Failsafe are probably one of the most successful bands from Preston in recent years, as well as being one of the only punk bands from that area. During October they have been touring with Random Hand, Sonic Boom Six and Crazy Arm as part of the Three Way Dance tour. This interview was conducted after their date in Satan’s Hollow, Manchester, with their bass guitarist Andy and singer Jim.
LH: The music scene in Preston right now is mainly metal orientated. How did that effect your musical direction?
Jim: Well, we didn’t neglect Preston, but we got more influenced by the Manchester scene when we were first starting out gigging seriously. We used to go to Manchester and Stockport a lot. Gig on the all-dayers with the bands like Captain Everything and all the British bands.
A: We played Preston quite a lot didn’t we though, in the smaller venues. The gigs weren’t ever that good. We went to Manchester a few times, and the gigs were really good so we went there as our local gigs. As we started going further afield I think people in Preston started to recognise a bit more that we were one of the only bands in Preston that had bought a van, were trying to get out there, instead of been satisfied by playing Preston venues all the time.
J: It’s good that Preston has a music scene; because some places you go they don’t have anything. We just stick to our guns, do what we do. Fortunately the last couple of gigs we’ve done in Preston, a lot of people have turned up.
LH: At the album launch it was packed, so I find it interesting that everybody comes to see you and yet it’s completely different style of music to anything else that’s there.
J: It could seem a little strange, but over the years we’ve built up a fan base and we’re really grateful for that. We’ve got some pretty loyal people that like to come and watch us. Long may it continue.
A: Also, when we play Preston, we try not to play there too much. Not that many people from Preston venture out to Manchester. So when we play Preston there’s still a lot of people who haven’t seen us in a long time, so it’s really fucking good.
LH: How important is the DIY ethic to you as a band?
J: It’s pretty important, it’s what this band grew up with. A lot of gigs in the early stages of the band, sometimes we’d turn up to a gig, we’d have to set the PA up, and we’d dabble with the sound a bit. It’s good; I mean Andy books a lot of our gigs still. Andy’s booked quite a lot of our tours over the years as well. It just shows you that you can do it off your own back. It’s the punk ethic, if you don’t do it for yourself, who are you going to do it for?
A: In the past, we’ve done a lot of gigs using our own PA. We played a Battle of the Bands years ago; we happened to win it, which entitled us to £1000 worth of musical equipment from this shop. We got the PA so we could practice properly. We’ve used that at load of gigs. I broke our PA though. I stood on that wire, didn’t I? It all collapsed and knackered up.
LH: As well as music, is there anything else creative that any of you are involved in? Zines, art, etc?
A: I just work when I’m not in the band, and personally put all my effort into the band really, that’s all I want to do. Sit at home and play music. Jim does acting.
J: Our old bassist Scott, he writes for Big Cheese now, I think that’s the most music related creativity as far as that goes. To be honest, when we’re not on tour we just work to earn money to go on tour.
A: Doesn’t really sound very impressive really. None of us are artists really, we just like rock. We all work a lot and go out and have a wicked time. Matt, our guitarist is a joiner, he does woodwork. These bunk beds in the van, he did them. That sleeps four people, two on top, and two on the bottom. We get one down here [points at floor] so we sleep comfortably in this van, which you wouldn’t really think because it’s not that big really.
Failsafe are normally playing gigs somewhere, and have an album “What we are Today” out on Deck Cheese records. Thanks to Andy and Jim for chatting to me for ages.