The new emotionally resonant EP from Bristol based post hardcore / screamo duo PUNCH ON! is a reflection on a horrible circumstance from two years ago, where a close friend of the band’s guitarist Sean Addicott, and member of the Bristol music scene, was outed as an abuser. Many people came forward and reported their experiences, and this person fled the country, despite promising accountability. PUNCH ON! are using this record to raise funds for Solidarity Not Silence, an amazing organisation that its fundraising to go to court over a similar situation. They will be touring the EP from the 23rd to the 30th of November, where they will be ensuring someone from a Local Rape & Sexual Assault organisation is present, to demonstrate all of the amazing work they do. Today, we’re giving you the first listen of the powerful new EP, along with an insightful commentary from the band.
PUCH ON! is a two piece noise engine from Bristol, UK, throwing whatever* bit of heavy music at the wall, and shredding through what sticks. Formed in December 2016, with ‘I Have No History But The Length Of My Bones’ out on Callous records, since March 17, 2018.
*Mostly screamo/emo to be fair, but some crust/d-beat, black metal, ambient/drone, metalcore, hardcore, noise rock, pop, and whatever else is going on in Bristol thrown in for measure.
‘Harm Passes Forward’ is a response to a situation within our community, where a member was revealed to be an abuser. This person took advantage of sexual and romantic scenarios, was physically and emotionally abusive, and would manipulate their victims into believing it was an isolated event. When challenged, they chose not to be accountable, and fled the country. The EP documents the collapse of friendship, the events that transpired, and the unbelievable strength of the survivors who came forward.
We’re releasing this record to as a means of raising money to support organisations that oppose sexual violence, and support survivors. We will be working in the UK to raise money for ’Solidarity Not Silence’, a UK based organisation, made up of women who are challenging a defamation case made against them by man in music industry, following statements that they made concerning his treatment of women.
In terms of composition, ’Harm Passes Forward’ has an intentional duality – it can be observed as a single piece of music, and as three separate pieces. This duality is explored in the song titles, with each piece having two names – one denoting it’s place in the sequence, one reflecting it’s content. The musical ideas originally belonged to separate songs, however melodic and harmonic arcs began to form during the compositional process. Having discerned that I had more to say than would fit in a single track, a trilogy presented itself. The songs were more complex than we were initially able to play, so we employed a ‘boot camp’ mentality, and spent a year in learning.
The instrumental to the third track, ‘‘Forward’ or ‘Burned Bridge’’ was the first piece to be composed, around the time we recorded ‘I Have No History…’,( October 2017). I kept it in my back pocket as a sort of humorous challenge, to see if we’d every be able to play it, considering one of the riff features an octave chord slide, and the time signature changes every bar or two in places. ‘‘Passes’ or ‘Nodes in Time’’ was the first song to make it into our set as it was the most complete, and came from a ‘jam session’ early in 2018.
Engineered and Mixed by Tony Fenn James, @ Malthouse Studios /Mastered by Brad Boatright @ Audiosiege / Labels: UK: Callous Records; Spain: La Soja; Germany: I.Corrupt, Dingleberry, Tim Tam; Austria: Hardcore for the Losers; US: Missed Out!
I. ‘Harm’ or ‘Flood Network’
The first piece (‘Harm’ or ‘Flood Network’), documents me finding out someone who I loved and supported had been sexually abusive. The information came to me in waves of developing detail. I sat down to eat with them, one evening during the week following the initial shreds of information came forward. They assured me that what I’d been made aware of was at best untrue, at worst a misinterpretation. Time brought more information, rendering their accounts implausible. The song is a testament to cognitive dissonance, and the feeling of being beyond overwhelmed at the knowledge that someone you loved and cared for was capable of rape, abuse, and manipulation. The ‘Flood Network’ analogy is a reference to computer networking, where every incoming packet is sent through every outgoing link, except the one it arrived on – a network of chaotic processing; a system overwhelmed.
‘The news came late. Whimpering lies, over broken bread. Phone a friend, and spill, over-fucking-whelmed. Defence lights scream of a self-injurious wall of safety; suicide hiding abuse. Lost all sound of the fundamentals, all frequencies fell inharmonic. Nothing permeates in the vacuum of our friendship. I failed all packet requests in a broadcast storm. Uncontrollable flood network breaks past the banks, like cable clutter clusterfuck, spilling overwhelmed. So much love lost on you. No apologies? No remorse? To do what cannot be undone on commoditised friendship. No more hiding. No such safe space for you. We want you held accountable.’
II. ‘Passes’ or ‘Nodes in Time’
‘‘Passes’ or ‘Nodes in Time’’ focusses later on in the turn of events, at a point in time, where I had reflected for some months, and found several personal conclusions. I had a nervousness when writing, not wanting to inauthentically present anyone else experiences as my own. I had the loss a friend, but many had lost so much more. The re-occurring line ‘We need to talk’ is a reference to a text message that I had sent, following the understanding that they had raped someone. The opening line contains a muddled reference to Fall Out Boy.
‘Heaven failed, message sent. Constructed violent, pixel-picked perfection, angle angling for attention. Harm passes forward becoming what’s created in cowardice; moments lasting forever. Lived experiences, as nodes in time, awaiting healing. We need to talk.’
III. ‘Forward’ or ‘Burned Bridge’
This final segment documents the period of time between the initial private accusations, and the day approximately 2 years ago, where the abuser was publicly called out. It was beyond overwhelming, for an utterly different reason. Survivors, with stories dating back years came forward, in the open minefield of the internet, and vulnerably detailed their experiences. I hadn’t seen sisterhood like it. Just how tightly supportive women can be with each other in the face of violent misogyny. The last line refers to how so many of survivors felt as though they were part of an isolated incident. How separate we were all kept from one another. In truth, we were all obfuscated from seeing the bigger picture.
‘Sharp signal snap. Cold front brought plot holes. Hibernation at the signs of changing weather. These last days, before the change. When the harm passes forward, we need to talk. Forever will I be empowered by women(s’ strength). Cloud break: Blazing courage radiates, with sororal solar rage, shining in solidarity, to raze you where you hide. Standing alone, but surrounded, on this totally burned bridge.’
PUNCH ON! will be out on tour for 8 days with their friends OVERO from Texas, and doing a one-off show in Cardiff on their own:
23rd November – Bristol – Exchange
24th November – Southampton – The Hobbit
25th November – Plymouth – Rock Bottom Bar
26th November – London – New River Studios
27th November – Nottingham – JT Soar
28th November – Glasgow – The Old Toll Bar
29th November – Leeds – Chunk
30th November – Manchester – The Old Abbey Taphouse
Just Punch On!
7th December – Cardiff – All Day Christmas Carnage 2