If you like your punk rowdy, noisy and in-your-face, then trust us – you’re going to enjoy SickOnes. We caught up with guitarist Charlie to find out more, and also reviewed their EP The Red Line. Check it all out below!
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
Yo, my name is Charlie and I’m the guitarist for SickOnes. SickOnes is a three-piece hardcore punk band
based in the UK. We’re made up of Ben, handling vocals, Andy on drums and myself. We have no bass player. We pull influence from 80s hardcore pioneers such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, Bad Brains added with a modern fury. We take the DIY ethos extremely seriously, creating our own artwork, music videos, handling our own management and bookings.
How did you get started?
Andy and myself had been aimlessly jamming for about 18 months. We knew we had the basis to a few rowdy punk songs but didn’t quite have that final piece to complete a collection of songs worth gigging. I promote shows in my local area and had frequently put Ben’s other band on small-scale gigs. He’s a bassist/guitarist by trade but his stage presence is unmatched. I just knew I had to give this guy a microphone and see what happened. I approached him with the idea of coming to a few practices with me and Andy and seeing if we could make anything of it. Initially he was very reluctant, not convinced he could pull it off. I didn’t pressure him and let it drop.
A few months down the line Ben and myself attended a festival and after watching a back-to-back performance of Trash Talk, H20, Bane, The Bronx, Comeback Kid and others Ben asked if we were still looking for a vocalist. First practice as the three of us we were rolling. First live show and Ben was back flipping off the sound desk…pretty much the ideal start.
You’ve just released your new EP/four-track The Red Line. Can you describe the writing and recording process for it?
By the time our debut EP (The Volition EP) had been released we’d already began plotting our next, which would evolve into The Red Line. Generally our writing processes involves me coming up with a riff or guitar part and playing it to Andy, we come up with a basic structure and work from there, adding layers or switching up parts to add interesting flares. I knew I wanted to write stuff that was even more frantic than our first release, pulling inspiration from power violence and faster genres of punk – I reckon we get that across in the tunes Destructive Escapism and The Red Line. We’ve always tried to maintain a certain amount of groove in the stuff we write, as frantic and rowdy as the music is we try and add a hook. Toward the end of the writing period, when Ben started adding vocals, that’s when the songs really stepped up. His delivery added a fury that we knew would set these songs apart from our first release.
We had the opportunity to record at a new local studio – SpaceWolf, near Glastonbury. Working with producer Ben E Turner was great, his knowledge and expertise made the whole process easy. He quickly understood what we wanted to achieve and got on board with our weird humour…
Were there any songs that were more of a struggle to get right or did everything go to plan?
I wouldn’t say there were songs that were harder than others but we occasionally throw in some pretty erratic tempo changes or have a section of groove that needs to be laser tight and making sure we nail those bits sometimes takes time.
What’s the response been like for it so far?
At this time it’s been out for just over 24 hours and we’re pretty stoked on the support it has received so far. Our local scene has rallied around it and everyone is supporting us across social media. I think people realise we are serious, which is actually the meaning behind the name of the EP. The DIY Punk / Hardcore scene is occasionally (ironically) a bit cliquey but people into this sort of music are super, super passionate. We love that.
What’s been your best experience in the industry so far?
I wouldn’t consider us to be ‘in the industry’ as such, only the industry that we make ourselves. Its great to be part of DIY music scenes across the UK and being able to work along side other bands and promoters is what we’re passionate about. Oddly we have become a favourite of Huey Morgan, which is pretty rad, he sometimes plays us on BBC 6 Music, which is insane. Hardcore punk on prime time radio is fucking funny… I wonder what the listeners think. Shout out to Huey!
And what’s the most difficult thing about the industry?
Exposure! straight up. Particularly with social media now closing their grip on things. Forcing bands/brands/small businesses to pay for their own fans to see their stuff is insane. Some people will come out and say ‘oh every legitimate business pays for advertisement’, granted they do but paying a fee so people that have already committed to your fan base see your work is horrendous. Don’t be naïve, people need to stop boosting their Facebook posts and start using that money on a real website – draw people away from social media platforms to a location where they can properly show off their art/product/music.
What bands/artists inspire you?
Musically we are inspired by: Minor Threat, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Trash Talk, Ceremony, Show Me The Body, Death Grips, Extortion, Nirvana and many more. But we take a lot of inspiration from hip-hop as well, arguably the genre closest to hardcore in message and delivery…they just play it differently. I’m personally inspired by a lot of the 80s punk/hardcore, DIY record labels. Things like SST, SubPop, Dischord etc.
What can fans expect from a SickOnes show?
Pure chaos, antics, two steppin’, crowd surfing, stage dives, Ben climbing things and more chaos. It’s usually loud, frantic and aggressive. On the flip side we try and create a sense of community, Ben is great at engaging the crowd, bringing people in, making sure everyone is involved. We aren’t a band that wants to be on a massive stage 15 feet away from the crowd, we want to be IN the crowd. We’ve recently played two back to back house shows, they were pretty crazy and beyond sweaty. They were hosted by; New Roots Mag and KME Collaborative respectively, events like that show what the UK underground scene has to offer.
Have you got any shows in the pipeline?
October is shaping up to be a good month for us, shows in Bristol and the South West as well as potential others currently being organised. We’re always looking for shows though so please get in contact, we’re keen to play Leeds, Cardiff, London, Brighton…but will literally play any venue across the country or the rest of the world.
The Red Line Review
The Red Line is one of those releases that you’ll listen to and instantly get the itch to want to see it performed live. There’s a lot of energy jam-packed into these four songs and although this may not be the lengthiest of releases, there’s a lot of power and momentum behind it all. It’s always nice to hear a band put so much into their music and SickOnes have crafted something they can be very proud of.
Although the EP does sound like it is perhaps best appreciated live, with the visuals and movement to go with the music, it’s still a highly enjoyable release and you can’t help but feel thrown into the action as SickOnes project their raucous noise at you. It’s all done so well, especially during second track Destructive Escapism which sees a nigh-on frenetic musical performance from all three members – and it’s awesome, to say the least! Additionally, closer Exile helps the EP to go out with a bang, and the sudden stop at the end is great. It makes you hungry for more from them, and will have you reaching for the play button so you can listen to it all again.
As a whole, The Red Line is an excellent listen – the only problem is that it’s over far too quickly! Great stuff from this up-and-coming three piece.