It’s not often that I go to a gig to photograph a headline act and end up being blown away by the support band instead. Lars Frederiksen’s (Rancid) side project, The Old Firm Casuals, headlined Leeds’ Key Club with Nosebleed as main support. As Rancid are one of my favourite ever bands, it was something special to see Lars in such an intimate venue – a 300 capacity basement club. Don’t get me wrong, Lars’ Old Firm Casuals were good but just not Nosebleed good. As Kevv Hunt said on Facebook “100% stole the show! Love the Casuals but they were fighting a losing battle following you guys.”
Suited and booted, Nosebleed dive into a raucous set of Ramones meets Chuck Berry on acid and the crowd are captivated from the first chords. The jackets could never last with the amount of insane energy Eliot (guitar / vocals) and Ben (bass) put into the show. The only let up is Eliot’s call of “you wanna hear some more “rock ‘n’ roll ?” in between each song. Now, the first time the question is asked, it gets a few answers but believe me, by the end of the set everyone in the room wants to hear some more Nosebleed Rock ‘n’ Roll.
I’ve seen singers and guitarists come into the audience. I’ve seen band members stage dive and I’ve seen Juliet Lewis literally passed over peoples heads around the whole venue for a full 5 minutes. Never have I seen a band literally come and play in the crowd before. Drummer, Dicky, gets the stage to himself for half the set as Eliot and Ben bring mic stands, guitar and bass as far into the crowd as their guitar leads will allow. Now that’s what I call bringing the gig to the audience. Nosebleed smash the night with the finest 2 minute punk rock ‘n’ roll tunes you ever will hear, a wonderful sense of humour and literally the most intimate gig you ever could witness outside of having your favourite band play in your living room.
I catch up with the good people Nosebleed and kick off by asking them where the name Nosebleed came from.
Ben- We had a few silly names banded around but this was the one that stuck. Turned out Wrestleflesh and Badass-o-matics just didn’t cut the mustard.
Eliott- It was just one of those things that we thought was catchy and instant. We struggled for ages to come up with a name when we started, we were nearly El Nombre and the Hard Equations or Hot Nostril for a bit. Nosebleed just sprang up out of nowhere one day. I think it takes people by surprise when they see us then see the name, it’s deceiving. A lady recently told us she thought we’d be a really shitty punk band when she saw the name.
As for the show, you’ve clearly put a huge amount of effort into your presentation and making your gigs “events”, rather than just playing a bunch of songs. Is that inspired by any particular bands or did it just come about naturally from who you are as people ?
Eliott – I’ve always been a fan of that element of rock n roll. From Chuck Berry duck walking about the stage, to Hendrix and all his theatrics, through to more modern bands like the Hives and the Bronx getting involved in the crowd. The way I see it, I want us to be a band that I’d go and see, if the bands not into it how are you supposed to be into it ? It’s all well and good just playing songs but you might as well just play the record at home, live music should be an experience; visually as well as musically.
Ben – We’ve all been in bands before and seen a lot of cool stuff, it’s the stuff that sticks in your head and makes a show memorable that we wanted to do. Everyone goes to a gig to have a good time and escape day to day life so getting people smiling and moving gives us energy and hopefully that’s cyclical, that’s what makes a good night.
And what about the music ? There’s not many songs over 2 minutes in the set. Genuine meat and 2 veg punk, rock ‘n’ roll, garage songs. Who are your biggest musical influences and inspirations ?
Eliott- I’ve always listened to a lot of the old fifties and sixties stuff; Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, the old masters. Aside from that, my two favourite bands of all time are Motörhead and The Hives. I used to follow Motörhead around the world when they were touring. Both those bands are good examples of how it should be done; Motörhead for that straight forward balls out rock n roll, and The Hives for that showmanship and craftsmanship in the songs. Aside from those I listen to a lot of hip hop really, which doesn’t really show in our stuff but I think having that variety really helps us focus on what we want to write. Dicky, our drummer, for example listens to a lot of world music, samba and the like, and those influences creep into his drumming sometimes – helps us mix it up a bit.
Ben – I guess it’s taking traditional rock n roll and rhythm and blues and stripping out the bits you don’t need.
For me, Lars is a big deal. Are you Rancid / Old Firm Casual fans and who else have you supported who were a “wow” for you guys ?
Ben – I’m a big Rancid fan, hadn’t really heard much of The Old Firm Casuals until the gig but they were enjoyable, like the heavier bits of Rancid mixed with Lars and The Bastards with a sprinkling of Motorhead which is a cool mix. Some of the most wow bands are the bands we hadn’t heard of before we played with them and have blown us away. Bands like PizzaTramp, Queen Zee and Matilda’s Scoundrels have all blown us away in the last five years.
Eliott- Growing up we all listened to Rancid, they’re one of those bands you kind of have to have listened to at some point, And Out Come The Wolves is a great album.
As far as supporting goes, we’ve never supported “big” bands really. We supported The Fall once, Mark E Smith hated us. Said we weren’t a proper band, and we didn’t deserve to get paid because we were shit. But people were telling us after, that we blew them off the stage, so what did he know ? A lot of the bands we play with are our mates in the UK DIY scene: we released our album through TNS records last year and a lot of the TNS bands blow us away. Faintest Idea, Revenge of The Psychotronic Man (RIP), Casual Nausea, Incisions, Snakerattlers, Batwölf… there are some great underground bands out there who are seriously impressive live.
If you could support any band, past or present, who would it be and why ?
Ben- I’d quite like to support Flogging Molly, they’ve always been my favourite band since I was like 15 so it would be good to share a stage.
Eliott- Motörhead. Always Motörhead. I think Lemmy would appreciate it, old school rock n roll just like he used to like. I hope so anyway.
Have you any crazy road stories to tell ?
Eliott – Not so much crazy, we’re quite tame when we’re out and about because of all the travelling we do, we don’t get drivers in or any of that, and I do all the driving, so we’re usually too knackered to get crazy! Seen a lot of sights in services stations though. If you want entertainment, service stations at 4 in the morning are amazing. We once herded 100 geese in this car park in Scotland once so we could park up. Pulled in and they were fucking everywhere. Couldn’t move for them. That was a strange one. There’s been a couple of nights in Germany in particular that got a bit out of hand, staying up all night drinking with venue owners who don’t take no for an answer.
Ben – There was one gig where we’d just played in Liverpool and we were playing in Belgium the next day so we had a hotel booked on the south coast so we could get a couple of hours kip half way. Unfortunately there was a massive crash right in front of us on the Dartford crossing which ended up with someone dying unfortunately. We missed the hotel, drove all the way to Belgium. We’d been awake for 48 hours by the time we had played and 50 hours by the time we went to sleep. Then i caught a stomach bug and was sick on stage over the borrowed backline at the gig in Hengelo the next day. Fortunately we’ve made a live album out of that one, so it’s etched in time forever.
You’ve a shedload of UK dates coming up but you’re also headed to Denmark, Belgium and Germany. How do you find European crowds compared to UK audiences ?
Eliott – European audiences are great, they go out no matter where it is and what day of the week it is. We’ve had some amazing gigs on the continent and really look forward to going over there, we’ve got some really cool ones coming up. Playing the UK can be hit and miss, you can go from one night playing to a few hundred people to playing to a man and his dog.
Ben – We’re not going to Denmark yet but we do have plans! Euro crowds are great, most venues and promoters sort you out somewhere to sleep and feed and water you so it feels a bit more homely than UK gigs. The crowds generally get what we’re about, although some of the humour gets lost in translation so we have to keep it a bit more visual.
Playing Rebellion (the UK’s biggest Punk Festival) this August must be a real buzz. Have you been to the festival as fans and what are you expecting from that ?
Eliott – We’ve all been as fans, and after getting the offer this year it’ll be interesting to play it. Ben has played it before in his old band (Acid Drop) but me and Dicky will be Rebellion virgins. We’re hoping people will get it. We’re not an out and out punk band, so sometimes it’s interesting to see how all the punks will enjoy it.
Ben – I’ve actually played Rebellion twice before in my previous band so yeah I’ve been a couple of times. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of a bunch of people who haven’t seen us before. We’ve been doing festivals for a couple of years now and they’re always fun experiences, each one has a different vibe. We’ll get to see a bunch of mates’ bands at Rebellion so it’s gonna be fun.
Your debut album, “Scratching Circles On The Dancefoor” came out last year. Were you pleased with the result and how was it received ?
Eliott – We’re so proud of the album. Andy Hawkins, the producer, is a real genius. He instantly understood what we were doing and how we should be doing it, his help with the album was invaluable. First time we’ve been really able to capture the live spirit of the band. We’re booked with him to record the second one, and he’s having a lot more input into this one, so hopefully we’re gonna come out with something big.
Ben – Couldn’t have been more pleased. It was a bit of a life changing experience for me, kind of quit my office job to study for a Masters in Music Production and have become a freelance music producer since. The album just sounded so powerful and energetic, I don’t think I understood why people liked us as a band until I heard that and if we sound anything like what we do on that record, I think I get it now. The reception was incredible, I don’t think any of us expected that to be honest.
From what I saw at The Key Club, you’re clearly at home and love playing live. How do you find the recording process ?
Eliott – Ben lives for recording. As he said, he’s recently gone back to school to do his masters in production. He’s happy as Larry in a studio. I can give or take it really, it stresses me out. Vocals especially, as Ben can probably attest, are a real bother for me in the studio; getting into the right headspace to do them. But it’s a necessary evil. Dicky just turns up and does his parts, he’s like a human metronome.
Ben – I love it, I’m at home in front of the faders. Recording is like cooking up a dead nice meal, you’ve got the basic ingredients and you have to put them all together and whilst you’re doing it you don’t really know if anyone is gonna like it and then you serve it and you can immediately tell what people are thinking. It’s a rewarding process if you just go with it.
You famously recorded and released a single in 2 hours 40 minutes live on Facebook at the end of January. Tell us about that.
Eliott – That was one of Bens ideas. He had been doing something about marketing at uni and wanted to try something different. We were all dead happy with how it turned out, it created a lot of buzz, and there were loads of people who sat and watched the whole thing. These days with so much going on, it’s important to really put yourself out there doing something different. What we do musically isn’t exactly new, so we find the way we put it out there has to be different.
Ben – Well it was that time between Christmas and New Year and we were stuck for something to do so I just thought it would be a good challenge to see if we could pull together a track and release it in under 3 hours. Because I’ve been studying Music Production and recording, I like to think I’m getting slicker at it so it was a bit of a challenge for me to see if i could work under intense amounts of pressure.
And I know you’re working on the your new album. How’s that going and when do you expect it to be reelased ?
Ben – We’re at the demoing and writing stage at the moment and it’s going really well. It’s a lot different to the first album. We’re going to spend a lot more time on this one. The first one was banged out over a couple of days, we’ll probably spend at least a week recording this one, the songs are a bit more developed. We couldn’t really do more of the same on this album so we’re looking to change things up a bit. Release, we’re looking at 2020, gives us time to really work on it.
Eliott – It’s going really well. We’ve another four or five to write and learn and we’re recording in May. The songs have taken a bit of a step forward since the last one. We’re thinking about what we’re doing a lot more, and just trying to make each song the best it can be. As for release, we’re not sure. We never really stopped to think about “Scratching Circles” because we were just excited to have an album out and it was songs we’d been playing for years. This one we want to think about and take it slow, make sure everything is in place and right to release. We’ll keep slipping new ones into the set to see how they go down with people. We’ve found in the past that works well for us. Not only do we gauge reactions, but it lets us tweak things we don’t notice in the practice room. We’ve written a couple interesting ones this time round as well, really delved into our influences to add a bit of dynamic to the album.
A few daft questions to finish off. If you could be any other person for a day, who would you be and what would you do?
Eliott – I’d be my mate Roy. He works in a zoo so I’d get to go in and play with all the animals. He’s tall as well so that would be nice.
Ben – I’d be Usain Bolt and try to make speed cameras go off in 20 mph zones.
Tell us the best thing about your hometown of Leeds
Eliott – Leeds is great. I can’t really give you a best thing because it’s all great. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Good beer, nice people, nothings too far away. Best city.
Ben – The music scene is great, there’s some great venues and live music on most nights of the week. There’s some great bars doing good beer too. There’s a lot of history and it isn’t too big and crowded. It’s just the right size!
Describe Nosebleed as an alcoholic drink
Eliott – Pint of Tetleys. Traditional, no frills, and you can have 15 without it getting too much. Very Yorkshire. More people should drink Tetleys.
Ben – Stout. Full of iron and surprisingly strong.
And finally, what do you want the rock ‘n’ roll history books to say about you ?
Eliott – “Best band ever” ha!
Vox and Axe – Eliott Verity
Vox and Bass – Ben Hannah
Drums – Dicky Riddims