As a follow-up to my recently posted review of NARCS’ new album, ‘Two Birds, One Stone Later’ (click here to read up on it), I was fortunate enough to get hold of band-members, John, Joe, Stanley and Wilko, to answer a few questions for HOLDUPNOW. Anyone who’s heard the new album or seen it reviewed will know there is a heavy socio-political influence behind NARCS’ material. Here we discover what it is about this heavy subject drives them, as well as some of their ambitions, history and experiences as a band.
(Bonus points to anyone who can spot the Simpsons reference).
HOLDUPNOW: How did NARCS come into being and what does the name mean?
We were at a Smashing Pumpkins concert and there was this weird big guy with a hat on and a badge that said “Too Cool For This Planet”. He was being a total narc and someone shouted “NARC!” so we decided to name ourselves after him and his ilk.
HOLDUPNOW: What has it been like promoting ‘Two Birds, One Stone Later’ on your current run of shows? Does having an album on the verge of release make these shows any different to ones you’ve done in the past?
Yeah it’s been weird. We’ve never had ten recorded songs behind us or an album to promote so it’s been a challenge to keep things fresh – we’ve been playing these songs for what feels like ages now. We’ve already started writing the next record though so it makes playing the same songs over and over more enjoyable. And some people know some songs to sing back at us, which is really nice.
HOLDUPNOW: The album obviously has some dark and gritty influences. Do these purely consist of your own opinions and ideas or are there other bands that have inspired you in one way or another? If so who are they?
Nobody’s work consists purely of their own ideas. Anyone who claims that is a sinister chode and should be dispatched. We’ve drawn from all kinds of influences, never consciously decided to like someone, but we know what we like to listen to and that’s obviously going to translate to how we want to sound ourselves. We’re into a massive range of sounds so the album’s not really designed to sound like any band or couple of bands.
HOLDUPNOW: There is a lot of unrest with British society expressed in the new album. What do you personally find is the main source of this dissatisfaction and what would you like to see changed within this context?
First world problems, mainly. Working s*** (first world) jobs, good people being f***ed over, being ruled over by rich, s*** people. I’m sure anyone in Syria would kill to live in the country we’re berating in the album though. Doesn’t mean stuff shouldn’t be improved here, like. The problem is the political class. Make sure you vote for the centre-centre-right, rather than the right-centre-right or the right-right-centre at the next election and things might improve a bit. Or stay exactly the same.
HOLDUPNOW: What’s next for the band? Might there be a second album on the horizon, and at this point, would you see it emerging as heavy as the first?
We’re just writing everything that springs to mind at the moment. We’ll see whether an album comes together. It might be a couple of EPs, it totally depends what is going to make the most sense together, tonally and lyrically.
HOLDUPNOW: What is the best gig you have ever played so far and why?
Our album launch. Because we got to pick the bands, we tarted the room up, we had a f***ing blast and the place went nuts at the end.
HOLDUPNOW: What would be the ideal gig venue for you to play and why?
We love The Brudenell because it’s the perfect pub/venue and nothing else is as good.
HOLDUPNOW: As a band, what is your ultimate goal?
To continue being a band and get better at being a band. To keep recording music.
HOLDUPNOW: Which track from the album would you say you are most proud of/like listening to the most?
John – Souvenir
Stanley – Creatures
Wilko – Coast-to-Coast
HOLDUPNOW: ‘Two Birds, One Stone Later’ was apparently recorded over two days. Was working within this time frame a stressful experience or was it quick because you knew what you wanted and it came together well?
It wasn’t just apparently recorded over two days, it WAS recorded over two days! We absolutely wanted it to be a dynamic, aggressive, intense approach because we wanted it to sound all of those things. We knew what we wanted, we practiced silly f***ing hours, which ruined our relationships for a month or so, and we went in ready to record.
HOLDUPNOW: Would you say the experience strained or strengthened you all as a band?
Strengthened via straining.
HOLDUPNOW: What would you say to those who are about to enter the studio to record their first studio album?
Pick someone to record you based on how much you like what they produce. Be very f***ing nice to them and when you’re mixing/going back over things, don’t point to the waveform and refer to “the chorus/the verse/the breakdown” as if they’re supposed to know/care what you mean.
HOLDUPNOW: What was it like recording with Simon Humphrey, a man who has worked with big names like The Clash and The Beach Boys? How did you come to record with him?
A guy, Yussuf, we met from another band mentioned he knew the guy who recorded The Clash’s first album and we thought perhaps it was exactly the right man to help us out so we nagged him and he took us on. He’s a brilliant guy, honest, down to earth, he came along to the launch with his wife, which was absolutely great.
HOLDUPNOW: Whose is the voice of the man ranting at the beginning of ‘Souvenir’?
Some old bloke off Youtube berating a camera crew. Sounds like he has a point if what he’s saying is true.
HOLDUPNOW: ‘Two Birds, One Stone Later’ has attracted comments like ”You will feel like you’ve been chewed up and spat out but you will also want to go back…and start the whole experience again.” Is this the effect you were going for?
We were just going for making the album we wanted to make and seeing whether other people liked it too. If people listen to it over and over again – job done!
HOLDUPNOW: For the readers of HOLDUPNOW, do you have any advice that you think people need to hear about making a start in the music industry?
Concentrate on making awesome music, not “making it” and don’t ever pay to play. But first and foremost, don’t take advice from other new bands!
That’s all from the NARCS lads for now but if you want to get a better feel for them then go ahead and check out their:
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