Since Idioteq is not doing any reviews, I figured that I’ll let MINE speak for themselves. This new band featuring ex-HANG THE BASTARD vocalist Christopher Barling and ex-CENTURIONS GHOST vocalist Mark Scurr has signed to Holy Roar and has a new self titled EP out! A 12″ vinyl version is available via Holy Roar and a limited tape through Cult Culture.
Despite having been in some very heavy bands, MINE sit somewhere between acts such as FUCKED UP, PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH and ENVY. In the interview below we discussed lots of cool issues, including the story behind this new project, their new EP, former bands, and London hardcore scene. See for yourself:
Hey, guys! Pleasure to have you here. Please make a little introduction for newer followers of yours and tell us about the beginnings and the idea behind MINE.
Hey, thanks for having us!
Ok so, I started this band back in March (2012) as I was feeling a little lost in my previous band (HANG THE BASTARD) and wanted to explore different avenues. So I contacted Mark Scurr about forming a new band on my idea, a sound sitting somewhere between FUCKED UP and ANNE. So, aggressive punk-rock with a heavy gaze overtone. Mark was really siked on this idea!
I later approached David Standley and Matthew Pullon who were playing in A LONG TIME DEAD together. Although their current band was very far detached from what I wanted to do, I’ve known these guys for years now and knew that this sort of thing would interest them. I remember having a conversation with Matt last New Year ’s Eve and how he’d like to explore new musical avenues, so he seemed like the obvious choice.
Everything just flowed really effortlessly with this band and it seemed natural for us to be playing in this style of band. We wrote ‘Hidden In Drawers’ during our first 3 hour practice session which just indicated that this is something we should pursue.
Wow, that’s fast. Do you have your own mission to collapse the boundaries between hardcore punk and other genres? Despite the fact labeling bands is lame, where would you put yourself in the genre cloud? [smiles] What festivals would you fit in the best?
I think that due to our combined influences and different interests in music, we are overlapping different boundaries with what we are doing. I’ve read reviews for the EP where people compared us to black metal bands, screamo bands and indie bands all in one paragraph. So it seems like it’s been hard for people to pin point what type of band we are but it definitely appears to be only adding extra interest I us, which is great!
[laughs] Yeah I know what you mean, having to label your band can suck but I guess you have to at some point. I suppose the easiest way to label us is just simply that we are a hardcore punk band. The elements of hardcore and punk are there but when you listen there are the added extras.
Festival wise, I think we could transcend across different types of fests. We played our second show at SWN Festival in South Wales which hosted many different bands. We opened a stage that showcased bands like GOODTIME BOYS, GNARWOLVES and PARISO who are all very different from each other. So I think we would fit in well at the bigger indie fests but could still hold our own at a hardcore festival.
Great. I am hoping to see you guys at my personal favorite Fluff Fest [smiles].
So, what is the origin story of the name MINE?
Yeah I’d love to hit up Fluff Fest if they’d have us! We really want to hit up as many festivals as we can in 2013 and we’ve already got some interesting prospects, so it’s all looking good!
To be honest, Matt suggested it as it’s not particularly genre specific, much like our band and we just thought it had the right vibe for us. People can make of it what they will, personally I feel it has more of a romantic aspect to it. Sorry, I know that’s not very ‘hardcore’ [laughs].
How many gigs have you played with MINE so far?
We’ve played 3 shows so far, all of which have been with PARISO funnily enough! They have all be really good fun and we’ve been lucky to have decent size crowds checking us out. Our next show is on the 16th December in London supporting BIRDS IN ROW, BASTIONS and VALES are playing too which I’m stoked about. Chlo from VALES did some vocals on the EP so it’ll be good to finally play a show together!
Great! How did you land on Holy Roar Records and Cult Culture? And why release an EP on 12’’ instead of 7’’? [smiles]
I’d worked with Alex (Holy Roar) before with HANG THE BASTARD a couple of years back and he’s always been a good dude to work with! We recorded the EP in June (I think) and I sent over the rough mix to him, he said straight away that he’d like to release it and we were obviously into that, so it was all pretty simple No a & r guy, just straight up and simple. The reason he put it out on LP is:
a) Alex wanted to put it on an lp so it could have an etched b-side, which looks awesome and may now be a recurring theme.
b) the tracks wouldn’t fit on a 7″.
Cult Culture is actually a new label that I started to give MINE a permanent home but with Holy Roar stepping in, that plan changed slightly. So I always intended to release the EP on tape but me and Alex decided to almost co-release and put both the vinyl and tapes out simultaneously. I’ll be releasing a the new BLACK COFFEE EP on tape early next year and I’m excited about that, there will be updates soon! And hope more later on next year but we’ll have to wait and see.
Great! Can’t wait to get this news.
Tell us more about the EP. Was is a struggle to put I together?
To be honest the whole process was really easy and the least stressful time I’ve ever had when preparing to record and all the organizing that you need to do.
So we wrote the EP within about 3 months and we recorded it ourselves in London at some point in June, I can’t remember the exact dates but it took 3 days to record. Luckily, Mark happens to be a professional sound engineer so all the technical stuff was left to him. It was awesome to produce the record ourselves and to be able to get the results we wanted!
The photo we used for the cover art was taken by Mike Jenson who I was introduced to by our friend Give Up, who also gave us our logo. Mike had taken the picture a few years ago now but I knew it would fit perfectly with the way the record was starting to sound and when I approached him with the idea of using it, he was equally as interested. Luckily for us, both these guys were kind enough to just trade their art for copies of the record.
The vinyl version of the EP has an etched b-side which my girlfriend (Amy Savage) designed for us and it came out great. It’s a an image of a wolf holding a rabbit in its jaws.
So in answer to your question……not a struggle at all [laughs]! Although with everyone’s schedules getting busier and busier, the next EP is proving a lot more troublesome!
[laughs] Very nice.
About that wolf… [smiles] is there a certain message behind it? You fit in with the artwork thing perfectly. I was just about to ask you… what’s up with these disturbing tubs on the cover art of the EP? [smiles] I’m scared, dude [laughs].
Yeah but I’ll leave it for people to make there own interpretation of what they think it represents…… [laughs]. I definitely think the image sits well with the songs on the record, delicate but kinda harsh at the same time.
The tubs are what I can only assume are medical baths and yes, they are grim! I know the picture was taken when Mike was doing some urban exploring and I think that was in some sort of hospital, I haven’t really spoken to him at length about it though. We’ve got the next cover lined up, it’s totally different to this first one but fits in so well too and you won’t be freaked out by it too…..hopefully!
I smell Silent Hill [smiles]. Oh, and you don’t wanna hear mine interpretation of the rabbit [laughs].
Wait a minute… the next cover? The cover for what?
[laughs] No I actually do?
Ah, well we’ve been writing the follow up to the first EP and we’ve already decided on the cover art…but that’s all I’m letting go right now. Sorry!
Cruel [smiles]. So here’s my revenge: I won’t tell you about the rabbit :P
Let’s move on [smiles]. The next question is: what other merch items have you got there?
[laughs] fair enough!
Ok so other than Holy Roar stocking the vinyl, I’ve got the tape and a shirt up in the Cult Culture store. We’re a new band so we don’t have much, I’d hate to be one of those bands that has more merch than songs anyway! We’ve got a new design from Give Up but I’ll hold out till next year before I get it printed.
What would you say your biggest influences are at the moment?
Al l of our tastes are so varied but as a basis for the band we all can agree on bands like FUCKED UP, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE, TORCHE. It’s a good feeling to not have to write to a certain template with this band and each member brings something a little different to the table. Mark is a really big doom fan and has been listening to CONAN a lot recently but on the other hand he’s really big into bands like THE NATIONAL, so super varied.
I’ve been really into the new TITLE FIGHT record, WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS, PALE SEAS and a lot of older emo bands like TEXAS IS THE REASON, BRAID. My girlfriend brought me THE SMITHS – Louder Than Bombs on vinyl recently so that’s been getting quite a few spins, they are a band that I’ve always been a huge fan of. So I guess MINE is just a bit of a boiling pot really!
Considering these influences and your own progress, how do you feel like you’ve developed as an individual since you first started playing?
Personally I’ve never considered myself to be a great songwriter but I just do my best. When I’ve looked back at stuff I did in my old band, I have to cringe a little bit but then I’m pretty much my worst critic! But then again, in the past I’ve felt like I was writing to a certain template where as with MINE I’m just being very honest with what I’m writing.
From the inception of MINE, writing has come a lot more naturally but still can be challenging. The new songs we’re writing are a lot different to anything I’ve done before and a slight departure from the first EP. As an individual I think it’s all in all been a positive progression from when I first started playing in bands.
I’m just really excited about writing more records with MINE and progressing (I hope) with the way I write songs.
How has your local music environment affected your development as a musician?
Well the reason I know the other guys in MINE is due to them having been in bands together that played in our local scene years ago, we’re probably talking coming up to a decade now! Matt and Dave played in a pretty brutal metalcore band called THE SILENT TAKEOVER and Mark was in a metal band called MANDEVILLE, then later went on to vocal duties in CENTURIONS GHOST (they toured with EARTHRIDE, CONVERGE and were awesome!)
So seeing my friends playing in awesome bands just made me want to do the same thing! I sucked at playing guitar so I just used to scream along to records, it didn’t sound too bad so I just carried on with that. Me and Sam Rice (HTB) used to be in a sorta hardcore band years ago which I sang in and then we later formed HANG THE BASTARD together where I came to grips with doing metal/hardcore vocals. A lot of my musical influences were actually introduced to me through Sam so I owe that guy a lot really as he got me into some cool shit.
All in all, I think the fact that growing up as a teenager and having a solid group of friends who were all into music and doing bands has been a dramatic help. If that hadn’t been the case, I’m guessing things would be pretty different. I’m sure the other guys in MINE would say something similar had they answered this question too.
So what are some of the best things about this local scene of yours?
Sadly the small scene that we did have locally really fizzled out a long time ago. We all live just outside of London but it’s never been an issue to go to shows in London so I guess that is still our local scene. The best thing about living so close is that you’re never limited to what bands you can go and see. 99% of touring bands go through London. I saw EMPIRE! EMPIRE! (I WAS A LONELY ESTATE) play a couple of weeks back and it was packed. There’s a venue called the Old Blue Last where we are playing with BIRDS IN ROW on the 16th December and more often than not, the shows there are free which is great. I used to put on hardcore shows and they were always well attended, there’s always something going on and it’s really positive.
Funnily enough, Dave’s other band A LONG TIME DEAD are heavily affiliated with Rucktion Records and I think they might be putting out a record through them. Matt was also in this band up until recently.
If you’re apart of the London hardcore scene, you’ll be aware of these bands and where they come from. Pierre (KNUCKLEDUST/Rucktion) was always really supportive of HTB back when that band started out so I’ve had a lot of respect for what those guys do and that they are still at the forefront of that particular scene.
In March when I was still in HTB we toured with TRC and THE ACACIA STRAIN so I got to know them a little, I’m not really a fan but I can appreciate that they are just sticking to their guns and doing what they want to do and it’s something pretty different, so good for them! I do remember seeing them years ago when they released the first EP, times have certainly changed since then.
Sounds like a diplomatic answer [laughs].
[laughs] is that meant to be the next question [smiles].
Definitely. But you can skip it if you want [smiles]. I’m publishing everything anyway [laughs]. IDIOTEQ ain’t The Sun, but a punch of gossip has never killed anyone [smiles].
OK, let’s get serious. I guess MINE is not your full time gig, so what side jobs do you have there?
Sorry, no frivolous gossip though I’m afraid.
I just work in the head office of a big clothing company over here, it sucks but it pays the bills. And I’ve just started up Cult Culture which is exciting and I’m putting a bit of time into too, who knows how that will pan out.
Hope it will grow fast.
So tell me Chris, what would you like to get for Christmas? [smiles]
Well me and my girlfriend are going to Stockholm for Christmas….so some thermals would be nice! And I’d really like that ORDINATION OF AARON double LP [smiles].
Any Swedish bands you admire?
I admire NO OMEGA.
Cool, we talked to them some time ago [smiles].
Can we count for a tour including Poland sometime soon? Do you have some Polish friends / musicians / promoters?
They are good guys, MINE played their first show with them back in September and I put them on in London early last year I think it was.
Hopefully we’ll get to come over next year but we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t really have any contacts in Poland sadly, so maybe you could put in a good word for us [laughs]!
Sure thing, mate!
Ok. What else does the next year look like for MINE? Feel free to add anything you want.
Next year we’ll be busy recording the follow up to the first EP and maybe a tour or two. But we’ll see, we like to see how things roll out before we make any decisions on how to occupy our time.
Anything else I’d like to add…..listen to PALE SEAS, support Cult Culture, support Holy Roar, buy artwork from Give Up, listen to BLACK COFFEE and thank you for taking the time to talk about this band, hopefully see you in Poland some day!
Thanks! It was a pleasure [smiles]. All the best!