An interview with the Foamers when the band played the Verge. Interviewed for Rancid News #4.
RN: Could you first just introduce yourselves. What you do in the band; releases that kind of thing!?!
Karem (guitar, vox): My name’s Karem. I play rythm guitar and do vocals, and back there is…
Tom (bass): Yeah my name’s Tom and I play bass guitar.
K: And we’ve had so far one album, which is out on Ten City Records, which is Squirt from Choking Victim’s label. Which was uhh an experience. I’ll say no more than that! And then we self released an EP, which is good. And now we’ve just finished the record for Household Name and are waiting for the artwork, which we’re hoping to get soon because we’ve been a bit slack!
RN: How do you feel with the new record? Is it any different to your older stuff?
K: Umm it’s…
T: I think it sounds a lot better. I mean it’s something I’d actually buy rather than saying, ‘buy this (laughs). I’d rather you didn’t but we’ve got to make money somehow!’ (laughs) But no I am actually really proud of this. There’s always room for improvement but I think that when you get the uhh zenith (laughs) album then it’s all down hill from there.
K: Zenith? What the fuck does that mean? (laughs)
T: It means the apex. The highest of the high! (laughs)
RN: Do you think that now you’re kind of “on” Household Name that you’re getting a bigger name?
K: Well I think that we’ve actually been kind of lucky because we kind of got into the Household Name family – for lack of a better word – through Capdown because they’ve been really good to us. We first played with them, and then they asked us back, and then they introduced us to Lil and Kafren and then to Ian [Hidden Talent] – who books our shows and stuff. So we got on some really good shows. And that’s also partly because of Carlos because he’s just a cheeky fucker! He keeps in contact with everyone, and knows about bands playing before Ian does. (laughs) He goes, ‘When Leftover Crack come over can we support them?’ Ian, ‘Are they coming over?!?’ (laughs) And he goes, ‘Oh yeah I think they’re ringing you about it tommorrow!’ (laughs) And then of course we got the tour. So he just kind of emails, and speaks to everyone and that’s how we’ve managed to get shows. And then I’ve been friends with Lil and Kafren for ages now, and it’s really nice of them to put our record, and be so fucking patient because it’s been almost a year now!
RN: Do you find that you get good shows outside of London?
K: The best place to play is Worcester. Without a doubt there are just nuts of kids going apeshit, regardless of who or what’s playing, they just go fucking apeshit! (laughs) It’s great. London’s usually actually quite difficult because, especially in Camden, there’s just so much stuff happening at once.
T: Yeah it’s like in November one night we’re going to be playing at the Underworld at the ‘Wasted Fest’ and then come up the road we’re going to be playing back here [The Verge] with The Antimaniax. So we’re playing two shows in the one night! (laughs)
K: Yeah it’s one of those things that makes it difficult to get people out to shows in London just because there are so many things happening and there are quite often more than one thing happening in the day.
RN: The Antimaniax show is going to be a good one.
K: Yeah they’re a great bunch of guys as well. Yeah credit to Household Names, just every band that we’ve played involved with that label have been the nicest bunch of people. And we’ve kept in contact with them all the time, and I don’t know whether you’ve heard but our old drummer Chris…
RN: Yeah I’m really good friends with his ex-girlfriend so she’s kind of kept me informed.
K: Oh right! But all the guys from the other bands have been really supportive and are always sending messages and emails. Dan from Five Knuckle did the best shout out at Lightyear, the whole crowd just turned around and shouted ‘waaaaaay’. They’re just the nicest bunch. Just everybody there is so nice. And full credit to them, bands like CapDown, and Five Knuckle can fucking play better than any other band that I’ve seen. They just really deserve to make loads of money, and get really big! (laughs) And remove some of this fucking shit in the charts or whatever.
RN: So horrible question, but what inspires you. Not just music, everything in general!
K: I’ve been – for the last few years – since I went to uni, I’ve been reading a lot of kind of non-fiction books like Chomsky and Greg Palast. I’ve been trying to make myself a bit more aware of what’s going on in the world because before I went to Uni I was obviously upset with the world but I didn’t have the time enough to dig a little deeper and find out what’s actually happening. And that’s partly down to Propagandhi, because they’ve been one of my favourite bands ever since I heard ‘Clean Everything’ I was just like, ‘That’s the fucking best thing that I’ve ever heard!’ They were the one’s that turned me on to the whole political vibe, and I think that’s been reflected more in this album than the last one. There were a couple of tracks on the last one, but there are more this time round. Movies is more of a difficult one, because I love all the stupid kids movies like Toy Story and stuff like that. I fucking love it. (laughs) And … I don’t know, I’ve been watching a lot of Bill Hicks recently. I’ve got a DVD of his and I’ve just been watching it over and over again! Iron Maiden as well. There’s been a big Iron Maiden resurgence recently as well. We’ve started doing covers nights. (laughs)
RN: Yeah I heard about the covers nights thing, with Fireapple Red doing Propagandhi and you guys doing Maiden. So are you pretty into metal then?
K: The thing is right: When I turned 16 metal kind of became shit. After Pantera did ‘Far Beyond Driven’ and Metallica did the ‘Black’ album it all just got a bit pony. And then when Slipknot came out, and there was all this nu-metal bullshit came out… I mean what a fucking horrible description for music, ‘n-u’ metal, I really was totally against it. But actually I have been getting a bit into Slipknot recently cause they are actually quite good! (laughs) So yeah all credit to ‘em. They have an awesome drummer.
RN: Yeah it’s a bit weird how Maiden are having a bit of a comeback.
K: The thing with Maiden is: The last album that I bought before I fell out of the whole thing was ‘Fear of The Dark’, and then they got Blaze Bailey in who was a bit rubbish to be honest. But I’ve just been getting back into it recently, and it’s just like, ‘Why did I ever stop listening to this’! (laughs) This is the fucking bollocks.
RN: OK one thing going back to what you said earlier in the interview you said that Capdown and Five Knuckle deserve to be as big as…
K: Well what it is, is that musically I think what they do is so … they’re so honest to themselves, and they do what they want to do, and they do it really, really fucking well, and they’re just so good at how they play, and their stage presence. Then Capdown with their Fiercepanda single [Act Your Rage] – I mean I don’t know because I can’t keep track of sales – but I would guess that they did really well since it was on MTV2 and whatever. But they deserve to just make it big, because they have a message, and they’re doing what they’re doing, and they’re not compromising what they’re doing. People were talking about them and calling them a bunch of ‘fucking sell outs’, or whatever and they’re not. They’re just doing what they’re doing. They’ve got to make a living. And this is what a lot of people don’t understand about musicians. I mean we have people, ‘can we have your guitar?’ ‘Well no. This cost £600, I can’t just pluck that out of the air!’ (laughs)
T: I had one guy come up to me and asked me if he could have my pick, and he goes, ‘Oh they’re the same ones that I use’! It’s just like, ‘Well why the fuck can’t you go and buy one yourself!’ (laughs)
K: ‘It’s like 35p man’. I mean no one’s going to believe you. ‘Oh yeah I got this off Tom from the Foamers!’ (laughs) ‘Ohh wow, that makes it all 36p’. It’s nothing spectacular. People just don’t seem to understand. We’re in a situation now where we’ve really got to bite the bullet. I’m in a full time job at the moment as is Robin, who’s just joined. We’ve all sat down and talked about it, and come the New Year, we’re just going to go for it – take the plunge – be a band. But being a band you don’t make a lot of money, and people don’t seem to get that. And I’m not whinging, but it’s just the truth. But bands, like I say – like Five Knuckle and Capdown – deserve to make money because they make great fucking music. Their hearts are in it 110%, they’re in it for completely the right reasons, and they just deserve everything that they get… Well at least deserve everything positive that they get – not negative! (laughs)
RN: Well the other question that I wanted to ask is do you think that music can actually be used as a political force. Do you think people listening to political bands actually go out and do anything?
K: Yeah totally. I mean I don’t think it’s had anything but a positive influence on me. Six years ago when we started it was all about singing about your girlfriend and that’s exactly how we started. And then I got into Propagandhi and it all just … there are so many bands now doing the whole political thing, but they all mean it. They’re not just posing or just trying to get into the next cool thing. a lot of them mean it. They take the time out to go to the demonstrations. They’ll be politically active. They’ll give out fliers, and they’ll try and get people involved in the whole thing and just make people more aware. It’s like what I did with Propagandhi, and I’m kind of trying to get people to be aware through what we do. I’m not saying that I’m Noam Chomsky or whatever. a lot of our songs are very simple. But I think that all you can do is try. If people want to listen and take it further then that’s up to them, but I do think that it does have a positive effect.
RN: Do you think that – perhaps with the rise of Scuzz et al – that kids are getting into the style of music, but are missing that it’s perhaps more than that?
K: See now this whole punk as a message or punk as a lifestyle thing – we’ve had this thrown in our faces like a couple of times by people saying, ‘oh you’re not punk you’re poseurs jumping on the bandwagon.’ I’m not saying that we’ve been here since 1977 because there’s obviously no way because I was born in ‘77. It’s just that the people we’ve met, the band’s that we’ve met, they’ve all just been really nice, but there’s been the odd person who’s gone, ‘Oh you’re not punk you haven’t done x, you haven’t done y. You haven’t said a certain thing, you haven’t done a certain thing’. And they throw it in your face going, ‘You’re not a punk, you’re a poseur’. And I’m always just like, ‘No I’m not a punk. I grew up listening to metal. This is just the kind of music that’s going on now’. The whole old school punk label… I think it’s a bit irrelevant. The whole punk thing to me at the moment is just people who want to help other people and have a good time whilst they’re doing it. Not saying that, ‘Oh I’m more punk than you’ because that’s fucking bullshit. I hate it. I actually hate it! (laughs)
RN: Well if you’re saying that punk is just a group of people coming together, is the music relevant then? I mean it could be punk, it could be Hardcore, it could be D&B?!?
K: I mean we’ve played with… I just hate the label punk. It’s just got so many connotations that people take in all different ways. It just doesn’t mean anything. It’s just ‘p-u-n-k’. It’s just a word. It doesn’t mean anything! So … please edit all of this out! (laughs) It’s just pure waffling.