signing us, even if they did like us. The fucking Darkness made sure of that! Besides, I can't honestly think of any new bands that sound like us, especially over here, that are signed with loads of record company support behind them. I suppose the closest would have been Bullets And Octane, but then they fucked off the big label so go figure. We haven't strictly put it out ourselves but the guys at Imprint are so cool that it feels like we have in a way, I guess. Not in a bad way at all, just we have total control over what we do and there's not some knob screaming ' I want RESULTS!!!' at us. I like having our 'independence' but I think if you can get an album done, get it on the shelves and you work hard at the rest then that's really all you need. Oh yeah, apparently you need some kind of cool haircut too if you want to be down with the kids. We can't afford any shit like that though.
Which are some of your favourite songs on the album?
Ant: 'Bark. Bite. Scream' is one of my personal favourites - its got loads of energy and I love playing it live!
Jamie: I haven't really got any favourites. I love the way 'Bark. Bite. Scream.' turned out too. That was one of those songs that turned out better than I expected it to.
Brad: 'The River City Ransom Death Pact' turned out amazing to say we finished writing it about a week into recording. I really like the way 'She's My Disease' and 'This Is Not A Pop Song' sound too.
What would you like to acheive with the release of your new CD and what can we expect from the next year in the life of Disarm?
Ant: WORLD DOMINATION! No, seriously I'd hope that we can raise our profile and get a tour support slot with some bigger bands - I'd love to get over into Europe and do some shows there! We'll be gigging loads as usual and working on album number 2 (we've got a few tracks coming together already!).
Brad: Yeah, we might knock out an EP with new stuff on before the next album.
Jamie: I would like to tour another country!
Brad: I hope people hear it, like it, and buy it. And want to have our babies.
Ant: We should put a sticker on the front: 'Free baby with every purchase!'.