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DROPPING BOMBS discuss Dublin punk, capitalist, crust and more!

These guys were introduced to me by Alex from Distro-y Records. Dublin’s DROPPING BOMBS are about to release their debut 12” and I’m really stoked they’ve found some time to sat down with me and answer a couple of questions that might help you determine your suitability for becoming their follower :) They may remind you of PROPAGANDHI, they may sound similar to TRAGEDY. Never mind really, cause the feel of their new tune is pretty swingin’! I bet you’ll love it.  Expect a stream of the full LP very soon via Distro-y Records and Visions of Warning, but meanwhile check out the interview below.

DROPPING BOMBS are: R (Roe) – bass + vocals, S (Scuz) – guitar + vocals, J (John) – drums.

Some answers may be outdated as they were composed several weeks ago, but are only now being posted.

Hey guys! Good to have you here! What’s up? How are you?

Hello. We’re doing well, thanks for givin us the interview.

Alright, let’s start off with your history. What inspired the birth of DROPPING BOMBS?

S: Drinkin, smokin, takin drugs. We’ve been playing together for a good while now. We started playing together after we all met and were partying together in the suburbs of Dublin. We met Roe at a party once and he offered to play bass for us and played a few tunes on guitar at a mate’s gaff that got the serotonin flooding. We all shared a love of hardcore punk and wanted to play music that was a reflection of our place in the world. Playing in this band was also a way for a lot of our friends to get together through gigs and at practice to have a good time. Over time we have tended to play more aggressive music to reflect what we perceive as darker times, though we do not prescribe to the ‘humanity’s fucked’ nihilistic view of the world.

J: Me (John) and Skuz had been playing together for a while around 2004 and got chatting to roe at a party. We decided to have a jam and it went from there.

R: The 3 of us knew each other a small bit from going to the same school. The different groups we hung around with all seemed to merge around a mutual friends house, who had been living without his parents for a while and liked to party. We had a very similar interest in music and seeing as John and Skuz were looking for a bass player to jam with, Ro decided to join and a new band was formed.

Have you been in other bands prior to this project?

R: John and Skuz played in the band SCUTRAG – which turned into dropping bombs. All three of us played in Social Lube along with 3 other friends – which is now defunct. Other bands both active and inactive include RATS BLOOD, BURNCHURCH and DIVISIONS RUIN, APES OF WRATH, TWISTED MASS, FUCK YOU WRITTEN IN SHIT

What was your personal introduction to punk? What attracted you to it?

S: I got into punk through Walter Schriefels’ bands like RIVAL SCHOOLS, QUICKSAND, GORILLA BISCUITS. From there it was on to more politically charged music like PROPAGANDHI, INNER TERRESTIALS, and bands like STRICKNIEN DC. While taste in music lead me to listen to heavier music it was the politics and the realism of punk that really got my attention. The whole DIY ethos is I believe incredibly empowering in action. It was also a revelation to hear such good music on specific topics or issues executed so effectively. 

J: I got into punk when I got a cassette tape with 3 NOFX albums on it from a friend of my brothers when I was 13. It was exactly what I was looking for. The speed, drum beats, guitar melodies and vocals all blew my mind. I played that tape hundreds of times until the day it broke. It all started from there. Also seeing Dublin band SIR KILLALOT 2001. That would have been my first DIY punk gig. They were the first Irish punk band I saw and theirs was the first 7” I ever bought. Amazing band.

R: My introduction to punk came through the likes of Kerrang magazine JK on 2fm radio and the TV back in 93-94 – with bands like OFFSPRING, BAD RELIGION, and THERAPY? The first Irish punk I ever heard were a band called GOUT, who were played on the JK Radio Show on 2fm around the same time. Check out their S/T demo – or their full length, Mr. Wonderful. I can’t really remember what attracted me to punk though, I’d say it was the speed and the energy.

You have just announced a new album in the works. What can we expect in terms of similarities and differences between other bands and works we know? What would you compare yourselves to, if to anything or anyone?

It’s kind of hard to compare ourselves to any of our peers that may be recognizable on an international level. We were always conscious to make our sound geo-specific to an extent – which would automatically remove many international bands’ immediate similarities. In saying that, we also sound like we’ve been influenced by a mashup of bands such as PROPAGANDHI, CONFLICT, POST REGIMENT, STRICKNIEN DC and PREYING HANDS with a twist of the likes of WOLFBRIGADE, TRAGEDY and EKKAIA – using the melodies of the former with a hint of the latter’s rasp. When you listen to us you may not think any of the aforementioned were recognizable in our sound though – which is why it’s hard to say.

What makes a hardcore band a “crust hardcore punk” band?

Not sure we know, but the current brand of hardcore is something that has branched off considerably from its punk roots. Hardcore in Dublin has a very ‘throwdown’ association and is void of any political critique. Hardcore punk maintains the fast pace and ideology, while, with an element of crust, you have the introduction of a bleaker outlook. Lyrically, hardcore seems to deal with personal issues and frustrations while crust hardcore takes a more global view. Neither of these descriptions fit our band anyway, if that was implied.

Ok, so… lyrically, where do you draw inspiration from? Please shoot me a couple of lines about some subjects your lyrics deal with.

We tend to tackle issues that particularly get our backs up and that we think haven’t been covered effectively yet. We try and articulate as best we can in musical format our feelings of deceit about how powerful people manipulate people and opportunities that this economic system allow to exist, which gives a pretty big fuckin scope. In the endgame of modern day capitalism there is very little left sacred or not commodified. We have a song about wars for profit/resources and the military industrial complex that sustains the appetite for war.

The first song off our upcoming album is called To Hell. The name is a play on the phrase ‘To hell or to connacht’ which came from the plantation period of irish history. The song deals with how big oil companies like Shell, Statoil and Marathon and their preferred extraction program for oil and gas off the west coast of Ireland. The deal was brokered by corrupt politicians with such lenient taxing that it’s essentially giving Ireland’s resources away for free, while the extraction infrastructure pollutes the surrounding area to the detriment of local economies and ecosystems. “Their refusal to acknowledge that with every yard of earth cracked, their bodies fit right in, and their bones will be stained black by that dirty fucking extract. It’s happened once again, it happened before on foreign shores when Ken Saro Wiwa stood up is limp body hung.”

We have a song called Suicidal Genes which is about the development and deployment of genetic use restriction technology, GURT or Terminator seeds by Monsanto, Syngenta and other life science companies. Essentially a licence fee has to be paid in order to grow these patented seeds every year, were previously seeds may have been exchanged for free among farmers. Monsanto’s aggression in deploying these seed

It talks about the lunacy of the idea of patenting life, the aggression with which life science companies have tried to monetarise and control food systems and the general contempt for the natural world and for those who criticise their use. “Who gives a fuck these stagnant cunts, they will never see life and evolution consigned to history. The blueprints of civilisation consigned to history caused by genetic modification – GURT (Genetis Use Restriction Technology).

We have a song called Common Loss which tackles the many aspects of the current occupation, resource wars and wars for profit, such as media bias, merceneray armies like Blackwater, and the exhaustion of society after a decade of petrification. “With war fought in silence comes deafening waves, that shake the foundations of soldier’s restraint”.

Another song called Shepherd Tone (which is a play of words off Shepard Tone – an auditory illusion which creates the effect of a constantly descending sound) tackles the abuses of the church – referring to the never-ending descent of Christ and how it has been used as a tool of leverage to manipulate, and take advantage of, the masses. The church enforces used during the Cromwellian era of Irish history, where people from the east coast of Ireland were told by the imperialists to go to hell or to Connaught (along the west coast of Ireland).

About the name, why did you choose DROPPING BOMBS?

R: The term ‘dropping bombs’ can have multiple meanings – Swallowing drugs, speaking your mind etc. The meaning that we derive from the term is that we are an anti-war band. Bombs are consistently dropped on ‘lesser’ nations by aggressive empires and, with the advent of drones, this is something that will increase as time goes by. 

Back to the new outing, how difficult or easy was the birth of this newest work of yours?

S: We’ve written the songs on this album over the course of the last few years. The songs that are on it are the songs that are still relevant to us after years of playing. It came together fairly organically and handily given that we know the songs so well. We’ve another release planned for 2014 which is a bit of a development on the sound on this record. 

J: Musically this album came together relatively easy I think. The songs were written over a period of few years. 

R: The process of this recording was somewhat difficult. 5 of the 7 tracks were due to be released on a prior record with 4 (or so) other tracks. Some of the other tracks had ska/reggae bits in them – which was something we wanted to remove from our sound. We then wrote the music for another two tracks (Shepherd Tone and Common Loss) and went back to the studio to record the 7 tracks as a new project. Common Loss is over 11 minutes long, so the 600 words that went into the song took quite a bit of time to write. 

What was the reasoning behind teaming up with Distro-y Records? How else do you distribute the new 12’’?

Alex is the number one punk label in the country. We approached him and were delighted when he agreed to partner up on it with us. His commitment is highly admirable, commendable, and has a great work ethic considering we know how busy his own life is.

Let’s discuss Dublin shall we? Can you describe the area you’re from, what’s it like living there and so on?

There’s a lot of people around Dublin motivated by chasing the coin around. Wider Dublin society reflects this to a large extent, which stands in stark contract to the big problems with alcohol, drug addiction and homelessness prevalent in the city. We stay out of that shit and do our own thing because we recognize its futility and absurdity, the punk scene in Dublin in general is fairly well removed from wider society and is quite underground.

R: We all grew up around Blanchardstown but now we all live on the northside of Dublin city. Dublin is a nice city to live in but, like anywhere, has its bad points. The city has a pretty bad drug and homeless problem and many people are feeling the problems of the recession, but there is also a good social welfare system and people can get by. Many, many young adults, including a lot of our friends, have left the country because there is no work at the moment.

What about Dublin’s music scene? How does the local vibe differ from that of other cities you’ve spent time in? 

There is a lot more of a welcoming buzz at gigs in Dublin nowadays. Young people looking to get into punk and the punk scene in Dublin get a better reception from people who’ve been involved in the scene for a long time, compared to how it used to be a good few years ago. There was a good bit of elitism prevalent in the scene years ago that’s not so noticeable now. Punk gigs in dublin are usually occasions for friends to hang out over and above any punk rock stereotyping bullshit.

How has the punk scene changed over the years over there?

When we first started going to gigs the options and bands on show were very limited. Over time there are now a lot of mixed genre gigs going on with metal and hip hop acts playing with punk bands. The scene has evolved to be more DIY and self-sufficient, with movements being made towards collective gig spaces and collective practice spaces . The punk scene is quite diverse in Dublin now with thriving scenes for hardcore, crust, old time punk rock, post punk and what else have you, but there is also a collusive atmosphere about the place so that diversity does not mean segregation between the different sub scenes of Dublin. It’s also quite common for people that play in bands to be in 2 or 3 bands of different styles, which is one of the cool things about Dublin as well.

Considering DROPPING BOMBS’ legacy, what is your most memorable live experience so far, your best and worst one maybe?

First, to clarify, we have no legacy. We played at the Kopi squat at late notice while on tour in Europe a few years back. Everyone involved in running the place was well sound with the gig running really well. The gig went great with a load of Berlin punks celebrating the stay given to the kopi squat so the party buzz after was deadly. Other highlights include playing at punk festivals over the years in Ireland. 

One of our finest hours was playing the Kopi squat on the day that it was given an extension to remain. It was due to be a party of resistance which turned into a whopper fuckin party. We got to play a gig to loads of fuckers up for partying and had a great time altogether.

Do you enjoy being on the road? What does touring mean to you guys?

J: I love touring, we haven’t had the chance to tour much though. We’ve had a few brief trips to England and mainland Europe but have been fairly busy otherwise to do much touring. However, it’s great to show up to a new place every day while on tour and see DIY punk thriving in each city. To be able to show up to a place and trust complete strangers is great when it works out, where the only apparent common thread is a love of punk.

What are the plans for rest of 2013 and the next year? Both performing and recording-wise, what do you currently have in the pipeline? Where do you want to take this band in the coming months and years? What are the ultimate goals for the band?

We’ve got a couple of gigs lined up in Dublin and London for December, nothing much else until the release comes out. We’ll probably do a release tour around Ireland and might try and get out to Europe as well later next year. We have another release in the pipeline for some time next year as well.

Ok guys.. I wonder… How has hardcore punk shaped your life aside from the music? What does it mean to you in your daily personal lives?

In the absence of punk, fuck knows what could have happened to us. Because this is part of our daily lives, it’s a daily reminder of how to view things. Punk politics have influences our decisions and the paths that we take. The topics that punk tackles in its content influences the decision we make throughout our growth. We want to go about our daily lives like most people but punk’s influence altered our perspective on our position on this earth.

Alright.. one more guys. What are some bands or releases that genuinely impressed you lately?

R: GRAND COLLAPSE’s EP is fucking deadly, a fairly new band from wales that are making hectic music. They probably sound most similar to us than most other bands we could name as well.

S: PUTREFACTION put an album out recently that’s fuckin deadly. Another Irish black metal band called ALTAR OF PLAGUES put out their last album this year which is fuckin cool as well.

J: I’d say the PUTREFACTION lp as well. Other bands would be PREYING HANDS, MELODICA DEATHSHIP, THE SULTANS, CRIMINAL DAMAGE, BOMBARDIERS, DEVIANT AND NAIVE TED, ARCTIC FLOWERS, TRAGEDY.

Ok guys. We need a title for this piece. How would you describe the band in 5 words tops!

J: Speckled mitzys to hot whiskeys.

S: How’s about a haiku instead: A great bunch a lads / Talking shite for interview / GERRUP OUVEH!!!

Thank you for taking the time to do this. Cheers from Warsaw!

Nastrovia. Cheers bud.

Photos by Janer.

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